Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Custard

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving--are you ready?! The husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving for the second time this year and I've been planning the menu since about September. My original menu had about 3 sides and 15 desserts, but I've since changed it up a bit and reduced the amount of desserts to just three. Believe me, I'd much rather eat dessert for dinner than "real" food, but I know I'm kind of alone on this one, and since I shouldn't be eating too many sweets, I figured I shouldn't create a bunch of leftover treats either. Boo.

Even though I plan to indulge on Thanksgiving, I do want to have a "less guilt" dessert option, so I don't completely jump off the South Beach train. These pumpkin custards are a nice option for people following South Beach or who are just watching their sugar intake. I tweaked the recipe a bit to include more spices, as the original only called for a little nutmeg and cinnamon; I like my pumpkin to have a bolder flavor.

Pumpkin Custard
Source: Adapted from Reverse Diabetes: Holiday Recipes
Printable Recipe

2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon agave syrup
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups low fat milk

whipped cream, for topping

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a roasting pan with a kitchen towel to prevent the custard cups from sliding around. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, sugar and agave until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, all spice, salt, and vanilla. Whisk until blended; whisk in the milk.

Pour the mixture into six 6 ounce (3/4 cup) ramekins. Set the custard cups on top of the towel in the pan and slowly pour the boiling water into the pan, until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cups.

Gently place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, until the custards are set.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and place the ramekins on a wire rack to cool.

Refrigerate for at least an hour, or until completely cooled. Serve with whipped cream if desired,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Well, it's almost Thanksgiving, so hopefully you have your menu for this year's turkey dinner planned out. But, if you're still looking for another addition to the dessert table here's a fun spin on pumpkin pie! These bars have the soft consistency of traditional pumpkin pie and the butterscotch chips add an element of flavor that pairs so well with the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pie Bars
Source: Annie's Eats and Joy the Baker

Printable Recipe

Crust and Topping Ingredients
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
12 Tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup chopped pecans
Butterscotch chips, for topping (use as many as you like)

Filling Ingredients
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree (about 1 3/4 cup)
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil,folding the foil over the edges of the pan. Lightly grease the foil.

Combine the flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl and mix with a fork. Add the pieces of butter to the dry ingredients and cut it in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (you can also do this in a food processor or with a fork). Stir in the oats and chopped pecans.

Reserve 1 cup of the crust mixture and set aside. Add the remaining crust mixture to the prepared baking pan and press onto the bottom of the pan in an even layer.

Bake the crust alone in the oven for 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and well combined.

Once the crust has been removed from the oven, pour the filling into the pan and smooth over the crust. Sprinkle the filling with the reserved crumb mixture and butterscotch chips.

Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jalapeno Chicken Salad

This hardly qualifies as a recipe, in my opinion, since you basically just mix a few things together and then eat. :) But it's something I've been eating a lot of lately since it is South Beach-friendly, and friends have asked for the recipe, so I decided to go ahead and blog it after all.

The jalapeno and lime give a spicy-tart kick to the chicken, while the olive oil leaves a very distinct (in a good way!) taste. I like to eat this on its own or with some sliced cucumbers and red bell peppers, but I bet it would be great as a sandwich or on some whole wheat crackers.

I don't actually measure out the ingredients for this when I make it, so the following recipe is a rough guideline. You can add or subtract to suit your tastes. :)

And just in case you're keeping count, the total weight loss is now at 16 pounds! Woooooo!

Jalapeno Chicken Salad
Source: an awesome co-worker

Printable Recipe

one 12.5-ounce can chicken breasts, packed in water
1-2 Tablespoons reduced-fat mayo
1 teaspoon olive oil
juice from 1/2 a lime
2 green onions, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (remove the seeds and ribs if you don't like a lot of heat)
1-2 Tablespoons cilantro, minced
garlic salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix together with a fork.

Serve immediately, or chill until ready to eat.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Red Snapper with Tomatillo Salsa

Following Phase One of South Beach has not been easy...I feel like the list of things NOT to eat is miles long, and the approved list of foods is teeny tiny. The results have definitely been worth it so far, but I do have to admit, I fell off the wagon a bit recently....I ate a McRib over the weekend and a Whopper on my way to class last night. oops. :/ So I guess Phase One will extend an extra week for me, to make up for those "cheats".

Back to this recipe. I needed something tasty and non-chicken based for a Phase One meal, so I turned to fish. The husband loves fish, and even though I love sushi, I am really picky about cooked fish. I don't like it to taste fishy and the texture needs to be firm and flakey, otherwise it just totally grosses me out. I'd had macadamia nut encrusted halibut at a restaurant back in September and thought it was a nice mild fish, so when I saw this original recipe (it calls for halibut) I figured we'd give it a try.

