Low Calorie, Shrimp Poor Boy with Fresh Corn Salsa

Whew!  The spicy Schezwan flat bread used for this is just the right wrap for these delicious poor boys.  The flat bread is a perfect combination between a tortilla and buttery biscuit for that great texture along with the heat and aromatic spices inside the wrap that add a whole new depth of flavor that ordinarily you would miss out on, using  those store bought and overly preserved or ironically  cardboard tasting wraps.  Flat bread recipe is at bottom of page.
Traditionally speaking,  a poor boy is conducted of a fried sea creature of some sort, topped with fresh ingredients such  as tomatoes, lettuce and some form of a pickled or mayonnaised up cabbage topping piled all on top of a thick roll such as a kaiser or hoagie bun, but since this IS a healthy recipe blog and all, I've had to switch some of the ingredients up.  In this case, I replaced the thick, OVER filling, not to mention less than healthy bread, roll or bun with this healthy alternative flat bread. NO frying of the sea creature is needed for these delicious sandwiches. I have also omitted the cabbage topping since there is just no real way of substituting the unattractive ingredients in those recipes without compromising the great flavors of the original recipes.  Instead I made a fresh corn salsa to go on top of these little gems. A flavor that compliments this sandwich very well. Enjoy! :)  Corn salsa recipe at bottom of page.

Makes 4 poor boys.
4 Schezwan flat bread
Corn salsa
Iceberg lettuce (and any other fresh veggie topping of your choice)
16 medium sized shell on Shrimp
1 green onions, sliced thin up to green tops.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, LIGHT
2 tsp Garlic powder
dash of powder cayenne pepper

In large heated skillet, add olive oil and butter.  Toss in shrimp and green onions.  Stir occasionally until just beginning to turn pink then sprinkle with seasonings. Once shrimp begin to curl, remove from heat immediately to prevent over cooking.  Nothing worse, than a rubbery shrimp! When cooled to touch, remove shells and then prepare your sandwiches anyway you wish while making sure to pour any extra pan drippings over the top of each sandwich before serving. mmm.  

Corn Salsa Recipe:
1/2 cup frozen corn nibblets.
1/2 green onion, chopped fine.
2 tbsp minced green pepper
1 lemon, juice.
pinch of dried parsley
1 tsp salt.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stir and set aside.  When the corn is thawed completely, it's done.

Spicy Schezwan Flat Bread:
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup I can't believe It's Not Butter, LIGHT
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 APPROXIMATELY hot water
3/4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp garlic powder, more if you like that sort of thing :)
1 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp cumin

In a large bowl, add all ingredients except the water., oil and butter.  Sift using a whisk to stir up the flour with the seasonings until well blended/incorporated.    Using the same wire whisk, cut the butter and oil into the dough before adding the hot water by small increments.
Using a wooden spoon, slowly add the water to the flour and stir until dough forms ball and pulls away from sides of bowl.  If dough is too loose or sticky, you'll have to start over as adding more flour at this point would only make the dough tough and chewy.  The dough should be soft but not too sticky.  Your finger should not be able to pull any dough away from a simple pressing.
Cover bowl and allow to rest for about an hour.  Pinch off several mounds of the dough and place off to the side, making sure to size these mounds uniformly for even cooking later. 
One by one, place each mound in your hand and kneed/roll dough around in your hand until you've formed a very well formed dough ball.  Repeat until you've done them all.  Allow each ball to rest for 20-30 minutes in a warm area before pressing out into bread.
Preheat flat top cooking area, med high heat. Using your hands or a rolling pin, roll out each flatbread to approximately 1/16" thick, about the thickness of a normal wrap or tortilla.  The heat will cause this dough to rise a little both from the butter and from the baking powder so it's not really possible to go too thin. Place on ungreased heated flat top and cook 2 minutes per side.

