Friday, May 30, 2008

Surprisingly edible
--Venison Eugene

Venison Eugene
NAHC Wild Game Cookbook Copyright 1986

1 lb. venison steak I soaked it in buttermilk overnight.
4 T. butter
1 small onion, diced
2 T. dry sherry
2 T. brandy
1 T. Worcestershire
3 T. A-1 steak sauce
1 T. chopped chives I used about 1 1/2 tsps of dried chives
1 T. chopped parsley I used about 1 1/2 tsps of dried parsley
Salt and pepper

Cook onion in 2 T. butter until soft, not brown. Pound steak and sear over high heat in butter and onion, about 2 minutes on each side. Add sherry, A-1 sauce, 2 T. butter, Worcestershire, chives, parsley, pepper and salt. Turn heat to high for 4 minutes. Add brandy and flame. When flame goes out, serve with rice and vegetables (I served potato cakes and vegetables).

I wasn't exactly looking forward to this. This last batch of venison hasn't been the greatest, in my opinion. However, my husband has been asking when I was going to cook the rest of it so it was time to work it into the menu again.

And what do you know? This wasn't half bad. I soaked the venison in buttermilk overnight which I think helped quite a bit. This is basically 'steak Diane'. Eugene was the name of the recipe contributer. The sauce has strong enough flavors to temper the gamey taste of the venison. I think this is the first time I've flamed anything (on purpose) - what fun!

My son loved this too. He was so excited to be eating deer meat. Of course, both he and hubby used lots of barbecue sauce with their meat.

TGIF! I'm beat.

Blast From The Past: Whole Wheat Blueberry Kuchen from August 2008. I have blueberries and I've been thinking of this recipe. I LOVED it the first time I made it. The second time, it was undercooked. Shall I try it a third time?

Question of the Day: Have you ever flamed anything at home?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Easier than I anticipated
--Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu
The Most Decadent Diet Ever Copyright 2008

Olive oil spray
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 large egg whites I used 1 whole egg
1 tablespoon fat-free milk
½ cup dried bread crumbs
1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Four 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, visible fat removed
3 ounces sliced 97% lean deli ham
3 ½ ounces light Swiss cheese slivers

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Lightly mist a medium nonstick baking sheet with spray.

Arrange 3 medium shallow bowls side by side. Mix the flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper with the garlic powder and paprika in the first bowl. Use a fork to lightly beat the egg whites with the milk in the second bowl. Mix the bread crumbs and the parsley in the third bowl.

Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towel to ensure that they are as dry as possible. Place them between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper on a flat work surface. Use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound them to an even 1/8 to 1/4 –inch thickness. Then place them on the wrap or paper with the top of the breast facedown and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place a quarter of the ham and then a quarter of the cheese evenly in the center of each breast, about ½ inch from each edge. Roll the breasts lengthwise so the seams end up on the bottom. If desired, fasten the breasts with toothpicks inserted near the bottom so that the breasts remained rolled.

Next, being careful not to unroll it, dip one of the breasts into the flour mixture until it is coated on all sides. Shake off any excess flour, and then dip it into the egg mixture. Allow any excess egg to drip from the chicken, and then coat it with bread crumbs. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to tuck the sides under slightly.

Prepare the 3 remaining chicken breasts following the same procedure, placing them side by side, not touching, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly mist the tops with spray. Bake for approximately 9 minutes. Then carefully flip the breasts over and bake for another 9 to 12 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 306 cal, 48 g protein, 10 g carbs, 7 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 101 mg chol, 599 mg sodium, <1> ________________

I was dreading preparing this recipe. I originally planned to prepare it up to the point of cooking it the night before because I suffer from this chronic disease that constantly makes me believe that I have extra time and energy in the evenings when nothing could be further from the truth.

