Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cocoa-Nut Brownies

This recipe comes from my The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking cookbook.  These brownies were made using alternative flours such as pecan and almond flours.  The recipe also requires the use of Stevia or Splenda. I always choose the more natural one, so Stevia in this case.  If you're on a diet and still want to eat yummy snack food, you should probably pick up this cookbook.  Every single recipe calls for a type of nut flour, which you can find at your local health food store, however if you are allergic to nuts, this book isn't for you then.

Here's what you'll need:
2 cups (8 oz.) pecan flour
1 cup (4 oz.) almond flour
2 cups Splenda or Stevia Extract in the Raw, or 1/2 cup New Roots Stevia Sugar
1/2 cup (1.5 oz.) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate soy milk or chocolate almond milk
1/4 cup salted butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then mist the pan with spray oil.

In a medium bowl, combine the pecan flour, almond flour, stevia, cocoa powder, and baking powder and whisk until well mixed.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, soy milk, butter, vanilla, and liquid stevia together until thoroughly blended.
Add the flour mixture and whisk or stir with a large spoon until all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated to make a smooth, sticky batter.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it in an even layer if need be.
Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate and bake for 10 minutes, until the brownies are just slightly springy but still jiggly when pressed gently in the center.  If you like fudgy brownies, remove them from the oven at this point.  If you prefer them to be more cakelike, continue baking for a few more minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out clean.
Let the brownies cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes.  Cut them in a 3 by 4 grid, to yield 12 brownies.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Honey-Mustard Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

I made this dinner this past Monday night, and I have never cooked salmon this way before so I was very skeptical on how it would turn out.  It turned out great and I learned that pan-searing is pretty easy to do when it comes to cooking salmon.

This recipe came from one of my Cook This Not That! cookbooks.  If you don't own those cookbooks I highly recommend them because the recipes in the books mimic favorites from chain restaurants.  Only these recipes save you time, money, and calories, and they tell you in the recipe just how much!  For example this recipe mimics The Outback's Salmon Griller listed (when this book was printed) as $13.95, 1126 calories, 25 grams of saturated fat, and 1567 milligrams of sodium! The home made recipe saves you $11.18 and 756 calories.  Wow!  So this salmon was 370 calories, 21 grams of fat (6 grams saturated, the bad kind of fat), and 530 milligrams of sodium.  What a difference!

Here's what you'll need:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 salmon fillets (6 oz. each)

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the butter and brown sugar in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, until the butter and sugar have melted together.  Stir in the mustard, honey, and soy sauce.  Also while the oven is heating up, cut asparagus, and place in a baking dish.  Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil, sprinkle with the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper;  toss to coat.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add to the pan flesh side down.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until fully browned and flip.
Brush with half of the glaze and place the pan in the oven until the salmon is firm and flaky (but before the white fat begins to form on the surface), about 5 to 7 minutes.  Also place the asparagus in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until tender.
Remove, brush the salmon with more of the honey mustard, and serve with the asparagus.  Sprinkle lemon juice over asparagus.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chicken Fajitas

One of my New Year's resolutions was to post more on my blog, sorry that hasn't been happening.  I've been very busy and I'm only going to get busier starting next week when I go back to college.  I'm going to try to blog at least one new recipe a week, whether it's dinner, a snack or even a smoothie.  Between school and my weekly skating/roller derby stuffs going on, my husband might be in charge of dinner most week nights.  I'll be here on the week ends though.

I forgot to mention that one of my holiday gifts that my mom and mother-in-law got me were some attachments to my Kitchen Aide stand mixer.  One is a pasta maker, another is a grinder.  The pasta maker is what I'm most excited about because my mom used to have one when I was a young kid.  She didn't have a stand mixer, but the one time she used her pasta maker, I just remember that being the best spaghetti I have ever eaten.

Now onto the chicken fajitas.  I made these last week for dinner, the recipe comes from one of my Cook This Not That! cookbooks.  I've made them before, they're simple and quick to make.  You just have to remember to marinate the chicken prior to putting it on your grill pan...which I kept forgetting to do.  So if you forget, you'll have to wait at least an hour before cooking it.

Here's what you'll need:
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons chopped chipotle pepper
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
2 onions, sliced
8 small flour tortillas, warmed
Guacamole (optional)
Salsa (optional)
Shredded Jack or Cheddar cheese (optional)

First, combine the orange juice, chipotle, lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper in a sealable plastic bag.  Add the chicken and marinate in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat a grill or stovetop grill pan until hot.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard what's left in the bag.  Grill the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until lightly charred and cooked all the way through.  Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

                                         (My husband handling the chicken.)

While the chicken cooks, heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat.  Cook the bell peppers and onions until charred and caramelized on the outside, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the chicken into thin pieces.  For a dramatic presentation, place the chicken on top of the hot peppers in the skillet and bring the skillet sizzling to the table.  Serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, salsa, and cheese.
Enjoy! :-)