Sunday, March 16, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower with goat cheese

I love a good bowl of soup, especially on a cold winter day. We have had our fair share of those this year and as a result, I have explored a lot of new soup recipes.

I already have a roasted red pepper soup and a cauliflower soup, so when I found a recipe that combined the two, I simply new I had to try it. As an added bonus, it uses goat cheese - another favorite for me.

I adapted it to be a crock pot recipe. I have on occasion, opted to use jarred roasted red peppers and likely will try it with frozen florets at some point too. I roast the cauliflower in the morning, as I assemble the soup in the crock pot.

I find that it makes about 4 generous bowls, which at only 125 calories a piece*, is a great option for a flavorful meal. I typically serve it with salad and a nice French Baguette, to make it a meal.
Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower with goat cheese
Serves: 4

4 red bell peppers
1 head cauliflower
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
1 pinch red pepper flake
1 teaspoon paprika
4 cups water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
4 ounces goat cheese
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place red peppers on baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes until peppers are charred. Remove from oven and cover with foil 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350.

Cut cauliflower into florets. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly spray cauliflower with olive oil cooking spray. Roast in oven until tender and caramelized, about 20-30 minutes.

Uncover peppers, peel off skin and remove stem and seeds. Chop into large pieces and place into crock pot. Add the roasted cauliflower.

Add the seasonings, water and bouillon to the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Use an immersion blender to puree, leaving behind chunks to your preference.

Season with salt and pepper and stir in goat cheese until it melts.

*according to my recipe software and in alignment with my estimation.


Crispy Parmesan Wonton Chips

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I had ever purchased wonton or egg roll wrappers at the store, but now it seems to be a semi regular purchase, with one meal option a month using wonton or egg roll wrapers. There is the Buffalo Chicken Rolls (love these), the Chili Lime Shrimp Cups (need to post this one) and baked wonton cheese sticks. I am sure that there are a few others out there. My kids got a new cookbook that has pizza rolls made with egg roll wrappers.

Usually, when we make something, we use most, but not quite all of the wrappers. Knowing that you need to use them within a short period after opening, I generally opt to just use them up right away. Normally, I just slice them up to make crisps - either sweet with Cinnamon Sugar or savory with a bit of salt or chili powder. So, when I came across this recipe that was for Parmesan chips, I figured I would have to make my own version. I changed it up only a little bit - a little less cheese and swapped cooking spray in for the oil - when I made them today, but the result was a success.

I found that 12 wrappers, sliced in half filled my pan. I only made half the recipe today, because my wrappers were frozen and I knew that I could wait to pull the other half from the freezer. On the second batch, I swapped in Onion Salt for the salt and pepper. They were tasty too!

One thing that appeals to me...4 crisps are only 60 calories (according to my recipe software and in alignment with my estimation). They are flavorful, provide a nice crunch and all for only 60 calories.
Crispy Parmesan Wonton Chips

Yield: 24 - 4 piece servings

1 package wonton wrappers
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Cut the wonton wrappers in half to form rectangles. Lay wonton pieces out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil cooking spray and lightly sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until wontons are brown and crispy.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes

I might sound a bit like a broken record, but we enjoy the flavor of buffalo chicken wings at our house. The reality is though that they are not only messy to eat, but also not the lowest calorie food option that there is. So, we continue to look for new ways to enjoy the flavor of wings, without the mess and without fewer calories. Buffalo Chicken Rolls, Buffalo Chicken Sliders and Buffalo Chicken Soup are some of our favorites.

Tonight, we tried a new recipe that I had found on Pinterest for Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes. I tweaked it a bit, using a little less on some ingredients, making it simpler by using thawed bread dough and using shredded chicken that had cooked in my crock pot all day.
The family loved them. My daughter sprinkled them with shredded cheese and called it 'sprinkles' on her cupcake. My husband drizzled additional buffalo sauce on top. We decided that this would be a fun way to enjoy standard pizza toppings and soon we will make the 'cupcakes' with pepperoni, tomato sauce and cheese...or maybe we will serve the sauce on the side. I put them in my recipe software and found that each cupcake was about 158 calories - not too bad for a satisfying dinner that delivers on the buffalo flavor.

Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 loaf frozen white bread dough, thawed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces shredded chicken breasts
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup buffalo sauce

Preheat oven to 400.

Saute chopped onions in butter over medium heat. Once transparent, add shredded chicken and buffalo sauce. Heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Roll (or press) the dough into a large rectangle.

Sprinkle the cheese over the dough, leaving 1" on the one long edge so you can seal it.
Spread the chicken over the cheese.
Starting from long side of dough, begin rolling the dough up like a cinnamon roll. Pinch ends when done.
Slice into 1 1/2 to 2 inch rolls. Place in muffin tin.
Bake for 15 - 18 minutes.