Skinny Vegetable Fried Rice

I’m back!  I took a hiatus from blogging due to a busy work schedule, but I recently resigned from my financial secretary job and now have more time to blog, so I’m back!!  Woohoo!  I’ve really missed blogging and interacting with my readers!  (I hope there a few still out there after all this time)  🙂

A couple days ago I had a craving for Chinese food.  And that’s actually pretty odd for me because I’m not really a fan of most Chinese dishes.  But, I do LOVE the Pepper Chicken and Fried Rice at the Chinese restuarant here in town. So, I decided to try to make a “skinny” version at home.   My husband and I loved it, and my 12 year old son said it was “ok”.  🙂  Boys.  So uncommital.  Today I’m sharing the Fried Rice recipe and tomorrow I will post the Pepper Chicken recipe.  Ideally, you want to use “leftover” rice that you made at least the day before and chilled overnight.  I didn’t plan that far ahead however, so I just made my rice a few hours before dinner and let it chill until I was ready to prepare the rest of the dish.  It worked out just fine.

 

A healthy version of a Chinese favorite!

Skinny Vegetable Fried Rice

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup finely diced vegetables ( I used carrot, asparagus, onion, and red pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (best if rice is made the day before)

 

Heat a wok or other heavy skillet over medium high heat.   Add garlic and cook until tender.  Add vegetables and cook several minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Add soy sauce and vinegar; stir well and cook for a couple minutes.  Add rice, mixing well.  Add chicken stock and cook just until rice is heated through.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

Serves: 4

Calories Per Serving: 128

Sundried Tomato & Fresh Spinach Dip

Spinach.  Do you love it?  Hate it?  Me – I like baby spinach (aka arugala) in a salad.  I like spinach in dishes where it is a ‘backdrop’, not the main ingredient.  But I LOVE spinach dip.  And since it’s key ingredient IS spinach, I consider it healthy, and find myself eating almost half the batch right after making it.  Don’t judge me.  (But seriously…if you use low-fat cream cheese and sour cream, it really is pretty healthy.  Seriously.)

This recipe couldn’t be simpler to make.  Blanch some fresh spinach, chop up some sundried tomatoes and onion and throw it all in the food proccesor with the other ingredients.  Easy peasy.  This recipe is a great party dish, but you can also use it as a sauce for pasta (that recipe/post is coming tomorrow!)

Sundried Tomato & Fresh Spinach Dip

  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (dry packed)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

Blanch spinach in boiling water for one minute.  Draine and rinse immediately in cold water to stop the cooking.  Squeeze to remove excess liquid.  You should have about one cup of cooked spinach at this point.

Place spinach in food processor along with remaining ingredients.  Pulse until smooth.  Serve immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Blueberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream

Yes, another ice cream recipe.  My kitchen has turned into sort of an ice cream factory lately.  I just keep thinking of new flavors I want to play with!  Can you blame me?  Smooth.  Creamy.  Just mix it up and throw it in the freezer.  Doesn’t get much easier.  So, when we had a big bowl of blueberries that were reaching their last days, I decided to make a blueberry cheesecake ice cream!  Super delicious.  Seriously.  It was my husband’s favorite so far. 

Blueberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream

Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup spreadable cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup graham cracker chunks

Blueberry Sauce

  • 2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Prepare the blueberry sauce by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook, stirring often, until thickened.  Let cool before proceeding.

For the ice cream, whip one cup of the heavy cream to stiff peaks.  In seperate bowl, beat cream cheese with sweetened condensed milk until smooth.  Add remaining cup of heavy cream and vanilla; stir until smooth.  Fold whipped cream into mixture.  Spoon blueberry sauce over whipped cream mixture.  Sprinkle graham cracker chunks over top.  Gently fold in until there are ribbons of blueberry sauce running through – do not overmix.

Pour into a freezer proof, airtight container and freeze until firm.

 

Browned Butter Toffee Bars

I’ve sort of been on a browned butter kick lately.  It’s just so darn good!  I’m convinced that pretty much anything that is ‘good’ with butter in it would be absolutely fantabulous with browned butter in it…and I’m on a mission to find out!