Dampen a cheese cloth and place in large ziplock plastic bag, When each bread is finished cooking, place inside the bag and seal it.  The steam from the heat of the flat bread, keeps them moist and soft until you're ready to use them.  :)

Brioche Pancakes with Caramelized Apple n'Nut Topping

Brioche is a rich, eggy dough made with yeast.  Making pancakes out of brioche batter is like having little circular, apple smothered, warm & fluffy pancakes and  perfect french toast rolled into one bite.  I've removed the butter from this recipe, reduced the sugar a little and removed one egg, to improve the healthy part about this meal.  Although the calorie count is still a little high at 333 calories per serving of 2 pancakes and 1/3 cup apple topping,  the healthy wholesome ingredients in this recipe make the calories worth it.

Brioche Pancakes:
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp all natural brown sugar 
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one packet) 
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp all natural applesauce 
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg  + 2 egg yolks
1 tsp cinnamon

Warm milk w/applesauce in small saucepan over medium heat until approx 110* about, 15-20 minutes. Transfer milk to large mixing bowl or mixer. On low speed, whisk in yeast and sugar until just combined. Let stand until creamy; about 5 minutes.

Whisk in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt & eggs until smooth then, transfer to a pitcher for easy pouring later. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about one hour. Do not punch down.

Preheat griddle, med-high heat.  Lightly wipe some vegetable shortening over the griddle's hot surface then wipe off almost all of it, with a clean kitchen towel.  Pour desired amount out onto the griddle. When pancakes are bubbly on the top, flip them over and  allow them to cook the rest of the way.

Caramelized Apple Topping:
2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin 
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped 
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of sea salt

Heat over med heat in a medium sauce pan; apples, walnuts, brown sugar, water and seasonings until apples have softened and sauce coats back of spoon.

Serve hot over fresh Brioche pancakes.

The batter for this recipe can be made the night before.  Pull batter out of fridge and allow to proof (rise) before cooking.

Vegan Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

I had a couple bags of fresh pumpkin puree leftover from the pumpkins I roasted this fall so I decided I would put them to some healthy and tasteful use.
The original recipe for these called for soy or rice milk and only 1/3 cup pumpkin puree.  I don't know about you, but a 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree just didn't sound right for a pumpkin muffin. So I bumped that up to 2 cups and omitted the milk from the recipe.  Even though rice milk is better for you than soy milk, I still don't agree with the use of these products in baked good foods.   Increasing the baking powder by a 1/2 tbsp will give them that extra lift the milk would have done, while the extra pumpkin puree increases that rich pumpkin flavor in the muffins.

Pumpkin Muffin:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Dash salt
1 tbsp pumpkin spice
2  cups fresh pumpkin puree
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Streusel topping: Pulse in food processor until thoroughly mixed.
1/3 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
4 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp Earth Balance or smart balance omega 3, lite.
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans
1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin spice

Preheat oven 405*

Sift together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients slowly until everything is just incorporated. Put the batter into 6 large greased muffin tins, top with even amounts of streusel topping and bake for 20-25 minutes or until streusel topping is just starting to turn golden brown.  Allow to cool before removing from hot pans.

Vegan Cran-Apple Muffins

I've recently become obsessed with vegan style baking and came across this recipe the other day.  The original recipe called for soy milk with no applesauce or craisins.  I don't really agree with using soy milk with all the new studies being done on it so I replaced that with applesauce instead and added craisins for a tartness to compliment all that sweet from all the apple in these muffins. I also increased the baking powder by 1/2 tbsp to give them a little more lift.  The verdict?  My family of 3 went through all 12 of these muffins in less than a day.  I'd say they were a success. :)

2  cups whole wheat or unbleached whole grain/white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
2 cups all natural, cinnamon applesauce
4 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped finely
2 cups craisins

Preheat oven to 405*
In a medium sized bowl put apple, craisins, salt and brown sugar.  Mix ingredients and set aside, allowing apples to sweat out juices while allowing the craisins to absorb those juices.
In a mixing bowl or mixer, add applesauce, oil  and vanilla,  mix well on medium speed. Sift flour with baking soda and slowly incorporate into wet ingredients until all the flour is mixed in.  Fold in apples and craisins mixture until completely combined, then add to well greased muffin tins by 1/3 cup full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they're just starting to become golden brown. Remove from oven, let sit in pan for 2 minutes then remove to a plate.
Great served with cinnamon flavored butter.

