Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Rabanada (Brazilian French Toast)

I have taken quite a long break from blogging.  It's been a life altering year and many positive and great things have occurred on account of the changes in my life.  I have recently had the opportunity to help my cousin test some recipes for her cookbook (which I am super excited about!), and during this process I've become inspired to begin cooking and writing once again.  I've learned, rather accepted, that I like change.  I get bored easily and sometime lose focus, and you know what?  I'm okay with that.  It's part of who I am and something I am working on, hence, my New Year's resolution... "Focus".... so this morning I decided to charge my camera battery which was really dead, and put on my thinking cap.  And since desserts are my weakness, I thought why not start with what I life best... and it happened to be breakfast time.  Obviously, I didn't plan ahead to make this recipe lighter or healthier, however, I have made suggestions below to help make it lighter, therefore, it would change the nutritional values.

I had a half a loaf of two-day old French bread I knew I was going to throw out so I decided to make French Toast.  Not just any French Toast, but my favorite kind, Rabanada. Rabanada is the Brazilian version of French Toast and can be served as breakfast or dessert.  This is my version and I prepared it two ways.  Find out why...

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cooking Time:  5-7 minutes
Yield:  3 servings (2 pieces)

Cal. 187 / Fat 9.3 g / Fiber 0.8 g / Carbs 22.2 g
WW Points Plus Value:  5 per serving

2 Eggs
2 Egg whites (or 4 egg whites and eliminate yolks to reduce cholesterol)
4 tbsp. Condensed Milk (plus 2 tsp. separate)
1/2 cup Almond Breeze Vanilla Milk (or Skim milk)
1 tbsp. Pinnacle Whipped Vodka (optional) (or 1 tsp. Vanilla extract)
1/4 tsp. Diamond Crystal Kosher Coarse Salt

1/2 loaf French bread (cut into 3/4 inch slices)
(You can purchase wheat French or Italian bread, which would increase the fiber content)

Mix and set on flat dish
2 tbsp. White granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon

In a mixing bowl, combine first six ingredients, mixing well.  Set aside.
In another container, lay all six slices of bread side by side.
Pour egg mixture over bread and allow to sit for a minimum of 15 minutes so bread absorbs egg mixture.
In a large skillet, add canola oil and butter and set stove to medium low setting.
Place the egg soaked slices of bread into the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Be careful to adjust heat if necessary since the Rabanada can easily burn.

Place each bread slice onto sugar and cinnamon mix, and serve immediately.
If you choose to drizzle your Rabanada with condensed milk, place each bread slice onto cinnamon ONLY.
NOTE:  The Rabanada will be too sweet if you drizzle the condensed milk on the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  You don't need the sugar since the condensed milk is very sweet.
My daughter likes to use traditional pancake syrup.  Enjoy!



Saucy Sesame Chicken

With Superbowl right around the corner, impress your friends with this special treat!  Taste the sesame and garlic in this Sesame Chicken appetizer with fruity hints of peach, apricot and orange.  You can make them mild or as hot as you like them.  I gave an option of drummettes or boneless chicken.  I love my chicken wings on the bone but my daughter is a fan of boneless chicken, so I made both.  And now you can cater to your guests as well.  This is perfect for those times you don't want to spend countless hours in the kitchen.  I've made this recipe for friends and they literally beg me to make it for them again so now my friends, here you have it... anytime you want them.

*******  NEW with Nutritional Facts *******

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  40 minutes 
Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thighs

Yield:  8 servings (40 pieces total - 5 per serving)

PointsPlus Value:  4
Calories 156 / Fat 2.1 g /  Fiber 1.0 g / Protein 10.3 g / Carbohydrates 22.1 g

Chicken Drummettes
Yield: 8 servings (24 drummettes total - 3 per serving)
PointsPlus Value:  4

Calories 149.04/ Fat 3.7g /  Fiber 1.0 g  /  Protein 5.2 g / Carbohydrates 22.1 g

3 pounds of chicken Drummettes OR
2.5 pounds of boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup Iron Chef Sesame Garlic Sauce & Glaze
5 oz. Saucy Susan Peach Apricot
1 cup Orange juice
½ tsp. of red pepper flakes (optional) if you want to make it spicy

Note:  Points calculated with marinade only.  Left over marinade was not included in points.

In small bowl, combine the garlic glaze, Saucy Susan sauce and orange juice.  Place chicken and sauce in large container or quart size storage bags.  Mix well making sure all chicken is covered in sauce.  Refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.  Mix ingredients one time while chicken is marinating.  I use a Tupperware container that I can marinate meat in and flip it over without getting my hands or utensils dirty and so the other side marinates.

Preheat oven to 375°.  Remove chicken from container or storage bags with tongs and place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and flip chicken over so other side cooks and browns.  Cook for another 20 minutes or until chicken is browned.  Place the left over sauce used for marinating into a small sauce pan over medium heat and bring to boil.  Lower heat to medium low heat and continue to cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and place into container to serve with wings.

