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I used to only prepare Caesar Salads when I was having a large Italian or steak dinner. Now, I make them all of the time since my three kids (who are 8, 10 and 11) love them so much. This version is only five ingredients which is perfect this time of year when you want to eat light but also are in a hurry. Purchase already-peeled and deveined shrimp to save time or substitute chicken or salmon for the shrimp. If I don’t have time to prepare a homemade dressing, I buy Ken’s Reduced-Fat Caesar dressing, which is really yummy.

 

Shrimp Caesar Salad

Prep: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

6 cups romaine lettuce leaves

11/4 pounds cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup croutons

Reduced-fat Caesar salad dressing (I like Ken’s)

Preparation

1. Toss romaine and remaining ingredients in a large salad bowl or serving platter.

Bourbon Bread Pudding from Cooking Light

I usually prepare bread pudding during Thanksgiving since I love a traditional Southern Bread Pudding drizzled with whiskey sauce. This recipe is a twist on my recipe, and it’s a great dessert idea for  St. Patrick’s day. This bread pudding is flavored with Irish whiskey and is actually a low-fat recipe weighing in at 367 calories and 6.5 grams of fat. 

By the way, I will be on Fox 6 News, WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama this Sunday at 8:40 a.m central time.

 

Irish Bread Pudding

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 45 minutes

Stand: 10 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

1/4  cup  light butter, melted

1  (10-ounce) French bread baguette, cut into 1-inch-thick slices

1/2  cup  raisins

1/4  cup  Irish whiskey or 1/4 cup apple juice

1 3/4  cups  1% low-fat milk

1  cup  sugar

1  tablespoon  vanilla extract

1  (12-ounce) can evaporated skim milk

2  large eggs, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

1  tablespoon  sugar

1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon

Irish Whiskey Sauce

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Brush melted butter on one side of French bread slices, and place bread, buttered sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake bread at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes, and set aside.

3. Combine raisins and whiskey in a small bowl; cover and let stand 10 minutes or until soft (do not drain).

4. Combine 1% milk and next 4 ingredients (1% milk through eggs) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add bread cubes and raisin mixture, pressing gently to moisten; let stand 15 minutes. Spoon bread mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over pudding. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until set. Serve warm with Caramel-Whiskey Sauce.

Irish Whiskey Sauce:

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 cups 

Ingredients

1 1/2  cups  sugar

2/3  cup  water

1/4  cup  light butter

2  ounces  1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel) (about 1/4 cup)

1/4  cup  Irish whiskey

1/4  cup  1% low-fat milk

Preparation

1. Combine sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Cook an additional 15 minutes or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat. Carefully add butter and cream cheese, stirring constantly with a whisk (mixture will be hot and bubble vigorously). Cool slightly, and stir in whiskey and milk.

Note: Substitute 1 tablespoon imitation rum extract and 3 tablespoons water for the Irish whiskey, if desired.

Warm Fudge-Filled Cheesecake from Southern Living

Okay, yes, my birthday is today so deciding what to put up on the blog was tricky. I tried to think what are some of my favorite desserts? Coconut cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake and any peanut butter treats come to mind. I even thought, maybe a cupcake or a chocolate chip cookie, hmm. Well, after much debate, I remembered one of my all-time favorite cheesecake recipes from when I still worked at Southern Living. This version is awesome! The hint of pistachios makes it really special, and I’m a semisweet chocolate lover for sure. Enjoy this recipe for years to come for your celebrations.

 

Warm Chocolate Cheesecake

Prep: 25 minutes

Cook: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

1/2  cup  butter or margarine, softened

1/3  cup  sugar

1  cup  all-purpose flour

1  tablespoon  vanilla, divided

2/3  cup  chopped pistachios

4  (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/2  cups  sugar

4  large eggs

1  (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate mini-morsels

Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Garnish: chocolate shavings

Preparation

1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add 1/3 cup sugar, beating well. Gradually add flour, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and pistachios. Press into bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

3. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla. (Do not overmix.)

3. Pour half of batter into crust; sprinkle with chocolate morsels to within 3/4 inch of edge. Pour in remaining batter, starting at outer edge and working toward center. Place cheesecake on a baking sheet.

5. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until set. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour. Serve slightly warm with sweetened whipped cream, if desired. Garnish, if desired.

