Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Friday!

I am so thrilled that Friday is finally upon us! There was not enough coffee at the office to get me through the day today.

As I was thinking about what I wanted for dinner (which I generally think about at breakfast and then again at lunch time, because apparently the meal I am eating at the time just isn't enough) I came across this awesome gif from one of my all-time favorte Disney movies.

Have you ever seen The Emperor's New Groove? It's hilarious. And I am absolutely going to be snuggled up in bed watching this tonight, probably after baking a batch of cookies.

Anyway, here is me, anytime I am cooking for friends, family, or myself:

Signs You're The Friend That Cooks

Hope this brightened your day! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lightened Up Mashed Potatoes

What is better alongside your protein of choice than soft, velvety mashed potatoes?

Nothing you say? Nothing is correct. Mashed potatoes are an epitome of comfort food no matter where you come from. Everyone has that one family mashed potato recipe that is indulgent, delicious, and ta-die-for.

Usually it is loads of butter, cream cheese, milk, sour cream, and other delicious yet not-so-figure-friendly add-ins that make mashed potatoes irresistible. And I don't think we need to cut these out entirely. But today, I am bringing you mashed potatoes with a few tweaks that will make that second helping feel totally acceptable.

This recipe for Lightened Up Mashed Potatoes took a few trials and errors before I found something I was totally happy with. I have tried the whole "mashed cauliflower with greek yogurt" thing only to be left with something that really just tasted like barf to me (sorry to be graphic). So using this trend as inspiration, I met my super healthy friends halfway.

The key to making these lightened up mashed potatoes feel like their naughty mashed potato brothers is to not cut the potatoes and fat elements out entirely. I start with two medium potatoes, then make up the rest of the potatoes using an entire head of fresh cauliflower. I substitute low-fat cream cheese for the full fat variety and loosen everything up with 2% (or even skim) milk. I cannot completely eliminate the richness that butter provides, but I drastically reduce the amount that goes in while also using unsalted butter so that I can control the salt content.

Also, let's talk technique. Because cauliflower can be a little more grainy than a starchy potato, I found the best consistency resulted from using my immersion blender to puree everything together (rather than using a potato masher). I also cook the potatoes and cauliflower, then allow them to cool slightly so some of the steam and moisture can escape. While these steps may seem frivolous, I think you will agree after you make your first batch of these potatoes that they are well worth it for the perfect, creamy mashed potato.

Give this base recipe a try, then jazz it up however you please! I am thinking maybe a roasted garlic and chive variety would be a total hit.

General disclaimer -- it is SO HARD to photograph mashed potatoes in an appealing way. But seriously THESE ARE DELICIOUS! Sorry for yelling...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Whole Wheat Cheddar Chive Biscuits

I made this biscuits in an effort to feel less guilty about eating biscuits. I wanted it to be OK for me to have a second biscuit. My life is so difficult.

I had a snow day on Wednesday and knew that the universe was telling me to make healthier but super delicious biscuit. Yes, the universe talks to me often--generally it wants to talk about biscuits.

Cheddar cheese and chives are a match made in heaven. Luckily I had both of those in my fridge along with some Greek yogurt, and there was a fresh bag of whole wheat flour in my pantry.

What came out of my oven later that morning are these Whole Wheat Cheddar Chive Biscuits. They are flavorful and nutty, a bit sturdy but certainly flaky like a traditional biscuit. The cheddar is sharp and the chives provide just the right amount of onion flavor. I kicked it up a notch by adding a generous amount of cracked black pepper.

These biscuits were the first things I baked using whole wheat flour, and I would definitely consider them a success. The Greek yogurt is tangy and acts very much like buttermilk in this recipe. I used a low fat yogurt, but I would imagine a non-fat yogurt would have the same result (please report back if anyone tests this out!)

Enjoy these biscuits for breakfast alongside scrambled eggs or as a tasty little sandwich vessel at lunch. You may also consider serving them alongside a big pot of chili, like my Mom's Beef Chili!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mom's Beef Chili

It seems like every recipe I post from my mom becomes incredibly popular on Gas Stove Girl. I have a feeling this one here will be no different.

Previously from my mother's kitchen that you have loved: Lentil Soup, Baked Macaroni and Cheese.

Currently from my mother's kitchen you will soon love: Beef Chili.

My Mom's Chili is the number one chili in my heart. There is something about it that is better than some other chilis I have consumed. Our family does not really enjoy very spicy foods nor do most of us like beans (I actually like beans, but I digress).

