Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Inside Out BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger

I swear I can smell a burger grilling from a mile away.  The aroma of succulent ground beef cooking on the grill on a summer day is intoxicating.  And nothing tops off a delicious burger quite like bacon, cheese, and BBQ sauce.  I think the BBQ bacon cheeseburger is one of America's crowning achievements.  It's right up there with Super Bowl Sunday and the internet.  You're welcome, world.

But what if the BBQ, bacon, and cheese weren't on top of the burger, but inside it?  Well, then you would have what I like to call an inside out BBQ bacon cheeseburger.  And you would be in meat heaven.  I am pretty sure the seed for this was planted long ago by seeing something similar on the internet.  But a while back I was planning to make burgers.  I considered making regular BBQ bacon cheeseburgers, but, honestly, I am too lazy to cook up bacon to put on top of my burger.  So I decided to just put Bacon Bits in my burgers while I was forming the patties.  And I thought while I was at it, I might as well put the cheese in the burger.  And the BBQ sauce.  And some spices.  Before I knew it, I had this amazing concoction on the grill.  And you could definitely smell this from a mile away!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Health Tips 101: Eating Healthy On The Road

I realized recently that I have been totally slacking off on my health tips page.  I have so many great recipes I want to share that I just haven't gotten around to doing anything else.  And for that, I apologize.  But I am getting ready to make a road trip and am preparing myself for a weekend of eating out.  And trying not to gain 5 pounds in the process.  I figured with Memorial Day coming up and lots of people traveling, now would be a good time to share some tips for eating healthy while eating out.

Hitting the road can make eating healthy a challenge.  And let's face it, eating away from home is a part of life for most Americans today.  But with a little planning and discipline, it doesn't have to be a diet disaster.  If you need some tips for eating well during your holiday travels (or just a busy Wednesday night!), you've come to the right place!  Here are my favorite tips for healthy eating on the go:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Makeover Monday: Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

The original version of this recipe, what my mom calls strawberry pie, is frequently requested in our family get-togethers, and quickly consumed. It has a lot going for it; it is sweet, fruity, easy to make, and quite refreshing on a hot day. It has layer of cheesecake-like filling and a strawberry glaze with sliced strawberries all on a pre-baked pie crust.  And it's delicious. 
When I got the recipe from my mom, I could see there was a lot of room for calorie reduction. Some things were obvious, like Splenda, sugar-free Jell-O, reduced fat cream cheese, and diet soda. But some things weren't so obvious. And when I went to make this, I wasn't looking for a partial makeover. I wanted the Extreme Makeover of strawberry pie.  
My concerns were powdered sugar and pie crust. I've tried a low-fat pie crust before, but there is just no substitute for butter in pie crust. And I've never come across a low calorie version of powdered sugar. I would not be deterred, though!  So I took this fatty, sugary, family favorite and made some adjustments that turned it into something all my own.  It's still delicious, still devour-able, but much more bikini-season-friendly!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Makeover Monday: Strawberry Poppy Seed Pancakes

Spring is in full swing and that means it is berry eating time!  I have never met a berry I didn't like, but I think of all the members of the berry family, strawberries are my favorite.  This time of year, it's hard to beat the taste of a perfectly ripe, sweet, juicy strawberry.  And, like all berries, strawberries are as good for your health as they are for your taste buds.  They are loaded with Vitamin C and cancer-fighting antioxidants.  Berries spoil easily, which is part of the reason why they tend to be a little pricy.  But now is the time of year when they are freshest, and usually cheapest.  So feel free to add lots of berries to your Spring cuisine!

Recently I found myself with some strawberries I needed to use up before they spoiled.  And I had a husband with a hankering for pancakes.  I am always looking for ways to mix up my Saturday morning pancakes and I thought tossing in a handful of strawberries would make a nice Spring breakfast.  And then I decided to up the ante by adding some poppy seeds.  They added a nice bit of color.  And though the strawberries were great for Spring, the red and blue combo of strawberries and poppy seeds would be perfect for the upcoming patriotic holidays.  Memorial Day is right around the corner, and before you know it, it will be the 4th of July!  Picnics get all the glory for these holidays, but why not start off the day with a little red, white, and blue?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Makeover Monday: Reduced Fat Sausage Manicotti

I think I have mentioned before that my experience with cooking Italian food doesn't extend much further than boiling spaghetti noodles and opening a jar of spaghetti sauce.  I do at least brown my own hamburger!   Since I grew up in a German family in a town without an Italian restaurant, I didn't have much exposure to Italian cuisine until I went off to college.  Now Italian is one of my favorite foods!  I specifically remember the excitement of manicotti night at the dorm dining center.  Who wouldn't love pasta stuffed with cheese and covered with marinara sauce?  

Fortunately, it wasn't served too often.  There's no fighting off the dreaded freshman 15 when you are stuffing your face with pasta, sausage, and four kinds of cheese!  Sadly, my manicotti days ended with my dorm days.  It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I attempted to recreate this college favorite at home.  And it really only happened because I had some ricotta cheese, sausage, and spaghetti sauce to get rid of.  I could have made lasagna, but I decided to try something new.  Once I had decided to take a shot at sausage manicotti, I hopped on the internet and quickly found several versions.  As I like to do, I basically took what I liked from the various recipes I found and made it my own.  And in typical Foodie RD fashion, I had to make it lower in fat!  After all, my metabolism isn't 18 anymore!