Baking Lesson: Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

o after yesterday’s muffin post, I am getting a lot of baking questions from people.  I am trying to answer all of them but figured since this was one of the more FAQ, I would address it here.

 Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder.  Kitchen-Tip-Baking-Powder-vs-Baking-Soda-1

Most people are wondering what the difference between baking powder and baking soda is? Are they interchangeable? Why do recipes call for one or the other and some call for both? What do they even do? You have probably used them before and most likely have both in your pantry right now, but may have never even paid much attention to them or what they do. If you want all your yummy baked goodies to work out, you’ll want to learn the difference because these are two little ingredients play a big role in baking.  And I will try to answer all of these questions (hopefully) without getting all “sciencey” on you!

What it comes down to is both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents,  meaning they are added to baked goods to produce carbon dioxide and cause them to rise.  Baking powder contains baking soda, but the two substances are used under different conditions, and no, they are definitely not the same thing.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is also known as bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate (its scientific name). When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey, vinegar, lemon juice), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand, causing baked goods to rise immediately.  Think back to science class and the volcanoes we all used to make with baking soda and vinegar (you all know you did it). The reaction begins upon mixing the two ingredients (that volcano erupting).  Recipes which call for baking soda must be baked immediately or they won’t rise much or at all in the oven.

Also baking soda is strong. About 3-4 times stronger than baking powder. But that doesn’t mean the more baking soda in a recipe the more rise you will get. You want to use just enough to react with the amount of acid in the recipe. Too much baking soda and not enough acid or vice versa, leads to a bitter tasting product. Yuck!

Baking Powder

Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) but it includes the acidifying ingredient already, in the form of cream of tartar. It can also contain a drying agent.  This is usually cornstarch. Baking powder is most commonly found as double-acting baking powder. This means that the powder reacts in two phases. In the first phase, leavening occurs when baking powder gets wet (combining the dry and wet ingredients).  This is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time to bake later– because the baking powder has already been activated and it won’t rise in the oven.  In the second phase, the leavening occurs when the baking powder is heated.

Since baking powder already contains an acid to neutralize its baking soda, it is most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient.

Are you with me so far?

How do we determine when to use which?

Some recipes call for baking soda, while others call for baking powder and some recipes call for both. Which ingredient is used, depends on the other ingredients the recipe calls for.

Your ultimate goal is to produce a tasty product that has perfectly risen. Baking soda is a base (go back to science class with acids and bases) and will yield a bitter taste unless countered by the acid of another ingredient, for example, buttermilk.  You’ll tend to find baking soda in cookie recipes. Baking powder contains both an acid and a base already and has an neutral effect in terms of taste. Recipes that call for baking powder often call for other neutral-tasting ingredients, such as milk. Baking powder is a common ingredient in cakes, biscuits and muffins.

Some recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda. These recipes contain some sort of acid BUT the carbon dioxide created from the acid and baking soda is not enough to leaven (raise) the batter in the recipe. That’s why baking powder is used as well– to add the necessary rise.

Can you interchange the two?

You can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda you will just need to use more baking powder.  It could also effect the taste a bit.  However, you can’t use just baking soda when a recipe calls for baking powder. Baking soda by itself lacks the proper acidity to make your product rise completely.  Flat, dense cakes or breads are no fun.

A good rule of thumb:  use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour and use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour in a recipe.

In a pinch? You can make your own baking powder if you have baking soda and cream of tartar. Simply mix two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda.

Hope this helps and I didn’t completely bore or confuse you!  Baking is a science, so word of advice for future bakers; PAY ATTENTION IN CHEMISTRY!

Chocolate Chip Banana Zucchini Muffins

 

finshed

 

Yes, more zucchini.  And, yes, I bake.  I actually love to bake!  My body doesn’t love when I bake.  I am still working on taking baked goods and making them healthy.  For me it seems harder than when I am cooking actual meals.  Though I do have to say that this recipe was pretty easy to make healthy.

My kids love muffins.  I make them for them to eat before school.  These Chocolate Chip Banana Zucchini Muffins are SO soft, moist and flavorful from the combination of the finely shredded zucchini and sweet mashed banana and they are healthy!  No oil, very low in sugar, no dairy, no eggs!  The no eggs, I wasn’t really looking to do honestly.  That came about because I had no eggs and was to lazy busy to go to the store and get some.  So I started researching egg alternatives and found flax seed eggs.  I already had the ground flax seed and since flax is so good for you, I figured it was a win win situation!  They stick with you throughout the morning as well.  No hunger pains an hour after eating!

