Wednesday, January 28, 2009

White Wine Braised Chicken thighs *Untested*

Chicken thighs braised in white wine (Courtesy of the WW boards)
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1.65 lb package)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 c dry white wine (200 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber) **indulgence
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lemon cut into 8 thin slices, plus 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 TBS cold butter, cut into pieces (102 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber) **indulgence
2 TBS chopped flat-leaf parsley OR 1/2 tsp dried parsley

In a 12" skillet with a tight-fitting lid, arrange thighs; season with salt and pepper. A dd garlic, wine, and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook, 10 minutes.

Turn chicken over. Place a lemon slice on each piece; cover and continue simmering until tender, about 15 minutes. Leaving garlic and liquid in skillet, transfer chicken and lemon slices to a platter. Cover tightly with foil to keep warm.

Bring liquid in skillet to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 c, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Add butter, parsley, and lemon juice; stir until butter has softened and sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with sauce and, if desired, brown rice.

Serves 4

Bubble-Up Pizza Casserole

We tried this on Superbowl night, and it was really good. We, well I... was craving pizza, and this sounded healthier than Papa Johns!!!!

Richie liked it a lot as did I, and the leftovers were really good!
I am anxious to try it with other "fillings", and would love to figure out how to make a Hawaiian Pizza one... I'm accepting ideas...

Bubble up pizza casserole


1 lb lean ground beef or turkey (I used 96/4)
1 medium onion, chopped
16 oz tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
your choice of veggie toppings... I used:
  • mushrooms - small container, sliced
  • olives - about 20
  • green peppers - I used 2 small
  • Optional - I didn't use - Turkey Pepperoni
15 oz refrigerated biscuits, quartered (** indulgence) - I found that the Pillsbury Pizza dough cut up into pieces was actually less calories...
1.25 c FF or soy mozzarella shreds (I used part FF and part low fat/part skim...)

Preheat oven to 350. In skillet, brown meat over medium heat, stirring to crumble. Stir in onion, tomato sauce, basil, garlic, and Italian seasoning.

Add veggies/fill-ins and optional turkey pepperoni. Add quartered biscuit/pizza dough; stir gently until biscuits are covered with sauce.
***Note to self... I would put half the beef mixture on the bottom of the pan, then spread the pizza dough pieces on top of that because I found some areas got a lot and some not so many... then I would pour the rest of the beef mixture overtop...

Spray a 9 x 13" casserole dish with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until biscuits are done. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8

-- Posted by Hippomommy on the WW Core board

Monday, January 26, 2009

Black Bean Soup *Untested*

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup (inspired from Bon Apetit)

Ingredients

1 tbl olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed with garlic press
4 tsp ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 tbl chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
7 cups hot water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup chopped seeded plum tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until just start to brown, about 5-7 minutes Add garlic and cumin; stir 1 minute. Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chiles, then 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 6 hours. Transfer 2 cups bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth. Return puree to remaining soup in slow cooker. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon dollop of yogurt into each bowl. Sprinkle with tomatoes and cilantro and serve.

servings: 6

Lentil Bolognese *Untested*

This also sounds very interesting to try sometime and would be high in fiber, low in fat with the lentils rather than beef...

Lentil Bolognese (Courtesy of the WW message boards)

Lentil Bolognese
makes 6 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 medium stalk celery, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil (1 tsp per serving)
2/3 cup dry red lentils
14 oz canned Italian style stewed tomatoes
2 Tbsp canned tomato paste
2 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

Chop onion, garlic, and celery. Grate carrots (use cheese grater). Add oil to pressure cooker (*), heat on medium. Saute onion, celery, carrots, and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes (undrained), tomato paste, broth, marjoram, salt, pepper, and lentils. Stir together, then cover in pressure cooker for about 20 minutes. Serve over pasta.

* Note - if you don't have a pressure cooker, you could make this in a regular pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for about 40-45 min (until lentils and vegetables have softened).

Pasta Bolognese *Untested*

This is very similar to my pasta sauce, but it has more wine which I'm sure make it taste really yummy. I will definitely have to try this one day.

Pasta Bolognese

(It is from the Food Network originally)
Serves:6 to 8 servings

1 large onion or 2 small, cut into 1-inch dice
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch dice
4 cloves garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
Kosher salt
3 pounds ground chuck, brisket or round or combination (I would use 93% lean)
2 cups tomato paste
3 cups hearty red wine
Water
3 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
1 pound spaghetti (Use Whole Wheat if possible)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
High quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a coarse paste. In a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient, this is where the big flavors develop.

Add the ground beef and season again generously with salt. BROWN THE BEEF! Brown food tastes good. Don't rush this step. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Add water to the pan until the water is about 1 inch above the meat. Toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time. Don't be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce. Stir and TASTE frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will). Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the spaghetti. Pasta water should ALWAYS be well salted. Salty as the ocean! TASTE IT! If your pasta water is under seasoned it doesn't matter how good your sauce is, your complete dish will always taste under seasoned. When the water is at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook for 1 minute less than it calls for on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking remove 1/2 of the ragu from the pot and reserve.

Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Stir or toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add some of the reserved sauce, if needed, to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add the reserved pasta cooking water and cook the pasta and sauce together over a medium heat until the water has reduced. Turn off the heat and give a big sprinkle of Parmigiano and a generous drizzle of the high quality finishing olive oil. Toss or stir vigorously. Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls or 1 big pasta bowl. Top with remaining grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Soup

In my haste over Thanksgiving, I neglected posting this staple recipe in our house for Thanksgiving. I think that it would be good any time really... but we typically have it for Thanksgiving... Try it and I'm sure you'll like it!

PUMPKIN SOUP
(Oaxaca Mexican Restaurant)

1 TBL EVOO (original recipe called for 2 oz butter)
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 shallots, chopped
½ bunch green onions, diced
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. hot chili powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
cilantro, finely chopped (save some for topping)
1 lb. pumpkin or winter squash(or use canned pumpkin)

In soup pan, sauté onion, green onions, and spices in butter. Add chicken stock, squash (peeled, seeded and chopped), cilantro and tomato paste. Cook until squash is soft. While still warm, puree in blender or food processor. Add ¼ cup milk. Top with sour cream and fresh cilantro.(Add Chicken if you want to after blending)

**If you want to add creaminess then add some fat-free evaporated milk at the end.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Steak Tacos with Avocado-Cucumber Salsa

I got a cookbook for my birthday... and I used it today and had this yummy dish for lunch...

I halved it and added a few things...

Steak Tacos with Avocado-Cucumber Salsa
1/2 TBL chili powder
1 clove garlic - minced
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 lb + a little extra sirloin steak
Six 6-inch diam. corn tortillas
1.5 cups red cabbage - shredded
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
lime wedges
Avocado-Cucumber Salsa (Recipe Below)

Mix chili powder, garlic, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper together. Rub on steak. Broil steak for 6-7 minutes per side for medium rare (or use meat thermometer to 117 degrees). Warm tortillas according to package directions. Serve with cabbage, lime, cilantro, and salsa as garnishes at table.

Avocado-Cucumber Salsa
1/2 English Cucumber, seeded and diced
1 medium avocado, pitted, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
juice of 1 and 1/2 limes (called for 1 - I thought it needed more)
salt to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 - 2 jalapenos, seeded, and diced
1 clove garlic
*(I had leftover seasoning from the steak... maybe 1/8 tsp and threw it into the salsa for extra flavor)... a dash of hot sauce would be nice too

Combine all ingredients together and toss gently.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Smothered Chicken with Barley

I found this on Heather's site (which is what everyone seems to call it)... I haven't actually made it in a while, but it freezes beautifully, and I had it for lunch today after my cycling class... It has a lot of spices, but they'll last you a long time, and it's just great. The chicken falls apart - YUM!

Smothered Chicken with Barley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried mint flakes
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
6 (4-ounce) chicken thighs -- skinned
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
3 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 1/4 cups uncooked pearl barley
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes -- drained
6 tablespoons chopped green onions

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Rub the chicken with half of spice mixture.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 1 minute on each side or until chicken is browned. Remove the chicken from skillet.

Recoat skillet with cooking spray; add chopped onion, bell pepper, and soy sauce. Cook over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned. Add broth, barley, tomatoes, and remaining spice mixture, and stir well. Add chicken to skillet, nestling into vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 55 minutes or
until chicken is done. Let stand 15 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.

Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh, 1 cup barley mixture, and 1 tablespoon green onions

Recipes for another time...

I won't make these now... entirely too tempting... but I don't want to forget them... They are from a blog I happened to find and look delightful... the blogger is a cake/truffle seller in London (ah, that sounds fun)... but I digress...

Let me know if you ever try any of these...

Birthday Cake Trains with Banana Cake Recipe - this recipe looked really yummy, and the trains are cute for it/when we have children(boys...)

Gateua Basque Recipe
- sounded/looked intriguing

Luxury Brownies... Secret Recipe... Click on the link or look below... it's worth posting in full here. ***Mom, I will make these for you one day as I am relatively confident they are right up your alley*** :-)

Ingredients:
230g Butter, roughly cubed
300g Sugar
(Granulated)
200g Whole eggs (about 4 - beat)
230g Dark Chocolate
- finely chopped
140g Flour
40g Cocoa Powder

200g of nuts of your choice (pistachio, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans - You can use just one type or use all four types like I do. They add different crunchy textures to every fudgy bite, which makes the brownie interesting til the last bite)

20cm square baking tin

Prepare:

a. Butter the baking tin. Then line the bottom & the sides with baking paper.

b. Sift together the flour & the cocoa powder.

c. Have the chocolates ready in a large mixing bowl.

d. Leave aside some nuts to decorate the surface of the brownies with (in my opinion, walnuts look best).

e. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

.

Method:

1. Melt the butter completely in a large pot.
2. Add the sugar. Dissolve.
3. Pour the egg mixture & mix well with a whisk (make sure the hot butter doesn’t cook the egg in to an omlette).
4. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolates in a bowl. Mix thoroughly & make sure all the chocolates have dissolved (if you still have lumps of chocolates left, zap it at 10 second intervals in the microwave until it melts).
5. Spatula in the flour & the cocoa powder. Mix until no traces of flour can be seen.
6. Mix in the nuts. (Make sure you leave some aside for decorating the top with).
7. Pour the mixture in to the prepared tin.
8. Evenly decorate some more nuts on the top surface.
(Make sure each slice would have a decorative nut)
9. Bake in the oven (that has been pre-heated at 180 degrees) for 25 - 30 minutes. It’s cooked when the edges have gone slightly dry, the top is shiny & has cracked. The centre of the brownie shoudn’t be wobbly when shook. Remember: the toothpick method won’t work on this fudgy brownie!
10. Leave aside to cool. Don’t cut until they’ve reached room temperature, or even better leave it untouched for a WHOLE DAY to rest - I can promise you, it’ll taste better tenfold.