Love This Lasagna Soup

March 2, 2009

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If you love lasagna, you will love this soup. All of my favorite ingredients, spinach, sausage and tomatoes and cheese, fill this soup, and it is so quick and easy. Using the mini farfalle noodles works perfect in this recipe as they truly look like mini lasagna noodles. My family was wowed by the soup. Serve with a salad and some fresh crusty bread, and dinner is on the table in no time.

 

Lasagna Soup

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 cups

Ingredients

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrots

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups low-salt, fat-free chicken broth

1 (141/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil and oregano

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 cup mini farfalle pasta (piccolini) “Barilla” makes it

2 cups fresh spinach

2 cups freshly grated Asiago cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil, (optional)

Preparation

1. Brown sausage in a large Dutch over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic; saute 3 minutes more.

2. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil. Add pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. 

3. Place 1/4 cup Asiago cheese into each bowl; pour soup on top garnish with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil, if desired.

Fans of Ingredients, Inc.

February 15, 2009

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Who would have thought it? http://www.ingredientsinc.net has a fan club on facebook! I really appreciate it, and I am amazed that in just a few weeks over 420 people have joined from all over the U.S, Australia and the Phillipines! I have been receiving so many phone calls and emails from friends and new friends about my blog.


It’s really funny. I started the blog because I had so many recipes in my files that I developed over the past 10 years, and I thought, why not share them with others? I’m also in the kitchen all of the time cooking for 3 kids, and I thought I could help others in a hurry get healthy food on the table fast. And, I hoped working on the blog would increase my photography skills, prop styling skills, food styling and writing skills. I just never imagined that I would have such a great response and that I would, or could, have created 9 television tapes in 2 months because of it. I have to admit…it’s hard work and very time-consuming. Ask any of my family members….I hope I can continue to create great content and to get the great response that you have given me.


Thanks again to the “fans”, and if you’re on facebook, I hope you will take a moment to join the club on facebook and subscribe to receive daily e-mails in the upper right hand side on my blog.  Please continue to pass the blog along to your friends and family members. Best, Alison

If you’re looking for a flavorful one-dish meal in under 30 minutes, look no further. This is a recipe I developed for Laura’s Lean Beef, and it’s really simple and has just the right spice of fresh ginger, peanut butter, garlic, low-sodium soy sauce and green onions. With only 330 calories and 10 grams of fat, you can enjoy this Asian beef dish. Feel free to use whole wheat noodles if you choose or even brown rice instead of the noodles and ground turkey or chopped cooked chicken for the beef.


Spicy Beef Noodles

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground round

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup shredded carrots

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 cup low-salt, fat-free beef broth

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

8 ounces vermicelli, cooked (I used whole wheat)

1/4 cup sliced green onions

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Chopped peanuts (optional)

Directions

1. Cook beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until beef is browned. 

2. Add red pepper and next 7 ingredients and sauté 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Toss beef mixture with hot pasta, green onions, sesame seeds and chopped peanuts, if desired. Serve immediately.

Cooking Tip: Texture is the key when purchasing fresh ginger. It should be absolutely solid — not mushy or soft. The skin should be smooth; wrinkled skin is a sign of old ginger.

Cooking Tip: Raw green onions have, in a small number of instances, been connected to food-borne illness. The only reliable way to eliminate this risk is to cook green onions thoroughly. Saute in a skillet for 2 mintues.

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So many friends tell me that they are intimidated to cook scallops. Really, they are so incredibly easy! They cook in no time at all in a saute pan or on the grill, and really, the only thing you need is some kosher salt, black or red pepper and a touch of olive oil. I love making scallops because they are so simple, so delicious, yet almost elegant for a weeknight supper. They are fabulous mixed with pasta, in a salad and especially just on their own. We eat them often at my house, and even my 8-year-old, Zachary, is a huge fan! The Mint Pesto is so versatile and can also be served with fish, steak, chicken or pork.


Seared Scallops with Fresh Mint Pesto 

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 6 minutes

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

2/3 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup almonds, toasted

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

4 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

2 teaspoons olive oil

11/2 pounds large sea scallops

Cooking spray

Watercress, mixed greens (optional)

Preparation

1. Process mint, parsley, garlic, almonds, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and olive oil in a container of a food processor until smooth. Remove and set aside.

2. Drizzle scallops with remaining lemon juice and season with remaining kosher salt and pepper.

3. Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until done. Top scallops with Mint Pesto and serve over watercress or mixed greens, if desired.