Zucbatterbatter

 

So you start by combining all the wet ingredients together (looks gross) in a bowl.  Quick side note on the zucchini, you want to grate it on the smallest size.  No one wants huge chunks of zucchini in their muffins.  There is no need to squeeze all the moisture out.  Since we are not using oil we want the moisture so the muffins aren’t dry.  If there is a lot of liquid that is in the bottom of your bowl after grating the zucchini, you can dump that out.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer I placed all of the dry ingredients and give it a quick whisk to make sure it was evenly distributed.  I then added the paddle attachment and added the wet ingredients to the dry.  Mix on low only till everything is combined!  DO NOT OVER MIX!  Below is the complete recipe!  Enjoy!

batterwithchoc

 

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Chocolate Chip Banana Zucchini Muffins

Oil, Dairy and Egg Free muffins packed with bananas and zucchini!

15 minPrep Time:

20 minCook Time:

35 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water)
  • 2 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsulfured molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup + extra for sprinkling on top, mini dairy, soy, nut free chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F.
  2. Grease a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix the ground flax seed with the water in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Stir and leave it to thicken while preparing the dry ingredients.
  5. In a medium size bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir together until the spices are evenly distributed throughout the flour.
  6. Grate the zucchini (see notes).
  7. The flax "eggs" should be ready by this point.
  8. Add the mashed banana, sugar, molasses, vanilla extract, lemon juice and grated zucchini to the flax "eggs". Whisk together.
  9. Stir in 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.
  10. Slowly add and mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they are combined. Do not over-mix.
  11. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, spoon the batter into the muffin pan.
  12. Bake for 18- 22 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clear and your muffin tops are golden.
  13. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing them.

Notes

Grate the zucchini on the small side and pack a 1 cup measuring cup. Drain off the excess liquid but do not squeeze all the liquid from the zucchini.

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/07/chocolate-chip-banana-zucchini-muffins/

 

 

Healthy Shrimp Scampi over Zucchini Noodles

finishedshrimp

 

I am going to give you all fair warning now.  Zucchini season is upon us and it is one of my favorite vegetables.  Be prepared for numerous an abundance of zucchini recipes to start being featured!  It is such a versatile vegetable!  It can be used for and in anything!  I will however, try not to throw them all at you at once.  I will spread them out for the rest of the summer. Maybe…

Tonight’s dinner is one of my favorite ways to use zucchini.  Noodles!  Every once in a while a person needs a low carb healthy alternative to a comfort food.  This is the way to go!  So easy and quick but it looks so fancy.  I use a spiralizer to make my noodles but you could always use a mandoline to julienne the noodles as well.  Olive oil replaces butter, zucchini replaces the pasta and chicken broth replaces the wine.  Well, in some ones it can. Totally doesn’t in mine because well, I said so.  Wines gotta stay.  But that’s why we are working out, right?

Shrimp, garlic, lemon, wine, tomatoes and zucchini to the rescue for garden fresh dinner in less than 30 minutes!

zucchininoodlesnew

 

 

shrimp

 

Yield: 4 servings

Healthy Shrimp Scampi over Zucchini Noodles

15 minPrep Time:

10 minCook Time:

25 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into noodles (see note)
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, heat olive oil for 1 minute.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the shrimp to the pan stirring as needed, until they are cooked throughout and pink on all sides, about 3 minutes.
  4. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl.
  5. Increase the heat to medium.
  6. Add the white wine and lemon juice to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the zucchini noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
  8. Return the shrimp along with tomatoes to the pan and toss to combine.
  9. Garish with parsley and Parmesan and serve.

Notes

To cut zucchini into noodles, use a mandoline on julienne cut or a spiralizer.

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/07/healthy-shrimp-scampi-over-zucchini-noodles/

 

 

 

 

Turkey Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad

pastasalad2

 

I am a big fan of pasta salads in the summer.  Non mayo salads of course.  Remember, I have a strong hatred for the gelatinous stuff.  Pasta salads are great quick and easy dinners for when we are running around to karate and soccer and other various places.  I can make them in the morning and they are ready to go for dinner!  And the leftovers the next day aren’t too shabby either!