My New Gadget

So, this past weekend I purchased a Heart Rate Monitor. I had been wanting one for a while as they are highly recommended, but didn't know which one or whether I should invest in them, etc.

Originally, I wanted a Polar F6, but wound up with a Timex T5G971.

The Timex was a bit cheaper and seemed to have most of what I wanted. I figured there's no reason to go big or go home in this case as I don't exactly know what I'm doing.

It is intriguing as it tells your Heart Rate during your workout and when I'm doing strength it's definitely beneficial... any time I think my HR is getting low, I've been getting up and doing 10 jumping jacks or pushups... something that raises my HR a little. So, I think it's good.

I'm not sure if the calorie count is accurate or not. It told me that I burned around 580 calories from a 45 minute workout on the elliptical on Tuesday, and said I managed to burn about 650 yesterday from 25 mins on the elliptical, and 20 mins of strength exercises (interspersed with the aforementioned jumping jacks and/or pushups)...

So, who knows. At any rate - it's giving me information on my HR which makes me happy. I get an average HR and high HR as well as my time "in zone"...

I would recommend it to you all if you're interested in seeing what you are actually doing.

100 Calorie Snacks...

I got this great list from someone on the WW boards (Thanks Kippy)!!!

Everyone seems to be liking the 100 calorie packs... I realize they are convenient, but often they aren't really that cheap (you could make them cheaper by doing it yourself, but people don't often make the time).

So, I was pleased to find this list and wanted to share it with you all. Because when you could get 5 crackers, cookies, or something gross and packaged, think about what else you could be eating... and how much...

What you can get for 100 Calories
1/4 of an avocado
1.75 cups apple slices
1 medium banana
1 cup grapes
2 cups berries
1.5 cups sliced peaches
1.25 cups orange sections
1.25 cups blueberries
2 cups diced watermelon
1 cup sliced pears
1.33 cup diced pineapple
1.5 cups raspberries
1 cup cherries
2 large kiwifruit
3 clementines
4 cups cherry tomatoes or 10 plum tomatoes or 3 large beefsteak tomatoes
1 medium baked sweet potato
1 small baked white potato
2 cups carrot strips or slices
12 cups torn lettuce
10 large broccoli spears
8 cups sliced cucumbers
5.5 cups sliced bell or sweet peppers
5 cups whole raw mushrooms
32 spears cooked asparagus
2.5 cups cooked green beans
80 snow or sugar snap pea pods
4.5 cups mixed vegetable salad (without dressing)
1/2 cup cooked grain/rice/pasta (most, bulgur is 3/4s cup)
1 jumbo hard boiled egg
20 large boiled or steamed shrimp
2 oz chicken breast meat (a little more than 2 oz)
2 oz sirloin steak (a little less than 2 oz)
0.75 cup plain fatfree yogurt
3 cups airpopped popcorn

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Farro and Butternut Squash

I found this recipe on 101cookbooks.com a few weeks ago and decided I wanted to make it. I like to try new things, and well, I love Butternut Squash so I thought this would be a good one. For those of you who don't know(which I didn't)... Farro is a grain that is supposedly very good for you. It's somewhere in between barley and brown rice. I found it to be very tasty.

I think this recipe would be very versatile and think I'll use it as a base for new recipes in the future. The author mentioned it would be good with barley or brown rice if you can't find farro and I would definitely agree.

Farro and Butternut Squash
2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
5 cups water (or stock)
3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large red onion cut into 1/8ths
2 cloves garlic minced/crushed (the recipe didn't call for this, but I felt it was needed)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (I used 1 tsp dry)
3 tablespoons olive oil (I used 1 1/2)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup walnuts, deeply toasted (I used 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or more olive oil) (I used 1 1/2 Tbl olive oil and pressed a few of the walnuts through a garlic press to release their oil)
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled (I left this out because I didn't exercise today... I can see where it would be really good and will use it as a treat on exercise days)

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled farro. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.

While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple big pinches of salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Toss the squash and onions every 5-7 minutes to get browning on multiple sides. Remove from the oven, let cool a bit, and mince just 1/2 of the red onions(I didn't do this).

In a large bowl gently toss the everything (except the goat cheese) with the toasted walnut oil (or olive oil). Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary. Serve family-style in a simple bowl or on a platter garnished with the goat cheese.

Serves 6 - 8 as a side, less as a main.

Smokey Chipotle Chicken and Quinoa Hotdish

This recipe was adapted from the winning recipe from St. Paul Winter Carnival's 2007 "Hotdish" Contest. (I got it from a friend) You can speed things up a bit if you buy your chicken already roasted from your supermarket, otherwise, it's too involved to do all in one weeknight.

