Friday, May 27, 2011

Tri-Tip and Gouda Mashed Potatoes

Wow, I can't believe it's already Friday...and almost a week since my last post. I need to share the best Tri-Tip recipe. It's a dry-rub seasoning as well as a garlic, red wine vinaigrette, and garlic mixture that gets basted onto the meat while it's cooking. Literally, the best tri-tip we've ever made. Unfortunately, it's not my recipe and I didn't tweak or adapt it at all, so I'm just going to share the link. Did you know that tri-tip was made popular on the California central coast?  It is our favorite thing to barbecue. I can remember wanting to make it when we lived in  Hawaii and it was no where to be found. I wonder if it's more popular now. What I will share with you is my side recipe for Gouda Smashed Potatoes. Smoky Gouda and Garlic mixed into Creamy Smashed Red Potatoes make a delicious side to anything BBQ.

Click the link for Tri-Tip Recipe

Gouda Smashed Potatoes
8 medium red potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 tsp of crushed garlic
1/3 c. of butter
1/3 c. sour cream
1/2 c. shredded Gouda cheese
1 tsp. of granulated chicken bouillon seasoning
salt and ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp of finely chopped chives

Peel and cube potatoes and place in a pot covered with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and add garlic, butter, sour cream, Gouda, and bouillon. Smash potatoes well with a potato masher and stir to make sure everything is well incorporated. Add chives and season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cobb Salad on a Pizza

Tonight while in search of something new to put on a pizza I stumbled upon something wonderful. Think Cobb Salad on a Pizza. Juicy Grilled Chicken, Crumbled Bacon (I used Turkey Bacon), Diced Apples, Gorgonzola Cheese, and Sweet your mouth watering yet?  Top it off with some fresh lettuce, ripe tomatoes, hard boiled egg, and a drizzle of Ranch Dressing. Words can't even describe! Try it out for yourself and tell me what you think!

Cobb Salad on a Pizza
1 ball of your favorite pizza dough
4 tbsp. of ranch dressing
2 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 breast of grilled chicken, chopped
5 pieces of Bacon, or Turkey Bacon crumbled
1 large Fuji apple, sliced and diced
1/3-1/2 c. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 of a sweet onion, sliced into thin rings
2 c. lettuce (Romaine, Bib, or Red Leaf would work best)
1 Tomato, diced
1 hard boiled egg
more Ranch Dressing to drizzle


Start out with your favorite pizza dough, work dough to desired thickness and place in a prepared pan, or if you prefer, you can bake pizza on your grill like I did. Basically you lay your dough right down onto a preheated grill brushed with olive oil. Normally you would flip when the bottom is lightly browned and quickly add toppings right on the grill, but because of the number of toppings I decided to grill both sides, top, and finish off in the broiler

Spread pizza with a thin layer (about 4 tbsp.) of Ranch. Top with Mozzarella, chicken, bacon, apples, crumbled Gorgonzola, and onion. Bake at 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, or if dough has already been grilled place under your broiler for 2-4 minutes, or cheese is melty and edges are toasty.

Cool pizza slightly and top with lettuce, tomatoes, sliced hard boiled eggs and a drizzle of your favorite ranch dressing. Serve Immediately!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

Sometimes, after a weekend of splurging at parties and BBQ, its nice to start Monday with something fresh. I've had this recipe for Black Bean Burgers from Gourmet sitting around and I decided to give it a try. It's comprised mostly of pantry staples and only takes about 10 minutes! Let me tell you that the hubby sounded a little bit disappointed when I told him there wouldn't be any meat in these burgers. I even promised him that if he ate the burger he could have what was left of the tri-tip in our refrigerator, which he did, but before that he also admitted that these were pretty tasty...even if they were made of beans.

Black Bean Burgers
adapted from
2 cans of black beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
3 tbsp of mayonnaise
1/3 c of crushed Ritz crackers
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp of salt
1/4 c. finely diced red onion
1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 slices of reduced fat cheddar or jack cheese
4 soft hamburger buns

Preheat Grill.

