Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Spicy Shrimp Cakes with Corn and Avocado Salsa

This recipe will knock your socks off. Or may I say, knock your flip-flops off since it's summer time. The Spicy Shrimp Cakes are delicious and healthy. It's one of the quickest recipes I've made in a while. Delicious, quick, and healthy - it doesn't get much better than this.

Spicy Shrimp Cakes with Corn and Avocado Salsa

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs **

1 cup frozen white corn, thawed
3/4 cup diced peeled avocado
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

** Homemade breadcrumbs: Remove crusts from the bread and process in a food processor until you get a fine bread crumb. Set aside.
Place shrimp in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic to pan; sauté for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Place bell pepper mixture in a large bowl. Add shrimp, green onions, and the next 6 ingredients (through egg), stirring well. Stir in cilantro and breadcrumbs. Divide shrimp mixture into 10 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Chill at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place shrimp cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes or until light brown.

To prepare salsa, combine corn and remaining ingredients; stir gently. Serve immediately with shrimp cakes.

Yield 10 servings CALORIES 121

Monday, June 25, 2007

Small Internet World

I first read about it on Ana's Blog who found the recipe on Agdah's Blog. It is so colorful and uplifting I had to try.The concept is simple, several layers of Jell-o, making a beautiful rainbow. I adapted a little to make it lower in calories. I used sugar-free jell-o and no coconut milk from the original recipe.
Here is how I made it: Prepare each Jell-o package as instructed using less water (1 1/2 cups instead of 2 cups). Pour half into a dessert bowl, cover, and refrigerate until firm. Mix the other half with 1 tablespoon of condensed milk. Pour on top of the last layer. Refrigerate until firm and repeat with next flavor. I used three flavors. Yield 4 servings - 80 calories each.

Glazed Julienne Carrots

I have two challenges now that my son can eat table food:
1. Serve fresh and organic veggies every night
2. cook something appropriate for a 1-year-old
I want him to experiment and experience a variety of flavors and textures, keeping in mind chocking hazards for a little guy who is learning to chew and swallow.
It isn't easy. I have been trying a lot of different things so we don't get bored. I found some recipes he just loved - and my husband loved them too. Glazed Julienne Carrots is one of the winners.

Glazed Julienne Carrots

2 tablespoons reduced-calorie margarine

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 cups (2-inch) julienne-cut carrot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Melt margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add sugar, stirring until melted.
Add carrots, salt, and pepper and cook 10 minutes, or until carrots are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.
Yield 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup) CALORIES 57

Monday, June 18, 2007

Parting With Cooking Spray

I have never been a Cooking Spray Aficionado. The claims seemed so unreal, 0 calories, natural flavor, blah, blah, blah. I can't deny it comes in handy when I'm cooking. Sometimes I just don't feel like brushing olive oil on pots and pans several times a day. The breaking point came with a Calphalon Pasta Pot I purchased. I read the insert and it warns you not to use cooking spray otherwise you can stain your stainless steel pot. They recommended a Spritzer (aka oil sprayer). It was a no-brainer. No chemicals, my favorite olive oil, protecting the environment by substituting aerosol cans with refillable spray bottles... I was sold.

I bought one at Target, came home and it didn't work. I decided to do some online research before buying another one. After reading awful reviews of several sprayer makes, I found Misto at Amazon. I purchased two of them and couldn't be happier. One for Extra Virgin Olive Oil and one for Canola Oil. They are handsome and practical, it benefits my family and the environment - it's a win-win situation.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Not Reallly a Carrot Souffle

I made this Carrot Souffle last night on the side of grilled chicken. In fact, it isn't a real souffle because the egg whites aren't beaten. It still resembles a souffle because of its light texture. It's low in calories and pairs well with turkey, chicken, or ham.

Carrot Souffle (Adapted from Cooking Light)

7 cups chopped carrot (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook carrot in boiling water 15 minutes or until very tender; drain. Place carrot in a food processor; process until smooth. Add granulated sugar and next 7 ingredients (granulated sugar through eggs); pulse to combine.
Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until puffed and set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup) CALORIES 187(25% from fat)

My Son's Birthday Party

My son's birthday party was a blast. I didn't make any of the food myself because I really wanted to enjoy every minute of it without being wiped from cooking and cleaning my kitchen. I called several bakeries in town because I wanted something beyond a custom cake. I was fixed on a "Cupcake Cake" - which is made of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes together, decorated as a whole cake. I saw it somewhere and found so adorable. The only issue was that nobody I talked to had heard or made such thing. I then went in person to one of the bakeries and convinced them to give it a try. They couldn't guarantee how it would turn out or if the icing was going to separate and break. I took the risk. I also ordered some Star Fish cookies to go with the theme "Finding Nemo" and some cute Brownie Pops. Several people asked me why the Popsicles weren't melting on the table but they weren't real Popsicles. They were chocolate covered brownie on a stick with sprinkles. So cute. Behind the table, on my buffet there were the party favor pails. I used Beach Pails and Shovels instead of the usual bag, covered the inside with some colorful tissue paper and goodies (little toys and boardbooks). It was so much fun, I'm looking forward to his next birthday!