Reindeer Mix

Taken from Real Moms Kitchen
I adore reindeer mix, the sweet and the salty combo is so titillating for my taste buds.  I've taken an old traditional recipe and recreated the ingredients into something a tiny bit, okay, a LOT healthier for you. hehe, by using white yogurt chips instead of white chocolate chips, you've reduced the amount of calories, sodium and cholesterol in this snack mix.  Not to mention, yogurt is high in protein and potassium where, white chocolate has extra fats instead of extra healthy benefits.  Also, by removing the traditional, m&m's and roasted peanuts and adding pistachio and dried cranberries instead, you're getting a nutrient dense snack that includes a considerable amount of vitamins and minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium and vitamin B6 just to name a few.  Not only is this snack great tasting, but it's actually very good for your body. 

1 lb White Yogurt chips
3 cup Rice Chex
3 cup Wheat Chex
2 cup Whole Wheat pretzel sticks or waffles.
1 1/2 cup rough chopped Pistachio Nuts
1 cup rough chopped Dried Cranberries

You can make this in two different ways.  Traditionally, the yogurt chips will be melted in a microwave safe bowl using 30 second intervals, stirring and repeating until completely melted.  Pour the melted yogurt oven the rest of the mixed chex and pretzels and stir until it is all covered as evenly as possibly. While it's still warm, pour the nuts and craisins into bowl and stir until it's all combined.
Pour it all into a bowl, and toss until they are all blended well, keeping the yogurt chips whole.
Either way, it taste great.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

It's that time of year again, the time to come up with creative and healthy little treats for the holiday's.  This recipe is based on a traditional cookie recipe made in my house for years, however I have revamped it into something a little more healthy so we won't get too disappointed in ourselves when eating them.

1 cup Jif Naturals, Peanut butter (click the link to compare)
1 cup Natural Brown Sugar
2 egg whites.

Preheat oven to 350*
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined.  Drop by the tablespoon full onto cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch in between each one.  Instead of using a fork to press them down, get a little creative with what you use, especially if these are for your holiday party.  I used a snowflake cookie press for mine to give it a little extra cuteness.
Bake for 8 min, check to see if they are set or slightly browned on the edges.  They may require an extra minute/minute and half. Carefully, remove from cookie sheet as soon as you've pulled them from the oven to prevent any burning on the bottom and allow to completely cool before digging in.

Sweet Potato Wedges served with Cinnamon Butter

The sweet potato is rich in Vitamin A (beta-carotene) and Vitamin C. Both Vitamins A and C are powerful antioxidants that work in the body to remove free radicals, this free radicals are chemicals that damage cells.  They're exceptionally high in fiber and helps in lowering blood pressures as well as stabilizing blood sugars in diabetic patients.

8 lbs Sweet potatoes, cleaned and peeled.  Cut into fourths or wedges.
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne powder (preferred, smoked cayenne)
salt to taste

Butter Spread:
6 tbsp, omega 3 lite butter
1 tbsp cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, toss wedges in olive oil, cayenne and salt mixture then place on lined cookie sheet.  In a small bowl, combine the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon until well blended then place in fridge until ready to serve the potato wedges.
Preheat oven to 365*
Bake for one hour or until fork tender. Serve hot with cold butter mixture.

Feta and Craisin stuffed, Turkey.

