Healthy Broccoli Salad

You know that summer staple at many St. Louis barbecues? The broccoli salad with sunflower seeds, grapes, red onion, bacon and mayo? It’s good yeah, but what if I told you I found one even better and better for you?

Last summer I actually winged my own version of that salad by making a vinaigrette for the dressing. I’m trying to cut calories and that mayo based stuff just isn’t flying.  Enter in this salad from Six Sisters Stuff. Oh my lanta! It’s so good! It’s got this tremendous bite to it thanks to the key ingredient; raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

Bragg                               Apple Cider Vinegar                , 16.0 Ounces , Liquid If you have never purchased this stuff, it will revolutionize your recipes. It has amazing flavor!

I tweaked the recipe a bit for what I had on hand and what sounded good to me. So here it is! Try it at your next summer gathering and tell me people don’t beg for the recipe.

healthy broccoli salad

 

Healthy Broccoli Salad

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of honey (my change!)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

6 tablespoons raw,unfiltered apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon EVOO

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 dash salt

2 heads of fresh broccoli, coarsley chopped

3 apples, chopped

1/4 cup pecans
Directions:

In large bowl, whisk together sugar through salt. Add broccoli, toss well. Add apples and onion, toss again.

Cover, chill at least 2 hours (It is my favorite when it sits overnight)

P.S. I have been eating this for lunch lately! I put the recipe into my fitness pal figuring 8 servings per recipe. It is 92 calories!

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Bobby’s Lighter “Tastes Like Lasagna” Soup

This soup tastes amazing! And it has only 225 calories per 1 cup serving!  My children even liked this (I cut the veggies up very small).

Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

2 teaspoons EVOO (or grapeseed oil)
1 lb Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped (i used a vidalia!)
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1, 32-oz container chicken broth
1, 15-oz can tomato sauce
1, 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I just used red pepper flakes)
4 oz broken, whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles)
1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil
3 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 Cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick saucepot/soup pot. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8-10 min.

2. Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt and red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally about 20 minutes. Add the noodles. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until noodles are tender; 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheeses and basil. Serve!

* This recipe would be great even w/o the noodles

* Why not try making your own broth for this one?

HERSHEY’S “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” Chocolate Cake

6 “ish” years ago, I found this chocolate cake recipe. I think I made it because it was in a Hershey’s favorite recipes cook book I got for Christmas. And I’m pretty sure that the first time  I made it was for my son’s 2nd birthday. It quickly became my family’s favorite chocolate cake. In my opinion, it is the BEST chocolate cake recipe ever. I’ve made a lot of chocolate cakes and none can compare to this recipe.

The perfect chocolate cake!

I began making it for every special event. I played with the recipe too. I tried to make cupcakes out of it (epic fail, this recipe does not work for cupcakes, it sticks to the paper horribly and they come out super flat), I tried it in different shapes (round, square, rectangle) and I even added a little something new to it; cinnamon.

I can tell you that when I give this recipe to my friends, for some reason it tastes different or doesn’t come out or the cake breaks for them. I don’t know why. So I’m going to add a few tips on what I do:

1. I use Baker’s Joy non-stick spray. I don’t spray the edges of the pan though, just the bottom.

2. I use the gray Wilton pans. I have used the 9″ round and I have used the square ones also (same color-the gray non-shiny variety). I have used a 9 x 13 glass pan also. I sprayed it with the Baker’s Joy spray liberally.

3. The cakes are done when they no longer jiggle in the middle and yet have pulled away from the sides of the pan.

4.  I let them cool completely. They shouldn’t even be slightly warm.

This cake is so, so, so moist. I believe it is due to the boiling water you add last. It gives it almost a pudding-like texture. And if you’ve never made a cake from scratch, you should know it does have a different texture than a boxed cake. This cake is perfectly dense.

I love to add cinnamon to my cake (about 1/2-1 tsp), but I’ve never noticed it affecting the way it comes out. My husband is a hard-core purest and he prefers it without the cinnamon addition. But I prefer it with it and since I’m the one cooking it, well, I win.

I also prefer to use the Hershey’s Special Dark variety of cocoa. The frosting recipe that follows is also excellent. I use the Special Dark variety of cocoa for that also. But, and there is one major BUT! I do NOT melt the butter when I make the frosting. It just doesn’t turn out for me when I do that. I don’t like the texture or the look of it. Instead, I get a stick of salted butter out as soon as I start making the cake. Then, by the time they are completely cool, the butter is nice and soft and I can whip it. Whipped butter makes a better frosting every time for me. And yes, I will even add cinnamon to it.

Finally, the other fun thing to do is to put your layer of frosting on the first round, then place one layer of fresh raspberries (hull face-down) on top and squish that second layer of cake on the top. You might need to double the frosting recipe (if you like a lot of frosting or have high raspberries) to cover the gap that is created by the middle layer. But if you squish it down a bit, you should be ok. 😀 Ready? Ok! Here we go! (You can click on the link or I went ahead and placed the recipe here too.)

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar (plus a bit extra if you like more firm frosting)
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Hershey’s Brownies From SCRATCH

People, if you have been using a box to make brownies, please, hang your head in shame and STOP THAT!