Smokey Chipotle Chicken and Quinoa Hotdish Serves 2-3; it can be doubled)
1⁄2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 TBSP EVOO 1⁄2 cup red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP flour (small indulgence)
1⁄2 cup smokey chipotle salsa (if the hot dish seems too dry to you, add another 1/2 cup of salsa or more tomatoes)
1 can (14 1⁄2 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 tsp cumin
1 TBSP lime juice
1/2 baked chicken, shredded
1/2 cup shredded fat free cheddar cheese (optional)
salt to taste
Optional (for garnish): Avocado, diced or sliced and/or Fat free sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse quinoa in water in a strainer under running water for a few minutes.In a medium saucepan, cook quinoa in the chicken broth for about 15 minutes or until the grain becomes translucent. Try to ensure there is an al dente bite to the germ, in the same way as pasta.

Heat 1 TBSP of EVOO over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until tender ( 3-5 mins). Add flour and whisk until smooth. Add salsa and liquid from tomatoes. Whisk until thickened. Add remaining ingredients. Salt to taste.

Scoop into a 1 1⁄2 - 2 quart casserole dish. Cover and bake for 15-20 mins. Remove cover. Bake another 15-20 mins until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 165 degrees. (If you double the recipe, you'll have to bake covered about 20 mins and uncovered about 30 mins.) Remove and let stand for 10 mins. Garnish as desired.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Food Regimine

A lot of people have been asking me what all I eat in a day, so for all those inquiring minds... here it is.

Some notes first...
  • I track all my calories on Fitday
  • I'm not a breakfast person by any means, but it is an important meal, and I recognize that.
  • I snack a lot! I find that mini meals/snacks are really helpful because they keep your metabolism going...
  • I try to eat my heavier meal for lunch. It doesn't always work that way, but I try to use that as a rule
  • I eat Peanut Butter with my apple almost every day. I eat the real stuff because sometimes it is just not worth it to eat the fake stuff.
  • I follow some daily guidelines (look to the left of the blog and you'll see them - or at least you should)
  • Additionally I attempt to work out for 45 mins a day 5-days a week.
So... the food
I hope that helps a little, and gives you more insight into my world :-)

Why Planning is Vital to Leading a Healthy Lifestyle... the Thanks Hubby Edition!

I have always tried to be planned out as far as my healthy lifestyle goes... food cooked on the weekend, portioned out, meals frozen for the "just in case" moments... And well, this morning, I was really glad!

As the saying goes, some days you're the bug, and some days you're the windshield. Today, I am the bug!

First, allow me to point out that apparently I live in the arctic... it was 11 degrees this morning, and I was really snug in my bed. I didn't do my elliptical workout because I'm doing a cycling class at lunch today, but as I was in the shower... our power decided to go out. I still had warm water thankfully, but trying to get ready (makeup/hair/food, etc) was very difficult without power.

What I am thankful for is that last night, my wonderful husband helped me get everything organized for the next few days and we portioned out my snacks and everything so it would be easier on us. YAY for that because I would have been up the river without a paddle if it weren't for him! He also helped me by lighting our stove up with a match and making my oatmeal sans microwave.

On a positive, but annoying note... the pants I really wanted to wear this AM were too big... REALLY big. There was no way I could wear them. We tried to safety pin them and everything to no avail. I can't say I'm unhappy about this, but it is rather annoying on a morning when all signs point to going back to bed.

So, remember to plan... because when the power goes out and you're not sure that you can get out of the garage since that takes electricity, you don't know how your coffee will taste because the coffee maker shut off in the middle of brewing, your hair is wet, you aren't sure if your makeup looks more like a clown, and your clothes don't fit... At least you'll have your food prepared :-)

And seriously, thanks hubby for helping me this morning. Even if my attitude wasn't in the right place, I really appreciated your help! Love you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spicy Orange Beef with Vegetables


So, I made this... I liked it... it was ok... but it would have been better if I'd used the optional items listed in the recipe... I'll make it again sometime with those...

Spicy Orange Beef with Vegetables
Adapted from WW "Take Out Tonight"

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 22 min, Cooking Time: 8 min

Serve this beef and vegetable stir-fry with steamed brown rice for a complete meal.

1 1/4 cup(s) low sodium chicken broth + splash balsamic vinegar OR 1 1/4 cups fat free beef broth (we used Beef)
3 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener or sugar*
1/2 tsp orange extract, optional (I would say this is essential)
1 spray(s) cooking spray
2 TBSP orange zest, freshly grated, or 1/4 cup fresh julienned orange peel (only had 1Tbsp... it needs 2)
1/4 cup ginger root, fresh, peeled, julienned
2 medium garlic clove(s), slivered
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I would use a little more)
1 lb lean sirloin beef, boneless, sliced against grain into 1/8-inch-thick strips
4 cups snow peas OR 1/4 lb green beans (halved) + 1 red bell pepper, seeded & cut into strips+ 1 carrot cut into matchstrips OR 1 package frozen Asian stir-fry veggies, steamed in microwave (I used 1 bag, and next time will use 2 for more veggies)
1 TBSP cornstarch or arrowroot powder , dissolved in 1 TBSP of water
Optional: 1 tsp red chile paste (I would use this)

Whisk broth, soy sauce, Splenda and orange extract together in a small bowl; set aside.

