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Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Ribs

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Yet another recipe I found on Facebook courtesy of Tasty on Buzzfeed! I changed it up a little bit and they came out amazing! And yes, they browned IN THE SLOW COOKER!  Wow, talk about falling off the bones. I will definitely be making these again! The original recipe called for 1 rack of ribs, I had 2 so I doubled the recipe. Took a little clever maneuvering of the ribs but they came out just beautiful.  The recipe will be for 1 rack but definitely double it up to two.

The smell in my kitchen all day was heavenly. I also used a mix of honey and agave. I didn’t have enough honey in the house so I improvised. I think if I had used all honey they may have been a little sweeter but these came out just fine. Use all honey if you want or all agave or both. Sticky, messy, tender, melt in your mouth pork. They are a little bit like chinese spare ribs but better, way more meat for sure. I used St. Louis style ribs but I am sure you can use any type. I like the St. Louis because they are meatier. Make sure you have plenty of napkins on hand! Leftovers will be divine!

Tip: Use a slow cooker liner for easy cleanup! Trust me!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (2 ½-3 lb) rack of pork ribs, halved
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup agave
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine in a small bowl the salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder. Season the ribs evenly by rubbing all over and on the sides.
  2. Add the honey/agave, soy sauce and garlic to a large slow cooker. (I used a 5 qt)
  3. Carefully place the ribs into the cooker and turn them over into the sauce until they are coated. Then place the ribs standing up (yes I said standing up, this confused me at first too), with the meatier side down so that the meat side is against the walls of the slow cooker. Bones should be facing in. (Since I used two racks I had 4 pieces and I just overlapped them a little making sure most of the meat part was against the wall) You can also now pour sauce all over them making sure all gets covered.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours. (I checked them at 7 hours and turned them over, still keeping the meat to the wall)
  5. Check to make sure also that the meat is cooked through and tender when time is up.
  6. Carefully remove the ribs to a cutting board and cut apart. They will most like fall off the bone. 
  7. Serve with additional sauce from the slow cooker if you desire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scrumptious Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-Fry

 After many requests here is the recipe! I modified this recipe from a Rocco DiSpirito recipe. The man knows good food! Before making this recipe the only way I had ever cooked asparagus, and only thin asparagus, was to roast it, whole. This recipe I ventured into unknown territory. I used much thicker asparagus and cut into bite size pieces! I also used a vegetable peeler to get off some of the thicker layers on the stalks. And you know that wonderful thing that happens to our body when you eat asparagus? I won’t say what it is but if you’ve ever eaten asparagus you know what I mean. Well apparently when you cut it up and not cook it whole that little phenomenon doesn’t occur!  It’s a win win! Plus this recipe is figure friendly. I would also recommend reading the entire recipe all the way through before cooking. Make the stir-fry sauce first also. You can even make it a few days before if you want.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin

1 large bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut on an angle into 1″ pieces

12-16 ounces medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined. NO TAILS!!!

¾-1 cup cooked brown rice (remember brown is better for you!)

½ cup chopped fresh basil 

sesame seeds for garnish

salt and pepper

2/3 cup of Rocco’s “Rockin’ Asian Stir-Fry Sauce” (see recipe below) or you can use a store-bought sugar-free teriyaki sauce. (Make this BEFORE you start cooking the stir-fry)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the onion and asparagus and stir fry until the veggies are almost tender, about 6 minutes or so.

2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper to taste and add to the pan. Add the rice to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often to get everything heated through.

3. Add the stir fry sauce. When the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is hot, about 2-4 minutes, stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add sesame seeds for garnish.

Serves 4

Stir-Fry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sesame oil

¼ cup chopped fresh ginger (this is key!)

6 cloves of garlic, minced

½ bunch of scallions (white and green part) chopped fine

1 tablespoon cornstarch

6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

¾ cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons rice vinegar, plain

½ cup reduced-sugar ketchup (Heinz is the best)

salt and pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan/skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions. Saute, stirring frequently, until very fragrant. About 2-3 minutes.

2. In the meantime, place the cornstarch in a medium bowl and add the soy sauce, chicken broth, vinegar and ketchup. Whisk to blend.

3. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauté pan and bring the sauce to a simmer.

4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper if you want.

5. Store in a covered container in refrigerator for up to a week.

This sauce is incredible. I used it on ribs also. Tasted just like chinese spare ribs! 

This makes about 1¾ cups.

