Friday, August 27, 2010

Grilled Maple Peaches

It's that wonderful time of the year when peaches are in season, which is depressing in a way because I know it won't be long until perfectly soft, juicy, fragrant peaches will be a distant memory. Unfortunately, this line of thinking also tends to make me impulsively buy more peaches than I can possibly eat. But on a happy note, it resulted in the perfect dessert for a hot summer night - grilled peaches. I made these on my charcoal grill after I made dinner, but you can also throw them under the broiler.

Grilled Maple Peaches

Cut peaches in half and remove the pit. Lightly brush the peaches with canola oil, sprinkle with brown sugar and drizzle with pure maple syrup. Let them sit for a few minutes so that the flavors seep in. Put peaches on the grill, cut side down. Leave them on for three to five minutes, until sugars have caramelized and there are faint grill marks. Eat alone, top with ice cream (I only had chocolate, vanilla would be preferable), or sweetened sour cream.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sour Cream Blueberry Pancakes

Sour cream is kind of my secret weapon - it adds creaminess, it's actually very versatile and it's decently cheap. Some of the unexpected places I put sour cream: boxed macaroni and cheese (in lieu of butter); over fruit (mixed with a little sugar or sweetener); on top of cheesecake (though that's fairly traditional) and, perhaps my favorite - pancakes. I also don't really notice much of a difference between regular sour cream and light or fat free varieties. I always buy fat free, which has about a third less calories than the regular. These are adapted from a recipe by the fabulous Ina Garten. I haven't actually made her version with the bananas, but I probably ought to. The couple of times I have made these I have omitted the fruit, but the tanginess of the sour cream still makes them special and unusual.
I made these to kick off a fairly busy and un-fun day of going to Comcast for a new cable box, picking up text books for this semester along with the other 40,000+ students at my university and various other errands. The Comcast situation was horrible, we had to go back like three times over the course of a couple days because they kept on giving us broken cable boxes. The book situation was not so bad, I was able to rent a couple of them and I found one used for the low low price of $130. I was actually pretty relieved to spend under $400, which is pretty sad. But yes, a day that includes three broken cable boxes and $400 on books that I won't have fun reading necessitates a nice breakfast.

Sour Cream Banana Pancakes

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
4 tbsps sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1.5 tsps salt
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
3/4 cup plus one tbsp. fat free milk
2 eggs
2 tsps. vanilla extract
splash of lemon juice
1 cup blueberries


Sift together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Stir dry ingredients into the wet, when incorporated gently fold in the blueberries.

Heat some butter or non-stick spray onto a skillet until melted. Spoon batter onto the skillet and stir batter as needed to keep blueberries distributed. The blueberries may make it more difficult to tell when the pancakes are ready to be flipped, so keep an eye on them. Enjoy with maple syrup or even plain.

The Burrito Bowl: Now with whole grains

I live in a city with no Chipotle, which is quite depressing for any native Coloradan like myself. Perhaps it's not such a bad thing considering that it's so high calorie, but I still have major Mexican cravings. That's not to say that this is really any sort of Chipotle copy-cat recipe, but it hits the spot and I didn't feel too guilty about eating the leftovers for lunch twice this week. This re-heats really well and it's definitely tasty enough that you probably won't get bored with it.

Burrito Bowl:


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1 can black beans
1 bell pepper (I used green), sliced
1/2 of a red onion, diced
1/2 cup diced tomato
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 can of beans (I used black, pinto would be good too), drained and rinsed
1 package of fajita seasoning
Fresh cilantro, to taste
1.5 cups instant brown rice
olive oil, as needed
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


Drizzle some olive oil in a deep or large pan on medium-high heat (you'll need a lid). Saute half of the garlic for a minute or so until fragrant. Add chicken and saute until it's no longer pink. Remove the chicken and add the onion, pepper and the rest of the garlic plus more olive oil. Saute the vegetables until they are close to your desired level of doneness. Return the chicken to the pan, add the fajita seasoning and stir. Add the beans, tomato, rice and a cup of water. Stir ingredients until incorporated. Cover until rice is tender and excess liquid is absorbed.

Top with fat free sour cream, avocado slices, mexican cheese and some of my homemade salsa.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chicken Tenders for Grown-Ups

I had the internal "grown-ups versus adults" dialogue while titling this post - the one where if you are one, your word choice is "adult" and if you aren't it's "grown-up." But then I decided that I don't really care, and on most days I only feel like I'm about 70 percent "adult" anyway. Regardless, these baked chicken tenders appeal to my adult desire to avoid high-fat, fried junk and my child-like desire to eat things with my hands. Score! In seriousness, these are easy, tasty, low-calorie and fairly cheap to make. I paired mine with baked Alexia brand sweet potato fries, which I also highly recommend.

Baked Dijon Chicken Tenders

Brush chicken tenderloin pieces (or breast pieces cut into strips) with dijon mustard, (I like Grey Poupon). Roll the chicken in breadcrumbs or shake and bake mixed with dried rosemary, herbes de provence or other seasoning of your choice. Bake at 325 degrees for around 15 minutes, until tenders are browned and chicken is cooked through.