1 - 15 lb or larger turkey

Combine in a bowl the following ingredients:
2 cup feta cheese
1/2 c, chopped dried cranberries
2 tsp dried, rubbed sage leaves
4, cloves garlic minced
1 finely chopped bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven 400*
Butterfly the turkey by removing the spine, carefully.  Open it up and place it flat in your cooking pan, breast up.  Loosen the skin from the breast's and from the thighs. Divide the mixture into four and place a 1/4 of the mixture in each section of skin you've freed from the flesh of the turkey. 
Cover with aluminum and roast for half hour at 400* then reduce the temp to 365* and allow to roast for another 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 165 degrees.  Remove the foil at two to an hour and half from the estimated, ending time and baste the turkey every half hour to reach that beautiful golden skin.
When done, allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.  Remove the entire breast from the bone and slice width wise instead of length wise to enjoy a more juicier breast.  Enjoy!

Kickin' Creamy Spinach Risotto

 Bring on the fall dishes.  :)  This creamy spinach risotto dish is superb served as the main course or as a side.  It's loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C and A, choline to help in the prevention of artery hardening and the spinach is a great blood sugar stabilizer for those with diabetes. That's a great dish, Enjoy!

3 cups fresh chopped spinach
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup brown  rice
1/3 cup white wine 
fresh cracked black pepper
sea salt
smoked chipotle powder (optional)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a sauce pot, bring broth and water to a simmer and keep simmering.  In a large saucepan cook onion and garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring until softened.   Stir in rice, stirring in figure 8's until each grain is coated with oil. Add the wine, stirring until wine is absorbed. Add about 3/4 cup simmering broth, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth, about 1/4 cup at a time, slowly stirring and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. When about half of broth has been added, reduce the heat to med-low if necessary to keep risotto at a steady slow simmer. Continue adding broth in the same manner until rice is tender and creamy looking, but still al dente (to the tooth) about 18-20 minutes.
Stir the spinach into the risotto then, add the smoked chipotle, salt and pepper to taste. Remove  from heat and stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan.


Beef Loin Roasted Inside a Pumpkin

Photo courtesy of Good Housekeeping
The flavors that form inside the meat and vegetables from being roasted inside of a pumpkin is seriously amazing.  We even pureed the left over flesh of the pumpkin and made a delicious fall pumpkin soup the next day, but you could certainly serve with this dinner the same day as well.
The pumpkin becomes like a crock pot only it adds such incredible depths of flavor that a crockpot could not do.  Unfortunately, in the excitement in creating this wonderful dish idea and executing it, I completely forgot to take pictures of this one.

1 large pumpkin. Large enough to hold your beef loin
1 3-5 lbs beef loin roast (or beef roast of your choice)
2-3  very large russet/baking  potatoes, pealed and cut into bite size chunks
1 large yellow onion, sliced bite sized chunks
1 large red onion, cut into bite size chunks
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can, low sodium crushed tomatoes. Juices removed.
1 tsp dried rosemary, oregano and thyme
1/4 cup red wine
Fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven 300*
Cut pumpkin in half, length wise and discard seeds and pulp. Season flesh lightly with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set aside.  Preheat large skillet pan.  Season meat with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper on all sides, liberally. Pan sear meat on all sides, 2 minutes per side allow to rest.  Place half of the pumpkin, hallow side up inside deep roasting pan then put that on a cookie sheet. Place meat inside one half of the pumpkin.  Assemble potatoes, onions and garlic around the meat.  Combine in bowl, dried rosemary, oregano, thyme, tomatoes and red wine and mix well.  Pour mixture over the meat and potatoes making sure to cover all pretty well. Place other half of the pumpkin on top, forming a seal.
Place in center of the oven and roast for 6 hours. Do not open oven door.
At the end of 6 hours, remove carefully from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before removing the top pumpkin.  It'll be very juicy so it's best to open this over a large container or sink.  Remove roast from pumpkin and place on a plate.  Arrange roasted vegetables around roast. Carve out some of the roasted pumpkin and assemble around the vegetables and beef roast.
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