I’ve made these bars a few times, but always just melted the butter and proceeded with the recipe.  This time I decided to let the butter brown before adding the other ingredients.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much better these are with the browned butter.  I’ll never go back to plain ol’ melted butter!  Oh, and by the way, this recipe is not at all healthy.  As a matter of fact, it’s down right dangerous.  Four sticks of butter go in here.  Four.  Sticks.  Seriously. 

Browned Butter Toffee Bars

  • 4 sticks butter
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk (did I mention this wasn’t healthy??)
  • 4 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9×13 pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray.  Set aside.  Place graham cracker crumbs in a medium bowl and set aside.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat until it turns amber brown in color.  DO NOT LET IT BURN!  Pour one cup of browned butter into graham cracker crumbs.  Stir to combine and press into prepared pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool while making toffee layer.

In pan with remaining browned butter, place brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup.  Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour toffee mixture over crust.  Let set until cooled and firm.

Melt chocolate and spread over cooled toffee layer.  Let set until chocolate is firm (you can pop the pan in the fridge to speed up this process).  Cut into squares and serve. 

 

Sun-tella Spread (Sunflower Seed-Chocolate Spread)

Nutella.  It’s smooth, creamy, delicous.  It’s also kind pricey.  I wanted to try to make my own version.  So, I go to the grocery store only to discover that they don’t carry hazelnuts.  Seriously?  Change of plans.  What can I use in place of the hazelnuts that would still taste yummy.  On a whim, I decided to try sunflower seeds.  Yes.  Sunflower seeds.  The end result was yummy.  Not the same at Nutella, but  yummy none the less. I decided to go with salted sunflower seeds because I love that salty-sweet combination.  If you don’t want the salty-sweet combo, just use unsalted sunflower seeds.   I’m anxious to try other nuts/seeds for other flavors as well! 

 *NOTE* Because this is made with seeds, not nuts, those with nut allergies SHOULD be able to eat this.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Ask your doctor first if you’re not sure.

Sun-tella Spread

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4-6 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place sunflower seeds in food processor and process until almost powdery.  (If you want a chunkier spread, don’t process quite as long).  Add enough vegetable oil to form a smooth, soft paste.  Pour in the melted chocolate, pulsing until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, pulsing until it forms a smooth, spreadable consistency.    

Store in airtight container.  Because there is no dairy in this spread, and because we’ll eat it up in about 3 days,  I just leave it at room temperature.  If you will be storing it for more than a few days, I’d refrigerate it and let it come to room temp before using.

Makes: 1 cup

WW Points + Per Tablespoon: 3

Birthday Cake Batter No-Churn Ice Cream

After making the Birthday Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats, my sprinkle-obsessed daughter has been begging me to make Birthday Cake Batter Ice Cream – her absolute favorite ice cream.  So, while I was in my ice cream-making mode last week, I whipped up a batch.  She was in heaven.  If you’re a birthday cake ice cream lover like her, I think you will be too.

Birthday Cake Batter No-Churn Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup dry yellow cake mix
  • 1 tbsp butter flavor
  • 1/3 cup sprinkles

In medium bowl, whip 1 cup of heavy cream to stiff peaks. 

In seperate bowl, stir together remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, cake mix, and butter flavor.  Fold whipped cream into this mixture.  Fold in sprinkles.  Pour into a freezer safe airtight container and freeze until solid.

Skinny Brownie Batter Pancakes

After making the Brownie Batter No-Churn Ice Cream last week, I’ve had brownie batter on the brain.  Then, while browsing other food blogs, I discovered a recipe for brownie batter pancakes on Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog.  Oh yeah.  I adapted it just a bit – I used Splenda, added an extra tablespoon of cocoa powder, and used skim milk – and now I am in love.  It’s like eating brownies for breakfast!!  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Well, okay.  Yes.  It could get better.  Plop a big glob of sweetened whipped cream on top and it would *almost* be like having brownies and ice cream for breakfast.  But, we’ll leave the whipped cream off for today.  All that no-churn ice cream has plenty of cream in it.  I don’t need any more.  I can barely button my pants already. 

Instead of posting the recipe here, I’m simply linking to Katie’s blog (above).   I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

When made with my changes, the Weight Watchers points are as follows:

Serves: 1

Weight Watchers Points + : 4 points for the pancakes, add another 3 points for 2 Tbsp. of chocolate syrup