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Shrimp Egg Rolls

Today is all about me venturing into the realm of the large wonton wrappers! Yes I have now graduated from the small ones to the big ones! I have to admit, I was a little scared of not rolling them right, or having the filling ooze all over the place. But my fears were for naught!

 I had seen this recipe on an episode of Hungry Girl and I figured it looked easy enough so I tried it! They were such a success I made them two nights in a row for dinner! Yes, they are usually an appetizer but who says they have to be? Now this recipe calls for scallions and bean sprouts. I was out of both of them so I left them out in this batch. Still came out awesome! The best part of this recipe is that they are baked, not fried! Saves a ton of calories (each roll is about 100 calories) and they still come out crispy and yummy! 

I ended up using the whole package in two days so I have to restock my supply of large wrappers. Remember you can find them in the produce department in the Asian section. Even Walmart’s produce section has them! They are so easy to make and you can substitute anything you want in them. Not a fan of shrimp? Use chopped cooked chicken or chopped cooked pork. These are great for getting rid of leftovers in the refrigerator! Just make them into an egg roll!

I doubled the original recipe (it was an accident actually so I made it work) therefore, this makes a lot of filling. I got about 20 egg rolls out of it. No leftovers!

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag coleslaw mix (12-16 oz.)

8 oz. cooked and chopped shrimp

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped

½ cup bean sprouts, chopped

4 scallions, chopped (green and white parts)

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced widthwise

3-4 tablespoons reduced-sodium or lite soy sauce

2 teaspoons crushed garlic (I used 4 cloves)

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

Several dashes black pepper

sesame seeds, optional

20 large square egg roll/wonton wrappers

Sauces for dipping

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Put slaw mix into a large microwave-safe bowl with 4 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Drain any excess water. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the wrappers of course). Mix well and set aside. You can set it in the fridge to marinate for about 20 minutes for a better flavor.
  3. Using a large baking sheet spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  4. Using a clean, dry surface place a wonton wrapper. Evenly distribute about ½ cup of the mixture onto the wrapper, just below center, in a row.
  5. Moisten all four edges of the wrapper by dabbing your fingers in water and running them around the edges smoothly. This will help the wrappers stick better.
  6. Fold the sides of the wrapper about 3/4 inch towards the center. This keeps the mixture from falling out of the sides. Next, roll the bottom of each wrapper up around the mixture and continue rolling until you reach the top. Seal the outside edge with another dab of water. Go slow at first till you get the hang of it. It’s actually pretty easy.
  7. Carefully transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you have made enough rolls. Keep the surface you are working on, dry and clean.
  8. Spray the tops of the egg rolls with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish.
  9. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. I baked for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve!

Be very careful as they will be extremely HOT! We cut them in half to let steam out before eating. I also made my own sauce using Mikoto ginger dressing and some soy sauce. Delish! Enjoy!

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Asian Style Quinoa

Once again I am looking for things to add to my yummy quinoa dishes. That is one of the great things about quinoa. It’s so versatile! Love it!! Anyway, I was making my Asian style pork chops for dinner and decided to have quinoa with it. So I came up with this quick and easy dish to go with it. This recipe used the plain white quinoa, only because I was out of the colorful ones. Use whichever you wish. I’m finding more and more recipes with quinoa and it’s getting easier to find in the regular supermarket which is fantastic! I still like to get mine from Whole Foods (when I take the trek there) because I can get it in bulk. Much better for me. Just look for it in your local grocery store with the rice and you’ll be happy you did!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

2 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth (gives it a better flavor)

3 scallions sliced, green and white parts

4-5 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (it really does make a difference)

1 tablespoon soy sauce*

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place the chicken broth and quinoa in a medium pot.

2. Bring the broth to a boil, lower to simmer, covered. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.

3. When quinoa is done keep stove on low but add in the garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Mix well. Add the scallions and serve.

*If you want more soy sauce just add it. This is a conservative amount but feel free to add more.

Makes about 4 servings

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Asian Garlic Salmon with Spinach

Ok, I love garlic. It’s more of a condiment in my house. So if garlic isn’t your thing just reduce the amount in the recipe. I won’t be upset. This is a very simple recipe. It also doesn’t take long to cook so it’s great for a weeknight after a long day at work. I made this the other night after stopping at the supermarket on the way home. I had thought about getting rib-eyes for dinner but they were way too expensive. So I strolled past the fish counter. The salmon jumped out at me so I got a large one pound piece, with the skin on it. You can always get it without the skin if you prefer. Once I got home I cut the piece into 2 equal parts. Salmon is surprising. It doesn’t look like very much but once you start eating it you can get filled up pretty quick. So this recipe was plenty for two people. It came out so moist and delicious. Even my cat Toonces (aka The Driving Cat) loved it! I think she thought we were making it for her as she just LOVES salmon.

