Monday, May 28, 2012

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Memorial Day is the official start of summer here in Philadelphia and this year The Spatularettes celebrated with and an entire weekend of fun!  We kicked things off by running the Oddyssey Half Marathon in Fairmount Park on Saturday morning.  Although we competed together in college, Small One has suffered a number of injuries and has not been able to run for the last 2 years... until now, that is!!

Tally, Smally, and their friend Pam--post race
After all that effort, we decided to take it easy for the rest of the weekend.  And what better way to relax, than with a trip to the shore!  So not only are we sore from the race, but now we're sunburned as well!

We hope that your MDW was as wonderful as ours and leaves you in anticipation for what the next few months may hold!  And now we leave you with a recipe for Black Bean Quinoa Burgers that will be sure to please all summer long!

-16 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
-1/2 cup quinoa, cooked to package instructions
-1 red pepper, stem and seeds removed
-1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed
-1/2 small red onion
-1/2 cup bread crumbs
-1 tsp cumin
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp garlic powder
-6 hamburger buns

Optional Garnishes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine a red pepper, jalapeno pepper, and red onion in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Pulse continually until veggies are finely chopped.  Add the black beans and run the food processor for about 30 seconds until the ingredients are well combine and the black beans are mashed.

Transfer the bean and veggie mixture to a separate bowl.  Add the cooked quinoa, bread crumbs, and seasonings and mix until well combined.  Give it a try and adjust the seasonings to your taste if needed.

Form the bean mixture into 6 patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping the burgers halfway through the cooking processes.

If 6 burgers are too many, freeze the extras and pop them in the oven on a busy night for a quick dinner!

Serve on toasted buns with the toppings of your choice.  We topped ours with cheddar cheese, sliced tomato, and fresh made guacamole.

These burgers can also be cooked on an outdoor grill at BBQ's or indoor on your George Foreman.

Tall and Small

Friday, May 18, 2012

Skinny Alfredo

We're pretty sure that everyone loves a good alfredo.  But we're also relatively certain that nobody likes what sticks of butter, cups of cream, and a half pound of cheese do for their figure.  Don't get us wrong, we're all about indulging from time to time, (have you seen how many desserts we've posted in the last few months!?!) but with Memorial Day Weekend (aka the start of bathing suit season) just around the corner, we're trying to make our meals a little more guilt-free.  This recipe is by no means fat free, but we've tried to skinny it down as best we could, while still maintaining the creaminess and flavor that define a good alfredo.  Give our Skinny Alfredo a try for an indulgent dinner that won't leave you feeling like you need to go running for the gym.  What's even better is this whole meal can be whipped up in under half an hour!

-1 lb pasta
-3 cups broccoli floretes
-4 Tbs butter
-3 Tbs flour
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 pint whole milk
-1 1/2 cups shredded parmesean cheese
-salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled portobella, chicken, or shrimp for topping.

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta for about 8 minutes, or until al dente.  Halfway through the cooking processes, add the broccoli to the boiling water and allow it to cook with the pasta.  When both are done, drain and set aside.

While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, begin work on the skinny alfredo sauce.  In a small saucepan, heat the pint of milk over low heat until it is very hot, but not quite simmering.  Meanwhile, in a second saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the garlic and allow to cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally.  Once the garlic is fragrant, add all 3 Tbs of flour and quickly whisk the mixture to form a roux.  Using the flour will help thicken the sauce since we're using milk instead of cream.  Continue to whisk the roux for 2 minutes.  The taste of the flour will cook out and it will smell strongly of butter and garlic (yum!).  Now add all of the hot milk to the roux and begin whisking vigorously so everything combines nicely.  Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the sauce begins to thicken.   It took us about 7 minutes to reach the desired consistency.  Continuing to cook over medium heat, slowly add the shredded cheese (about a half cup at a time) and whisk away until it is evenly melted and incorporated into the sauce.  Once the alfredo sauce is smooth and thick, season it to taste with salt and pepper.  We used kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to give it an extra kick.  Just be careful with the salt, as parmesan cheese can be pretty salty on it's own!

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, broccoli, and sauce and gently toss until the pasta is evenly coated.  Serve on it's own or with grilled portobella, chicken or shrimp!

