Friday, January 21, 2011

Appetizer:Brie en Croute with Apples and Walnuts

Brie wrapped in crescent dough or puff pastry is a common appetizer at gatherings with friends and family as of late. However, the fillings have varied and usually include fruit and nuts from cranberries and figs to almonds and pecans. Today, I made a twist on this popular starter.


1 tube of crescent rolls (reduced fat preferred) or two sheets pastry dough
1 triangle of brie
1 green apple, sliced thin
1/2 cup of walnuts
3 or 4 tablespoons brown sugar


Preheat oven according to dough directions. Lay out first layer of dough onto a silpat (rubber nonstick sheet) in a pan or onto a greased cookie sheet. If you are using crescent rolls, use four triangles and create a rectangle, pinching the seams together. Place a single layer of apple onto the dough. Next layer with nuts and brown sugar. Top with Brie that has been sliced thinly into rope like pieces. Top with a second layer of apples and then the second sheet of dough. make sure to crimp all edges together to prevent the cheese from escaping. Make two or three steam slits in the top of the dough. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown...Enjoy!

NOTES ON THIS DISH: I have found that store bought dough around the mini wheel of brie never really covers perfectly for me. Many times my dough doesn't cook at the same pace as my cheese melts. This method of slicing the cheese is an easier way to do it and gives you a little less cheese per bite with the same great taste. Also, I prefer to use the reduced fat crescent rolls so that there is not an artificial butter flavor and less grease from the dough. It allows the brie, brown sugar, and apples to really come out with a crunch from the nuts. An idea I thought of afterward is to use the packaged candied walnuts you can purchase at any grocery store made by Emerald. If you choose to use these, there is not need for the extra sugar. However, with this shortcut, expect a stronger and sweeter flavor from the nuts which may take away from the brie and apples.

Karen's Pineapple Stuffing

One of my favorite recipes that I inherited from my mother in law Karen is her pineapple stuffing. Its a sweet dish that can be made as a breakfast entree or a side during a holiday feast. Either way, it is delicious and very easy to make!


1 loaf of white or wheat bread (nothing with seeds)
6 eggs
1/2 cup of butter (soy works great)
1 cup sugar (white or brown sugar or Splenda can be used)
1 can crushed pineapple

Grease 13x9 pan with PAM. Cream together the eggs and sugar. Incorporate the butter into the mixture. Stir in crushed pineapple. Set aside. Break up the bread and put into a large mixing bowl. Pour egg mixture over bread making sure all of it has been soaked up. Put into refrigerator for at least one hour (more with time permitting).
When ready to make, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes to an hour until set. Remove foil and brown top til golden brown about 15 minutes. Serve warm!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Meatball Stew

This is a great recipe for a Sunday in winter when you are looking to set a meal up in a crockpot and enjoy it piping hot later that day! It can be made with premade or homemade meatballs of any variety. I have made it with homemade turkey meatballs only. You may also serve it over egg noodles, rice, or a small pasta like dilatini. However, it is just as good served by itself!

20-25 meatballs, frozen or homemade, beef or turkey
1 package fresh baby carrots
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion
3 celery ribs, sliced
1 can condensed tomato soup (healthy variety preferred)
1 can beef gravy (fat free/low sodium variety preferred)
1 cup water
1 envelope french onion soup mix
2 beef bouillon cubes, crushed

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Stir half way through.

Mediterranean Shrimp over Orzo

Here is a weight watchers recipe that has been tweaked a bit. It is great any time of year and can be made with chicken instead of shrimp if preferred. Its easy and quick for a great weekday meal and can be put over orzo or any other grain such as rice, couscous, or quinoa.


2 cups eggplant, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
5 large plum tomatoes, seeded and diced OR 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
 1 tablespoon oregano, fresh chopped or dried
2 tablespoons parsley, fresh chopped or dried
uncooked shrimp (5-6 per person)
2 ounces feta cheese
olive oil

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add eggplant. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until browned (about 5 minutes). Eggplant will absorb the oil but will still brown in the pan.
2. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes until onion is soft.
3. Add tomatoes, oregano, parsley, wine and water to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, and simmer until liquid reduces by half.
4. Add shrimp to vegetable mixture and cook for 3-5 minutes until they are pink and cooked through.
5. Serve over orzo and top with crumbled feta cheese.

Browning the eggplant

Reduce sauce and add shrimp

Top with Feta