Two Sisters, One Kitchen

Quick, healthy meals by a loving team. See what’s cooking in J & K's kitchen!

Bruschetta Mozzarella over Garlic Loaf Bread June 25, 2013

Jamie says: Brushetta… I just had the epiphany that it’s the Italians’ version of salsa. And just like salsa, it can be enjoyed in many ways…

Homemade bruschetta and fresh mozzarella with roasted garlic loaf slices

Homemade bruschetta and fresh mozzarella with roasted garlic loaf slices

I love the bright colors and the fact that they’re the same colors as the Italian flag.

Italian colors, Italian flavor

Italian colors, Italian flavor

Believe me, the end piece was nothing to leave behind.

Even the end piece is good...

Even the end piece is good…

Scoop the bruschetta on top of the bread, close your eyes, and savor the flavor.

Bruschetta Mozzarella over Garlic Loaf Bread

Bruschetta Mozzarella over Garlic Loaf Bread

Bruschetta Mozzarella over Garlic Loaf Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 small slices Tuscan roasted garlic loaf (Publix Bakery)
  • 1/2 medium fresh vine-ripened tomato
  • 1 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (Sorrento)
  • 10 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (Filippo Berio)
  • pinch salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Place bread slices in a toaster and toast until lightly toasted.
  2. Chop tomato. Cut mozzarella into small pieces and add to chopped tomato along with fresh basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Scoop brushetta mozzarella onto bread slices. Enjoy!

Yield: 3

  • Nutrition note: Freeze fresh (and packaged) bread to make it last longer. Freezing bread helps keep your bread tasting fresh and prevents it from spoiling. Additionally, you don’t have to feel as though you have to eat the whole loaf in a few days.
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Cereal with Cocoa Kefir and Fresh Raspberries June 24, 2013

Jamie says: The chocolate raspberry combination has always been a winner in my book. Add kefir to the mix and you’ve got- breakfast!

Cereal with Cocoa Kefir and Fresh Raspberries

Cereal with Cocoa Kefir and Fresh Raspberries

When you blend kefir with cocoa and ice, it becomes silky and smooth. Think of it as another delicious variation of chocolate milk.

Silky, smooth cocoa kefir makes this breakfast extra special

Silky, smooth cocoa kefir makes this breakfast extra special

Cereal with Cocoa Kefir and Fresh Raspberries

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a mini blender, combine kefir, ice cubes, and cocoa until frothy and ice is melted.
  2. Pour cocoa kefir into a bowl. Top with whole grain cereal and fresh raspberries. Enjoy!

Servings: 1

  • Nutrition note: Kefir is a natural source of probiotics (the good bacteria). I’ve been enjoying kefir daily after a course of antibiotics to help replenish my good gut bacteria and boost my immunity.
 

Whole Wheat Buns with Honey Butter June 23, 2013

Jamie says: Who doesn’t like the combination of warm, soft bread with melting “butter” and the simple sweetness of pure honey? I usually associate this tasty pair as a restaurant appetizer, but you can easily make your own…

Whole Wheat Buns with Honey Butter

Whole Wheat Buns with Honey Butter

It’s oh-so-good and oh-so-easy, too! Honey butter and bakery bread. They’re just meant for each other. A perfect pair.

Just like in restaurants- but better (and better for you)

Just like in restaurants- but better (and better for you)

Whole Wheat Buns with Honey Butter

Ingredients:

  • one 100% whole wheat dinner roll (Publix Bakery)
  • 1 Tbsp buttery spread (Smart Balance, Original)
  • 1 tsp honey (Publix, Pure Clover Honey)

Directions:

  1. Cut roll in half (hamburger-style) with a serrated knife. Place cut-side up on a small microwave-safe plate.
  2. Cut buttery spread in two pieces and place one on each piece of bread.
  3. Microwave for 15 seconds. Use a butter knife to evenly spread the buttery spread. Drizzle honey on top. Microwave for an additional 5 seconds. Enjoy!

Yield: 1 roll

Servings: 1

  • Nutrition note: Like the honey butter bread from restaurants? Make your own healthier, portion-controlled version by using one whole wheat roll, trans-fat free spread, and real honey.
 

