Batter Licker

January 26, 2011

healthier overstuffed baked potato

Baked potatoes are frequently used as a vehicle for all sorts of unhealthy shenanigans, from butter and salt to sour cream and cheese. I would know because, as a kid, I simply could not get enough sour cream on my potato. Nowadays, I’m a little smarter about my obsession with piling creamy, tangy stuff on top of potatoes: I use Greek yogurt instead.

I also take advantage of my profound love of broccoli, artichokes, spinach, and most other stuffed potato-friendly green veggies, and either load them into the potato stuffing itself or serve them alongside the potato, periodically “dipping” the veggies into the starchy but creamy potato mixture. Call it my (much healthier and more delicious) version of dipping broccoli into cheese sauce. (more…)

December 28, 2010

creamy honey-garlic-dijon vinaigrette with chopped romaine

To turn my ultimate shrimp cocktail from an appetizer into a dinner entree, I whipped up this simple salad. By jazzing up a fresh vinaigrette with some Greek yogurt, I turned it into a creamy yet light and tangy salad dressing that tastes refreshing and pairs well with most seafood. Topped it with some grated Parmesan for a little salty texture, and this salad is good to go.

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December 8, 2010

healthy artichoke dip

Several weeks ago, I was feigning for artichoke dip badly enough to update my facebook status to that effect. A few days and still no artichoke dip for me later, my friend Linda warned me that she was going to stop reading my facebook updates, as the most recent one had sent her on an artichoke dip bender. Just trying to picture her in the middle of an “artichoke dip bender” made me laugh, as I imagined my petite friend taking on bowl after bowl of hollowed out sourdough rounds filled to the brim with steaming hot dip.

Then I thought about the mayonnaise. And the cream cheese. And the sour cream. And suddenly, I decided I wasn’t really interested in artichoke dip anymore.

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Several weeks later, it’s mid-holiday season, that fabulously creamy dip trio is everywhere, and my artichoke dip craving has resurfaced. Normally, I bump up my running regimen around this time of year so that I can enjoy the rich dips, buttery candies, sugary cookies, and syrupy cocktails without ballooning out of my pants. But thanks to some intense hip and ankle pain causing my physical therapist to outlaw most forms of exercise except for short, flat walks, I’m totally screwed this year.

But it’s okay. Things can’t be all that bad when I recently passed the bar exam, got engaged, and received an offer for my dream job – a legal-business hybrid position at BlogHer – just one hour before getting sworn in as a member of the State Bar of California. Seriously. 2010 was a stressful year, but the last few months have made everything worth it. Especially now that I’ve come up with an artichoke dip that I can enjoy guilt-free. (more…)

September 3, 2010

healthy mexican-style egg salad

Filed under: eggs,veggies — Tags: , , , , , — Kristen @ 12:28 pm

Back when I was a teeny bopper, I lived in a town so small that I actually looked forward to going to Fresno for a few weeks each summer to visit my aunt and uncle. You see, besides acting as the home of my fabulously fun aunt, Fresno had Ross, Marshalls, and Safeway, while Atascadero had only K-Mart and Food-For-Less.

While visiting, my aunt would take me on bargain-shopping sprees at Marshalls and put me to work at my uncle’s doctor’s office. And every day around 11:30 a.m., it was time to order lunch from the deli around the corner. I could have any sandwich I wanted. It was incredible. It was decadent … to a twelve year-old whose limited world experience told her that eating a sandwich not prepared at home but rather prepared professionally at a deli was just plain fancy.

But I always chose an egg salad sandwich. Something about that deli’s egg salad was truly transcendent compared to a ho-hum turkey sandwich, and I wasn’t yet adventurous enough to appreciate an Italian sandwich. So, being a loyal gal (and a big fan of mushy foods), I stuck with the reliable egg salad.

While I still enjoy a good egg salad, it hasn’t been the same for me since discovering how much mayonnaise goes into it. And frankly, after about two bites, the standard egg-mayo mash-up is rather bland for my ever-so-slightly more refined adult taste. (more…)

June 13, 2010

open-faced quesadilla with steak, roasted red peppers, summer squash, and blue cheese

Here in law-law land, discrimination is frowned on. So if the sandwich can be open faced or crostini-fied and the pizza can be stuffed or calzoned, then it’s only fair that the quesadilla have an alternative, more revealing serving method of its own. The open-faced quesadilla proudly showcases its ingredients by allowing meats and veggies that are normally trapped in tortilla to parade around in their vibrant colors, which makes for a more appetizing dish. And it’s healthier too.

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One less tortilla means two things: less calories in your quesadilla without eliminating any of the good stuff inside; and less concern about indulging in a second round. To make it even healthier but no less flavorful, you can use a stronger cheese but much less of it (hello, blue cheese!), and then spread a layer of Greek yogurt on the tortilla. As it bakes, the yogurt develops a texture that’s firmer than normal but still creamy like a soft cheese, and retains a subdued tang that goes well with the sweet smokiness of roasted peppers and caramelized onions and the buttery sweetness of summer squash.

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The blue cheese puts a twist on the otherwise more traditional steak-peppers-onions combination. Just a few crumbles of the sharp, salty, yet creamy cheese bring much more flavor than handfuls of cheddar can muster. Bonus: it allows you to use up the sad little clump of blue cheese that’s been sitting – unloved – in the corner of your fridge from that one time several weeks ago, when you splurged on off-season pears because you just had to have a gorgonzola and pear salad … five days in a row … and then, having tired of blue-veined cheeses, you relegated the poor chunk to the back of the fridge. (more…)

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