Thursday, December 30, 2010

Creamy Piccata Sauce topped Salmon

This looks like a great, healthy way to ring in the new year. 

Poached Salmon With Creamy Piccata Sauce


•1 pound salmon filet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
•1 cup dry white wine, divided
•2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
•1 large shallot, minced
•2 tablespoons lemon juice
•4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
•1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1 tablespoon fresh dill weed, chopped

Place salmon in a large skillet. Add 1/2 cup wine and enough water to just cover the salmon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, turn the salmon over, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine; boil until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice and capers; cook 1 minute more.

Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and salt. To serve, top the salmon with the sauce and garnish with dill.

Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Filet Fish Sandwich

This is the first time I have ever made this sandwich and the first time I didnt have it at a fast food resturaunt. I thought it came out pretty good. I would probably have done a few things differently like using an egg instead of just butter to help coat the fish. I would also have made my own breadcrumbs with wholewheat bread just so the sandwich had more fiber, but all in all it was a good first attempt at a fish filet sandwich. Im thinking I will do it again sometime. Ingredients
4 fllets fish -flounder, orange roughy, haddock, even tilapia
1 tbsp lemon
1/2 tsp paprika
3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp parsley
place fish in greased pan and sprinkle with lemon, paprika, and dash of salt and pepper
in sauce pan heat 1 tablespoon butter, flour, s and p and add milk, stirring all the while until sauce is thick
pour over fish
melt remaining butter add to breadcrumbs and coat fish
bake fish at 350 for 35 minutes

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fish Taco

I love shrimp tacos and have never had a fish taco before, but I suspected I would like, and I did! I decided a good cilantro/lime flavoring would really give good flavor and keep it light and fresh tasting. Coupled with some very light tasting condiments, the meal was light and flavorful and the perfect combination of tart and fresh.
4 pieces of any whitefish, orange roughy, tilapia
2 limes
1/4 cup cilantro packed
medium onion chopped
2 medium tomatos diced
optional avacodo, sourcream, salsa

in a bowl squeeze contents of lime and mix with cilantro and salt and pepper
marinate fish for a few minutes
in baking pan or skillet cook fish, making sure to include all the marinade
if baking, bake at 350 in preheated oven for about 10 minutes
flake the fish with a fork when done cooking
fill 8 taco shells with fish
top each with tomato and onion
add sourcream or salsa if desired and enjoy!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

I found this recipe in a magazine, and thougth it sounded and looked great. I love bright colorful food, especially on a dark winter night, it lights up the night and the dinner table. I couldnt find my recipe, so I just made it up, and it came out pretty good I thought. I just dont know how one can go wrong with pesto. A few of the key ingredients are garlic, olive oil, parmesean cheese, nuts(optional, but we like) and then main ingredient of choice-basil, olives, roasted pepper, murshroom etc....broccoli sounded healthy and flavorful, and it was.
Here is my less then 5 minute recipe:
1 lb tubular pasta
boil according to direction
2 cups frozen broccoli thawed
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1 half cup parm
1/4 cup almolds
salt and pepper
put all in food processor or blender and pulse until creates a paste(keep in blender until pasta is boiled)
when noodles are cooked, drain and keep 1/2 cup water for reserve
pour 1/2 cup pasta water into pesto and pulse for 20 seconds
toss pesto and pasta together, serve with fresh parm

and that's your simple broccoli pesto pasta meal.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chicken Parmesean Stacks

This is a unique way to bring chicken parm back and yet not be repetitive. Because I am certain we have had chicken parm before on the blog and it has got to be one of the faves of my son. This version doesnt involve lots of sauce and cheese, just a much lighter, fresher version that got second helping requests from my boy.
2 chicken breasts sliced in half
1 small tomato
1/4 cup grated parm cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
fresh parm cheese grated

Preheat oven to 350
season chicken with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes
in meantime combine all dry ingredients
when chicken is done coat each tomato slice very well with dry ingredients both sides place slice of tomato on each breast of chicken
turn broiler on high
place chicken and tomato under broiler for 1 minute
remove from broiler and top with fresh grated parm cheese

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu and Shopping List for 12/12-12/18

Here's what Barbara and I have in mind for the week.
Barbara's in a fish mood - and it's evident this week!
There are only three weeks left in the year - that includes a week capped off with Christmas and another capped off with New Year's.  WOW, we've nearly done it... and there are still things that I'd like to make that we haven't done.

How about...
Chicken Parmesan stacks (more about presentation than a unique entree', but gonna be GORGEOUS!)
Broccoli Pesto on Fusilli w/ Almond Slices
Fish Tacos (hard shell tacos)
Gnocchi with Basil Pesto (homemade gnocchi?)
Flounder Fish Sandwich with Cucumbers and Coleslaw
Chicken with Vodka Sauce and Spinach
Carmalized Onion, Prosciutto & fresh parmesano pizza on Cauliflower Flatbread Crust

Now that's a great looking week. 

Raw – unsalted Almonds or pine nuts

Olive oil
Canola or vegetable oil
Brown sugar (1 tbsp)
Cayenne pepper
Flour – low/no carb options are fun to try here.
Garlic powder
Onion powder

Fresh Parmesan shavings or slices

Hard taco shells
Fusilli or Rotini pasta
Grated parmesan
Good, high-end Vodka sauce
(a salad in a bag or two to match up with these dishes)

Tomatoes for slicing
White and red onion
Red cabbage
Spinach (can be frozen)
Cauliflower (can be frozen)
(a nice veg mix to go with the Chicken Parm stacks)

Prosciutto or similar meat (canadian bacon or bacon can poorly substitute)

Chicken tenderloins (2.5 lbs)
Frozen gnocchi – or Barbara’s fresh, homemade…

Fresh basil

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tilapia with sage butter

Once in a while, not often, butter just seems right for a recipe, and something about sage and butter fits. I was right, the tilapia was delicious and not heavy. I definitely went light on butter and heavy on the sage spice.
4 tilapia pieces
1/4 cup butter melted
1/4 cup sage chopped
salt and pepper

brush butter on fish, salt and pepper fish
top with fresh sage and bake at 350 for 15 minutes
remove and serve with sides of choice

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pasta with Spinach, Brocolli and Cherry Tomato

Once in the while I have to clean out the fridge. I didnt intend on1 1 making this pasta dish, I had another one in mind, but I dont always buy fresh vegetables, I usually buy frozen, but we had a catering job, and had these foods left over, so I thought, a primavera type pasta on a cold night would hit the spot, and it did. Meal was quick, easy and healthy!
12 ounces pasta(your choice)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
1 lb fresh or frozen spinach
2 cups brocolli
2 cups cherry tomatos
heat skillet with olive oil add garlic on low, saute for 5 minutes - careful not to burn
add spinach if fresh, and saute on low until it begins to wilt
add brocoli and cherry tomatoes
saute together
drain pasta
saute pasta and vegetable together
serve with fresh parmigiano

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower

Yum!! I saw this recipe in, a while back and I thought it looked so good. I am a big fan of cauliflour. I love the taste and I love the versitility. That reminds me of a pizza crust made with cauliflour that is gluten free that I will have to make for the blog. In the
meantime, this is very easy, and super good.

medium cauliflower washed and cut into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves minced
juice from 1/2 medium lemon
1/4 cup fresh parmesean

preheat oven to 450
in a baking dish mix cauliflower, oil, garlic and lemon
bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown
top with cheese, bake 5 more minutes

pizza Blackbean Burger

Back again, to finish out the calender month/year of cooking on a budget- our blackbean burger. This meal has proven to be one of the most economical and healthy meat replacements we have discovered. Beans are one of the healthiest foods one can eat. They contain high amounts of fiber which is amazing at lowering cholesterol, and protein which is a very needed building block for our healthy bodies, but they are virtually fat free! I like to bake my burgers and then at the end of cooking, I throw them under the broiler to give them that crisp kindof bbq flavor.