Monte Cristo Sandwich with Chipotle Basil Jam June 22, 2013

Jamie says: I had fun cooking lunch today for my cousin David who’s in town for a conference and visiting me this weekend. It felt good to be in my playground (aka the kitchen) storming up creations, such as this Monte Cristo Sandwich with Chipotle Basil Jam, without limitations. And, of course, it’s awesome having my cousin in town.

Monte Cristo Sandwich with Chipotle Basil Jam

Monte Cristo Sandwich with Chipotle Basil Jam

I started out with fresh ingredients…

Fresh, fresh, fresh- Fresh berries, fresh basil, fresh onion

Fresh, fresh, fresh- Fresh berries, fresh basil, fresh onion

…and blended them up to make my own Chipotle Bail Jam.

Blends in seconds

Blends in seconds

I heated up my (relatively new) George Foreman grill since it’s not every day you can get a homemade hot lunch.

It's like a hot ham and cheese on French toast with spicy jam

It’s like a hot ham and cheese on French toast with spicy jam

I loved how the cheese melted, the ham and jam warmed, and the sugar hardened on top of the French toast-like bread.

Sweet, savory, and a little spicy

Sweet, savory, and a little spicy

I made some fierce little sandwiches that left my taste buds smiling. (The carrots were happy to be a part of the show, too.)

Serve with a crunchy veggie like carrot sticks

Serve with a crunchy veggie like carrot sticks

Monte Cristo Sandwich with Chipotle Basil Jam

Ingredients:

  • four 100% whole wheat dinner rolls (Publix Bakery)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 thick slice yellow onion
  • 1/8 tsp ground chiptole
  • 1/4 tsp plus a dash ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 eggs (Eggland’s Best Organic)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp buttery spread (Smart Balance Original)
  • 2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (Sorrento)
  • 2 slices uncured black forest ham (Applegate Naturals)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat indoor grill (George Foreman) to 310°F. Slice bread rolls in half.
  2. In a food processor, pulse blackberries, fresh basil, onion, chipotle, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon until combined.
  3. Crack eggs into a small bowl. Add a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract and beat. Melt buttery spread on grill. Dip roll halves into egg mixture and place each one separately on grill, cut-side up. Close grill and cook for about 3 minutes or until egg is cooked throughout.
  4. Slice cheese into four pieces. Cut ham slices in half. Place ham and cheese on the bottom roll pieces. Scoop 1 Tbsp chipotle basil jam on top of each. Place top remaining bread pieces on top to make a sandwich. Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Close grill and heat for an additional 2 minutes or until hot.
  5. Scoop remaining chipotle basil jam into a small bowl and refrigerate for later. Enjoy sandwiches hot off the grill!

Yield: 4 sandwiches, plus extra chipotle basil jam

Servings: 2, plus additional servings of chipotle basil jam

  • Nutrition note: Use ingredients in moderation make healthy substitutions to turn a high calorie, high saturated fat sandwich into a healthier but just as tasty version. A typical Monte Cristo usually has large, thick pieces of bread, a stack of meat, a lot of cheese, whole milk, butter, and mayonnaise. Slim it down and raise the nutrition by using less bread, meat, and cheese; and substituting whole wheat bread for white bread, buttery spread for mayo, real fruit instead of jelly, holding the mayonnaise and whole milk, using more nutrient-rich eggs, and adding herbs and spices instead of salt.
 

Homemade Mac & Cheese with Pork ‘n’ Onions, Broccoli, and Balsamic Glaze June 21, 2013

Jamie says: I cooked a tasty and unique birthday dinner for my good friend Danielle. She was the first friend I made when I moved to my new city. I already had plans on the date of her birthday party, and I wanted to do something special for her, so I got cookin’!. (So now you know if you want me to prepare a meal just for you, invite me to something I can’t attend… just kidding.) Happy birthday month to my friend, Danielle! (Yes, you should celebrate the entire month of your birthday!)

Homemade Mac & Cheese with Pork 'n' Onions, Broccoli, and Balsamic Glaze

Homemade Mac & Cheese with Pork ‘n’ Onions, Broccoli, and Balsamic Glaze

I warned her that I’ve never made this meal before (I don’t often make exactly the same meal twice), but luckily it turned out quite good. Say hello to some Homemade Mac & Cheese with Pork ‘n’ Onions, Broccoli, and Balsamic Glaze.

Mac and cheese gone wild, fancy, and pretty much incredible!