This makes six servings that ring in at just about 500 calories a pop.  Guilty pleasure foods don't have to feel so guilty after all!

Tall and Small

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grilled Pineapple (and other fruits too!)

Our George Foreman week has finally wrapped up and we couldn't be happier with our grilled breakfastlunchside dishes, and main course!  And finally, to wrap up any good meal, the Spatularettes did what we know how to do best: dessert.  Well, we bet you are feeling like a Curious George Foreman just thinking about grilled dessert!  Here you go followers, grilled fruit!

- Pineapple, cored and sliced
- Banana, quartered lengthwise
- Strawberries, halved
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Dash of cinnamon
- Dash of cayenne pepper

Mix butter, honey, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.  Brush over fruit. Grill for about 5 - 10 minutes or until fruit is soft and with grill marks.  Top with vanilla ice cream.

Oh, Thank George for this wonderful dessert!

Tall George and Small George

Friday, May 11, 2012

Grilled Portabella Sandwich

George Foreman would be proud of the Spatularettes for whipping up such an amazing, easy, and LEAN (yup, super low-cal!) main course on his world-famous grill.  We sandwiched two portabella mushrooms to make a wonderfully cheesy and healthy dinner!  Gotta love that George :)

- 4 medium sized portabella mushrooms (all about equal sizes)
- 1/4 cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 2 oz goat cheese
- 4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 10 basil leaves, chopped

Cook quinoa according to instructions on packet.  When quinoa has absorbed all water, add cheese, tomatoes, onions, and basil.  Mix well.

Remove stem and gut portabella mushrooms and wash well.  Spoon half of the quinoa mixture into one of the mushrooms.  Put the mushroom's "mate" on top and grill on George Foreman grill for ten minutes.

Happy grilling!

Tall George and Small George

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Open Faced Grilled Potatoes

More George?!?! Yes, of course!  George Foreman is our Spatular of the week and this time we're whipping up some spectacular grilled potatoes.  You couldn't ask for an easier (or cheaper!) side dish and we couldn't ask for a sexier Spatular than good ol' George.

- 3-4 medium sized baking potatoes
- Seasoned salt
- butter, room temperature

Using a fork, poke holes in potatoes.  Microwave until fork tender.

Slice potatoes in half length-wise and brush with butter.  Generously apply seasoned salt (if you think you are over-seasoning... you aren't.  Literally cover them with season salt).  Grill face down on George Foreman grill for ten minutes.

If you're feeling indulgent, slap a blob of sour cream on of these grilled-to-perfection potatoes.  But they are wonderful on their own!  Who knew the George Foreman grill could bring you more than slabs of meat??  Enjoy!

Tall George and Small George

Grilled Asgaragus

Tall and Small just can't get enough of George this week!  This time we're grilling up the perfect early spring side dish - asparagus!  You really can be a lean, mean, fighting machine with this scrumptious and delightfully simple recipe!

- 1lb asparagus (or more!)
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- zest of one lemon

Bring water to a boil in a medium-large pot.  Blanch asparagus until slightly tender.  Meanwhile, mix olive oil, salt, and lemon zest.

Remove asparagus from water and brush with olive oil mixture.  Grill on George Foreman grill for about five minutes.

This asparagus dish is the perfect combination of tangy and summery sweetness - you won't forget that warmer weather is right around the corner (even during the rainiest of weeks in Philadelphia!).  

Tall George and Small George

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Greek Paninis

George Foreman week continues here on The Spatularettes, and this time with a lunch recipe!  Not only is the Foreman an electric grill, but it also it is also multi-tasks as a panini press.  We've tried out a couple of great grilled sandwich recipes, but This Greek Pita Panini is definitely our favorite.  Simple ingredients come together to form a simple, yet satisfying lunch.  If you are vegetarian like Small One, try substituting some tofu in for the chicken!

- 1 large chicken breast
- 4 oz of mushrooms, diced
- 2 small tomatoes (or 1 large one), diced
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Baby spinach
- 6 pitas (6 inch diameter)

Season one large chicken breast (we used a Mediterranean spice blend and salt) and cook it through on the stove top, or right on the grill if you want to save  yourself some dishes!  Dice the cooked chicken and combine in a large bowl with mushrooms, tomatoes, red onion, and feta.  Gently toss ingredients to mix.