1 can blackbeans(drained and rinsed thoroughly)
1/cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp redpepper flakes
1 tsp oregano(optional)
1 cup diced tomatos
4 slices mozarella or provolone cheese

In food processor or blender mix all ingredients except tomatos and cheese
when thoroughly mixed for into 4 patties(I usually like to stick them on a tray and put them in freezer for an hour, so they arent so mushy to work with)
bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 350
top with cheese and tomato and cook another 5 minutes until cheese is meleted
serve with or without bread, if eating with bread or bun, stick to wholewheat and get all the grainy goodness

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rigatoni Al Forno

"oh the weather out side is frightful", "but the food coming from our kitchen is delightful" What a great way to escape from the brutal winter-a little Italian comfort food. Rigatoni Al Forno can actually be made with any pasta noodle, we happen to think tubes or smaller noodles work best, but use what you have or prefer. The dish is simple to make and is great spin on a basic pasta dish.

1 lb pasta
1 can tomato sauce 15 oz
1 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 onion diced
2 garlic clove
1 1/2 cup mozarella cheese

for sauce:
heat sauce pan with oil
add onion and saute on medium
add garlic and saute 5 minutes(careful not to burn)
pour in sauce and paste
add in salt and pepper to taste
stir well, and simmer for an hour
boil noodles
drain and transfer to a oven safe baking dish
toss in sauce and coat evenly
add cheese in a layer on top of the pasta
bake at 300 for 30 minutes
for an even crispier effect, place under the broiler for a few minutes on high

Friday, December 3, 2010

Basic Sweet Rolls or Bread

My Mother-in-law makes these rolls which are, incidentally, found in the cookbook my Mother typed for the church I grew up in during the year in which Joe and I were married.  WOW, that's alot of memories and family tied together in one little recipe.  Seriously, my Mother-in-law is a great baker, and this is the recipe she really uses for all the breads that she makes ... sweet rolls, bread, dinner rolls, etc.  and it's pretty simple, really.

Basic Sweet Rolls
2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt

1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 pkgs dry yeast

4 cups flour

1/2 cup melted butter or margarine (NOT hot, just warmed enough to melt)
3 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten

If you're in the 1930s and have unpastureized milk, then heat milk until scalded - if you're making this in 2010, then just warm your milk slightly (like 1 minute in the microwave).  Add sugar and salt to the milk - allow to cool.  Soften 2 packages dry yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water.  when the yeast is starting to "grow", add to the cooled milk mixture.  Add 4 cups of flour and cover with a towel - sit in a warm space and let raise to bubbly stage. Add butter, eggs, and the next 3 cups of flour.  Knead in only as much additioanl flour as needed to make a dough that can be handled using small amounts at a time.  Allow to raise to double in bulk (an hour or so?).  Shape into buns, cinnamon rolls, braides, or any type of rolls you want. 
Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

So, for those of us not used to making breads or our own dinner rolls...a few tips. 
to make great "clover leaf rolls", spray each cup in your cupcake pan, pinch off about 1 tbsp dough, using as little extra flour as you need, roll into a small ball, repeat two more times so you have three balls - put into a sprayed cupcake cup, repeat to fill pan  allow to raise, and bake.
cinnamon rolls are a breeze with this recipe - just roll about half the dough (mixing with flour as needed to roll) into a long rectangle, spread with a bit of butter, some brown sugar, and cinnamon to taste, or just use pre-mixed cinnamon sugar.  Roll long sides to long sides making a long tube.  cut into slices about 3/4 inch thick - put on a baking sheet and allow to raise and then bake.
For bread you can just place the dough into two 10 x 13 loaf pans.  again, allow to raise and then bake.

Italian Meatloaf

I've been upping the protein in all that I eat for the past several weeks - and it's helping me in alot of ways.  I've been doing the P-90x workouts that are insanely tough and more than that, they're super long and you do them every day!  That said, I eat alot of protein and my body is changing...finally something that works.  (Catering for two days followed immediately by Thanksgiving was TOUGH on my diet!).  It's nice to be back at the right foods for me.

This is one of the recipes from the p90x plan  - a basic meatloaf.

1/2 cup onion, diced
(1/2 cup finely diced carrots)
2 tbsp chicken broth
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb turkey breast
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup low fat marinara sauce
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tsp dried basil)
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dried parsley)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
saute the onions (and carrots) in chicken broth until soft
add the garlic and cook until flavorful.
In a mixing bowl, combine the onion and ground turkey, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup marinara, basil and parsley.
form into a loaf and place in an ungreased loaf pan.
top with 2 more tbsp marinara and bake unti cooked through - about 35-40 minutes
drain off any fat, allow to cool for 10-20 minutes before slicing into 8 slices.

Someone my size would eat 2 slices - someone my husbands size would eat 4 slices.  Plan accordingly!

I added the carrots to the recipe - p90x does not.  It's such as simple way to hide veggies, so we should just do it!
(p.s. I labeled this as poultry and beef because obviously ground turkey and ground beef are pretty much interchangeable and won't affect the outcome of this recipe!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lime-Honey Glazed Salmon w/ Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad

Barbara - I scream ... can you believe this - so many many many of our favorite foods in this salad of Rachel Ray's. Straight outta her 365: No Repeats. We repeat for you a lime/honey salmon, our fav mix of black beans and corn, and then we throw it in a salad. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? OMG so awesome for us. I am super stoked for this tonight - and I can't wait to try it warm. Haven't had the corn/beans mixture warm, but I'm betting it will be perfect for this cold night!

4 tbsp evoo
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp crushd red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
salt/pepper to taste
juice of 2 limes
3 tbsp (gobs) honey
1 tsp chili powder
4 6-oz fillets salmon
1 red pepper, chopped
1 10 oz pkg frozen corn, defrosted, or 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
6 cups baby spinach (romaine would work if you're short on spinach)

In a shallow dish combine the juice of 1 lime, honey, chili powder - add the salmon fillets to this and toss to coat thoroughly.

preheat medium skillet and warm 2 tbsp evoo. Add onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for three minutes.

heat another skillet over medium heat with the other 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the seasoned salmon from above to the HOT skillet and cook just until cooked through - roughly 3 minutes on each side.