Coat a large nonstick wok skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Add orange peel or zest, ginger and garlic; stir-fry until softened and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and stir-fry 20 seconds.

Add beef; stir-fry until lightly browned, about 3 1/2 minutes. Add vegetables and continue stir-frying until combined, about 30 seconds.

Pour in broth mixture and bring to a simmer; cover skillet and cook 1 minute more.

Stir in cornstarch mixture. Cook just until sauce thickens, about 5 to 10 seconds; immediately remove from heat and serve. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.

To julienne orange peel, press the peeled rind sections as flat as you can on a cutting board and slice them into long matchsticks. To julienne fresh ginger, cut the peeled stalk into thin, even slices and then cut each of these into matchsticks.

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna *Untested*

This sounds like it could be a great addition to my BNS (Butternut Squash) collection.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Rosemary, and Garlic Lasagna
(Courtesy of SpayPet on the WW boards)

8-10 servings
Ingredients
8 1/4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
Cooking spray
4 cups fat-free canned milk, divided
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon minced garlic (actually we used one small head)
1 (8-ounce) package whole wheat lasagna noodles
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated soy parmesan, divided
4 oz shredded soy mozzarella
Preparation
Preheat oven to 450°.
Slice squash in half put face down on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes until squash is tender. Set aside.
Lower oven temperature to 350°.
Combine 3 1/2 cups milk and rosemary in a 1-quart glass measuring cup, and microwave at high 5 minutes or until mixture begins to boil. Let stand 10 minutes. Strain milk through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard rosemary.
Sautee garlic in cooking spray.
Lightly spoon all-purpose flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and remaining 1/2 cup milk, stirring flour mixture with a whisk until well blended to form a slurry.
Combine milk mixture, garlic, flour and squash. Microwave 2 minutes and mix thoroughly.
Spread about 1 1/2 cups squash mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over squash mixture; top with 2 cups squash mixture and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Repeat layers once with 3 noodles, 2 cups of squash, and 1/4 cup of cheese. Top with 3 noodles. Sprinkle remaining parmesan and mozzarella.
Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes.

Why is it so difficult to order a salad?

So, I was out of town this weekend for sorority fun, and managed not to do so well on my diet... I have to wonder what makes it so difficult to do what we know we "should" or are "supposed" to do. I've been slightly stuck at an impasse with my weight recently and perhaps I was just angry with the scale or perhaps it was something else... but whatever it was, I decided to take my anger out on the pizza, BBQ sandwich, fries, bagel, etc. ACK!

So, I came back from my weekend, up a few pounds, and accepted the fact that I seem to enjoy a bit of self sabotage every now and then. But when I got home I went right back on my plan. I've been eating well and exercising over 45 mins a day. That's got to count for something, right?

Maybe I can get to a new low by the end of the week. Here's to hoping!

Pomegranate Guacamole

I tried this a few years ago at a store in Marietta, and really thought it was different and good. I encourage you to try it. The SuperBowl is coming up so that would be a good excuse :-)

Pomegranate guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados, pits removed, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup arils from 1 pomegranate
  • ½ cup cucumbers, chopped(I recommend an English Cucumber without seeds)
  • ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream and cilantro for garnish (optional) Place diced avocados in bowl.

Score the pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate to free the arils. The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils into a separate bowl.

Add one-fourth cup pomegranate arils and the other ingredients to the diced avocados. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place guacamole in a serving bowl and sprinkle remaining pomegranate arils on top for added color. Add garnish of sour cream and cilantro, if desired. Serve with assorted color tortilla chips.


Here is another variation... (I haven't tried this one...)

Pomegranate Guacamole

  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 1/2 large onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 fresh chilies, serranos, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 freshly squeezed lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Finely chop the onion, garlic, chilies serranos, and coriander leaves. Place in bowl and add lime juiceand salt, set aside. Peel and pit the avocados and place in a bowl. Mash with fork slowly adding the tablespoon of pomegranate juice. Add onion and garlic mixture and fold together to make a course pulp. Gently fold in pomegranate seeds. Serve with warm tortillas, tostadas, or corn chips.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

*Untested* Broiled Steak Horseradish Cream

Broiled Steak with Horseradish Cream
SERVE 4
ACTIVE TIME:10 MIN START TO FINISH:20 MIN

1 (1-inch-thick) sirloin steak (1 1/2 to 2 lb)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
2 TBSP drained bottled horseradish
(*I would also add a bit of dill)

Preheat broiler. Oil rack of a broiler pan.

Pat steak dry and sprinkle all over with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Broil steak on rack of broiler pan 3 inches from heat 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 5 minutes. (You can also use a meat thermometer to make sure it gets to the right temperature - remembering that the temp of the steak rises a few degrees after you take it out)

Stir together sour cream, horseradish, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl and serve with steak.

*Untested Brown Rice Tomato and Basil

Brown Rice with Tomato and Basil
Adapted from Food Network

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup Texmati brown rice
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup Champagne or rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar*
1 TBSP EVOO
pinch black pepper, freshly ground
1 pound ripe tomatoes, large-diced
1 cup packed basil leaves (1 large bunch), chopped

Bring water to a boil; add the rice and 1 teaspoon of salt. Return to a boil, cover, and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 35 minutes. Scoop into a large bowl, set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, EVOO, tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper. Pour over the rice. Add the tomatoes and basil. Mix. Serve at room temperature.

