Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Semi-home made low fat brownies

 

There are millions of recipes online on how to reduce the calories when making cakes, brownies and cookies from a box mix. They usually involve substituting the oil/butter and eggs for diet soda, apple sauce or pumpkin pie filling/puree.

I came across a recipe (via hungry girl) that used non-fat greek yogurt instead. She suggested using a chocolate cake mix. She said the cake came out with sort of a brownie feel to it. It decided to take it up a notch and use low-fat brownie mix instead.

Ingredients
1 box of low fat brownie mix
1 5.3oz cup of non-fat greek yogurt
1 5.3oz cup of water (just use the empty cup of yogurt to measure)

Preparation
Grease pan and pour mix into pan
Follow box instructions

Brownies are ready once a toothpick or knife comes out clean or the sides start to pull away from pan.

Verdict - tastes delicious, perhaps a little too sweet even (artificial sweeteners maybe?). The brownies were a tad too gooey and hard to take out of the pan. Perhaps I needed to allow to cool much longer. The box suggested lining the pan with foil - which perhaps helps this problem.

All in all, it is a nice treat and a kinda guilt-free.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Eggs, eggs and more eggs

Today, I want to talk a little bit about breakfast food - eggs to be specific. I love eggs. Not just because they taste good and can be used in many different ways, but because they are also pretty darn nutritious and filling. Sometimes, I even have em for dinner. Shhh...

What I've got for you here is not much of a cooking lesson; but two delicious breakfast plates and how you too can enjoy them.

First, I've got an Egg and Turkey Bacon wrap.

It is super simple. Whisk two eggs with your favorite seasonings and fry in a non stick pan (or in a regular pan sprayed with cooking spray), cook three slices of turkey bacon as you like and warm up a wholewheat wrap. Layer the egg and bacon with a little (or lot) bit of ketchup and roll it up. 

Et Voila!

Secondly, I've got a family favorite - Sardine Eggs, and I've made it a meal by adding a side of homemade roast potatoes.


Whisk up two eggs, add one (or two) mashed up canned sardines, salt and pepper (to taste). If you like, add a little cayenne pepper to give it some kick. Fry in a non-stick pan just like above and pair with some roast potatoes or hash browns. If you are like me, ketchup completes the dish :-)

Also simple, and delicious!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ground Pork Pockets

This beautiful afternoon, I've got for you a nice hors d'oeuvre or snack. I made them just because, but I can definitely see them going down well for a party or get together.

They are basically a semi-homemade/quick take on the traditional meat pies that are common in England and other countries that have some sort of British influence like Nigeria or Jamaica. I guess in some sense it is also similar to an Italian calzone.

Anyways, it's really simple.

Step 1: Brown some ground pork (beef, turkey, chicken or even pork sausage) in a pan. Add chopped onions, chopped bell pepper and chopped carrots. Season as you like (I used adobo, black pepper and a little salt) and cook until all is tender and delicious. Take off heat and allow to cool.

Step 2: Grab a can of biscuit dough and flatten each one to about 1/2 inch thick.
 


Step 3: Scoop about a tablespoon of the cooled down meat mixture unto one side of the flattened biscuit. Gently cover the meat side with the meatless side and use hands to seal the ends.


Step 4: Use a fork to seal the ends properly by pressing down on the edges - all around and place on a baking sheet. Poke little holes on each one by piercing with a fork once (this lets out steam from the inside in the baking process).


Step 5: Place in a 350 degree preheated oven and cook according to the instructions on the biscuit dough packaging (12 -15 minutes in this case). The pockets are ready when they begin to brown at the top.

Allow to cool and enjoy! 

It's not your traditional flaky short crust or filo dough which you might be used to, but, it is no less delicious :D



Note: Got some left over meat mixture, add some tomato paste, and spice it up with some garlic powder or whatever seasoning you like and you've got great pasta sauce. That's exactly what I did!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fish curry

Today, I've got for you a very simple yet delicious fish curry dish. As usual, there is an inspiration of sorts story lol - the catfish cutlets on sale at the local grocery store.