Remove chicken from oven and place on serving tray garnished with lettuce.  Serve with sauce (optional).


Farro Salad

Farro is a type of wheat and is a great replacement for some rice and pasta dishes.  It has a nutty flavor and can be mostly compared to brown rice.  It has a little bit of a crunch to it and can add substance to ordinary salads and soups.  Don't be scared to exchange some ingredients for some of your favorite ones.  Would love to know what surprises you put in your Farro Salad.  Last week I made the same recipe and decided to add Feta cheese!  Fantastic!

NOTE:  You may have noticed that I have calculated the PointsPlus value for this recipe.  I work for a company that encourages healthy living.  Between all the free exercise classes and Weight Watchers, this is a new and great opportunity for me to enjoy the foods I love to eat but in moderation and I'm learning to take advantage of lots of their "free" and "power" foods.  Now my goal is to share this journey with you.

Prep time:  30 minutes
Cooking time:  1 hour
Yields:  6 servings
PointsPlus Value:  (NEW)*******  (see note below)

1 cup farro
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup sweet potatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 small carrot, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 cup red kidney beans (optional – you can substitute with black beans), drained
1-1/3 cup water
¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
½ Pink Lady apple, washed and diced, (skin on optional)
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place farro, cranberries and water in sauce pan over medium heat and bring to boil.  Lower heat and cook for 25 minutes, covering pan mostly.  Drain the farro and cranberries and reserve water.  Use the reserved water to cook the carrots, celery and sweet potatoes for approximately 10 minutes (until the sweet potatoes are slightly tender).  Keep a small pot of water boiled in case you need to add water to complete cooking the vegetables.  Strain the carrots, celery and sweet potatoes and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
In mixing bowl, incorporate the farro, vegetables, and apples plus the beans and kalamata olives with vinegar and oil.  Gently mix.


Lentil Soup

My mom is here visiting from New Jersey and she knows how much I love her Lentil Soup.  This particular day was a bit nippy so it was the perfect day for this robust and hearty one-dish meal.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  This Lentil soup together with a nice glass of wine and each others company...  Just a great night. 

Cook time: Approximately 45 minutes
Prep time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

1-1/3 cup Green lentils

3 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken broth
3 Carrots – peeled and diced
3 stalks Celery - diced
1 Red potato – chopped with skin on
1 small Sweet potato – peeled and chopped
1 medium Yellow onion - diced
3 garlic cloves – finely chopped
¼ link Spanish Chorizo – remove peel and dice
2 tbsp Olive oil

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan add chicken broth and lentils.  Bring to boil.  Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.  While the lentils are boiling, in a medium skillet, sauté the onions, Chorizo, carrots, and celery for 5 to 7 minutes over medium-high heat.  Lower to medium heat and add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and saute for another minute.  Add red and sweet potatoes and cook for additional 10 minutes.

Add the sauteed ingredients to the saucepan with lentils and cover.  Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.  Served in this recipe with garlic bagels.

For garlic bagels

Cut the bagel half and drizzle olive oil on bagel.  Rub fresh garlic onto bagel and broil on 450° for few minutes.  Be careful not to burn.


Buñuelos Argentinos (Argentine Fritters or Zeppole)

Among my many adventures in Florida, I have reunited with a dear friend of the family.  I have always called her my god mother.  She is a kind and wise woman and I am blessed to know her and have her in my life again.  On one of my visits to her home and discussing how I'd like to add more recipes from my family's heritage, these delightful Buñuelos Argentinos or as we might say here, Argentine Fritters, is what she shared with me.  You might compare them to a Zeppole.  Well I was in fritter heaven.  These are light and just sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.  Last night I made them for my mom who is here visiting and she enjoyed them.  She was born in Argentina and gave her seal of approval.  Thanks Betty for sharing this wonderful recipe and thank you mom for your blessing and being here with me.  I opted to change the original recipe which had raisins and added craisins.  Not for any other reason except I didn't have raisins and was making these one way or another.  Little bit of history....  about 50% of the Argentine population are of Italian descent.  Italians began migrating to Argentina in the 17th century.  There was a mass movement between 1870-1920 and the Argenine people have aquired a lot of the Italian culture, especially customs and traditions.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6 servings (2 per serving)

1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
Pinch salt
1/4 cup canola oil (plus enough canola oil to fry with)
2-3 tbsp Milk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Raisins or Craisins (you can also subsitute the raisins for diced apples or other fruit)
1 egg

In medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until blended.  The batter will be thick and will not have a watery consistency.  You can add flour or milk in very small increments until you get the consisency you need.

Add canola oil to a frying pan and heat on medium low heat.  Once oil is hot, add a heaping tablespoon of the batter into oil. Once the fritters are golden brown, flip them over so they fry evenly on the other side.  Make sure you oil is not on too high or they will burn.  You can use a spoon to carefully cover the fritters as they are frying so the top begins to cook while the bottom is frying.   