So give it a try. It’s fast, easy and good for you too. Lots of those good omegas for you! Plus the spinach if full of vitamins and iron. All good!


Ingredients:

1 pound fresh salmon (with or without skin), cut into 2 equal pieces

   Marinate the salmon in 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder and ground ginger. I usually do this in a large ziplock bag. Marinate for 10-20 minutes.

1 package fresh spinach (I think they are usually 12-16 ounces)

6-8 cloves garlic, chopped

2 large scallions sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Directions:

  1. Saute garlic in the olive oil until lightly golden in a large skillet.
  2. Add the spinach and cook a few minutes, mixing well with the garlic until it just starts to wilt.
  3. Add the salmon on top of the spinach and cover.
  4. Cook on medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes until salmon is a light pink. Careful not to overcook. The spinach should all be wilted by now.
  5. Put spinach on plate and top with salmon. Top salmon with scallions.
2 Comments »

Sassy Steak Bites

Ok I can’t take the credit for this recipe. It’s another great recipe from my favorite, Hungry Girl. It’s from her newest cookbook Happy Hour. (I did change the title of the recipe however) A great little book with tons of yummy snacks and cocktails! All low-calorie! She even gives Weight Watcher points for all the recipes! How cool is that! She’ll have a new TV show on the Cooking Channel in January. I can’t wait! So I was looking for something different that we could actually serve for a party snack. I like easy recipes that are really delicious that I will make more than one time. This is one of them. I love steak. Could eat it all the time! But this recipe uses it cut into little bites. The best part is it’s cooked in a slow cooker! Yep, just throw the stuff in there and forget about it for hours! Or until you need it for the party!

This recipe is a little more substantial for a party snack. It’s more filling therefore everyone won’t fill up on too much else! This makes 5 servings so if you need more just double the recipe. The serving stats I got from the Hungry Girl website with all her photos of all her recipes. Check it out! I am trying to get back into healthier eating again now that the holidays are almost gone and the New Year is upon us. My New Year resolution is to start going to the gym in my community’s clubhouse. I didn’t say how much I would go but I am going to go. I’ll keep everyone posted. Once I start that and get in a routine it’s back to Weight Watchers for me! But for now try this easy snack and enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Hungry Girl

INGREDIENTS:

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple packed in juice, lightly drained

1/3 cup sweet Asian chili sauce

½ teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicier

1 pound raw lean beefsteak filet, cut into about 30 bite-sized pieces

1 onion, finely chopped (a medium size onion is good)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place pineapple, chili sauce, soy sauce and crushed red pepper in a crock pot. Mix it well.

2. Add the beef and onion and stir well to coat.

3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or on LOW for 7-8 hours.

4. Serve with excess sauce and toothpicks.

Per Serving: (about 6 bites with sauce) 196 calories, 4.5g fat, 254mg sodium, 18g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 15g sugars, 19.5g protein. Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value: 5

2 Comments »

Seafood & Cream Cheese Wontons

I have eaten many wontons in my life. But I have never made them myself. Well after I saw the recipe on Budget Bytes for Lobster & Cream Cheese Wontons I thought I should give it a try! How hard could it be! HA! It actually wasn’t that hard. The hard part was getting the hang of the wontons! First I put too much filling and it oozed out all over. What a mess. Then I put too little filling. And finally I think I got it right. Though my husband said it needed more filling. Next time I will improve. Promise! I found the wonton wrappers in the produce department near the organic stuff. They only had one size so that’s what I got. I also used light cream cheese, as usual. I have to say even though they were weird shapes, they did come out pretty tasty! I served them to my neighbors at the monthly “Girls Happy Hour” we have. They were a hit. The leftovers were gone that night when my husband got home. I served them with a teryiaki sauce for dipping. These little guys are so tasty and they are only lightly pan-fried to crisp and brown them a little bit. No deep-frying involved! And of course I added garlic to the recipe as well as some ginger.

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces light cream cheese, softened

8 ounces Imitation crab or lobster meat (of use the real stuff if you can afford it!)