Mac and cheese gone wild, fancy, and pretty much incredible!

This isn’t quite your boxed mac and cheese (although Kraft mac and cheese does bring me back to my childhood.)

The fact that you'll actually be indulging in a balanced meal with 4 of the 5 food groups probably won't even cross your mind (hidden amazingness)

The fact that you’ll actually be indulging in a balanced meal with 4 of the 5 food groups probably won’t even cross your mind (hidden amazingness)

Homemade Mac & Cheese with Pork ‘n’ Onions & Balsamic Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups water
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni (Publix)
  • 1 lb bag chopped broccoli
  • 3 Tbsp buttery spread (Smart Balance original)
  • 1 3/4 cup shredded reduced fat colby & monterey jack cheese, with added calcium (Kraft)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (Filippo Berio)
  • 3/4 lb pork sirloin cutlets (Publix)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut (California Sun Dry)
  • dash salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic glaze (Gia Russa)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large pot with a steamer basket, bring water to a boil. Add macaroni to water and place broccoli in veggie steamer basket. Steam broccoli for about 7 minutes or until broccoli is soft. Cook macaroni for 11 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain water from macaroni and discard. Place macaroni a baking dish. Stir in buttery spread and cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, chop onion. Pour extra virgin olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Brown onions, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes.
  4. Chop pork. Add pork to onions. Stir. Cook for about 4 minutes, placing lid over pan and stirring occasionally, until pork is cooked throughout.  Add sun dried tomatoes, salt, and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Assemble meal: divide macaroni and cheese among four bowls followed by broccoli and pork with onions. Top with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Enjoy (and celebrate)!

Servings: 4

  • Nutrition note: Healthy choices and substitutions add up. To make this mac and cheese better for you, I choose a loin cut (like sirloin) for a leaner cut of meat and used a small portion (less than 1/4 lb per person); used a trans fat free buttery spread, selected a reduced fat cheese, and added vegetables. Did I mention 4 food groups are covered by this meal, too? (Hint: you may have read it in the last picture’s caption.)
 

Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Asparagus with Blue Cheese Crumbles June 9, 2013

Jamie says: My taste buds were doing cartwheels and back flips and cartwheels after one taste of my Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Asparagus with Blue Cheese Crumbles. (Yes, it was really that incredible.) It reminded me of a fancy side dish you’d pay $10 for at a classy bistro.

Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Asparagus with Blue Cheese Crumbles

Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Asparagus with Blue Cheese Crumbles

It was so good I decided to make it for Mom and Dad when they came to visit for Mom’s birthday! We had a fun weekend together. In addition to dinner at my place, they visited my office at work and Mom came to an intense CX Worx class at the Y with me. Then my lovely sister (K) came and we went to a Rotary Crawfish Festival and had dinner at Macaroni Grill with her boyfriend’s family. The next day was filled with church, the awesome movie The Great Gatsby, and a birthday dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Columbia! What a celebration!

Cooking Mom and Dad a meal at my place

Cooking Mom and Dad a meal at my place

Oh, and reduced fat (blue cheese) doesn’t mean reduced flavor. Nothing in the flavor department is “reduced” here- except maybe the balsamic glaze (bad chef”s joke). Here’s the complete meal I made. Yummy! Want the recipe for the Roasted White Sweet Potatoes with Crushed Rosemary? Click the hyperlink to the left <–.

Bon appetit! Accompanied by chicken with red sauce and  fresh basil over GF pasta and roasted white sweet potatoes.

Bon appetit! Accompanied by chicken with red sauce and fresh basil over GF pasta and roasted white sweet potatoes.

Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Asparagus with Blue Cheese Crumbles

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh asparagus
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • dash coarse sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) reduced fat crumbled blue cheese (Publix)
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze (Gia Russa)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 365°F. Wash asparagus. Pat dry with a paper towel and place on a cutting board. Cut about 2″ off the end of the stalks and discard end piece.
  2. Place asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss to coat and spread asparagus evenly across pan.
  3. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and chop garlic. Spread chopped garlic over asparagus and continue to cook 28 more minutes or until asparagus and garlic is slightly crunchy.
  4. Top with blue cheese and balsamic glaze. Enjoy!

Servings: 4

  • Nutrition note: Folate is a vitamin that’s essential for health. Want to know one good source of it? Asparagus!