Now, to the first skillet the one with the onions and spices - add the bell peppers, defrosted or rinsed corn, and cook 1 minute. Ad the chicken stock and cook another 2 minutes. Add the black beans and cook unti they are heated thru. Remove from heat and add the juice of the second lime, cilantro and spinach. Just barely wilt the spinach then plate on four plates. Top with the lime/honey glazed salmon!

serve it up.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stuffed Chili and Cheese Potato

Haven't done this in a long time - and this one is different from our previous potato bars because it's got last night's chili in it!  Potato bar is SO versatile, and something we should do more often.  The health factor in this dish is in appropriately choosing your potato.  A serving of potato for you is about the size of your fist.  What's right for you is not right for your spouse...choose wisely.  Also, don't dump the bag of cheese onto your potato... it needs a sprinkle, not a bath!

4 medium potatoes
2-3 cups left over white chili from last night
16 ounces frozen broccoli (12 will do if that's what size bag you have)
shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese

microwave potato until soft - about 7 minutes for one - probably 15 minutes for all four.  You  can open the microwave and touch your potato - it should be slightly soft when you sqeeze it.  When the potatoes are done, remove them to a plate and cover with an inverted serving bowl to lock in the moisture.  Very important step!!!
warm the chili and the broccoli together either in the microwave or stove top. 
Next cut the potato lengthwise, top with the chili mix, then sprinkle with cheese.

White Chili

This recipe should make Jillian proud - always our goal for Tuesdays!  And, I've made this recipe as a "planned holdover" going with the potato tomorrow.  Nice planning.  Be sure to eat an appropriate amount of chili  - a problem many of us have.  I did take this recipe off the internet because I can't find the one I've made before ... this recipe sounds really good, with a good array of spices to keep it interesting from start to finish.  Sometimes white chilies aren't as "hot" as red, but this one holds good potential... let's see what happens.


1/2 lb white beans, soaked overnight in water, drained (or 1 can cannelli beans & 1can Northern White)
6 cups turkey stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onions, chopped (divided)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 jalapeƱo or serrano pepper, stem and most seeds removed, chopped (optional)
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies
4 cups diced cooked turkey
Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)

Possible Garnishes and extras
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup (loose) chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped (or guacamole)
Chopped tomatoes or salsa
Corn tortilla chips and/or fresh warmed flour tortillas

Combine beans, turkey stock, garlic and half the onions in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very soft, 1 to 3 hours or more. (Depending on the type of white beans you are using. Cannelli beans are tender and tend to cook rather quickly. Navy beans take longer.) Add additional water (or watered-down stock), if necessary.

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, cook chopped jalapeno (if using) and remaining onions in oil until tender. Add green chilies and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Add to bean mixture. Add turkey and salt to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes or more (up to an hour) until the beans are thoroughly soft and the stew has thickened.

Serve topped with grated cheese. Garnish with cilantro, chopped fresh tomato, salsa, chopped green onions, and/or avocados. Serve with fresh warmed flour tortillas or tortilla chips.

Serves 4 PLUS about 2 to 3 cups of leftovers.

Here's the blogsite I got the recipe from...but as you've come to expect, I modified it a bit.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thai Peanut Noodle Bowl

Ah, recipe two from the desktop cleanup!  This picture looks so yummo, and easy!  AND healthy.  Under 500 calories for sure.  Man, I oughta clean the desk more often :-).

Thai Peanut Noodle Bowl.

8 oz whole wheat pasta (spaghetti type)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup lime juice
4 cloves garlic
ginger to taste, peeled and grated
2 cups frozen shelled edamame
8 cups frozen stir-fry veggies (buy the ones from Aldi, throw the sauce away!)

4 tablespoons chopped peanuts
scallions or green onions, sliced.

COok pasta according to directions.  In a skillet, saute' peanut butter, lime juice, garlic, and ginger for one minute.  Add adamame and veggies and cook for 12 minutes until veggies are tender.  Pour over pasta.  Top with peanuts and scallions.

(So, here's a meatless version for Barbara - I'm thinking of adding shrimp to mine for protein! - sorry B, gotta do it!)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Italian Sausage & Veg Pasta

Cleaned off my desk yesterday - the one in the basement that hasn't been cleaned off in "a while" we'll leave the description of time as that.  I found some cool recipes that I'd pulled uhm before we began this project.  Anyway, this one page had three kickin' recipes that we're going with this week - this being the first of them.

To me this is sort of a justification recipe...see, this is something I would regularly make for the family but usually feel that it's more of a thrown together meal than cooking from a recipe - but now I have a recipe for this, so it legitimizes my method of healthy meal making!  Sweet!

In the picture above I omitted the pasta entirely - part of my reduced carb consumption plan (we don't say diet here in my house!).  I subbed in a bowl full of baby spinach but otherwise followed my recipe.  Calories? as if...

bring together
8 ounces whole-wheat pasta
2 cups spaghetti sauce (of choice)
4 pre-cooked Chicken or Sausage sausages - like Asiago and Spinach Chicken Brats or Sundried Tomato and Gouda or whatever you find/like.
4-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped zucchini
1/2 cup grated Parmsan cheese (to your liking - this seems like ALOT!)

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Saute the mushrooms, onions and zucchini in a large frying pan over medium heat (sprayed lightly with cooking spray) - after about 5 minutes, add the sliced sausages and garlic, brown slightly - another 4-5 minutes, then add the sauce for the final few minutes until it's all hot and married together and the veggies are really tender.
Top pasta with sauce mixture and sprinkle with cheese!


shopping list

The Aldi Shopping list for the week - and minus the cilantro, jalapeno and ginger, I think it's an all Aldi week!

Peanut Butter
Lime Juice
Chopped peanuts
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Chili powder
Ground cloves (optional)
Cayenne pepper
7 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 pkgs dry yeast

Fresh Parmesan Cheese - grated
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Monterey Jack Cheese (optional)
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter or margarine

2x8 oz whole wheat pasta
2.75 cup spaghetti sauce of your choice
Black beans (1 can)
½ pound white beans which you will soak and cook, Or 2 cans white beans of choice
2 - 4 oz cans diced chilies
bread crumbs

Garlic (loads of it!) (like at least a bulb+)
2 cups mushrooms
5 white or yellow onions
2 cups zucchini
4 medium sized baking potatoes
Green onions (optional)
Red onion
1 red pepper
Baby spinach leaves
Avocado (optional)
Fresh Salsa (optional)

2 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken
1.5 lbs ground turkey breast (lean!)

4 Chicken or Turkey Sausages flavored to your liking (I like Asiago & Spinach)
Frozen, shelled, edamame
Frozen stir-fry veggies
4-6oz salmon fillets
Frozen Broccoli
1 bag or box corn kernels

½ cup Chicken stock
3 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 jalapeno pepper

So, Barbara, how much do you trust me to have put your wishes into this menu?  I think you'll like it Babe!

The week after Thanksgiving

And for Barbara - NO TURKEY!
(I'm good for turkey eating for a few more weeks thanks to our 21 pound turkey, but Barbara and her family are out of turkey until next year!).

