Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crispy Cheesburger Pizza

Sometimes, you just want pizza. You could have a healthy meal instead but there are times when you'd rather eat the soles of your own shoes than attempt to do this. Pizza essentially is a spare tire to wear around your midsection packaged up in a nice brown box and delivered to your doorstep. So what happens when your trying to watch your weight and you want to take out a box of this goodness anyway? Make a 240 calorie crispy cheeseburger pizza with this recipe from Hungry Girl. Katy made this the other day and it was excellent. The key is to use a low carb tortilla instead of pizza dough for the crust. The Joseph's lavash in the picture was only fifty calories. Everything on this crispy delicacy was a cheeseburger topping right down to the ketchup and mustard. Hungry Girl has a cookbook with all sorts of things that you'll get cravings for but shouldn't necessarily eat all the time. I've made some of their breakfast bowls which I've enjoyed and there are many recipes for low fat burgers and things. I don't generally use soy meat products but gravitate more toward lean ground turkey to replace beef. Here is the crispy cheeseburger pizza recipe from the Hungry Girl website:

1 1/2 tbsp. ketchup
1/2 tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1/2 cup frozen ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like Boca or Morningstar Farms, thawed
1La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Low Carb High Fiber Large Tortilla
1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
1 tbsp. chopped onion
3 tbsp. shredded lettuce
2 tbsp. chopped tomato
Optional toppings: hamburger dill pickle chips, additional ketchup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small dish, combine ketchup, mayo, and mustard, and mix until uniform. Add soy crumbles and toss to coat. Set aside.

Lightly spray a medium-large skillet with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat on the stove. Lay tortilla flat in the skillet and cook until slightly crispy, a few minutes on each side.

Transfer tortilla to a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Scoop soy crumble mixture into the center of the tortilla and spread it out evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border around it. Evenly sprinkle with cheese and onion.

Bake in the oven for 11 - 13 minutes, until tortilla border browns and cheese melts.

Top with lettuce and tomato. If you like, add pickles and a squiggle of ketchup. Cut into slices and EAT!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I know what your thinking. This doesn't look like a salad. In my opinion, this dessert resembles strawberry shortcake. The difference is, there is no spongy cake part but a layer of salty crushed pretzels. Imagine sweet tasty strawberries on top of a smooth, whipped cream thickened with cream cheese, and undercoated with a crunchy, salty pretzel crust. It's wonderful to find that the sweet and soft aspects of this dish are counteracted by the salty and crisp pretzel coating which is it's exact polar opposite. I'm not usually a dessert guy, but something about this captivates me as I compare the taste and textures while it comes together in a harmony of perfect flavor. This will never be safe in my house. It will be hunted, savored and reborn often. How can anyone resist the evolution of dessert? Never have pretzels been used as a component of a recipe and had such a profound effect. This is Mach 5 of the flavor spectrum baby. Add it to the recipe book and blow the relatives away removing any desire to further insult you during the visit!

Here is how it's done:

Adapted from Paula Deen (via “Paula’s Home Cooking,” Food Network)
· 2 cups crushed pretzels (You want small pieces, but don’t pulverize them in a food processor.)
· 3/4 cup melted butter
· 3 tablespoons sugar
· 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
· 3/4 cup sugar
· 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
· 2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix
· 2 cups boiling water
· 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries
· 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple
· Whipped topping or whipped cream, to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. For the Crust: Grab a medium bowl, add the pretzels, butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar, and mix them together. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan. Bake for 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. For the Filling: In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until well chilled.
4. For the Topping: In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries and pineapple, and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.
5. Serve slices with a dollop of whipped topping.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chicken Tacos

There is nothing quite like coming home from a big bad day at work to find out that you saved the fast and easy recipe for tonight. That's right boys and girls, you remembered to get a recipe at the grocery store to plan for this situation where you just don't want to cook. These tasty chicken tacos take only seconds to make if you have leftover or a rotisserie chicken purchased from the supermarket. All the other ingredients are cold and ready to go in good old Bobby the fridge. That's right, I named my fridge Bobby because it's over twenty years old, but that's not what's important here. The thing to take away from this is that it's possible to cook a quick and healthy dinner just by having a bit of leftovers. Sure you need to remember the lettuce, salsa, shredded cheese and taco shells but everything except the lettuce is easy to keep around for long periods of time without it going bad. It's like you came home and somebody just put this down in front of you. The table beckons to you as you come in the door and get a nice bottle of hot sauce at the ready. There will be no wasted money on take out tonight friends. Only the sweet, tasty and rather versatile possibilities that this dish provides. You could make them spicy, or sneak in a zesty mexican flavor like Arizona Five Spice. Perhaps some sweet, tangy kick is what your looking for in which case some freshly squeezed lemon wedges will do the trick. Maybe a can of fat free refried beans will make it come together and taste more authentic. Get creative with the toppings and you'll find your groove with this. If beef tacos are what you really want, then pick up some lean ground turkey at the grocery store and brown in in a pan for a bit. Personally, I can't tell the difference between this and the real thing. In the time it takes to order and wait you could already be munching on this far healthier and probably tastier alternative that the whole family will enjoy. What little kid turns his nose up at having tacos for dinner? It's on the top ten list along with french fries and pizza.