Who is Bia?

My name is Brenda. I am a wife and an aunt-turned-mom of an amazing 13 year old. My passion for cooking and recipe creating developed as an adventure in finding healthy alternatives to the foods I don't want to live without! I am an advocate for local farming and my recipes are inspired by what is in season. I strive for my ingredients to be from a mother or from the ground and minimally processed. Please try my recipes, critique them, and share them! Just stay home and cook tonight!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Outside-In Buffalo Chicken Breast

Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Panko Bread Crumbs
Red Hot brand buffalo wing sauce
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Blue Cheese Crumbles

I did not supply measurements on this recipe, because it all depends on how many servings you are making. Just eyeball it!

First of all take your chicken breasts and put them in a large Ziploc bag or between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound them flat. Lay them out flat when done and sprinkle about 1-2 TBSP of the blue cheese crumbles and then roll it up. Secure with a toothpick.
Now set up a little breading station. Bread chicken in this order: flour, egg, and then bread crumbs. Place in a skillet of HOT EVOO seam side down and brown lightly. Transfer browned chicken to a baking sheet and coat in the Red Hot Buffalo Sauce. Bake chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Eat alongside some slices celery.

For us the blue cheese inside was enough, but a little dollop of homemade blue cheese on top was yummy too.

Blue Cheese Dressing
Blue cheese crumbles
Fat free sour cream
Salt and pepper
Celery seed

Combine in food processor or blender until desired consistency and taste!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lentil, Bean, and Meatball Soup

I love, love, love fall!!! Today it was finally cool here in Southern California!! Perfect day for a nice bowl of hot soup! Here is my latest creation:

Bean and Meatball Soup

3 cups Dried Bean and Lentil mix (found in the bulk section of most health food stores)
4 cups Vegetable Stock
Celery Hearts
Roma Tomatoes
White Onion
Fresh Garlic
Pinch white pepper
2 Bay Leaves
Fresh chopped parsley
Salt and fresh cracked black Pepper
Water (enough to make 1 inch fluid above everything)

Soak beans for a couple hours and then drain. Add all the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Reduce to a slow simmer.

Lean ground beef (I use 7% fat)
¼ red onion finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
Fresh cilantro and mint leaves (as much as you like)
1 egg

Combine all the ingredients well and form into ¾-1 inch meatballs. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add to soup pot when beans are beginning to get soft, but still have bite. Continue simmering soup on low until beans are done. Salt to taste and remove bay leaves.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chicken Parmesan with Roasted Tomato and Garlic Sauce

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese.
½ cup flour
2 eggs
2 pints grape tomatoes
8-9 cloves of peeled garlic
Salt and pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Fresh parsley
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 450.
Place grape tomatoes and peeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and add salt and pepper on them and smear it all around. Place in the oven until all the tomatoes look like flat tires (about 20 min)

While tomatoes and garlic are roasting, slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 thin pieces of chicken. Season the chicken with a dash of salt and pepper. Combine the grated parmesan cheese and the Panko bread crumbs. To coat the chicken do it in this order: coat in flour, coat in egg, and then coat in Panko bread crumbs. Add the ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a hot skillet and wait until oil is hot. Add the coated chicken and brown on both sides. Remove from pan and put on baking sheet. Top the chicken with a bit of shredded parmesan cheese and place in oven as you remove the tomatoes. Bake until cheese is melted. As chicken is baking mash up the tomatoes and garlic with a potato masher or fork and add oregano and basil. When chicken is done, spoon tomato mixture on top of chicken and top with fresh parsley. Enjoy! Makes 4 servings!

Calories 498.6, Total Fat 21.3 g, Saturated Fat 5.1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2.1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 12.3 g, Cholesterol 180.5 mg, Sodium 453.1 mg, Carbohydrate 36.5, Dietary Fiber 2.7 g, Sugars 0.6 g, Protein 39.0 g

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cranberry-Raisin-Walnut Energy Bars

I found a recipe for some Fig and Walnut Energy bars. First of all I don't like figs. I do, however LOVE dried cranberries so I used them instead. The recipe also called for bran flakes. Well, the granola bars that I love the most have raisins in them so I used Raisin Bran. Here is the recipe! It is sooooo easy!

• 1 cup quick-cooking oats
• 1 cup raisin bran cereal
• 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
• 1 cup walnut pieces
• 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with wax paper.
Place the oats, cereal, flour, walnuts, cranberries, dry milk, cinnamon and ginger in a food processor; coarsely chop.