More recipes that I will someday try

I found a whole bunch more recipes worth a try on http://www.101cookbooks.com/ Rather than trying to post them individually I figured I'd post the links here... I'd like to be able to find them because they really do look like they're worth a shot.

Coconut Macaroon Pancakes
(Momma, something told me you might like these) Click here

The Best Pizza Dough Ever (Sounds intriguing... doesn't it!) Click here for the recipe

A tasty Frittata
Click here for the recipe

White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (you can't ever have enough good pizza dough recipes, can you?) Click here for the recipe

Mushroom Casserole (This sounds good and like I could make it healthy... perhaps fat-free cottage cheese would work - I don't see why not) Click here for the recipe

Farro and Butternut Squash (I've never used Farro, but I might start) Click here for the recipe

Fourth of July Roasted Salsa (I love Salsa, and will try this this summer with my mom's yummy tomatoes) Click here for the recipe

Roasted Tomato Soup
(This will have to wait for summer as well) Click here for the recipe

Whipped Chickpea Hummus Recipe (I love Hummus... these sound great) Click here for the recipe

Hummus en Fuego (Still love hummus...) Click here for the recipe

Some Quinoa Recipes (Click the recipe name for the link)
Heather's Quinoa - a skillet of quinoa, corn, chopped lacinato kale and pan-toasted tofu tossed with a big dollop of pesto and finished off with a few roasted cherry tomatoes.
Quinoa and grilled zucchini - A great way to use nutritious quinoa. This quinoa and grilled zucchini recipe is tossed with a pretty, pale green cilantro-flecked avocado dressing.
Lemon Scented Quinoa Salad

Split Pea Soup (I've tried one before that I wasn't crazy again... maybe this is worth a shot) Click here for the recipe

Lentil Soup (I love my lentil soup...) Click here for the recipe

Lemony Chickpea Stirfry (Just sounds interesting) Click here for the recipe

Ok... I'm done... for now... could someone please buy me her book????

*Untested* Five Minute Tomato Sauce

Apparently today I'm obsessed with www.101cookbooks.com

Here is her Five Minute Tomato Sauce - it sounds very easy, and yummy!

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
zest of one lemon

Combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat, saute 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant - the garlic shouldn't brown. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, just a couple minutes. Remove from heat and carefully taste test...If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Stir in the lemon zest reserving a bit to sprinkle on top of your pasta.

Makes about a quart of tomato sauce.

*Untested* Black Bean Brownies

So, I found this recipe while searching on www.101cookbooks.com

I would post it here, but everything she wrote and how she stated it, and the picture makes it much more fun I think... so click here for the Black Bean Brownies

And if you try them, do let me know how they turn out because it sounds divine!!!! (Oddly so, of course)

Giant Chipotle White Beans

**Update - have tried this... love it!**
I also got this untested recipe from www.101cookbooks.com (great ideas there). I will try it using fat-free feta eventhough the original writer wound up using Queso Fresco for the recipe... (I don't think I can afford that indulgence just yet--calorie wise)

Giant Chipotle White Beans

1 pound of large, dried white beans (corona, giant limas, gigantes, or any giant white beans you can find), rinsed, picked over and soaked overnight - or up to 24 hours.

Chipotle-tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 big pinches of red pepper flakes
2 pinches of salt
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers

Cilantro Pesto:
1 medium clove of garlic
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
big pinch of salt

2/3 cup kale or chard, washed, de-stemmed, and very finely chopped
1 cup queso fresco or feta cheese (see head notes)

1 1/2 cup whole-grain breadcrumbs, toasted in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil

To prepare the beans. Drain and rinse the beans after their overnight soak. Then place them in a large saucepan and cover with an inch or two of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the beans are cooked through and just tender. This can take anywhere from an hour to two hours (potentially more) depending on your beans, but do your best to avoid overcooking. Remove from heat, salt the beans (still in bean broth) with about a tablespoon of salt - enough that the bean liquid is tasty but on the salty side. Let the beans sit like this for ten minutes or so before draining and setting the beans aside.

In the meantime, make your tomato sauce. Place the 2 tablespoons olive oil, red pepper flakes, couple pinches of salt, and chopped garlic into a cold medium saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant - you don't want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and the fresh oregano and heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the adobo sauce - carefully take a taste (you don't want to burn your tongue)...If the sauce needs more salt add it now, more chipotle flavor? Go for it. Set aside.

Make the cilantro pesto by combining the clove of garlic and cilantro in a food processor. Pulse while you drizzle in the olive oil - alternately, you could do this by hand. Season with a bit of salt and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. In a 9x13 baking pan (or large oven-proof casserole/dutch oven) toss the beans with the tomato sauce and the kale. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the top-third of the oven for about forty minutes, I look for the cheese to start browning and any visible beans to get a bit crusty. Remove from oven and let sit for about ten minutes. Top the beans with the breadcrumbs and just before serving drizzle with the cilantro pesto.

Serves about 6.