So, Barbara and I had a super super busy week last week, and we'll get some recipes from last week posted this week - what a rockin' week with two full days of catering followed immediately by Thanksgiving - shopping, yesterday, and now it's Sunday already.  WOWZA!  Our week was so busy that we didn't take time out to get the menu in order... but since it's time to get organized as the four week long insane rush before Christmas begins, here's what I've put together for the week!

Sunday:  Italian Sausage and Veggie Pasta
Monday:  Thai Peanut Noodle Bowl
Tuesday:  White Chili
Wednesday:  Stuffed Chili and Cheese Potato
Thursday:  Salmon with Lime and Honey on Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad
Friday:  Meatloaf ala P90x
Saturday: Sweet Bread - the easiest homemade bread -

so there you be...

(Let us not forget that Advent is a time to prepare and be ready - to cleanse and find our simpler self - and be nicer to those around us!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Meal

Is there anything else?
Well, I suppose some do ham...but really, Thanksgiving screams Turkey.
And so did the deals from the chain stores last week.  Spend $20, use a coupon for $10 off your turkey - which made our turkeys pretty darn inexpensive this holiday season.

So, all you need to do to cook a SIMPLE turkey is...
THAW the turkey thoroughly!
REMOVE the gunk that the turky makers insist on putting in the former stomach cavity.
Lightly oil the bird, then put sage, salt, and pepper on the skin of the bird, put in a roasting pan, some people prefer covered, others open, then bake!
BAKE for hours and hours at 325 degrees.  (it's about 12 to 15 minutes per pound)

carve and serve.
There are tons of marinades, brines, rubs, and other recipes for turkey on the web.  And the Butterball site, is the best at predicting how much turkey to buy, and how long to cook it.  These are important things to keep in mind when buying and preparing your meal.


2 cups turkey broth, made by boiling the neck (one of the things stuffed in the cavity of the bird) and 3 cups water for a few hours
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup water

Mix the flour, corn starch, and water in a small bowl or shakable container
bring the broth to a boil, then remove from heat.  Stir in the flour mix, then return to heat and stir like crazy!  keep stirring until it thickens.  Then add pepper to taste and serve.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


This week is Thanksgiving.
Time to give thanks for all those around you who - most of whom you overlook or underappreciate the rest of the year.
And what better way to say thank you to someone than to do so with great food.
Here's our thank you food list...

Twice Baked Potaotes
Cranberry stuffing
Pistachio Pudding pie
Cranberry Relish
Turkey and Gravy
Left over turkey salad with crescent rolls
Turkey Pot Pie

WATCH THE TURKEY PAN COMING OUT OF THE OVEN ... Don't let this be your Thanksgiving...
after the Bupkis's dog eat the Parker's turkey....
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] The heavenly aroma still hung in the house. But it was gone, all gone! No turkey! No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! Turkey Hash! Turkey a la King! Or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, ALL GONE! 
then you get ....  Deck the harrs with boughs of horry, fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra.

Cranberry Dressing or Stuffing

I found this recipe a few years ago - and made it then.  It was well loved, and I've been making it annually since.  It's really got a unique flavor with the berries in it, and it's very different from stuffing that has that cut up meat remnants baked in ... those little hidden "jems" aren't my cup of tea... these cranberries are a perfect option for me!

And do you know the difference between dressing and stuffing?  Stuffing is "stuffed into the cavity of a bird prior to cooking".  So, stuffing has to be treated with care - it has to be cooked to at least 165 degrees because it's been soaking up raw turkey juices for hours in the bird.  And, it slows down the cooking of the bird because it blocks the heat that could otherwise go into the cavity of the bird and cook it from multiple directions.  I also read that a stuffed bird is frequently drier because you have to cook it longer to over come what I just said... so dressing is the same stuff, but not in the bird, rather in a pan, and it's used to "dress up your plate".  I pick dressing!

Cranberry Dressing

1 16 oz package preseasoned bread cubes called stuffing mix
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (this is not that strange can-shapped log that is sliced and served on a plate at the holiday table, this is a soft gel that flops out of the can )
2 cups chicken broth, water or turkey broth
1cup onions
1 cup celery
1/4 cup butter or margarine

in skillet, cook celery and onion in margarine or butter until quite soft - about 10 minutes. 
Add turkey broth to cranberry sauce - mix.
Put the bread crumbs in a big baking dish, add the celery and onion, then the liquids and mix everything well, then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (this is the perfect amount of time for your turkey to rest and be carved, so put the stuffing in when the bird comes out!)

makes alot of servings - at least 8 but with everything else planned for thanksgiving, it'll serve 16ish!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pistachio Pudding Pie

Ellie wanted to make some pie for Daddy and for Thanksgiving.  But, I knew there was apple or cherry AND pumpkin pie coming our way from the north - Joe's Mother In Law ALWAYS makes pumpkin pie and some other kind for pretty much every time we ever get together with them - the kids love it (and you all know how I feel about it!).  SO... I suggested she make this for him, and WOW, did she love it and of course Daddy was CRAZY about it ... pistachios, pudding, PIE... yes, sure to be a favorite.

1 store bought graham cracker pie crust
1 package sugar free, fat free pistachio pudding
1 3/4 cup milk
1 container low fat coolwhip
10-20 pistachios, removed from the shell.

mix the pudding and the milk, stir really well.  wait five minutes, pour into pie shell (remove the plastic first!).  Refrigerate for one hour, top with coolwhip, sprinkle chopped pistachios on top of the coolwhip.  Slice into 8-12 slices and SERVE.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Quesadilla with Corn and Blackbean Salsa

Kim and I love the combo of blackbean, Corn and Tomato so much we are always trying to find different ways to use them together in meals since this is a no repeat recipe year. This time we have incoropated spinach into the mix and cheese which just adds to the already nutritious trifecta. Spinach adds vitamin K and calcium and tons of other nutrients and cheese of course tons of calcium and protein. This is one healthy and easy meal.
give yourself about 10 minutes and you will be done in no time.
Ingredients and directions
preheat oven to 350

8 flour or corn tortillas
1 cup black beans
1 cup corn canned or thawed out frozen
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 tsp cilantro(optional)
1 tsp cumin(optional)
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
about 40 fresh spinach leaves or 1 1/2 cup frozen spinach thawed
1 cup shredded cheese(cheddar or a mexican blend)
mix beans, corn, diced tomato in its sauce, cilantro, cumin and taco seasoning
lay out 4 tortillas on baking sheet, top each with salsa, spinach leaves(about 10 leaves per) or frozen -1/4 cup each and shredded cheese(1/4 cup each)
sandwhich each tortilla and topping with the other tortilla and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until tortilla top slightly brown and cheese is melted.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crescent Rolled Sausages

Yes... all from Aldi - this breakfast runs $2.39 for 10 "pig in a blanket" breakfast surprises - and about "$1,000,000" in happiness from the kids because it's super easy for them to make, and super easy for them to eat - and really, eating a "pig in a blanket" is pretty funny sounding.

Now, the health aspects of this aren't great - and that's not something I'm proud of, but on occasion, this is one of those "all things in moderation" type of meals.  That said, buy turkey sausages and reduced fat crescent rolls and you're modifying in the right direction!