Add the honey and eggs; pulse until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to the pan; spread evenly with your fingers. Bake until lightly browned around the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then cut into 16 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months.

Per bar: Calories 149; Fat 6 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 27 mg; Sodium 31 mg; Carbohydrate 22 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 5 g

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Vegetable Marinara

Veggie Marinara
Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a can of "spaghetti" sauce? What is all that stuff. Part of my journey of weightloss also includes eating the right stuff. No corn syrup, no preservatives, no processed goods as much as I can. Well here is my version of a yummy marinra sauce, packed with veggies that when blended up, can get some kids (or husbands) to eat veggies that they won't normally eat! :)
So for this recipe you will need a large crock pot and the following ingredients:
1 large zucchini
2 peeled carrots
1 large onion
5 cloves of garlic
7-8 tomatoes (depending on the size)
1 green pepper
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups Vegetable Stock
Chop up all the veggies into about ½ inch cubes. Finely chop the garlic cloves. Cut out the stem parts of the tomatoes. Add all the veggies and the basil, oregano, salt and pepper into a Crockpot and then drizzle with Olive Oil.
Put tomatoes on the top of the veggie mixture and then pour in the vegetable stock. Cover and cook on Low heat for about 5 hours.
When the veggies are all soft, strain them and place into food processor. Puree until desired consistency while streaming in just a bit of olive oil.
(Add some shredded rotisserie chicken and you have a nice chicken soup at this point!)
Now with my prepared sauce I browned up some lean ground beef and combined. Mixed with some whole wheat linguini and some fresh basil and here you go!
Now I hate wasting anything! After you strain all the veggies you are left with all this yummy, wonderful broth.
I put it in a frezzer storage bag and freeze it until I need it for a soup or liquid to cook some brown rice in!
Along with leftover marinara, this will freeze BEAUTIFULLY! Let everything cool before you store it in the freezer.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Beans and Potato Soup!

I know it is almost summer, but I can eat soups year round!!!
This is my Beans and Potato Soup

What you need:
2 large red potatoes (or any color you like)
2 green onions (white and green parts)
Pint of grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
Handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
16oz can of Garbanzo Beans (drained)
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp Paprika
Pinch of white pepper
Salt and Pepper

What you do:
Chop up potatoes and put in medium saucepan. Fill up with COLD water until the water is just above the potatoes. When they begin to boil add in all the rest of the ingredients (except for the garbanzo beans) and let simmer until potatoes are falling apart! Add Garbanzo beans until they are heated through. Top with some Parmesan cheese and Voila!

Makes about 2-3 servings

Now if you don't like garbanzo beans or if you just wanna switch this up, replace the Garbanzo beans with black beans and replace the parsley with cilantro and top with tortilla chips and Mexican blend cheese. You can also replace the garbanzo beans with pinto or chili beans, add some chili powder, and top with Cheddar cheese!

For 3 sevings, each serving contains: Calories 257; Fat 2g; Sodium 487g; Carbs 51g; Fiber 9; Sugar 3; Protein 10g

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Green Grilled Chicken!

So because I have a new obsession with my grill, I have been brainstorming some different ideas for recipies. Last night I attempted something I have never done...cutting up a whole chicken. I have seen how to do it on FoodNetwork and such, but have never tried it in my own kitchen. So tonight I took this:
...and split it up! If you have never done this, you first start out by cutting out the back bone (sorry if you're squeemish)
Then you can flatten it and split it right down the middle!
Now on to the good part!!!! I created a little pesto type filling and rub to flavor up this bird! Here is what you do:

In a food processor combine the following:

Bunch of Flat leaf parsley
Bunch of Cilantro
5-6 mint leaves
Grill Seasoning (like McCormiks)
Ground Coriander
Lemon zest of 1 lemon
Lemon juice of 1 lemon
½ white onion

As you puree it, slowly stream in some Extra Virgin Olive Oil until it is a pesto-like consistency.

Here is what it will look like when it is ready:

Now this yummy mixture is going under the skin. When you cook chicken on the grill with the skin on it holds all the juices in. If you don't like skin on your chicken (like me) just remove it after it is cooked.
Here is where you stuff the greens:
Now after it is stuffed, rub some on the outside of the bird and then sprinkle with the paprika! Here is the before:
And here is the DELICIOUS after!!!!!!
Try it and enjoy!!!!!!!!!