Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chocolate & Cinnamon Apple Wontons with Toasted Walnuts

I absolutely love the Fall season, especially all the wonderful desserts that are baked at this time of year.  There is nothing quite like the amazing smell of cinnamon and apples to make your home feel warm and cozy.  I've made these cinnamon apple wontons with chocolate and walnuts to bring out that tart apple pie flavor along with the sweetness from the chocolate.  These wontons are baked so they are much healthier than your typical fall dessert, but just as delicious.  You can serve them with a side of ice cream or frozen yogurt.


Cooking Spray
2 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and minced   
1 Tbsp packed light brown sugar  
1 Tsp fresh lemon juice   
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon 
3 Tbsp toasted, chopped walnuts
4 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
about 30 wonton wrappers
1 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, chocolate chips, walnuts and cinnamon; toss to coat apples.

Place wonton wrappers on a flat surface. Drop apple mixture by teaspoonfuls onto center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of wrapper with wet fingers, fold over one corner to make a triangle and press sides together to seal. 

Transfer filled wrappers to prepared baking sheet and coat surfaces with cooking spray.

Bake until wontons are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Place wontons on individual plates and sift powdered sugar on top.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Garlic Chicken

This garlic chicken recipe is packed with flavor.  You can make the chicken ahead of time and then refrigerate the leftovers so you don't have to cook for the next few days.  This is one of those dishes that gets even better the next day.


1 Tsp red pepper flakes   
1/2 Tsp dried rosemary 
1/2 Tsp dried basil  
1/2 Tsp kosher salt   
1/4 Tsp black pepper 
2 Tbsp chopped parsley  
1 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), four 4-oz pieces   
1 tsp olive oil   
12 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), halved   
1 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth, reduced-sodium, divided   

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with herb mixture.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook 2 minutes on each side. Add garlic and 3⁄4 cup broth. 

Place pan in oven. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until chicken is done and garlic cloves are soft.

Remove pan from oven. Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm. Add remaining 1⁄4 cup broth to pan. Mash garlic with a fork. Cook garlic mixture over medium heat 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated; stir. Serve garlic sauce over chicken.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Onion Stuffed Cornish Hen

Yesterday, I went to Coffee Bean's free Kaldi coffee machine giveaway on the Sunset Strip.  It was a fun event and I met some cool people while I waited in a line that was almost 2 miles long!!  I ended up with a nice, new coffee machine (I'll be posting some drink recipes soon), but the temperature was scorching hot so by the time I got home I was worn out and had absolutely no energy for cooking.  I was beyond happy to have this cornish hen recipe ready to pop in the oven.  Dinner was waiting for me by the time I finished a nap and it was just what I needed after such a long day.  The cornish hen is an easy meal to make and one that you can prepare ahead of time and then bake when you want to eat it.  The best part is that it doesn't require a lot of fancy ingredients so you can really make it anytime.  I like having brown rice to go with it so that I can take out the onion mixture from the hen and mix it with the rice.  It's a heavenly combo.


1 cornish hen
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 Tsp kosher salt
1/2 Tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup water or chicken broth
1 Tsp low-sodium soy sauce to drizzle on hen


Pre-heat oven to 370 F.

Wash hen from inside and outside.

Dice onion and put in small bowl.  Add salt and pepper on diced onion.  Add 2 Tbsp soy sauce and stir together.

Stuff hen with onion mixture.

Place hen in a roasting pan.  Sprinkle top of hen with 1/4 tsp salt and a 1/4 tsp pepper.  Drizzle with 1 tsp soy sauce.  Pour 1 cup water or chicken broth into pan.  Roast on bottom rack for about 1 hour and 30 min. or until done and golden brown.  If water/chicken broth evaporates during cooking, be sure to add more.

Baked Chicken Macaroni with Creamy Bechamel Sauce

One of my favorite comfort foods is baked mac n' cheese.  I love the creamy cheese sauce, but I don't love the high fat and calories so I've chosen to make a healthier version with bechamel sauce.  It is just as creamy and delicious as regular mac n' cheese, but it won't derail your diet.  It's a great, hearty meal to dig into on the upcoming cold, fall days.  I also serve this dish at Thanksgiving and everyone loves it.


Chicken Pasta 

2 cups whole wheat Penne pasta
1 bone-in chicken breast
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Bechamel Sauce

4 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/4 Tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 Tsp black pepper, or to taste


For Chicken & Pasta

Cook Penne pasta according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a pot, boil breast of chicken in about 3 cups of water, add more water as necessary.  Add about 1/4 teaspon salt and a 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to chicken while it is boiling.

Lower the heat.  Cover and cook chicken until it is done.

Bechamel Sauce

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add flour and whisk together until a bit brown.  Add milk gradually.  Whisk every time you add milk.  Continue whisking until sauce thickens.  Add salt and pepper, stir together and remove from heat.

Preparing Pasta

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

Shred chicken into small pieces.

In a pie dish, add half of the pasta.  Add shredded chicken.  Add 4 Tbsp of bechamel sauce over pasta and chicken and stir.

Add rest of pasta and pour the rest of the bechamel sauce over it.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake in middle rack of oven until top is golden brown.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stuffed Shortbread Cookies

A look at what's inside

I've created a slightly different taste to these cookies, which are also known as ma'amoul.  They are very popular in the Middle East, especially during times of celebrations.  Essentially, they are shortbread cookies filled with dates or different types of nuts.  This recipe is for the date-filled shortbread cookies.  I love them because they are not overly sugary like other cookies, but they still satisfy my sweet tooth.  They may look like fig newtons, but they are so much better because they have a variety of spices that gives the dough a unique and rich flavor.  The cookie crust literally melts in your mouth and the date filling is soft and sweet.  When you bake these your house will fill up with the smells of cinnamon and spice, which makes you feel like the holiday season has started.  These are super easy to make so you can whip up a batch for your next party or just as a treat for yourself.

A side note:  You should be able to find mahlab at a Mediterranean or Indian store.  If you can't find it, you can leave it out and the cookies will still taste good.


For Dough

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups fine semolina flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm water
3 1/2 sticks softened butter
1/2 Tbsp yeast
1/2 Tsp sugar
1 Tsp ground mahlab
1 Tsp nutmeg
1 Tsp anise
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp black caraway seeds

For Filling

16 oz macerated/pureed dates
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tsp cinnamon


For Dough

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.

Place butter, semolina and flour in a bowl.  Knead with your hands until butter is incorporated.

Add warm water mixture and knead again.  Add mahlab, nutmeg, anise, cinnamon, and black caraway seeds.  Knead again to get everything mixed together.

Cover bowl with towel and let stand for 6 hours.

For Filling

You can prepare the filling once the dough is ready, it does not have to be made ahead of time.  Place dates in microwave safe bowl with butter and cinnamon.  Microwave for 1 min.  Take out of            microwave and stir together.  Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand at room temp. until ready to use for dough.

Making Cookies

Pre-heat to 375 F.

Cut dough into pieces and form a medium size ball.  Create a large indentation in ball with your thumb and add date filling.  Seal up the ball and flatten into a round cookie shape. You can use a fork to create designs on the cookie. 

If you have a cookie mold/ma'amoul wooden mold like the one below you can use that to shape the cookies.

Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet on middle rack of oven.  Bake until golden brown on bottom and top (about 10 min.).  If your oven doesn't brown evenly, you may need to use broil to get the tops brown.  Be sure to watch the cookies if you do this.  Let cool completely and serve. 

Tip:  You can also store these cookies in an airtight container and place them in the freezer.  When you take them out and let them thaw, they will taste just as fresh as if you had just baked them.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...