*Untested* Lentil and Almond Stirfry

I found this recipe on www.101cookbooks.com I'll admit, the only time I've tried Brussel Sprouts I hated them, but this sounded so good, I may have to give them a second try... or if anyone has any substitute ideas, let me know...

Lentil and Almond Stir-Fry


Mint sauce (optional)
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 serrano chile pepper, de-veined and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
a touch of sugar, or honey, or agave nectar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

extra-virgin olive oil
6 to 8 very small new potatoes, cut into 1/2 pieces
2 cups cooked brown or black lentils
12 brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, thinned out with a bit of water, and salted with a pinch of salt

2 dates, pitted and chopped

Start by making the mint sauce. Combine the mint leaves, serrano, olive oil, salt, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor (or blender). Give it a few pulses, just enough for the mint to break down a bit. Taste, adjust for your tastes (more serrano? salt?) - set aside.

Now cook the potatoes along with a generous splash of olive oil and pinch of salt in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover the skillet and let the potatoes cook through, this will take five minutes or so. The water in the potatoes will help steam and soften them. When the potatoes are just cooked through (not mushy or falling apart) remove the lid and give them a good toss. Turn up the heat to medium-high and stir every minute or so (a spatula helps) until the potatoes look a bit golden. Stir in the lentils, and cook until heated through. Turn the potatoes and lentils out onto a large plate and set aside.

Now cook the brussels sprouts using the same pan. Heat another splash of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Don’t overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the sprouts in the pan (single-layer), sprinkle with a pinch of salt, cover, and cook for a few minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they’re tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for another minute or two. Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized.

Add the lentils and potatoes back to the skillet and add most of the sliced almonds. Turn out onto a large platter and drizzle with some of the yogurt and mint sauce*. Top with the remaining almonds and the chopped dates.

Serves 2-3.

*Untested* Crock-pot Char Siu (Chinese BBQ) Pork Roast (untested)

This sounds yummy, and I'm scared of pork typically (thank my husband for a few months of eating nothing but pork loin when we first got married...

Crock-pot Char Siu (Chinese BBQ) Pork Roast

Adapted from Cooking Light

8 servings

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 TBSP ketchup
3 TBSP honey* or agave nectar*
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp sesame oil*
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
2 pounds boneless Boston butt pork roast (I'm going to use pork loin), trimmed
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Combine all ingredients excluding chicken broth and pork in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Place in a large zip-lock bag with pork. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 2+ hours, turning occasionally.

Spray inside of crock with nonstick spray. Place pork and marinade in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove pork from crock-pot using a slotted spoon; place on a cutting board or work surface. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm.

Add broth to sauce in crock-pot. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Shred pork with 2 forks; serve with sauce, steamed vegetables, and over steamed brown rice

*Untested* Southeast Asian Squash Curry

Haven't made this yet, but it sounds yummy... and we all know how much I like--ok LOVE--Butternut Squash

Southeast Asian Squash Curry


Adapted from Gourmet - given to me by a friend

SERVES 4
ACTIVE TIME:20 MIN START TO FINISH:35 MIN

1 TBSP plus 2 tsp Canola oil, divided
1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk* (do not stir), divided [try subbing 14 oz of fat free evaporated milk + 1/4 tsp of coconut extract and see how that works]
1 1/2 to 2 TBSP Thai Kitchen red curry paste
1/3 cup water
1 (2- to 3-inch) cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves (recommend using a spice ball)
5 oz baby spinach (5 cups packed)
1 TBSP Asian fish sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup salted roasted cashews*, chopped
Garnish: lime wedges

Heat 1 TBSP oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté squash with cumin and 1/4 tsp salt until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add remaining 2 tsp oil to skillet and cook onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup evaporated milk+coconut extract from top of can and cook, stirring, until fat starts to separate and look glossy, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
Add squash, water, cinnamon, cloves, and remaining evaporated fat-free milk+coconut extract and simmer, covered, until squash is tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook, covered, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in fish sauce. Sprinkle with cashews.

What is Important to You???

A few weeks ago, right before Christmas, I learned that a woman I knew in college--a sorority sister--was battling cancer. She was diagnosed in March and it didn't seem like the treatments were working. She turned 31 in December--just 2 years older than me--and passed away on Sunday. I didn't know her all that well as I was only at the University of Kansas for a semester, but I remembered her visibly. Perhaps because our first names are the same, but maybe it was more than that.

She kept a journal about her battle from start to finish, and as I read it, it became clear that she was a fighter and someone who truly affected all of those around her. I was impressed with her struggle and her ability to point out in the midst of it all what was important to her.

As I read her journal, I cried... a lot... I'm rather emotional, but I hadn't seen this woman for nearly 10 years so it was surprising to me that I felt this attached to the situation. But her perspective on things was what did that to me.

I realized through all of this that so often I don't really LIVE my life... I just go through it. I let small things get in my way of truly enjoying life. I let myself get flustered easily. I don't treat myself the way I should. I worry/struggle with material things. And I don't delight in the way I should with everyday things.