For this pasta salad, I started by chopping my tomatoes and adding them to a large bowl.  I then add some finely minced red onion, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper and basil and mixed it all together and stuck it in the fridge to “meld” together the flavors.

tomatoes

While I tomatoes are chilling, I get moving on the bacon.  Unless, I am in a hurry, I don’t cook my bacon in a skillet.  I take the easy way out and bake it. Myself and my clothes don’t get splattered in grease and the clean up is much easier.  I used turkey bacon for this recipe so technically there wasn’t any grease to splatter, but I had other things to do so I didn’t want to stand over the skillet and watch it.  All you do is line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Place the desired numbers of slices on the sheet and put it in the cold oven.  Turn the oven to 375* and let it cook for 12-16 minutes or desired crispiness!

While the bacon is doing its thing in the oven, I get the pasta boiling.  For this I used whole grain cellentani.  Feel free to use whatever fun shape you want.  When the bacon is done, transfer them to a paper towel lined plate to cool for a minute.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.  Add the pasta to the tomato mixture and stir.  Diced avocados and add to the bowl as well, stirring to combine.  Crumble or chop the bacon and sprinkle it on top.  Grate some fresh Parmesan over the top and serve!  Viola!

pastasalad

 

Yield: 6 Servings

Turkey Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad

Fresh tomatoes, avocado and crispy bacon come together to create this delicious salad!

10 minPrep Time:

10 minCook Time:

20 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 4 small tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces whole grain pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 6 slices of cooked turkey bacon, diced
  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Put it in the fridge to chill.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well and rinse with cold water.
  4. Combined pasta to the tomato mixture and stir.
  5. Add in diced avocado and sprinkle the chopped bacon on top.
  6. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan.

Notes

If not serving right away, do not add avocado. Wait till you are about it serve so it does not brown.

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/07/turkey-bacon-avocado-pasta-salad/

 

Cottage Cheese Ranch Dressing

Here is the recipe for my cottage cheese ranch dressing.  A healthier version of an all time favorite!  Enjoy!

Yield: 10 servings

Cottage Cheese Ranch Dressing

5 minPrep Time:

5 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 10 oz. of 2% cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 3/4 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried chives
  • Water

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the dry seasonings and stir.
  2. In a blender or food processor, add the cottage cheese, white vinegar, and dry seasonings and puree.
  3. If the mixture is too thick, thin with water, 1 or 2 Tbsp at a time, until desired consistency.
  4. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Dressing should be good until the date on your cottage cheese container.

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/07/cottage-cheese-ranch-dressing/

 

Healthier Buffalo Chicken & Black Bean Quesadillas

redonezoom

 

Have you ever had one of those moments that you wish you could do over?  That moment for me would have been on Monday afternoon.  If I could do that moment over, yesterday wouldn’t have had to have happen.  Call it mothers intuition or a sixth sense, but I knew I should not have done it and now my oldest has a broken hand. 🙁   And no, I did not break it.

They had been begging me to get the DIY Slip’ n Slide out but it is such a pain to set up and they are wild and crazy on it so I kept saying no.  Then we had friends come over and the neighbor kids over and the begging started some more (from my kids, not theirs).  So I gave in to the peer pressure and said okay even though I knew I shouldn’t have.  And of course, my oldest gets hurt.  He tried to “run” on it and fell on his hand.  However, to his credit, he walked it off for a few minutes and then continued to play.  He even played in his soccer game later that night.  You could tell it was bothering him a little because he kept favoring it but when you asked him about it, his response was, “it’s just sore mom.  I’m fine.”  I totally knew it wasn’t.

Well yesterday morning, showed that it wasn’t fine.  He came downstairs and it was swollen and black and blue.  I almost started crying because I knew.  I broke numerous bones as a kid, I knew the signs.  I wanted to kick myself for not taking him to the ED the night before.  So we spend the day at the doctor, hospital and Orthopaedic doctors.  And what a long day it was.  He was a trooper though.  Never complained or cried once.  When they told him it was broken, all he said was, “okay” and got up to leave.   Whaat????  Thankfully the bones were not displaced and no surgery is required.  Just a cast for the next four weeks, a royal blue one I might add.  But still , my baby is in a cast.  I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut.  Mother’s guilt they call it.  Always follow that mother’s intuition!!

cast

Long story short, dinner wasn’t what it was supposed to be.  I really just wanted to order out but we are trying to save money and eat healthy and those things don’t always go hand in hand with ordering out.  So Buffalo Chicken & Black Bean Quesadillas came to the rescue!  Chunks of seasoned chicken, homemade ranch sauce, black beans, gooey cheese and Franks Red Hot all in a whole wheat tortilla and grilled to perfection!  Plus, it’s low in calories and fat!  Triple win!!