Combine in a food processor 1 can of beans, mayonnaise, cracker crumbs, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and salt until pureed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cilantro, onion, and remaining can of beans. Mash lightly. Form mixture into 4 patties.

Brush top of patties with vegetable oil and flip oiled side onto grill, brushing the alternate side with remaining oil.  Cook about 3 minutes or until underside is crisp and lightly browned and flip, cooking an additional 3 minutes. Top with cheese and serve on buns with lettuce and tomato.

We topped ours with mayonnaise and BBQ sauce but you could also top these with salsa, sour cream, or some fresh sliced avocado.

Cream Pie with a Kick

A light chocolate cream pie? Honestly, that conjures up memories of store bought graham cracker crusts filled with sugar free instant pudding mix made by a newly married me almost 10 years ago. Sure they were made with love in our tiny little one bedroom apartment, a kitchen built for one (which didn't even have a dishwasher!), but they weren't very tasty. There are 16 recipes for "Healthy Cream Pie" over at  Cooking Light and I plan on testing out several...but this one is like nothing I've ever made before. Its rich and chocolaty with a hint of spice that doesn't over power its sweetness. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did :)

Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie
Adapted from Cooking Light

Total Time: about 4 hours
Servings: 8 slices.

10 graham cracker sheets
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp egg white
2 tbsp melted butter
cooking spray

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tbsp of coffee liquor 
1 3/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place graham cracker sheets into a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Reserve 1 tablespoon of crumbs for topping.

Add to processor the sugar, cinnamon, salt, egg white, and butter and pulse until combined.

Press crumb mixture into a 9 inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes. Cool completely.

To prepare the filling, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, salt, cayenne, egg, and egg yolk in a small bowl and stir with a whisk.

Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until milk reaches 180 degrees. Tiny bubbles will form around the edge but do not boil. 

 Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add coffee liquor and chocolate. Stir until smooth.

Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When mixture is cooled spoon filling into crust.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 3 hours or until set. Remove plastic wrap, spread whipped topping over the filling and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Shells and Cheese

It's been awhile, but I finally have a new recipe to share. Chicken Cordon Bleu Shells & Cheese! We love Chicken Cordon Bleu...but this was just as savory and a lot more fun to make...and eat!  It's a scrumptious casserole full of  flavor and texture. It would also be a great meal to take to someone because it can be thrown together and kept in the refrigerator for a day or two until it can be baked off.

1/2 box or 7 oz of medium sized pasta shells. (I used the whole wheat variety)
1 lb of chicken breast
1 1/2 c. of  cubed ham
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
3 tbsp. prepared Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
6 oz (or 6 slices) of Swiss cheese cubed
3 oz (or 3 slices) of provolone cheese cubed
2 c. of 2% milk
1/4 c. of good white wine
1 slice of french bread, approx 1 1/2 inch thick
1 tbsp butter
1/4 c. Parmesan
1/4 tsp. parsley

Cube chicken breast, season with salt, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of parsley and garlic powder and cook in olive oil over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir in 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard and set aside.

Prepare pasta, cooking until Al dente. Drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour until fully incorporated (mixture will appear clumpy, but will be broken up in the next step) Cook for a few moments, stirring constantly. Slowly add 2 cups of milk, whisking until all lumps are dissolved. Cook until mixture begins to bubble and is thickened. Remove from heat* and stir in Swiss and Provolone cheeses until incorporated, reserving a handful of Swiss (or about 2 oz) for the top of the casserole. 

 *Hint, if heat is still on while cheese is added it could break down the cheese, causing sauce to become grainy.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta, chicken, ham, and cheese sauce. Add 1/4 cup of white wine and stir in the remaining Tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Place in a greased casserole dish. Top with remaining Swiss cheese.

Tear french bread into small chunks and place in a food processor with butter, Parmesan, and parsley. Pulse until small crumbs form. Crumble over pasta mixture.
Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until crumb topping is golden and cheese is bubbly.