1 large egg

2-3 scallions, chopped

1 package wonton wrappers

½ teaspoon Sriracha Hot Sauce (In the asian food section)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ginger

Cooking Spray

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, green onion, egg, Sriracha sauce, garlic and ginger. When it’s mixed well add the crabmeat breaking up the chunks as you mix them in.

2. Working on a pastry board or cutting board work in groups of about 6 wontons at a time. Have a small bowl of water to help seal the edges of the wrappers. Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wonton square. Using your fingers, wet the wrapper all along the edges on all 4 sides. Fold the wrapper over diagonally to form a triangle and pinch the edges to seal. Using more water if needed. Try to get as much air out of the center as possible and fold over the corners to wrap. If this doesn’t work, just fold or crimp the edges to seal as best you can. The shape doesn’t matter.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Working in groups of 8-10 wontons, drop them into the boiling water and remove once they begin to float (about 3 minutes). Place the boiled wontons on a cooling rack or large platter to drain. The wontons will look nice and transparent. Don’t put them on paper towels. They will stick to them if you do!

4. When you have all the wontons boiled and drained, heat a large non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray, over medium-high heat. When the skillet is nice and hot, place about 8-10 wontons (depends on how many you can fit without overcrowding)in at a time. Cook on each side until they are golden brown, crispy and blistering a little in some spots. If you need more spray in the pan use as you go along. I had to add several times. This will crisp up the wontons nicely.

5. Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce. Teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, ponzu sauce all work nice. Even have some hot chinese mustard or extra Sriracha sauce if you want! I also had leftover filling so I added some chopped celery and we made a spread for crackers with it! Delicious!

Makes about 32 wontons.

2 Comments »

Baked Shrimp Balls

Ok I can hear the comments now, even from my husband. “I didn’t know Shrimp had balls! And why would we want to eat them?” Funny! Ha ha! This recipe does not have bread crumbs or other heavy filler in it either. Baking them also cuts down on the calories but not the taste. The picture I put in is not of my own, yet. But if anyone makes them, take a picture and send me a copy and I will post it! Send to my website email at agenua@cucinadiandrea.com. These are also very easy to make so give it a try and let me know how they come out! I will do the same!

Ok, the picture has been updated to my own photo. I made these over the weekend. I cut the recipe in half as it was too much for just two of us. Has anyone made them? Ok, all I have to say is maybe they left out something in the recipe. They were easy to make, smelled good, looked good but taste? Hmmm not so much. They fell apart for the most part.  I made a quick honey mustard sauce to go with it. (¼ cup light mayo, ¼ cup Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon agave nectar) Sauce was great! Shrimp balls needed something for sure. So I made them into a crustless Quiche the next night for dinner! Broke them all up and added egg beaters, half and half, spinach, cheese, dill and some hot sauce.  I will post the outcome tomorrow!

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds shelled, deveined shrimp, minced

6 canned water chestnuts, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon cornstarch

3 teaspoons olive oil

Pepper to taste

lemon wedges

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place everything but the lemon wedges into a bowl and mix together.

2. Shape mixture into small balls (about 1 teaspoon). Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Spray balls with olive oil and bake at 350º for 20 minutes. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

They reheat well also!

Makes about 50-60 shrimp balls depending on how large you make them. Mangia!

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Asian Burgers & Slaw

There’s nothing like a juicy cheeseburger. But every so often I want a change and this Asian burger is just that. It’s made with ground chicken and is low in fat and has a high protein count. It’s an easy and fast recipe to make also so it should make a nice quick dinner when you’re in a hurry or just want to relax.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. ground skinless chicken breast

6 tablespoons low-fat Asian sesame salad dressing

3 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs

2 scallions, chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

1 (12 oz.) bag broccoli coleslaw mix

2 tablespoons water


DIRECTIONS:

1. Spray the broiler rack with nonstick spray; preheat the broiler.

2. Mix the chicken, 3 tablespoons of the dressing, breadcrumbs, scallions and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Form into 4 burgers. Broil 5 inches from the heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

3. Microwave the coleslaw and water, covered in a microwavable bowl on HIGH until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Drain. Toss with 1 tablespoon dressing and the remaining salt. Top the burgers with the remaining dressing. Serve with the coleslaw.

Serves 4

Calories per serving (1 burger with 3/4 cup coleslaw) 233, 6 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 28 grams protein, WW Points 5


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