rawchicken

I make my homemade ranch sauce using cottage cheese and spices.  Significantly less calories and added protein.  WooHoo!  I started by sauteing the seasoned chicken chunks in some extra virgin olive oil.  I then added the black beans and stirring it around.  Next came the ranch dressing.

ccchicken

This is where I stopped for the boys.  I took some out for them and put it in a small bowl because they won’t eat the Franks.  To the remainder of the mixture still in the pan, I added the Franks Red Hot.

buffalochicken

I let it cook for a few minutes on low, then removed it from the heat.  Now you could totally use a panini press to make the quesadilla but I decided to use my cast iron skillet.  Mostly because it was already sitting there.  I heated the skillet, sprayed one side of the tortilla with coconut oil cooking spray and placed it in the pan.  I sprinkled some cheddar cheese on it, then added the chicken mixture.  When the cheese started to melt a bit, I carefully folded the tortilla in half and cooked it a couple more minutes on each side.

quesadilla

Lovely, cheesy buffalo chicken without all the guilt!! Nom Nom Nom…

Serving Size: 1 Quesadilla

Buffalo Chicken & Black Bean Quesadillas

5 minPrep Time:

15 minCook Time:

20 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb chicken breast, chunked
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup Franks hot sauce (or other wing sauce)
  • 1/4 cup homemade ranch dressing (link in post)
  • 4 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a small skillet, saute the chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil, on medium heat until almost cooked through.
  2. Add the black beans and stir.
  3. Add the homemade ranch dressing and stir to combine.
  4. Add the Frank's hot sauce and stir again. Cook for 3 -4 more minutes on low. Remove from heat.
  5. Heat a different skillet to medium heat and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  6. Place tortilla on the heated skillet.
  7. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese, then spread about a 1/4- 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture onto one half of the tortilla.
  8. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until bottom side is golden brown. Fold the top of the quesadilla in half to close.
  9. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  10. Serve with homemade ranch and salsa!
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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/07/buffalo-chicken-black-bean-quesadillas/

 

 

 

Garden Fresh Bruschetta Over Grilled Chicken

Grilled-Bruschetta-Chicken-prep

 

Garden fresh Bruschetta over grilled chicken breasts.  Oh my!  So easy and very tasty.  With gardens in full bloom this summer it is easy to find garden fresh ingredients. Bruschetta is an Italian dish that you usually see being served over crusty bread.  That is my favorite way to eat it but sometimes you just need a delicious low carb option.   I love serving it over grilled chicken because there are just so many options to serve it with!  Whole grain pasta or quinoa, with a slice of nice crusty bread or over the top of greens or just by itself with some grilled vegetables.  You can’t go wrong with juicy tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, onion, garlic and some olive oil!

Just be sure to make the Bruschetta the night before or early in the morning to let all the flavors marinate together.  If you don’t it will still be good it’s just the longer it sits, the better it is!  Then all you have to do it grilled the chicken when you get home and dinner is done!

 

tomatoes

Make sure you seed the tomatoes

chicken

Grill the chicken on low and be sure to let it rest before cutting into them!

bruschetta

 

Serving Size: 1 Chicken Breast

Bruschetta Over Grilled Chicken

10 minPrep Time:

16 minCook Time:

26 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 4 medium vine ripe tomatoes
  • 3 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin oil
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 3 oz part skim mozzarella shredded
  • 1 lbs (about 4 smaller) chicken breasts, trimmed of fat

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Chop tomatoes and place in the large bowl with garlic, onion combo.
  3. Sprinkle in chopped basil and stir.
  4. Set aside and let it sit at least 15 minutes or as long as overnight.
  5. Season chicken with salt and fresh pepper.
  6. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Once preheated, turn to medium low.
  7. Grill the chicken 8 minutes on each side.
  8. Set chicken on a platter and let it rest a few minutes.
  9. Top with bruschetta and mozzarella then serve.
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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/07/garden-fresh-bruschetta-over-grilled-chicken/

 

 

Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad

'og:salad2'

 

Dinner salads during the summer are a must!  It’s hot and sticky outside and no really wants to eat yet alone next in a hot kitchen and cook.  The air conditioner definitely makes it better but its still not the thing someone wants to do.  I could eat just a regular salad without a problem but just salad for dinner to my husband, isn’t dinner.  Same goes with soup.  He kills me.

Any how, I have to make sure the salad has subsistence if he is going to eat it.  That is why I love this oriental grilled chicken salad.  It has the subsistence with the chunks of marinated grilled chicken but the light crispiness of a fresh summer salad.  Plus, it is quick and easy to do.  Win Win!!  The original recipe is here but I had to modify it to fit my family and their picky palates.

