Beer and Lime Marinated Chicken Fajitas

Tonight’s dinner was these delicious marinated chicken fajitas. To be honest I did not measure my ingredients for my marinade, this allows you to season according to your flavor preferences. A quick stir-fry for the meat and veggies allows these fajitas to be done in a matter of minutes. I served my fajitas without a tortilla (to save some calories), black beans and yellow rice. It was a very filling meal with less than 245 calories! As a bonus, this entire meal comes together in less than 30 minutes.

BEER AND LIME MARINATED CHICKEN FAJITAS
123 calories per serving (Serves 4)

1 whole chicken boneless skinless chicken breast
cumin
seasoning salt
coriander
onion powder
garlic powder
lime juice
1/2 bottled beer

1 T vegetable oil, divided
1 medium size orange pepper
1/2 medium red onion

Trim chicken breasts of any fat and slice thinly. Put into a dish to marinate. Add seasonings, lime juice and beer. Stir. Allow to marinade 15 minutes. Thinly slice onion and pepper, set aside.

Heat wok over high heat. Add 1/2 T oil to wok, stir-fry onion and pepper for 5 minutes. Remove to separate dish. Add 1/2 T oil to wok, stir-fry chicken for 5 minutes. Discard marinade. Add onions and peppers to chicken and combine for 1-2 minutes. Serve as you wish. ENJOY!

My First Daring Baker’s Challenge

I’ve joined Daring Bakers! At the end of each month I watch my Google Reader with much anticipation waiting to see what that month’s challenge was and the beautiful photos that accompany the delicious recipes. Each month I tell myself, “well I could have baked that”.

Baking isn’t my strong point, I don’t have a ton of baking experience. To me baking does not provide the freedom that cooking does. Baking is a science, and measurements need to be accurate. The precision involved intrigues me. I decided to spread my wings and give it a try. I contacted the creators of Daring Bakers and asked to be involved with the challenges. I got my request in just the nick of time, and before I know it I was emailed with all the details, including the theme of April’s challenge.

April’s theme is Cheesecake Pops. Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell hosted this month’s event. This recipe is an adaptation of one from Jill O’Connor’s book called Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.”

I have made only one cheesecake before, it was a recipe from Cooking Pleasures magazine. It turned out wonderfully, so I was really excited to tryout these Cheesecake Pops. I baked my pops at the beginning of the month and experienced some of the same problems as other bakers. The recipe says the cake will bake up in 35-40 minutes, I like most of the bakers had to increase the baking time to 60 minutes. Just keep your eye on it! These pops were so creamy and delicious! I divided my batter into two separate pans, one I flavored with orange extract. I look forward to using this recipe again, and experimenting to make it lower in calories.

I really enjoyed this month’s theme. My family loved these pops, they are a fun treat for Sasha to enjoy. If you want to see more photos of the pops, check out the Daring Baker’s blogroll. I look forward to next month’s theme, check back at the end of May to see what else I’ve dared to bake.

CHEESECAKE POPS
Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionery chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Happy Earth Day!

As a child of God, I believe that He created the world. If you are unfamiliar with the creation story in Genesis 1 please read it and review. God made the heaven and earth, and everything in it. Genesis1:31 says “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

Let’s respect God’s creation, and do what we can so our children (or future generations) can enjoy it too.

Homemade Whole Wheat Waffles

Lately I have been on a whole wheat flour kick. I have been incorporating this delicious grain into many of my baking adventures. My palate has really matured over the years. I remember when I was little my mom almost always bought whole wheat bread; eating would make me gag. I was totally a cottage white bread little girl. My mother-in-law made me a sandwich on Sara Lee’s Whole Wheat Bread with Honey. This changed my perception on wheat bread, and now it is the only sandwich bread I buy.

Haven’t eaten wheat bread in awhile? Why don’t you start simple and have whole wheat pancakes or waffles. Wheat is an excellent source of fiber and iron. These waffles are delicious, in fact, my two year old ate an entire four square waffle herself. The entire time she was eating it she kept saying “Yummy momma, mmmm.” I don’t think I will ever miss waffles made with white flour. I am a changed waffle eater.

Top your waffle with sugar free syrup (extremely low in calories) and you have yourself a low calorie and filling breakfast.

HOMEMADE WHOLE WHEAT WAFFLES
from RecipeZaar

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c oil
4 eggs
4 c buttermilk
pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon

Whisk together dry ingredients; combine oil and eggs in a measuring cup, add to dry mixture. Pour buttermilk in and whisk till all clumps and lumps are gone. pour 1/2 Cup of batter onto a hot waffle iron (for a 7 inches round), or 1 1/2 cups or ballet on a square iron (8″ by 8″ makes 4″ squares).

Banana Bread Bake Off

I am entering my Whole Wheat Banana Sour Cream Bread into a Banana Bread Bake Off hosted by Not Quite Nigella. Do you have an unbelievable banana recipe? You have until May 12th to enter your recipe. So get baking!

Whole Wheat Banana Sour Cream Bread

Last month I bought a five pound package of whole wheat flour, and have been wanting to use it for baking. This bread is quite dense, so the thinnest slice is very satisfying. I added a 1/2 c of chocolate chunks for a sweet surprise. Getting chocolate in your slice of bread is like winning the lottery, you may get a slice that has none or you may get the mother load. This bread makes approximately 24 slices per loaf with 148 calories per slice. Not too bad for a satisfying snack. I recommend eating this bread plain, it is so flavorful, butter or jams are not needed.

WHOLE WHEAT BANANA SOUR CREAM BREAD
3 ripe bananas, mushed
2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c brown sugar
2/3 c fat free sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c chocolate chips/chunks (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Pour into greased 9×5 loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. Bread is cooked completely when a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing (1-1 1/2 hours) ENJOY!

This recipe has been entered into the Banana Bread Bake Off. Wish me luck!

Oh the Pesto-bilities!

Open-faced Mediterranean Tuna Rice Cake sandwich. WOW what a mouthful–at least it is a delicious one. I currently have an open jar of Classico -Traditional Basil Pesto sitting in my fridge. I opened it the other night to use some in my Pesto Couscous.

Last night for supper I wanted a high protein, low calorie meal. Immediately I thought of tuna, tuna is a lean protein packed with omega-3 fatty acid (which is great for breastfeeding moms). Alex doesn’t care for tuna; actually he doesn’t like it at all, so I knew this tuna sandwich would be all mine. I was going to make my traditional tuna salad which consists of canned tuna and a little mayonnaise, but when I opened the fridge last night I saw the jar of pesto sitting there staring at me. I’ve never had tuna and pesto together but thought it sounded not too bad. Well I was right, it was better than not too bad, it was frickin’ awesome.

I served my tuna on Quaker White Cheddar Rice Cakes. This makes a nice low calorie snack or meal. I tried to take some pictures of this deliciousness, but the pictures did not do justice to the amazing flavor or this sandwich.

Check out my recipe for Pesto Meatballs if you need any other ideas for integrating pesto into your meals.

OPEN-FACED MEDITERRANEAN TUNA RICE CAKE SANDWICHES
1 can lite chuck tuna packed in water, drained
2 T Classico Basil Pesto
1/2 T lite Mayo
2 Quaker White Cheddar Rice Cakes

Combine tuna, pesto and mayo. Divide between two rice cakes. Eat as an open-faced sandwich. Eat both yourself or share with a friend. Enjoy!

Calories for one open-faced sandwich: 186.5