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