You start by whisking the marinate/dressing ingredients together. Trim any fat from the chicken and place them in a gallon ziplock bag. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the marinade to the chicken.  I like to do this in a Ziplock bag because it is an easy clean up.  You are going to SAVE the rest of the sauce that you made.  It will become the dressing later.  

Once all the air is squeezed out of the bag, place it in the frig for at least 30 minutes.  Finish off the dressing by adding red wine vinegar and some finely diced onion.  Put that in the refrigerator also.

Now here comes the part where I completely cheat.  My local Wegman’s makes an oriental salad blend.  It comes with shredded cabbage, carrots, celery green onions and broccoli, toasted almonds, chow mein noodles and a dressing (which I do not use).  The recipe I adapted my version from, chops all of this up on her own.  You can do that but I find it easier to cheat and get the stuff that is already done.  Up to you! Both will be yummy!

Once your chicken has marinated for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat the grill on high.  Once it has warmed up, place the chicken on the grill (throw away the Ziplock bag) and turn the heat to a medium low.  Cook the chicken for about 18 minutes, turning it over half way through or until the internal temp has reached 165 degrees.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and allow them to rest for about 15 minutes.  You never want to cut into any of your meat right after it’s taken off the grill.  All the juices will run out leaving you with yucky, dry meat!  Blah!  You can cover it with Aluminum Foil to keep some of the heat in.  After the 15 minutes, you can cut them into chunks.

While the chicken is cooling, dump the salad mixture onto 4 plates, reserving the toasted almonds and noodles.  Remove the dressing from and frig and whisk again just to stir everything up.  Drizzle a little over the salad.  Place chicken pieces on top of the salad mixture, drizzle with more dressing and sprinkle almonds, noodles and sesame seeds over the top!

There you have it!  A nice a hearty oriental grilled chicken salad in no time!  Enjoy!

salad1

Yield: 4 servings

Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad

30 minPrep Time:

20 minCook Time:

50 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 3 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 package of Oriental Salad Mix (toasted almonds and noodles set aside)
  • Sesame seeds, optional

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, canola oil, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha to make the marinade.
  2. Put the three chicken breasts in a gallon sized zip-top bag and add 3-4 Tbsp of the marinade over the chicken.
  3. Reserve the rest of the marinade for the dressing.
  4. Marinate 30 minutes.
  5. To the reserved marinade add vinegar and onions.
  6. To a hot grill add the chicken breasts. Turn heat to medium low.
  7. Cook them with the lid down about 8 minutes per side or until there is no signs of pink.
  8. Transfer the chicken to a plate and allow them to rest 15 minutes.
  9. Distribute Salad Mix to 4 plates.
  10. Whisk the dressing and drizzle a little over each salad.
  11. Add chicken chunks to each plate.
  12. Garnish with the almonds, noodles and sesame seeds on each salad.
  13. Add more dressing if desired.

Notes

Adapted from http://menumusings.blogspot.com/2013/05/grilled-ginger-sesame-chicken-salad.html

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/07/oriental-grilled-chicken-salad/

 

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

peppersclose

 

Ah, Philadelphia.  The city of brotherly love.   Known as the birthplace of American democracy,  it’s home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, America’s first Zoo, The Philadelphia Museum of Art (think Rocky running up the steps), America’s oldest farmers market, the Phillies, Flyers, Eagles and 76’ers and last but most importantly…Philly cheesesteaks.

Mmm, cheesesteaks.  There is nothing like an authentic Philly cheesesteak.  I dare you to find me one person that would not eat a cheesesteak (non vegetarians of course)!  The real question is: With or without?  It’s a much debated question in Philly that can lead to people not speaking to each other but in my opinion (and sorry to those who disagree), cheese whiz is gross.  I prefer a mixture of white American cheese along with provolone.

I’m lucky to visit this fun but crazy city fairly often because my brother and one of my best friends lives there.  However we save the authentic cheesesteak experience for when we are there.  I make a low carb version at home because let’s face it, all that bread really isn’t good for ones diet.

Now I have made these using different types of meat.  I have made them with lean roast beef and thinly sliced flank steak but I am not a big beef fan so I prefer them with thinly sliced chicken breast or ground chicken/turkey.  Use whichever you prefer.