1 package of 10 turkey sausage links-refrigerated precooked or cooked and cooled traditional links. 
1 package of reduced fat crescent rolls (still yummy butter flavored!)

lay the crescent rolls out per the package - and roll them up as directed (wide end to skinny point), but put a sausage in the middle and wrap around it. 

Bake per directions on crescent roll - I believe it's about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

(Picture note:  USUALLY I don't photograph half eaten plates of food - it just doesn't seem right.  But, for two reasons, I've done so here - a) you can't see the meat if the blanket isn't opened b) the kids jumped on these before I could stop them.  Guess that's a good thing!)

Here's a picture of the one that didn't get bitten into before I could get the camera out  --  and see you'd never know there was a pig in there were it not for the bite!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shrimp Scampi

mmmmm.  another one of those Body For Life/Eating For Life cookbook recipes that I absolutely love - the reasons 1) it's easy  2) it's an equal balance of carbs and protein, 3) pretty low fat - subbing olive oil of butter and 4) it looks great on the plate!

I had sort of forgotten this recipe until Lucy reminded me how flavorful the butter buds make this dish.  They're another trip to the real supermarket, but the health advantages - plus the amount of time one bottle of Butter Buds lasts vs. a pound of butter (which costs almost the same price) - it's pretty darn great!

Here you go...

8 oz uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta

2 Tbsp olive oil
lots of garlic (recipe calls for 6 cloves)
1 pound of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup Butter Buds - divided
1/3 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 lemon
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped.

Cook penne per package

MEANWHILE... heat olive oil and garlic in large skillet over medium heat until warm and fragrant.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.  Add 2 Tbsp Butter Buds and white wine to shrimp - saute another 2 minutes.  Place cooked pasta in large serving bowl and mix it with remainder of Butter Buds and black pepper.  Mix, then toss fresh shrimp in and gently mix a bit longer.

Divide into four portions, and squeeze with lemon juice, parm, and parsley - serve it up!

Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

My college roommate made this for my bridal shower about 13 years ago - and I loved it!  And periodically I break down and make it - and for weeks after I wonder why I don't do it more often.  Other than the trip to the grocery store (as opposed to Aldi's) - or in my case SuperWalmart (horrors!) for the special tomatillos this is a total NO WORK salsa that is so yummy and delicious - and unlike store bought salsa - it's sodium free - and can be sugar free!  I love it on chips, salad, chicken, nachos, you name it!  So what's to it you ask?

1 pound green tomatillos (freshest when the green/brown skin is still tight
about 1/2 jalapeno pepper (seeded)
1/2 cup white onion
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
juice of 1/2 medium lime
1/4 tsp sugar - optional - I usually omit

place tomatillos in a pot of boiling water - boil additional 5 minutes - skins will loosen
drain, cool to touch, remove skins and core.
Place everything in a food processor or blender - do your magic until it's the consistency desired.  Some like it runnier, some chunkier - it's your salsa!

We served on top of chicken nachos (diced chicken, tortilla chips, colby-jack cheese broiled for about 4 minutes).  Black olives would have been added, but we were out - and of course the sour cream goes in last!

Here's my reduced carb version - no chips for me, just a huge ole' salad with tons of salsa as dressing!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Horseradish Encrusted Whitefish

Tuesday night-Biggest Loser night and so I knew I had to do something Jillian and Bob would approve of, so we did a Horseradish Encrusted Whitefish. Our menu actually listed Mahi Mahi as our fish of the week, but my store of choice was out of Mahi Mahi, and I was forced to go to my local grocerystore for the fish. I had no idea what the price would be, but when I saw $12.95 lb, I just couldnt do it. I dont alway even think the fish at this unnamed major grocery store is good. It seem to always smell and taste fishy. Now, ofcourse Jillian from BL would love if everyone would purchase fresh, organic fish, and that coming from Wholefoods or a Fish Store, Im sure would be delicious and not fishy tasting, however the cost on that would probably blow half our budget for the week to feed 5 people. It just isnt realistic Jillian to make such I decided to go home and see what I had in my freezer, not having spent any money at the grocerystore felt good. I had some Tilapia and some whitefish, and I thought the whitefish would be a fit heartier for the encrusting.

Baked Polenta With Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

Still on my quest to find ways to use up my cornmeal, so Im back to another creative way to make Polenta. This time, this way was a bit of a process, and baking the polenta gave it a bit of a different texture, it was kind of like polenta toasts. My polenta squares were thinner then I will do next time, but other than that, I liked them.
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups water
1 1/2 cup prepared marinara
1 cup mozarlla cheese

boil water, add bullion

slowly add cornmeal and stir constantly
stir for approximately 20 minutes or until cornmeal and water are a smooth consistency
remove from heat and pour into a 9x9 bake dish
smooth out so the whole pan is an even sheet of polenta
cook at 300 for 40 minutes
while polenta is baking heat sauce in pan
remove baking pan from oven and pour sauce over evenly
sprinkle with cheese and bake in oeven for 10 minutes or until cheese is fully melted
remove from oven let stand for 10 minuted and cut into squares

Sunday, November 14, 2010

what to buy!

Wanna Eat what We're cooking?  FOllow this shopping list - laid out Aldi style, with a few items from your local grocery store listed at the bottom.

Tortilla Chips

Dijon Mustard
Black Olives (stock up – thanksgiving is a big Black Olive sale - $.88 at Albertsons Stores like Jewel)

Mozzarella Cheese
Monterey Jack Cheese
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls – or store brand equivalent
Breakfast Sausage Links

Plain Breadcrumbs
Tortilla for Quesadillas (flats could work)
Black Beans
Jarred Salsa
Whole Wheat Penne
Parmesan Cheese

Fresh Garlic
Fresh Spinach (Frozen can Sub)
Fresh Parsley (dried CAN substitute)
Field Greens
Fresh Fruit of Choice

Mahi Mahi
Veg of choice
Frozen Corn
Raw Shrimp
Ahi Tuna Steak

Tomatillos (small green tomatoes – in closed “skins”)
Corn Meal
Butter Buds
White wine (or chicken broth)

Happy Shopping!

Week of November 14 to November 20

Wow - almost Thanksgiving.  About a year ago Barbara and I dreamt this little gem up - and we didn't know what it would do for us.  We've got a few things to do, but we're gonna start letting others know about our cost saving recipes and menus - and hopefully we can make our mark on the world.

Here's what we've arrived at for this week.

Green Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde') over Chicken Nachos
Baked Polenta with Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce
Horseradish mustard encrusted mah mahi
Cheese and Spinach Quesadillas with White Corn Black Bean salsa
Ahi Tuna on a bed of field greens
Shrimp Scampi with Penne
Crescent Rolled Sausages (Pig in a Blanket)

exciting for us!  Nervous as can be about the Ahi Tuna - it's just GOT to be cooked the right amount of time ... and what to top it with. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010


This is for sure a dish from my past. By past, I mean like 30 years ago. This pasta dish was a "go to" to order at the only Italian resturaunt around when I was growing up. Can you imagine only a few Italian resturaunts years ago, where there is now 100's?? Manicotti absolutely dates me, you just dont see it on many menus anymore, I cant imagine why. It is probably easier to make then lasagna, the ingredients are pretty much the same, it can be made as heavy or light as one would want. I made a spinach version, and opted to make it meatless, but a ground beef filled manicotti would be delish and very kid friendly in my house. Now that I have been reminded of Manicotti and how good it is, we will be making it again Im certain.