Unfortunately, fish has seasons (did you know this? I didn't) and apparently halibut is not in season in October/November. The fish monger at my local Henry's told me if I could find fresh halibut (I don't like buying bags of frozen fish either. yuck) it would be crazy expensive, and then steered me towards the red snapper fillets. I didn't feel like piling up the charcoal and manning the grill, so I cooked the fish under the broiler-yum!

I loved the tomatillo salsa too. This was my first time trying a tomatillo and I will definitely be making this chunky salsa again soon.

Red Snapper with Tomatillo Salsa

Source: Adapted from
Kalyn's Kitchen
Printable Recipe

Ingredients for the fish
4 red snapper filets (about 1 pound total)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon Spike seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fish rub

Directions for the fish
Turn the broiler on to high.

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the fish, in a small bowl and mix together.

Spray a piece of foil with non-stick spray and lay the fish on top. Rub the mixture over the tops of each piece of fish.

Broil for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until the fish is just cooked through and is flaky. Serve with the tomatillo salsa.

Salsa Ingredients
5 medium-large tomatillos, husks removed, chopped
one 3-ounce can diced green chiles (I used the fire roasted chiles)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup red onion, minced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/3 cup lime juice, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed jalapeno (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Salsa Directions
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Toss again before serving.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I recently posted about roasting pumpkins for homemade puree and mentioned setting the seeds aside for roasting. I love roasted pumpkin seeds; they remind me of carving Jack-O-Lanterns on the back porch as a kid in preparation for Halloween. We'd usually save the seeds and my mom would roast them in the oven for a yummy snack!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Source: adapted from All Recipes

Printable Recipe

Pumpkin seeds (any type of pumpkin is fine)
1/2 Tablespoon butter per 2 cups of seeds

Heat your oven to 300 degrees.

Clean any pumpkin goop off of the seeds. Spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet and blot dry.

Melt the butter in the microwave and then pour over the pumpkin seeds. Stir with a spatula to evenly coat. Sprinkle liberally with salt. Stir again, then spread out into an even, single layer.

Roast in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure they are evenly browned.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Almond-Encrusted Chicken Nuggests

I recently began following the South Beach Diet, so I've been looking for recipes that fit in with those restrictions. I want to be as healthy as I can, so of course, I'm changing my eating habits. As a result, I won't be blogging many sweet treats or carb-heavy recipes anymore, since I'm not going to be eating them. I know, I know. We'll deal with this together though, ok? There might be some every now and then, but those treats will be quickly packed up for friends and co-workers to enjoy. :)

On the upside, I've lost 13 pounds in my first week of following the South Beach Diet!

So as I was searching for a tasty recipe that didn't contain carbs, sugars, or unhealthy fat, I found this homemade chicken nugget recipe. The almond meal (just grind up slivered almonds in your food processor) replaces bread crumbs to cut out the carbs and add in some healthy fats.

The husband and I both loved these nuggets and can't wait to eat them again. The few seasonings in the recipe pack quite a punch of flavor! The husband dipped his nuggets in BBQ sauce, while I ate mine plain; we both had oven-roasted broccoli and shallots on the side and felt quite satisfied when we were done eating.

Almond-Encrusted Chicken Nuggets
Kalyn's Kitchen
Printable Recipe


4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 2 breasts)
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil (enough to coat the baking sheet)
3/4 cup almond meal (ground up almonds)
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika (not smoked or hot)
3/4 teaspon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Turn on your oven to 400 degrees. Brush a baking sheet with the olive oil and place the sheet in the oven while it preheats.

Trim all visible fat and tendons from the chicken, then cut each thigh into 4 or 5 nugget pieces of about equal size. You can use a mallet to pound out any nuggets that are too thick.

Combine the almond meal, paprika, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl, or pie pan and mix together with a fork. Dip each nugget piece into the almond meal mixture, pressing onto the chicken with your fingers so the mixture coats the chicken. Coat all the nuggets before you remove the baking sheet from the oven.

Once each nugget is coated, lay them on the hot baking sheet and cook 8-10 minutes, or until the side touching the pan is lightly browned. Remove pan from oven, turn the nuggets, and bake another 10-12 minutes on the second side, until nuggets are lightly browned and cooked through. (Don't overcook.)

Serve hot, with mustard or ranch dipping sauce if desired. If you're not following South Beach or a low glycemic diet, dip them in whatever your heart desires! Just don't tell me about it. ;)


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