Brownies are one of the fastest and easiest things to whip up-from scratch. Yes, yes I said it. From SCRATCH. The only reason you don’t do it is because you’ve never tried. (Don’t give me some junk about it being hard or that the box is so fast and easy. This is just as fast and easy.) Let me tell you, I always have these ingredients in my pantry and fridge and that is why we eat brownies whenever we want.

Beware though. These brownies seldom last more than one day…because everyone eats them all so fast! And might I add that they are the perfect mix of chewy and yet a scooch crispy. You know, how the top is crunchy and underneath is just layers of chocolatey ooey-gooeiness? Yeah, like that. And no picture, because, um, we ate them all…and besides, you know what they look like.

This is the only kind of Cocoa I use in all my baking. It’s so rich and velvety!

Hershey’s “Best Brownies”

1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter (salted), melted
1 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 Cup flour
1/3 Cup Hershey’s Cocoa (I prefer the Special Dark variety because it is super amazing)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (yes, I know I told you to use salted butter too, just do it)
Optional-1/2 cup chopped nuts (If you are THAT kind of brownie person)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray/grease a 9×9 square baking pan

Stir together melted butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. (Think Pampered Chef’s big glass mixing bowl with the lid.) Add eggs; beat well with spoon.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in nuts…if desired. (Or chocolate chips, or craisins, or pistachios, the options are endless!) Spread in prepared pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the middle is no longer jiggly.

Remove from oven, cool and cut.

 

“Marcy’s Legendary Chocolate Chip Cookies”

I stink at making beautiful cookies. It’s getting better as I learn more…and these cookies are evidence of the fact!  This recipe is from a book my sister gave to me several years ago called, “A Passion for Baking” by Marcy Goldman. I am pretty sure I’ve never made anything from this book. It’s a total travesty but you see, these recipes are so very bad for you. Whew people….I don’t even want to KNOW the calorie content. Decadent, amazing…sinful. These are the recipes in this book.

While reading this book the other night, I learned about “spread”. This is how your cookie bakes basically and spreads out. I loathe it when my cookies get all flat as pancakes. I’ve heard to up the flour content by a few tablespoons and to chill the dough. I tried both with this recipe today. Check ’em out! Think “bake-sale-worthy-giant-cookies”.

Ingredients:

1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups firmly packed brown sugar (I used dark)
1/4 Cup white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla (I used 2)
2 Large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups Lindt chocolate chips (I just used what I had on hand for chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange rack to upper third position.

2. Cream butter and sugars until well blended. Add vanilla, eggs, and egg yolk. Fold in flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. If batter seems soft and greasy, add 2-4 Tablespoons more flour. You can also chill the dough for 10 minutes.

3. Scoop into large balls of dough (7-8 oz each or 1 cup each) and place 2-3 inches apart.

4. Bake 20-24 minutes or until cookies are nicely browned on top and set-up looking. Let cool 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Glaze

This  past week I needed a dessert for a potluck. I’m thinking…mmmm…it’s summer, so nothing too heavy, maybe something with fruit? I thought of this cake but I didn’t have any strawberries on hand.  I did have a lot of blueberries though. So I thought I would look for a recipe for a lemon glaze and then fill the middle of the bundt with blueberries.

It turned out so great!

from the top

Here is the side view…

Mmmm...

The Lemon Glaze totally made it extra yummy. Here’s the recipe (and to give props, it is from Tyler Florence)

1/2 C fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used 2 lemons and it measured a little less)
2 C powdered sugar
1 lemon zest finely grated (I used 2, 1 finely grated and the other curled)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Combine the lemon juice and sugar. Microwave for 30 seconds and then wisk to ensure it is without lumps. Add lemon zest and butter, nuke for additional 30 seconds and wisk again. Allow to set up for a bit before serving. Also, if you coat the blueberries in the glaze, it makes them all shiny and pretty. YUMMY!

“Supermarket Yellow Cake” for Strawberry Shortcake

That’s quite a title, eh? This is a recipe I had over at my other blog for the

SMYCFSSC? Whatever it is...it's SO TASTY!

longest time. It’s pre-cooking blog fodder. Anyway, it is one of the most delectable yellow cakes I’ve made. I’m planning to make it later tonight..the butter is softening now. 😀

Ingredients:
1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
2 Cups sugar (finely pulverized or use the Baker’s Sugar that’s extra fine)
2 Lg eggs
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 Cups all purpose flour (i use unbleached)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Cups warm milk

1. Preheat oven to 350, generously spray pan and if using a bundt with a design, flour it also. (You may want to put something underneath the pan too as you might get a little overflow-I did)
2. In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and blend well.
3. Fold in flour, baking powder, and salt. Drizzle in milk, blending well and ensuring that nothing is stuck in the bottom or sides of the mixer.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake 35-40 minutes, or until cake tests done when gently pressed with fingertips. Let cool 15 minutes. Remove and place on a serving plate, dust with powdered sugar.
5. Serve with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries!

This is also really great with a lemon glaze on top or with other fruits!

...but it is one of the yummiest cakes EVER!

It doesn't look like anything super special...