1 box manicotti shells(you will have to go to local grocerystore for these)
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parm cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup frozen spinach(thawed)
1/2 jar favorite prepared sauce
1 cup mozarella cheese

boil noodles according to instruction
thaw spinach and drain any excess moisture as good as possible, I usually place spinach in a collander and put it in the sink and press down on spinach to release all the liquid, I will do that for a few minutes
in bowl combine ricotta, parm, bread crumbs, and spinach
season with salt and pepper
when noodles are cooked, drain them and let cool
coat bottom of baking pan with tomato sauce
start to fill shells with ricotta mixture
as they are filled, line then up in baking pan vertically, if there is room on ends place remaining horizontally
top with sauce and cheese
bake in oven for 40 minutes at 350
remove from oven, let stand 10 minutes to cool
slice and serve

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tilapia with Herb di Provential

OK, so I would be a liar if I said I made this devine herb mixture from scratch, especially if I bought all the herbs fresh, or if I said I grew them. The truth is, a friend of mine made the mixture himself. He went to Whole Foods and bought all the herbs (7 herbs) and probably spent fortune, but a little bit of spice, went a long way. He gave me a about 1/4 cup of the combination in a baggie and I seasoned 4 pieces of Tilapia with it, and barely made a dent in my supply. Very little of anything was needed to prepare my Tilapia other then a smidge of olive oil and this herb mixture. It is definitely inspiring me to get some herb plants to start berb garden because the fresh aromatic, flavorful taste on the fish was undenieable. My friend doesnt measure when cooking, so this is his eyeball version of Herb di Provence
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp majoram
1 tbsp lavender
mix all together and combine with 1/4 cup coarse salt

for my tilapia, I place fish in baking pan and lightly coated fish with extra virgin olive oil
sprinkled sparingly herbs over fish,(not much is necessary to flavor fish)
bake for 15 minutes in oven at 350.
Im going to use the herbs again for sure, in the meantime I have them stored in a tupperware

Monday, November 8, 2010

pumpkin Tomato Sauce Pasta

This is a first for myself and my family and I have to say, it was a success. I have often thought of cooking with pumpkin because I do love pumkin pie, but never really came close to doing so until now. I found a recipe for a yogurt smoothie I want to make, but I thought I would start with a savory dish first. Upon scanning the internet for a recipe I did discover how incrdibly nutritious pumpkin from a can is. It is also gives the illusion of a creamy sauce without all the fat or calories.
The recipe was very simple

8 ounces pasta(your choice)
1 cup pumkin puree
1 can 16 oz tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 onion sliced thin
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoon olive oil
fresh parm
salt and pepper to taste

Boil noodles according to instruction
in skillet heat olive oil on medium add onion, and saute until slightly glassy
add minced garlic and saute until cooked, careful not to burn
add pumkin puree, chicken broth and tomato sauce to pan and turn up heat
cook until sauce boils, stirring constantly
lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes
add salt and pepper to taste
drain pasta noodles
toss noodles and sauce together in pan
serve onto plates with fresh parm

Rosemary Salmon

Thank You Michelle for bringing this dish into my life today (and yesterday too)!  This is low carb cooking at it's peak!  I had this with dried rosemary, and can only imagine how delish it would be if I had fresh rosemary - but... no money, no time, no matter - that's what the dried, inexpensive but very flavorful herbs at Aldi can do for you! Cook like a pro, shop like a cheapskate!  YES!  That could have been our blog name!  Anyway, here's the Salmon with Rosemary done in that new Calphalon pan of mine ... NO, I did NOT go buy a new Calphalon frying pan, Joe and I bought this pan about ten years ago - and used the daylights out of it... and the LIFE TIME WARRANTY of my Calphalon pans came thru for me (as did my husband!).  I'd thrown the thing in the cupboard writing it off as "not for common use", but as it is my only frying pan with a metal handle, I needed to keep it so I could bake in the frying pan - but really, it had surpassed it's useful life.  I got something delivered in a big box, can't remember what, Joe did the research (go figure), packaged the dead Calphalon, and about a WEEK - seriously - later I GOT A BRAND NEW CALPHALON PAN!  Okay, cheapskate about herbs, big spender about the cookware (I think we got it on Amazon ... probably using some points or deal of some sort - I'm not really a big spender, but I DO believe in quality!).

So, here's Michelle's Salmon with Rosemary

4 4 oz servings of Salmon
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 twist of pepper mill
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried, crushed rosemary (or 2 tsp fresh leaves!)

combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and rosemary in a bowl - brush onto the fish.
Put in frying pan with lid, cook for four minutes, flip, cook another four minutes, remove, and serve with a serving (or three) of freshly steamed veggies!

Now that's easy! 

NOTE: the white stuff on top of the salmon in this picture is because I covered the meat for the final four minutes  because I was working with FROZEN salmon that had not been thawed... when I covered the meat the juices, which would have settled to the bottom of the pan and created a beautify browned bottom side to my salmon, cooked on top of the meat - they appear white, but they are just juice.  You can discard or consume - either is fine!  Oh, and there are two servings of fish on my plate - part of the uber-high protein world I'm living in these days!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Harvest Salad

Sometimes I create a salad that I just love and know that I am going to have to make again. This salad for sure is going on our catering menu. There are lots of flavors and textures in this salad, but it comes together perfectly. I made my own dressing, but a store bought raspberry vinegrette, or Italian would be great. The title Red Harvest came from the abundants of "red" in the salad, along with all the red colored ingredients, including beets which when tossed kindo turn everything it touches a light shade of red. Very pretty though, and very inviting.

1 lb mixed field greens
1 medium red onion sliced thin
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 cup walnuts pieces
1 medium apple cored and sliced in think pieces
1 cup beets sliced thin
1/2 cup blue cheese
1/2 cup dressing

combine in large bowl all ingredients together, toss in dressing mix and seve imediately

Saturday, November 6, 2010

English Muffin Pizzas

This is something I started making FOREVER ago, maybe when I was a Weight Watchers Points counter (this is LOW!), or maybe some other time - but regardless, with the large number of really high fiber, whole wheat english muffins on the market now at a pretty affordable cost, this "crust" is so super easy the kids can do it without you! (really, they could if they are toaster or oven savvy).

Four English Muffins
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 breakfast sausage links, cooked and cut into small pieces
1/2 red pepper, diced

Open the four english muffins to make eight halves - place on a dark baking sheet.  Put 1 tbsp pizza sauce on each half - then the sausage and pepper, finally 2 tbsp mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until desired crispiness is acheived (they won't crisp appropriately on an air-bake pan!)

Load up on the veggies - usually I use alot more veggies like mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and other peppers - but I kept it simple today because the kids playdates were showing up in 15 about 25 mintues from when I started, and I wanted the kids to eat with no complaints!  (and they did!).