This chili starts out as all good chilis should: with lots of ground beef, a diced onion, and a red bell pepper. A bunch of spices get added to the mix--essential spices--such as chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, a pinch of sugar, and some salt. Just add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and some Frank's Red Hot and BAM! Chili is served.

At my house, we've always enjoyed chili over rice, topped with lots of shredded cheddar cheese. This time around, I sliced up crispy Italian bread for dunking (and still topped it with plenty of cheddar!) Enjoy this chili in whatever way your heart desires! Perhaps some chili cheese fries just in time for the Super Bowl? JUST SAYIN'

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Parmesan Crusted Pork with Pasta Aglio e Olio

I made this incredibly tasty, surprisingly good for you dinner last week and I can't stop thinking about it.

We are bringing all good things together -- parmesan cheese, garlic, red pepper flakes. We are making a lightened up pasta dinner that won't leave you full of guilt and dazed in food comatose.

For this Parmesan Crusted Pork with Pasta Aglio e Olio recipe, I pounded out boneless pork tenders to about 1/2 inch thickness, breaded and baked them until crispy brown. A whole wheat pasta is the perfect vehicle to soak up a slightly spicy and totally garlicky olive oil sauce. That's what "Aglio e Olio" means after all--"with garlic and olive oil."

To bread the pork, I mixed together panko breadcrumbs with freshly grated parmesan cheese. The panko is so wonderfully crispy that I find it hard to sacrifice. Of course, if you prefer whole wheat breadcrumbs they would be a perfect substitute.

I don't think I can choose what my favorite part of this meal is -- the pork or the pasta. Together, they make a delicious weeknight meal that comes together in no time!

Even the fiance thought this was tasty and full of flavor. He even requested a shot of him enjoying the meal! Yum yum!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Potato and Ham Chowder {Lightened up!}

So that polar vortex was a whole thing, huh?! If we don't see temperatures that cold for a while, I really won't mind.

Soup, of course, was the perfect meal to defrost after the walk home from the subway. As we already know, I am soup crazed! I love making new pots of chowder whenever possible.

On Christmas Day (flashback!) I made Cory and I a Dr. Pepper glazed spiral ham (a laPioneer Woman!). Now, the thing about spiral hams is that it is basically impossible to find a reasonably-sized ham for a small crowd. So, let's just say that there were a few pounds of ham in our freezer for a while.

Thanks to this Potato and Ham Chowder recipe, I have finally used up the last big piece of ham! Should we have a party? If you ask me, this soup IS the party. Rich, potato soup loaded up with sweet corn, salty ham, crunchy celery and leeks. Don't be shy -- top a big, warm bowl of this chowder with a little grated cheese and chopped chives!

I lightened up this soup by using 1% milk and thinning it out with a little low sodium chicken broth. So, although not totally guilt free, I think we should definitely serve ourselves a second bowl.

Extra bonus--this is a ONE POT DINNER! My favorite!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Coconut Lime Chicken with Green Beans


It's 2014. And I am now the proud owner of the domain! How fabulous is that? Be sure to add this blog to your RSS feed so you never miss a recipe!

I had a pretty awesome holiday season. I am pretty sure I over-ate every single day, at every single meal. Like any good cliche, I am trying to do a 180 in the new year by eating right and actually putting some effort into exercising.

One reason is because it's good to be healthy and actually practice moderation. Moderation was not a word that was in my vocabulary the past two weeks and that's just not right.

Another reason is because I have a very important dress I will need to fit into in a couple of years. A wedding dress. I'm engaged! Squee!

To spare you the eye-rolling, "oh great another person I know getting married" misery, I'll just jump right into this tasty and super simple recipe.

This Coconut Lime Chicken with Green Beans saute is sweet and tangy. There are lots of great Thai flavors in this dish, making it the perfect alternative to take-out! I was inspired by a dish I saw Sandra Lee make on her show, "Semi-Homemade." Obviously I watched a lot of Food Network the past week and I am so glad I did--there were some yummy recipes happening last week!

If you need a quick meal that is really satisfying yet good for you, give this Coconut Lime Chicken a try. I used light coconut milk, low sodium soy sauce and chicken broth for the sauce. A little bit of Worcestershire sauce adds a boost of flavor. The lime is tart and tangy, while cilantro finishes the whole dish with a little brightness. Serve this over your rice of choice, and you've got a fantastic meal everyone is sure to love. Try cooking your rice in coconut water instead of regular water to really bring home the coconut flavor!