Slice 6 pita rounds in half and gently open them to form 12 pockets.  Stuff each pocket with a little bit of spinach then divide the chicken/veggie mixture evenly between them.  Fit as many pitas on the grill surface of your George Foreman as you can and close it tightly.  Cook for 5 minutes or until the filling is warm and the pita has perfect grill marks.

We suggest serving your pita paninis with hummus and a Greek salad for real Mediterranean flair!

Tall George and Small George

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stuffed French Toast--2 Ways

It is day #1 and recipe #1 of George Forman week here on The Spatularettes!

So who has received a George Forman grill as a gift at some point in their life?  Who caved years ago and purchased one from those ridiculous Sunday morning infomercials that George used to host?  Who has left their George Forman grill stored in the back of the cabinet, not  exactly sure how to use it, for the last few years.  Until recently, that was us!  After challenging ourselves to use the indoor grill in a real and practical way, we found that it really does come in handy for creating some great new recipes!  Where better to start than with breakfast, and this awesome recipe for Stuffed French Toast!


-Italian Bread, cut into 8 one inch slices
-2 eggs
-1/4 cup milk
-1 Tbs butter (or butter substitute), melted
-1 tsp of vanilla
-Sprinkle of cinnamon

Filling #1:
-1 banana, thinly sliced
-2 Tbs mini chocolate chips

Filling #2:
-1 oz cream cheese, softened
-1 Tbs raspberry preserves

-8 Tbs powdered sugar
-1 Tbs milk
-1 Tbs orange juice

In a bowl prepare the egg batter.  Whisk together 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of milk, 1 Tbs of melted butter, 1 tsp of vanilla, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Slice a fresh loaf of Italian bread into 8 one inch slices. Lay 4 slices down and top with the fillings described above.  For the banana-chocolate filling, be sure to slice your banana very thinly, and we think the mini chocolate chips work much nicer than the full sized ones.  For the raspberry-cream cheese filling, marble the preserves and the cream cheese together in a separate bowl before spreading it on the bread.  Top each slice with another slice of bread and press down gently to seal the filling inside.

While firmly holding the "sandwiches," dip them into the egg batter, until they are completely coated.  After dipping place the "sandwiches" onto a hot George Forman grill.  Close the grill firmly and allow the french toast to cook for about 5 minutes.  Check on the toasts occasionally, and removing them once they are nicely browned.

While the french toast cooks, whip up a quick glaze to use in place of syrup.  Use a fork to beat together 4 Tbs of powdered sugar with a Tbs of the liquid of your choice.  We suggest using milk or orange juice if you are looking for an extra kick of flavor!

We think that George would agree--breakfast is defintely the most important meal of the day!

Tall George and Small George

Sunday, May 6, 2012


It's George Forman week here on the Spatularettes!!  Check back all week for great recipes prepared on the one and only Lean, Mean, Fat Reducing, Grilling Machine.  Put away your charcoal and don't bother refilling your propane tank, because it is time to plug in your George Forman for a little indoor grilling action!  We've got some great recipes coming your way this week, but in the meantime we will leave you with this gem of a clip...

Tall George and Small George

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ricotta Stuffed Chicken (and the Broad Street Run!)

Philadelphia is abuzz with sports fever right now!  The city has come together, proudly supporting the Flyers and Sixers through their playoff runs, while anxiously waiting for the Phillies to start scoring some runs!  As much as we love the professional teams, there is another great athletic event that really has The Spatularettes feeling excited... THE BROAD STREET RUN!

What started as a small local run 20 years ago, has grown into a wildly popular 10 mile race, attracting athletes from around the country.  It has gained a reputation as the fastest 10 miler in the country--no wonder 30 thousands runners signed up the day registration opened, reaching race capacity in only 5 hours!  Thousands of runners were turned away this year, but Tall One is one of the lucky 30 thousand who will be toeing the line tomorrow morning in North Philadelphia to make the epic 10 mile journey south through the city to the Navy Yard.

Cheer extra loudly if you see Tall  One running!
She's the girl wearing all bright colors and number 3057!