Din Din time - week ... who knows! It's November 7-13

Barbara and I had a great meeting this morning - with so much going on, we're juggling like sixteen projects related to "business" with this blog, distribution, publishing, catering, filming, and finances, nutrition, physical fitness, vacations, computing issues, technology issues, and life of two good friends, our one hour meetings daily could be six and we'd never catch up.  UGH!  Wish one of those were easy... nope, not for us.  Anyway,  what do you want to eat?  Here's what we're having...

Sunday - English Muffin Pizzas (one of my kid's favorites!)b
Monday - Pumpkin Tomato Sauce on Whole Wheat Pasta
Tuesday - Rosemary Salmon
Wednesday - Honey CHile Sauce on CHicken with Veg of Choice
THursday - Herb de Provencial on TIlapia
Friday - Manicotti with Pomodoro sauce
Saturday - Apricot Sauce Chicken over Artichokes.

A nice blend of carb rich foods for those who wish and simple carb-free meals for those who don't.  That's kinda the way things are going for us!

shopping list for 11/7-11/13 - get it done!

Olive oil

Fresh garlic cloves
Dried OR FRESH Rosemary
Honey (2/3 cup)
Sherry vinegar
Chile powder
Chopped pecans (3 tbsp)
Allspice or nutmeg
Apricot preserves
Dijon mustard
Soy sauce
Red pepper flakes
Jarred Artichokes – not pickled

2-3 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Breakfast Sausage links
Lemon juice
Ricotta cheese – part skim
Egg or egg substitute

Pizza Sauce
1 can Pumpkin
Whole Wheat Pasta
1 can tomatoes
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
Manicotti noodles

Red Peppers
Green onions (or shallots)

Salmon Fillets
Frozen Veg of choice (3 nights)
Tilapia Fillets
Frozen spinach
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken breast tenderloins

English Muffins (Whole Wheat high fiber is great, but get what’s there!)
Chicken broth
Good Marinara sauce OR olive oil, garlic cloves, 48 oz whole italian plum tomatoes, oregano (opt’l), salt & pepper

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Parmesan Encrusted Pork Chops

Kim and I have become big fans of encrusting, infact we will encrust fish, chicken, pork, veal and steak an do so happily. Ofcourse there is many ways to encrust - with herbs, condiments and ofcourse our standby parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and egg. This is most basic, and usually ingredients I usually have in the fridge. These pork chops were a huge success and definitly on the keeper list.

4 boneless porkchops
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup parm cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil

whisk eggs
set egg in work space next to bread crumbs in a bowl and parm cheese in a bowl
salt and pepper the meat
add salt and parsley to bread crumbs
coat pork chop one at a time in egg, next in bread crumbs and then in parm cheese
when all 4 coated heat olive oil on medium in large skillet
add pork chops, cook on each side for 8 minutes
remove from heat and serve

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baked Ham with veg & sweet potato fries

A while back my bargain shopping husband grabbed a great deal on a bone in ham.  But really, I'm not a whole ham kinda girl... so, outta the comfort zone I go... (something about cooking a whole ham makes me feel like I should have a short white apron and a clean house and gray hair - three things I don't have)!

Could this have been ANY easier?  NOPE!  So ham isn't the best meat for you - the ham we ate had 44% of the RDA of sodium ... that of course being the RDA for a person taking in 2000 calories - I consume way less by design, and thus one serving was more than half of my RDA of sodium.  BUT, I did like it, it is a HUGE hit with my kids, and so I guess while I surpass my RDA of sodium for the day, I've more than filled my RDA of love from my kids cuz NO ONE complained during dinner, and there were FIVE members of the clean plate club tonight.

So, is ham good for you ... (almost) all things in moderation I say!


1 ham - whatever weight you find - leftovers will be eaten.

fresh or frozen veggies of choice

We've made the sweet potato chips countless times before - awesome as usual with nothing but a twist of lemon pepper seasoning and a a spritz of EVOO.

Veg of choice - microwave steamed no less!

Finally - the ham.  So I pulled mine from the freezer, giving it a day or so to defrost in the frig, but it was still kinda frozen when I threw it in the 325 degree oven for about 90 minutes - covered with aluminum foil.  The labels usually tell you how long to cook the ham - I believe it is about 10 -15 minutes per pound.  I had to kick mine up a bit because when I stuck the meat thermometer in after about 1:15 minutes it was "no where!".

So, if you have a pre-sliced ham (spiral cut), then try putting a slice or three of pineapple on top of the ham for a great flavorful taste!  Mine was a whole ham with the fattier layers still on, so I didn't treat it with the pineapple, and it was still wonderful.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper, Onion and Swiss Cheese Quiche

I love this blog because I step outside my comfort zone all the time in the kitchen and then I realize I should have done it long, long ago. Ive never made quiche before, Ive ordered it in resturaunts , but never made it before. It couldnt have been easier and although my son didnt like our selection of add ins in the quiche tonight, he liked the crust and I am sure I can come up with some other combos ie deli meat, bacon, veggies that he wouild like.
I have to admit I didnt make my own crust, that is on my list of things to do next. I just didnt have time and truly the crust I got at Aldi was good and easy and two crusts came in the package, so we will be having another quiche or pie in the very near future.
heres the recipe, short and sweet

1 pie shell
4 eggs(two whole eggs, two egg whites)
1 large red pepper
1 half onion(sliced thin)
1/2 cup milk
2 sliced swiss cheese cut into pieces(size of a dime)
salt and pepper to taste

wash pepper and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until pepper begins to look slightly shriveled
remove from oven and place in plastic bag
let sit for 15 minutes, remove and carefully peal skin off, and dice peppers
in a skillet heat oil and saute onions until glassy
add peppers last few minutes of saute
in seperate bowl crack eggs, whisk in milk
add pepper onion combo and swiss cheese
salt and pepper to taste
pour into pie shell
bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top of quiche is golden brown
let stand 5 minutes and cut into pie shape pieces

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Broccoli and Swiss Cheese

A few months back we made a chicken breast baked with swiss cheese that was pegged by my son as the "best thing" I made so far, so we decided we had to bring it back in some way or another. We decided to stuff the breast this time with the cheese and more importantly a vegetable to keep it super healthy. Broccoli was our choice, but honestly asparagus, spinach, artichoke would all work beautifully. The breasts needed to be sliced from the side inorder to create a pocket. I did slice them all, but kind of poorly(notice in picture- the broccoli coming out)however, when the breast were baked, it all came together with big servings of protein and calcium from the cheese and the broccoli. I am oh so certain that Kims chicken looks better then mine. Oh well, presentation not my strong suit.

