Monday, July 27, 2009

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Orzo

This is a great and super easy side dish that I have entertained with several times. Best of all, it's cheap! It's awesome with my goat cheese and spinach stuffed chicken breasts, but that's a post for another day. The original source for the recipe is
here, but I've made some minor variations.


  • 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic

 Boil the orzo and drain. Rinse well, because it can glob up on you.  Put everything else (except for the cheese) in a food processor and pulse until almost smooth.  Stir it into the cooked orzo and then stir in the cheese.  That's it.  Easy, right?


P.S.  Karen!  Where are your posts, lady?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't Ask Don't Tell Brownies

I should let you know right away that the title of these brownies was borrowed/modified from the title of a cookie in Joanne Fluke's Cream Puff Murder.  She makes chocolate cookies with chopped sauerkraut in them.  You don't taste the sauerkraut, but the kraut adds some moisture-- much like zucchini in zucchini bread.  These brownies are from Allrecipes, but I made some modifications.  They are similar to Fluke's cookies in that you would never guess what is in them, and the surprise ingredient is not something you would ever think of as a dessert.  The recipe calls for black beans. Recipes like this have been floating around the internet for awhile. I think it all began with Heidi's version. Anna posted an index of these healthy recipes on national bean day. It was Anna who lead me to this incarnation and I am so grateful!

I have been trying to watch what I eat, and I am going to Curves 3 or 4 times a week. It's hard not to eat sweets, so these seemed like a great alternative. These brownies are high in protein, low in fat and have a reasonable amount of sugar. I didn't have black beans, so I subbed black-eyed peas. They were still fantastic!

Start by dumping all of the following ingredients into your blender:

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional-- I used 1 tsp. brewed coffee)

Puree until smooth. You may have to scrape down the blender, but it should have a very smooth, velvety texture.

Pour the batter into a greased 8x8 pan and sprinkle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the top is dry and the edges have pulled away from the side of the pan.

Let cool slightly and cut into squares. The texture is velvety and smooth and any beaniness is overcome by the chocolate chips and cocoa powder. Enjoy! ( I know I will!)


Monday, July 6, 2009

Really Easy Crockpot Beef Barbecue

This BBQ is amazingly good and it isn't fatty and gristly like other BBQs I've had. Also, I'm not a pork fan, so the fact that this is a beef recipe makes it even better for me. In Chattanooga, people eat their BBQ sandwiches with coleslaw on top of the meat. I've heard it's a Southern thing, but I'm no expert. This is a pretty generous recipe too. The first time I made it, Matt and I had BBQ sandwiches for lunch for a week and we didn't mind, because it's that good. :)

I got this recipe from allrecipes and you can check it out here. I'll list a summarized recipe below if you don't care to visit the site. One note--this recipe calls for a bottle of barbecue sauce. Look for one that has tomato sauce as a first ingredient and preferably one that uses brown sugar and/or molasses instead of high fructose corn syrup. FYI--America's Test Kitchen ranked Bullseye as their fave. I can't get that here, but I used KC Masterpiece and it was delicious.

1 boneless chuck roast (3 lbs. approx)
garlic powder
onion powder
salt and pepper
1 bottle of barbecue sauce

Place roast in crock pot. Season with spices and pour entire bottle of barbecue sauce over the roast.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours and then remove meat to shred/pull apart. Add it back to the sauce and cook for at least another half an hour.