So, I made a resolution to myself... not a New Year's resolution because that just seems to corny for this. The resolution is this:
  • To see past the small things - and not get flustered easily
  • To treat myself the way I should (make exercise, eating right, sleep, time with my husband and friends, and reading the Bible
  • To make time for the things important to me... (similar to above, but include going to church regularly)
  • To take pleasure in things around me
  • To treat every day as a gift and try to live in the moment more

For those of you that want a kick in the pants and some perspective on your own life... feel free to visit her journal, http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/meganfranz

31 is awfully young to leave this earth, but if God called me home, I would want to know that I affected people the way she did.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chicken "Hold the Tortilla" Soup

This was recommended by someone on the WW message boards. I tried it, and really like it!!!! it made 7 two-cup servings which is a lot to me, and it packed full of flavor(some spicy) as well as veggies. If you don't like too much spice - check the bottom for some hints.

Chicken "Hold the Tortilla" Soup
1 T olive oil
1 each, diced: jalapeno, anaheim pepper, poblano pepper, bell pepper, medium onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbl cumin
1 Tbl coriander
1 tsp oregano
6-8 C chicken stock (I used 5 cups and could have used less for more stew like consistency)
1 can Rotel Hot, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (I used one with green chiles and didn't drain)
2 C cooked boneless skinless chicken, cubed
2 cans black beans, drained
1 1/2 C frozen corn kernels
2 C shredded cabbage
2-4 T chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 C lime juice

Coat bottom of large pot with olive oil.
Place over medium-high heat and add chopped peppers, onions and garlic.
Saute approx. 7-9 minutes, until peppers are soft and onions are clear.
Add cumin, coriander and oregano and stir to coat.
Add chicken broth, more for soup like consistency, less for stew.
Bring to boil, then add chicken, beans, corn and cabbage.
After soup returns to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add chopped cilantro and lime juice. Stir to fully mix.

Garnish with guacamole and sour cream (ff unless you can spare the calories)

***If you really don't like spicy foods, it was recommended that you use 1 poblano and 2 bell peppers instead of the ones listed and mild Rotel. (I found this to be spicy, but I didn't need anything else to drink with it other than water which is how I gauge my spice)

*Untested* Mushroom Cap Pizzas

I haven't tried this yet, but a friend of mine did and said that she liked it. It is originally from a WW cookbook. She did mention it was a little messy for an appetizer and that low-fat ricotta would be better if you can spare the extra calories.

Mushroom Cap Pizzas
Makes 18 servings, 4 mushroom caps per serving
Total yield: 72 mini pizzas
72 cremini (baby bella) mushroom caps, wiped clean (about six 8 oz packages)
5 sprays olive oil cooking spray
1 cup prepared pizza sauce
1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
24 basil leaves, cut into ribbons for garnish
Red pepper flakes, for garnish
Garlic salt for garnish
[I added a pinch of diced Canadian Bacon to mine also; but, I didn't have basil]
Instructions
Preheat broiler to high.

Coat a shallow baking pan or rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place mushroom caps, round-side down, in a single layer, in prepared pan; coat with cooking spray and broil for about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip mushrooms; coat with cooking spray and broil for another 1 1/2 minutes.

Turn mushrooms round-side down and fill each one with 1 teaspoon of pizza sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle mushrooms with Parmesan cheese and diced Canadian bacon; broil for another 1 1/2 minutes. Immediately remove mushrooms from pan and garnish as desired. Yields 4 mushroom caps per serving.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Recipe Updates to a few classics...

So, there's already a post with my recipe for General Tso's Chicken and Tamale Pie...

I made those last week as well, but this time I changed a few things and I really liked it...

For the General Tso's Chicken... I added about a cup of broccoli, chopped and sauteed this with the onions and green pepper, and red pepper flakes. Then I took the veggies out while I cooked the Chicken. I feel like the broccoli was a GREAT addition and taking the veggies out made them taste more crisp so it was awesome!!!!! Try it :-)

For the Tamale Pie, I added a 1 tsp of cumin, and a handful of cilantro into the recipe... the cumin at the same time as the chili powder and the cilantro at the same time as the corn, kidney beans, etc... I think it made it even better.

Enjoy!

Homemade Spaghetti with Spaghetti Squash

Last week while my brother-in-law and his girlfriend were in town I made homemade spaghetti sauce with spaghetti squash. It was very yummy and I thought I'd share the recipe with you all... I have put this sauce recipe together over the years, and well, I Love it :-) I do not, however, have any pictures to share as it was devoured too quickly.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

1 TBL Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, diced
4-5 cloves of garlic depending on how garlicky you like things
italian seasoning - 1 Tablespoon
Salt and pepper
1 pound or a little over of lean ground beef (93/7)
1 can Tomato Paste
1 can (32oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (16oz) diced tomatoes with italian seasoning
1 thing of mushrooms (16oz I believe)
1 bay leaf
a pinch of nutmeg
a dash or a little over of good red wine

Saute onion, celery, carrot, and garlic (and salt and pepper to taste) together until vegetable are relatively soft and translucent. Add the italian seasoning. Toss in the ground beef and break into pieces as the beef cooks in the pan. Once beef is browned you can drain the fat off if you feel there is too much fat(I almost always do) and then add the tomato paste - breaking up and cooking that through. Then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a slight boil then turn down to simmer for about 20-30 minutes (or as long as you can stand the yummy smell without breaking into it!).

Serve over whole wheat spaghetti or spaghetti squash. If you need directions on Spaghetti Squash, click on the left hand side under the labels for Squash...

ENJOY!