Ingredients
Catfish (or any other fish you like) cutlets
Sliced onions
Sliced green and red bell peppers
Sliced carrots
Curry powder
Canola oil (olive or any other is fine too)
salt
cayenne pepper (optional)

What to do
- Heat about 2 tbsp of canola oil in a wok or deep frying pan (or pot)
- Add sliced onions and cook until tender
- Add sliced bell peppers and cook till tender
- Add sliced carrots
- Add curry powder (about a hefty table spoon, depending on quantity of fish)
- Add fish cutlets
- Add enough water to almost cover the cutlets and cover pan
- Reduce heat  and leave to simmer about 5 minutes
- Turn cutlets over to ensure it cooks all the way through and allow to simmer another 5 minutes
- Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste
- The sauce should have thickened by now (adjust with water according to preference)
- Simmer another 2 minutes and it is done

Serve over brown rice for a healthy but delicious meal!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Plantain Porridge (pottage)

Today's addition y'all, is a happy co-incidence.

We bought some green plantains from the grocery store, hoping they'll ripen overnight like they usually do but lo and behold, a week later, they were as green as ever.

I'd seen a couple of latin American recipes on cooking shows over the years and was thinking I'd try one. In my quest to find a recipe, I actually stumbled upon a Nigerian recipe (go figure). It was basically a typical yam porridge/pottage recipe, which I know like the back of my hands but instead of yam, you use green plantains.

So, here we go!

Ingredients
- green (unripe) plantains
- spinach
- onions
- ground shrimp
- palm oil
- ground red (cayenne) pepper
- salt
- crayfish or shrimp maggi (optional)

Preparation
- Peel and chop up green plantains into 1-2 inch rounds
- Place in a pot on medium heat with enough water to almost cover the plantains and cook until almost done (about 10 minutes)
- Slice onions and add to the pot, cook until the onions soften
- Add ground shrimp (or crayfish) and cayenne pepper and stir in
- Mash a little bit of the plantain to thicken the boiling liquid (this will naturally happen as the plantain softens)
- Chop up spinach and add to the pot, along with palm oil. Leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add salt to taste and simmer another 5 minutes.

This recipe is great for lunch. It can be eaten alone or with a protein like fish on the side.

I was a little skeptical about how this would taste since I really don't like unripe plantains. This my friends was surprisingly yummy. I definitely plan to make this again soon.

You should too! Enjoy :-)



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Honey Coconut Candy

Nigerians don't have a lot of dessert recipes, but this one right here is a favorite. It is probably more like a snack and mostly consumed by kids, but of course that doesn't stop me :-)

Typically the recipe is made with white sugar but I decided to experiment with honey (healthier) and also attempt to 'adultify' it a bit.

I actually made this about a year ago with intentions of posting it but I guess it skipped my mind.

Anyways, here it is.

Ingredients
Unsweetend coconut flakes/dried ground coconut (easily found in the baking aisles of most grocery stores)
Honey

Preparation
- Place coconut flakes and honey in a pan  and stir continuously until incorporated and it turns golden brown and sticky.
- Take off heat and allow to cool slightly
- Use a tablespoon to scoop about a spoonful of mixture
- Roll in wet palms into balls
- Allow to cool on the counter-top or refrigerator until it hardens a bit (to toffee/caramel candy like consistency)

It doesn't taste as sweet as the sugar based coconut candy I grew up with - I think it is actually better!

Spicy Turkey Meatballs

I was at the grocery store and as usual browsing the meat aisles for a good deal.

There was some ground turkey (85-15 - a little more fat than I like) at a great price.

I have a few recipes I've used ground turkey for before - chilli, lasagna, shepherd's pie; don't think I've done a meatball one yet.

Anyways, here we go. It's super easy and has just 5 ingredients.

Ingredients

1 family size pack of ground turkey, an egg, 1/2 a large red bell pepper, 1/4 of a large white onion (both finely chopped), Adobo seasonings (salt and black pepper optional)

What to do

Step 1: In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon

Step 2: Divide mixture into 12 equal parts. An easy way is to divide in four by running a line both horizontally and vertically and dividing each quarter into three. The mixture will be a tad sticky so wet fingers and palms lightly.

Step 3: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Then mold into rounds (meat balls) and place in a baking dish. 

Step 4: Bake in oven until brown and cooked all the way through (you can spray a little bit of cooking spray on the meatballs if you like). At about half way through, pour out the liquid and place back in the oven until done. It takes about 35 - 45 minutes.

Et Voila!


Serve with a little bit of ketchup and enjoy as a snack (like I did in the above picture) or serve along with pasta, rice or whatever you like.