Tabouli and Mixed Greens Salad

Okay, so Valentine’s Day is over, and I had a lot of fun featuring some great desserts. Now, it’s back to reality. I have had many requests lately for a wonderful, healthy salad recipe. I love this particular creation of Tabouli and Mixed Greens Salad. Feel free to add cooked or grilled chicken or shrimp to this dish if you wish. I love it “as is” for a hearty lunch salad or dinner salad – perfect served with a comforting soup. It’s so fresh and flavorful, and bulgur is so good for you. Bulgur is high in fiber, low in fat, and rich in B vitamins and iron. It can be boiled or soaked like in my recipe below. This salad is so tasty and pretty, and it will also give you a lot of energy. Just try it and see.

Oreo Cupcakes

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! This is my last dessert for a while, but I wanted to share this recipe for Oreo Cupcakes which has been lightened up. The cupcake part of the recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine. In their recipe, they sprinkled the cupcakes with powdered sugar, and they are great. I love extra chocolate flavor so I slathered mine with chocolate frosting and of course, an Oreo. If you don’t have time to make your own frosting, you can substitute the store-bought icing. The total calories per serving for the cupcake is 150 calories, 5 grams of fat and 24 carbohydrates. Enjoy and have a fun and wonderful Valentines!

Mini Valentines Treats: Cookie Dough Truffles

I read a lot of food blogs, and I mean a lot! Since I am a consultant for a few food magazines and PR firms, I get paid to keep my eye on talented bloggers to possibly feature, new ideas in recipes as well as food trends. Many times, I come across a blog which I subscribe to and look forward to every day. In December, I was so excited when Carrots and Chocolate featured several variations of truffle recipes for Christmas. The Cookie Dough Truffles caught my eye, and the next thing I knew I was in the kitchen tinkering with her recipe. Recently, I served my variation at a party, and my friend, Andy, said, “I didn’t think cookie dough could get any better!” I thought that was testimony enough. These are really fun to serve on Valentine’s Day, and I can’t wait to make them later this week in Nashville working with the talented crew from Newschannel 5 on “Talk of the Town”.

“Take Out” Food Ideas for Super Bowl Sunday

I was recently asked by the Editors of Magic City Post, to write a Super Bowl feature for their site on my favorite pick-up or to-go foods in Birmingham. I had many friends ask me to share this list on my site as well, so here you go. For those of you not in Birmingham, I am hopeful this will spark you top picks for buffalo wings, great appetizers and desserts in your home town. This list is great if you are short on time this weekend like I am. I am at my daughter’s dance competition out of town and won’t be back until right before game time. Go Steelers!

APPETIZERS

-Guacamole, fruits and vegetables, Whole Foods Market, Mountain Brook

-Queso dip and quesadillas, La Paz, Crestline Village in Mountain Brook

-Elkmont’s Belle Chevre goat cheese, shown at right, Whole Foods Market, Mountain Brook

-Mozzarella sticks, Mafiaoza’s Pizzeria and Neighborhood Pub, Crestline Village in Mountain Brook

-White pimiento cheese, Piggly Wiggly

MAIN DISHES

-Buffalo wings, Billy’s Bar and Grill, English Village in Mountain Brook and Liberty Park in Vestavia Hills

-Chicken fingers and cheese biscuits, Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

-Mini-Reuben or any deli sandwiches, Max’s Delicatessen, Colonnade

-Marinated steak and chicken kebabs to grill, Fresh Market

-Pizza, Bongiorno Italian Restaurant, Crestline Village in Mountain Brook

-Friday-Sunday chicken penne pasta special, Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe

DESSERTS

-Pie (any flavor), Johnny Ray’s BBQ

-Baby Bites, Pastry Art Bake Shoppe, Homewood

-Strawberry Signature Iced Cake, Ashley Mac’s, Bluff Park in Hoover and Cahaba Heights in Vestavia Hills

-Cupcakes, Dreamcakes Bakery, Edgewood in Homewood

Hot Artichoke Dip with Black Eyed Peas

Artichoke Dip is just about everyone’s favorite appetizer recipe, and I am always looking for ways to turn and twist it to make it different. This Black-Eyed Pea-Artichoke Dip combines artichokes, bacon, black eyed peas, Greek yogurt, reduced-fat mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese to create a warm dip that’s perfect for this time of year. I served this on New Year’s Day, and I thought it would be a perfect addition to anyone’s list to serve on Super Bowl sunday.