Once the fritters are cooked, remove them and place them on a plate with a paper towel so the paper towel will absorb excess oil.  Immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!


Garlic Parmesan Naan Pizza

Our first chilly night in Florida and it was the perfect time to turn on the oven and make this very easy Garlic parmesan Naan Pizza.  You don't even have to make the dough.  Simply buy Naan flatbread in your local supermarket or asian store and it makes the perfect base for this pizza.  Naan is an oven-baked flat bread that is popular in Central, West, and South Asia.  Naan is delicious all on it's own but I simply could not resist trying something new.  For those of you who may not have ever seen Naan, below is the brand I've used for this recipe.

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  10 minutes
Yield:  4 servings

Naan Flatbread (1 pack of 2 in a package)
4 Garlic cloves (Chopped extra fine or pressed in garlic press)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon course salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.  In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil and butter, add garlic and saute until a slightly golden.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in cream and milk and stir until sauce has thickened.  Add grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.  Bring to boil.  Remove from heat and set aside. 

Once the oven is preheated, spread enough of the sauce onto the Naas and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and cut across into triangles.  Serve immediately.

For a low fat version, eliminate the heavy cream and use 1% milk only.

First make he sauce for the Naan flatbreads.  Begin by


Roasted Butternut Squash and Asparagus Salad

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It's the perfect time to share old traditions and maybe a new recipe? If you are looking to add a new side dish to your Thanksgiving menu this year, look no further. This Roasted Butternut and Asparagus Salad offers a tasty combination of sweet and salty flavors with a little bit of a nutty crunch. So don't forget to give thanks for all your blessings and the wonderful flavors this holiday brings.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

½ Butternut squash – peeled, chopped into ½” pieces (dispose seeds)
1 bunch Asparagus - ends trimmed, slice into ½” diagonal pieces
2 Shallots, diced
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup Olive oil
1 tsp Vanilla
½ tsp Cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking spray
¾ cup Dried Cherries or Cranberries (i used Ocean Spray Dried Cherries)
½ cup Macadamia nuts, rough chopped
1 tbsp Agave syrup
1 tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine all ingredients except for last four ingredients in a bowl. Place onto baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and mix. Bake for another 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and mix in last four ingredients. Serve immediately or warm.


Cheddar Chips

Here's something new to serve at your next get together... I must say that these Cheddar Chips are the easiest appetizer you will ever serve, outside of buying something at the super market that is... They are elegant and the perfect size. They aren't messy and are simply delicious.

Cheddar Cheese - 8 oz bag - shredded

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons into heated skillet. Allow cheese to melt. Carefully flip the cheese when the outsides turn a golden brown. Continue to cook the cheese for about 30-45 seconds. Carefully transfer the cheddar chip onto a plate with paper towels to absorb excess grease. You will not need to use any oil or sprays on your non-stick skillet. The cheese will release its own oil.

Note! Be careful not to walk away. These will burn very quickly if you do. Also, as you are removing them from the skillet, they may seem flimsy and not ready but they will harden as they cool.


Piña Colada Cupcakes

When I was making these Piña Colada cupcakes this week, I couldn't help but think of the song by Rupert Holmes, Escape...  better known as the Piña Colada song  You will taste a little piece of heaven in every bite.  Whether you are having a luau, summer, or children's party, these cupcakes are sure to please the pickiest eater.  Good news for those watching their figures but can't "escape" from those sweet cravings.  I know I can't!  There is no extra sugar and the toppings are either lite or fat free so you can enjoy this sinful pleasure without all the guilt.  Note:  Do not add any oil and eggs.  The crushed pineapples and lite coconut replace this completely.

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  20 minutes
Yield:  24 cupcakes

1 Box Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake Mix or my personal favorite...
     Duncan Hines Butter Golden Cake Mix
1-1/2 Cans (20 oz)  Dole Crushed Pineapple, with juice
1/2 cup Lite Coconut Milk
1 (1.5 oz) box of Jell-O Sugar Free-Fat Free Vanilla Pudding
12 oz container of Lite or Fat-Free Cool Whip, defrosted
Coconut Flakes for topping, optional
3 cups skim milk

Preheat oven at 350°.  Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.  I like to use bright and different color cupcake liners.  Mix boxed cake with 1 can of crushed pineapple with juice and coconut milk in a bowl until well blended.  Reserve the 1/2 can of remaining crushed pineapple.  Pour batter to fill 2/3 or cupcake liners.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until cupcakes are firm to the touch.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Prepare vanilla pudding according to directions with skim milk.  Add 1/2 can of crushed pineapple with juice.  Mix well.

Layer the cupcakes as follows:  Pudding, Cool Whip, and top with coconut flakes.  Another great idea is to toast the coconut in the oven for a few minutes.

Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight for best results.  Serve and Enjoy!