To start, I saute the sliced onions and mushrooms with some garlic in olive oil. You don’t want your mushrooms caramelized (or maybe you do) but you do want them soft.  When both mushrooms and onions reach desired softness transfer them to bowl and add to the empty skillet your meat of choice that has been seasoned with salt and pepper.  Cook completely and add back in the onions and mushrooms and stir to combine everything.

Once everything has been combined, slice the peppers in half and de-seed them.  Place the pepper half on a lined baking sheet and fill them with the meat mixture.  Now, you can also just cut the top off the pepper and de-seed it and stuff the mixture into the standing up pepper but I find it harder to eat that way.  Also, if you are like my husband, you can put some cheese at the bottom of the pepper before adding the mixture.

 

peppers

 

Place half a slice of white American cheese and half a slice of provolone over the top of the peppers and broil on high until the cheese is melted and bubbly!  Serve immediately!

Note:  These are my meat and cheese preferences.  Use what ever you prefer!  I don’t recommend broiling if you are using cheese whiz though.

 

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Serving Size: 1 whole pepper

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

20 minPrep Time:

5 minCook Time:

25 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 4 peppers cut in half and seeded
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion chopped
  • 1 package baby bella mushrooms sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey or meat of your preference cut into strips
  • Salt and pepper to season meat
  • 4 slices of white American cheese, halfed
  • 4 slices of Provolone Cheese, halfed

Instructions

  1. In large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion, mushrooms and garlic when the oil is heated.
  2. Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms become tender.
  3. Transfer onions and mushrooms to a bowl and add seasoned ground turkey to the skillet.
  4. Cook 5-7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add onions and mushrooms back to the skillet. Stir
  6. Place pepper halves on a large baking sheet, fill the peppers with some turkey/onion/mushroom mixture
  7. Top each pepper with 1/2 a slice of American cheese and 1/2 a slice of provolone cheese.
  8. Broil peppers on high till the cheese has melted and is bubbly.

Notes

You may want to pre-bake the peppers at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes while the meat mixture is cooking if you like a softer pepper

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

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It’s summer time and what’s one of the best things about summer?  ICE CREAM!!  Whether you are a soft serve or hard ice cream person, it is the quintessential frozen treat of summertime!  Myself, I am a hard ice cream girl.  Soft serve is okay but usually ice cream shoppes only have the three main flavors of vanilla, chocolate and twist.  I like to mix it up and have a variety.  So, hard ice cream it is.  It also doesn’t seem to melt as fast as soft serve.

I could make an entire meal of just ice cream.  It is one of the two things I will not give up in my diet; coffee being the other.

So in order for me to be successful on the 21 Day Fix, I had to come up with a different way to incorporate my ice cream.  I did some research and came up with “ice cream” made with frozen bananas.  Now stay, with me.  It’s honestly not as weird as it sounds.

First you take 3-4 bananas, peel them and chopped them into large chunks.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a freezer bag and put them in the freezer till they are completely frozen.

bananafrozen

 Once the bananas are frozen, take them out of the freezer and add them to a food processor or high powered blender.  These pieces are a bit big so cut them in about 1/2 inch chunks.  Food processors and blenders can’t handle large chunks.

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Now comes the fun part!  You can pretty much make any type of “ice cream” you want.  I have added strawberries, vanilla extract and a touch of honey to make strawberry banana.  Bananas with peppermint extract, a touch of green food coloring and chocolate pieces were used to make mint chocolate chip and my favorite so far is chocolate peanut butter!

Process the the bananas on high for about 45 seconds until they are creamy.  Doing them any longer will cause the friction to heat the bananas and start to melt them.  Next, add in 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (I actually used PB2 and it turned out fine) and 1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder.  I only used one because I added some dark chocolate flakes. Pulse a few more seconds to blend it all together.

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Please note that I have switched appliances here.  My 15 year old, finicky food processor decide to take that moment to start smoking and stop working.  Sigh….

The ice cream can be frozen in a sealed container for a few days or it can be eaten straight away!

Next flavor to try?  I’m thinking chocolate almond coconut!

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

Only 3 ingredients make up this wonderful frozen treat!

5 minPrep Time:

5 minCook Time:

10 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 3-4 peeled bananas cut into 1/2 inch chunks, frozen
  • 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

  1. Take 3-4 ripe bananas (the more ripe the better – they should have at least a few brown spots), peel them, and add to a plastic freezer bag or baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze overnight until they’re completely solid
  2. Add the frozen bananas to a food processor or high powered blender
  3. Blend for 45 seconds.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until incorporated.

Notes

Can be put in a sealed container in the freezer for a few days!

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