6 chicken breasts fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cup broccoli pieces
3 slices swiss cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley

slice a pocket in each chicken breast and season with salt and pepper
stuff brocolli and 1/2 slice cheese inside chicken breasts
if need to keep closed when cooking, do so with a toothpick
place in baking pan
coat wine and olive oil over all six breasts
sprinkle with parsley
bake in oven aat 340 for 20-25 minutes

Here's Kim's picture:
So, Barbara is fancier than I - I stuffed the broccoli and swiss inside my chicken - you can see the broccoli poking out - closed it "perfectly" but then just sauted it a frying pan without the olive oil, wine, or parsley.  I'm too simple.  I did achieve a fabulous golden color by sauting uncovered in my new Calphalon frying pan for seven minutes, flipping gently, then continuing to cook, covered, for four minutes.  Then, I removed the cover and let the moisture that had collected on the cover to drop back into the pan - cooking for another four minutes and thus the golden color appeared all over my wonderful stuffed chicken.  It was a huge hit with Joe, Ellie and me - the little ones just ate the chicken and cheese.  Were I not so concerned with keeping this meal within the confines of my current "eating program", I would have laid another piece of swiss cheese on top of the chicken and thrown it in the overn for 4 minutes for a beautiful melted goo on top of the chicken!
My biggest tip for Barbara, after looking at her picture and thinking about what I did is to chop the broccoli finer than it appears she did (we're talking dime or smaller size pieces here!).  It stuffs much easier! 

Menu 10-31 to 11-6

I've shared this menu with a few folks off line - why, I don't know, I've been super busy and haven't sat down to my computer for a few days ... the first part of that statement is nothing new, my life is like that, but the not sitting down to my computer part is all new.  I'm working really hard on a 90 day project and it's taking way more than the allotted 60 to 90 minutes per day.  I'm so excited by it I let it eat up more of my day than it should.
Anyway, here's the week's menu!

Sunday - Cornmeal crust pizza
Monday - Baked Ham, veg of choice, and Sweet Potato fries
Tuesday - Broccoli stuffed chicken breasts
Wednesday - Butternut Squash soup
Thursday - Parmesan encrusted Pork Chops
Friday - Red Harvest Salad
Saturday - Roasted Red Pepper and onion quiche

I'll put the week's shopping list up in a few despite the fact that part of the week is already passed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza on a Cornmeal Crust

Cornmeal Crust!! I have this 5 lb bag of cornmeal that I have used twice to make polenta. However, cornmeal seems to grow when cooked, so although I have so far only used 2 cups of cornmeal, Ive served 8 entres with it. I have decided to make it my mission to keep coming up with cornmeal ideas. The pizza is a no brainer, but it did cause me some stress because my absolute favorite Pizza Place where I live called Barnabys is famous for its signature cornmeal crust. I have never worked with cornmeal before , so I wasnt too confident, but Im happy with the results. I had to add a decent amount of flour to my hands when kneading because the dough was sticky, but it all worked out.
When I make this crust again(I still have cornmeal left) I am going to make some unique pizzas with proscuitto, funky cheeses like fontina, veggies like peas......just kicking around some ideas, cant wait to try!!


2 tsp active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
2/3 cup warm water
1 2/3 cup flour (and a handful of extra for kneading the dough)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoon olive oil

In small bowl sprinkle yeast and sugar over warm water
let stand til yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes

in separate bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt and create a well
pour in yeast combo and start to need dough, flour hands because dough will be sticky
when dough is all worked together, separate it into 2 separate balls and let sit for another hour until dough grows atleast to double size
in bowl, pour olive oil and roll the balls in olive oil before flattening into pizza crust in the pans
dough should form into 2 12-14 inch round pizza crusts
place on pizza stone or cookie sheets

preheat oven to 500

For the sauce and topping
1 cup marinara
2 tsp oregano
2 oz bags of pepperoni
16 oz shredded mozarella

spread dough evenly with sauce, pepperoni and mozarella
bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and slightly golden

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pasta Primavera Fall Style

This pasta was a fun dish because it truly was made as quick as the pasta noodles boiled(hey, btw, just discovered water boils much quicker on an electric stove than a gas stove.) This was a clean out the fridge for my friend and I, and I love those kind of nights because the old me would usually just let the food get rotten, but the new thrifty me tries never to waste. I had carrots, onion and zucchini that needed to be used and my friend had brussel sprouts that needed a meal to be part of, so our "Fall Primavera" was created. The meal was simple, fresh, and light. I even got Michael to try a brussel sprout.

2 carrots pealed and cut into 2 inch(approx) match sticks
1/2 lb brussel sprouts
2 zucchinis pealed and sliced horizontally
1 medium onion sliced
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 tablespoon olive oil
s(alt and pepper to taste
parm cheese
1 lb pasta

boil noodles according to instruction
in large skillet heat oil on medium and add onions
cook onions until glassy
add garlic on low, saute for 5 minutes, stirring and careful not to burn
add remaining vegetables
saute 10 minutes, or until pasta is done
drain pasta noodles leaving 1/4 cup pasta water aside
add water to vegetable saute
salt and pepper to taste
toss pasta in skillet with the vegetables
and serve
parm cheese optional

Cuban Panini

What is a Cuban panini? good question. Upon much research, this sandwich definitely exists, and I found many recipes for it. A few consistent ingredients were mustard and pickles. The meat varied between, Ham, Turkey, Roast Beef and Chicken., and the cheese varied as well between provolone, swiss, mozarella to name a few. This sandwich originated in Cuba, and the laborers would eat them for lunch. The bread of choice was usually ciabatta or French bread, but we are going with good old whole wheat. I think what makes the sandwhich stand out most is the pickles. I dont know if I have ever put a pickle in a sandwich before, but I loved the crunch. This is my first attempt at a Cuban Panini, but I am certain there will be other attempts and different ingredients used. But for now, my first attempt at a Cuban Panini was a success.

8 slices whole wheat bread
8 slices ham
4 slices cheese of choice
2 tablespoons mustard
4 medium dill pickles sliced lengthwise in 4 pieces each

spray each piece of bread lightly with cooking oil, or butter
On four pieces of bread spread 1/2 tablespoon mustard
layer bread with two slices of ham each, next layer with slice of cheese each, finally top each with slices of pickle, close with bread

cook on panini maker until cheese is melted, or place in skillet with lid, cook on each side 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted, or bake in oven aon cookie sheet

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beef Stew served over Polenta

Way back when we starrted this blog, we made a beef stew. It was a recipe from one of Kims neighbors and not only was it my first attempt at beef stew, it also went over really well with my family. Since we are trying to make each entres only once, this is sort of cheat making the stew again, but served over polenta. The polenta changes the dish a bit, as well as eliminating the potatoes. If we are cheating, who is going to tell?

Heres a refresher on the stew:
1 1/2 lb Beef Stew meat
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can 16 ounces tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup water
1 large sweet onion sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 carrots sliced in large chunks
1 cup celery
3-5 boulion cubes
basil and thyme

heat oil in large dutch oven
coat beef in flour
add beef to oil
add onion slowly, when onions glassy add tomato sauce, water, boulion, onion, basil and shyme
bring to boil, lower heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour
add carrots and celery cook another hour
serve over Polenta
instruction for Polenta
when stew is with in 30 minutes of being made make polenta

bring 3 cups water to a boil
slowly add 1 cup cornmeal to water, stirring all the time, keep heat on medium and stir making sure not to let cornmeal to bottom of the pan
when smooth and creamy, remove from heat