25 Minute Appetizer: Buffalo Chicken Dip

When I was thinking of recipe ideas for my upcoming Super Bowl television cooking segment (this Friday on NBC “Daytime Alabama”), I asked a close friend and assistant, Nancy, what she likes to serve for her Super Bowl parties (she is one of the best cooks I know). She told me about her favorite Buffalo Chicken Dip which she says is a must. I was reluctant at first (although my kids are huge fans of buffalo wings) because when I judged a cooking contest last year, I saw over 800 recipes for buffalo wing dips. She later convinced me to let her make it for me, and oh my, was she right! The night after I taped the television segment, I had a party with several couples and their children. Everyone went absolutely nuts over the dip, and they were begging for more. Nancy told me to be sure to use “Franks RedHot Sauce”, but any hot sauce will work. I also used rotisserie chicken to make things a lot easier and reduced-fat cream cheese to lighten it up a bit. Enjoy this for the Super Bowl this year or anytime you need a simple and sure to please appetizer.

Super Bowl Appetizer and Party Tips: Brie with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil

One week from today is the Super Bowl, one of the most fun sporting events of the year. I filmed a Super Bowl television cooking segment for NBC “Daytime Alabama” which will air next week, making four easy appetizers. This 5 ingredient recipe for Brie with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil is a cinch, taking only 20 minutes to prepare. Here are some of my favorite Super Bowl tips for hosting your upcoming party.

Super Bowl Hosting Tips:

-Think “green” and make it easy. Send out E Invites or call or Facebook your friends

-Set up as many televisions as possible if you’re having a large party

-Plan simple and easy food to put out and refill. Also, think about servings foods that are easy to pick up and eat in your lap.

-Have one room planned for television watchers and another for those who just want to talk (okay…some of us women)

-If you’re inviting guests with children, have video games, movies, coloring pages, crayons and puzzles to keep them busy

-Offer healthy foods: such as serve fresh fruit and vegetables with hummus

-Have plenty of beverages and a variety for everyone

-Ask guests to pitch in and bring food (give them a task)

-Have a “faux betting pool” set up and a few prizes for the winners

Easy Valentine’s Day Brownies

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays for cooking every year because I usually teach a Kid’s Valentine Cooking Class and share my recipes with children. This year I have a great class scheduled along with a few television appearances lined up in Birmingham and Nashville preparing Valentine treats. These Valentine Brownies are just one of the recipes I will be making for the kids as well as television. This easy brownie recipe was shared to me by the editors of the Tables of Content Book from the Junior League of Birmingham (one of my must-have cookbooks). These are so easy, and you make them all in one saucepan. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter and decorate with your favorite icing. They are almost too simple to be so divine.

Parsnip-Potato Chowder

It’s the perfect time of year for soups, and why not try something a little different such as this Parsnip-Potato Chowder? When I taught a cooking class recently, very few people in the class had ever cooked or tried parsnips.  Parsnips are root vegetables, and they are related to the carrot family. Parsnips resemble carrots but are paler in color and have a slightly sweeter taste. Parsnips provide an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid, B vitamins and fiber. Combine parsnips and potatoes with a touch of fresh dill, milk and vegetable broth to create a comforting and flavorful chowder. This soup tastes so rich without using any cream, and my kids even enjoyed it. For added flavor, sprinkle with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped dill.

Weekend Favorite: Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

IMG_2879

My daughter, Leigh, loves to make pancakes, and we make saturday. These Blueberry Pancakes are delicious and are at the top of the list. They’re so easy and are as good as they look.