Alley's Recipe Book
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Carmalized Scallops - total time 40 minutes

I usually don't cook with scallops (mostly because good scallops are expensive), so when I do use them they are the main flavor of the meal (other strong flavors would dilute the special-ness).  This is a pretty easy way to cook them, it just takes some time to actually cook.

sea scallops
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter
.5 cup white wine
parsley, chives, salt & pepper

1.  Brown butter in a pan on med heat.
2.  Press scallops into sugar making sure it is coated completely.  Sear each side of scallop in pan for 2 minutes each.  Reduce heat to mid-low, add wine, and cook each side for 10 minutes each.
3.  Pour any excess wine/butter sauce over top of scallops.  Sprinkle parsley, chives, salt, and pepper over top and serve.

Fajita Quesadillas - total time 35 minutes

I love quesadillas!  We love going to our local Mexican restaurant and fajita quesadillas are usually what we order.  There are enough veggies in there to easily omit the chicken to make it vegetarian and still full of flavor.  It is also easy to customize for each person's unique palate (spicy, extra cheesy, no tomato, etc).  But no matter how the quesadilla is customized... the trick to getting it to taste just right is the white queso cheese.  It just doesn't taste the same with any other cheese... believe me, I have tried because queso can be hard to find.

Here are some possible veggies to include in your quesadilla...
bell peppers
sauteed onions
hot peppers

Sour cream, salsa, and guacamole are great quesadilla toppers.  Yum!

Banana 'Ice Cream' - total time 5 minutes

I had the Cooking Channel on one day in the background (I was probably looking at Pinterest) and one of the ladies made a light 'ice cream'.  The entire recipe was just frozen bananas in a blender.  I did not believe that this could taste anything like ice cream.  A month later, I decided to try it... but with some peanut butter and nutella... yum!

2 frozen bananas
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp nutella
.25 cup soy milk

1.  Freeze bananas.
2.  Blend ingredients together.

Stuffed Peppers revisited with Quinoa - total time 40 minutes

If you haven't tried quinoa yet, it is definitely worth trying!  I was a little apprehensive at first and thought it was just another super food fad, but I actually love the flavor.  Plus, it is packed with nutrients; protein, fiber, calcium, etc.  Great for vegetarians!  An easy substitute for any recipe that has rice or couscous... and cooks just as easily.

I have posted a stuffed pepper recipe before, but wanted to try it again with quinoa.  I think I like it with quinoa better... not as messy as couscous and more flavorful than most rice.  Stuffed peppers are easy to alter for each eaters' tastes... like here, mine is packed with summer veggies from the garden and his is spicy with ground turkey.

1 cup quinoa
2 bell peppers, halved
1 onion, chopped
.25 cup cream cheese
4 slices of cheese
1 egg
salt & pepper
ground turkey, tomatoes, jalapenos, zucchini (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook quinoa according to package (usually rinse and simmer in 1.5 parts water to one part quinoa).  Cook any meat.
2.  Prepare casserole dish with halved peppers.  In a separate pan caramelize onions (I added my tomatoes too).  Combine chopped veggies, onions, quinoa, meat, cream cheese, egg, and spices/herb in a mixing bowl.  Pack mixture into each bell pepper.  Place cheese slice on top of each pepper.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes.

White Chocolate Vanilla Cupcakes - total time 1 hour

Rich, sweet cupcakes... great for a birthday party.  The white chocolate ganache is a fun surprise that makes these little gems extra special.  Approximately 100 calories for each cake (makes about 36 cakes).

6 tbsp butter
.5 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites
.25 cup soy milk
1.75 cup cake flour
2 tbsp baking powder

white chocolate chips
2 tbsp cream

8 oz light cream cheese
.25 cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Whip butter in a mixer, add sugar, and cream together.  Add vanilla, egg whites, and soy milk.  Once combined, slowly add flour a little at a time.  Add baking powder.  Then spoon out into line muffin cups.  Bake for 18 minutes.
2.  Melt about 1 cup of white chocolate in a double boiler.  Once melted, add the cream to make the ganache.  Spread on the tops of slightly cooled cupcakes.
3.  Whip cream cheese and butter together, add vanilla.  Slowly add in powdered sugar to thicken the cream cheese frosting.  Plop some frosting on each cooled cupcake (consistency won't work for pipping).  Refrigerate to 'set' the frosting, then enjoy!

Tomato Sauce - total time 40 minutes

It is that time of year when the tomatoes are abundant in the garden.  We enjoy and savor them, but can't eat all of them... so we make tomato sauce!  The example pictured was just enough sauce for one meal, but usually there are several pounds of tomatoes... so several pounds of sauce... you can freeze or can the remaining sauce.

lots of tomatoes
olive oil

1.  Wash tomatoes and remove any remaining stems or leaves.  Slice a X along the bottom of the tomato... this will allow the tomato skin to curl up and start removing itself.
2.  Place tomatoes in a pot of boiling water, turn down to a simmer.  Simmer tomatoes for five to ten minutes.  Remove the tomatoes and let cool for at least ten minutes (the longer you wait, the less you burn your fingers!).
3.  Carefully remove the skin of the tomatoes.  Remove any hard core sections (we just want the juice and 'meat' for our sauce).
4.  Mash up to tomatoes with a fork and pour back into a pot with olive oil.  Add herbs (basil, rosemary, oregano) and simmer for 15 minutes.  Your sauce is ready!

Corn Fritters - total time 30 minutes

Earlier this year, I thought about getting a grinder that could grind corn into corn meal so I could make corn bread.  These corn fritters are better than corn bread and I don't have to grind anything (in fact, they are really easy and fast).  Good for a side dish or a savory breakfast food!

.25 cup soy milk
3 tbsp lowfat cream cheese
1 egg
3 ears of corn
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp baking powder
.5 cup flour
salt & pepper

1. Combine soy milk, cream cheese, and egg in mixing bowl until smooth.  Add cut corn and minced garlic... stir some more.  Add baking powder, flour, salt, and pepper to make dough.
2.  Form into patties.  Heat olive oil in pan at medium heat.  Fry for 5 minutes each side.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!

Pretzel Chicken - total time 30 minutes

This is our new favorite way to eat chicken!  We don't eat a lot of salty snack food in our house (really not sure why), so I have had pretzels left over from the Chubby Hubby Truffles, like from forever ago, so I wanted to use them instead of letting them get stale and throwing them away.  The crushed pretzels pan-fried on the chicken is so tasty... but beware, it is not so tasty reheated... so make what you want to eat... it is easy enough to make some more when wanted!

4 chicken cutlets
.5 cup flour
2 egg whites
1 cup crushed pretzel bits
olive oil

1.  Heat pan to medium heat.  Crush pretzels in ziplock bag (prevents mess). 
2.  Coat chicken in flour, then in the egg whites, and finally in pretzel bits.  Heat oil in pan and fry on each side for about five minutes each.  Enjoy!


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