So what does a Spatularette eat the night before a big race?  You're probably thinking a big bowl of pasta with a side of carbs, right?  Wrong.  Both Tall and Small have been running competitively since they were young little spatularettes and after hundreds of races and way too many pasta dinners, realized something very important... gorging yourself on carbs the night before a big race does nothing to enhance your performance.  It just sends you off to bed feeling like you have a rock in your belly.  Instead we've found the best way to eat the night before an athletic endeavor is a well balanced dinner that encompasses ALL of the food groups, is packed with energy, and is easy to digest.  Tall One whipped up these delicious stuffed chicken breasts and served them with a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli.  So whether you are looking to run the race of your life or just want to cook a dinner you can feel good about, this Ricotta Stuffed Chicken is a must-try!

-4 large, boneless, skinless, chicken breast
-1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
-1/2 cup chopped spinach
-1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
-1/4 cup chopped basil
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-2 Tbs tomato paste
-1 tsp kosher salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-Mozzarella cheese for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a glass baking dish and set aside.

Pat chicken breasts dry and season well with salt and pepper.  Using a sharp knife, slice down the top center of the breast, creating a pocket.  Be careful not to slice the whole way through the chicken.

In a separate bowl, add the ricotta, spinach, mushrooms, basil, garlic, tomato paste, salt and pepper.  Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Fill the pocket of each chicken breast with the ricotta mixture.  Since the pocket isn't actually very big, we went ahead and over-stuffed our chicken, as you can see in the picture.  The extra filling cooks nicely on top of the chicken.

Place the chicken in the prepared baking dish and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove chicken from the oven, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and allow to bake for another 5-10 minutes.

This chicken pairs great with mashed potatoes and a veggie, but it would also be tasty with a side of pasta and marinara.

Enjoy with a glass of wine... unless you are racing, in which case we suggest sticking to water :)

Tall and Small

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pound Cake with Lemon Curd

The change of the season is upon us once again, but this time we're not talking about the weather.  We're talking about the season that starts every May and continues through October (sometimes December) for a spatularette: WEDDING SEASON!  The Spatularettes may be far from our own nuptials, but boy do we have a busy wedding season ahead of us this year!  Tall One's season kicked off last weekend with a bridal shower for one of her dearest friends.

Tall One needed to bring a dessert to the shower and wanted something that was easy to transport since the shower was out of town, but also something special enough to share at such a special occasion!  When searching for inspiration, she contacted another food blogging friend (check out her blog Belle of the Kitchen) who turned her on to these fabulous Barefoot Contessa recipes!  Lemon curd is bright and fresh and colorful--perfect for any summery celebration!


Pound Cake:
-2 sticks unsalted butter
-2 cups sugar
-4 extra-large eggs
-3 cups flour
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp kosher salt
-3/4 cup buttermilk
-1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Curd:
-4 lemons
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-1 stick unsalted butter
-4 extra large eggs
-1/8 tsp kosher salt

-Optional: whipped cream and strawberries for garnish

 For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2 loaf pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the eggs, one at a time.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and vanilla.  Slowly alternate mixing the dry ingredients and the liquid ones into your butter/sugar base.  Mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Divide the batter between the 2 prepared loaf pans and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for a few minutes, then flip the cakes out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

While your pound cakes are baking, make the lemon curd.  Start by zesting 3 lemons, being careful to only use the yellow part of the zest, then set the lemons aside for juicing later.  In a food processor, combine the lemon zest and sugar and pulse until very well combined. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and the lemon/sugar mixture until light and fluffy.  On medium speed, mix in the eggs one at a time and continue to mix until well combined.  Add the lemon juice (4 lemons should give you about a 1/2 cup) and the salt and continue to mix for another minute or so, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened.  Be sure to stir the mixture continuously while it cooks.  This process should take about 10-15 minutes.  Once the lemon curd is nice and thick, transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool in the refrigerator.  It will continue to thicken a bit more as it cools and should come to a nice smooth custard-like texture.

Allow the cake and the lemon curd to cool completely before serving (this is probably the most difficult step!).  Slice the cake and top each piece with lemon curd and whipped cream.  Strawberries are also wonderful dipped in the lemon curd and make a beautiful garnish.

Happy spring, happy wedding season, and happy eating!!

Tall and Small