So, I didn't manage to prepare it ahead of time and I wasn't looking forward to making something so fussy-seeming after a hard day of work but was I ever surprised at how easy these were to put together. I used the thin chicken breasts I buy at Costco (the 10-pound bag contains very thin breasts) so I didn't have to do much pounding. I didn't fuss too much with the rolling. Sure, I lost some cheese but since I cooked this on nonstick foil, it didn't stick to the pan and instead, it was a crunchy cheese treat. They also cooked up amazingly fast and browned really nicely.

The author mentions how popular this recipe was at banquets when she was growing up in Pennsylvania. I concur. When I was in high school, I worked in catering and stuffed chicken was certainly the most popular entry, usually stuffed with a bread filling, but chicken cordon bleu was a souped-up version that many people chose and then there was chicken kiev if you really wanted to get fancy.

I always thought chicken cordon bleu was time consuming and fattening since chicken cordon bleu is often deep fried but when baked, this isn't a heavy recipe at all. This would be a nice company meal too since you can prepare the rolled up and breaded chicken ahead of time.

I'm loving this cookbook!

No time for a Blast From the Past today. I have an early appointment to see how big this baby is getting. Not too big I hope. My sugars have been under control. Let's hope that counts for something.

Question of the Day: Have you attended many catered functions? Does any entrée stand out as more popular than others?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Simple is just what I need right now
--Simple Mustardy Pork Chops

Simple Mustardy Pork Chops
The Carbohydrate Addict’s Cookbook Copyright 2000

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
4 pork chops, approximately 1-inch thick
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
¼ cup Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet oven medium heat. Brown the garlic. (I added the chops right away because I think the garlic would burn otherwise.) Add chops and continue to cook quickly over medium-high heat until they begin to brown, adding remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to keep chops from sticking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and place chops on a cookie sheet.

Add mustard to the garlic and oil in skillet. Stir well as mixture cools. Liberally spread half the mustard-garlic mixture onto each side of the chops. Bake for 25 minutes. Turn the chops and brush the other side with the remaining mustard-garlic mixture. Return to oven and continue cooking for an additional 25 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. (I spread both sides of the meat at once and baked them much less - my chops were small.)

Serve warm.

This was a simple recipe but an enjoyable one, if you like mustard of course. Since I found Bookbinders's Stoneground Dijon mustard, I really like Dijon mustard. Grey Poupon never did that much for me. That's my personal opinion (I'm not pimping Bookbinder's) but the point is, shop around if you don't think you like Dijon mustard since they aren't all the same.

The Weekend Cookbook Challenge round-up has been posted by Sara at I Like To Cook. The theme was TV Cooks and I submitted Marita Deleon’s Low-Fat Carrot Cake from Cooking With The Young and the Restless. Information on the next WCC can be found at that link also.

I'm dragging this week. I guess I should be glad that my energy lasted so long into my third trimester but it has suddenly bottomed out, coinciding with the arrival of warm and humid weather.

Blast From The Past: Tangy Pork Chops from April 2007, from this same cookbook. Another simple but delicous pork chop recipe, perfect for a lazy day.

Question of the Day: How about throwing me a dinner idea so I have less thinking to do tonight when I plan next week's meals? I have boneless pork chops (and one roast), sirloin steak, and cubed steak plus I'll probably be heading to Costco this weekend for ground beef and chicken breasts.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Not my favorite

The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook Copyright 2006

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled I used margarine
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarse I added some butterscotch chips instead

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch cake pan with foil, then coat lightly with vegetable oil spray. (I didn't bother with the foil, I used Baker's Joy.) Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk the brown sugar and butter together in a medium bowl until combined. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture until no streaks remain. Stir in the chips and nuts.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 22 to 25 minutes.
4. Let cool completely on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, before removing from the pan using the foil and cutting into squares.

Makes about 36 squares.

I really wanted to make big chocolate chips cookies for my coworkers but it was warm and muggy last night so I opted for this recipe, which required less baking time. I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips (especially not butterscotch chips) so these weren't a big hit with me. Also, I used margarine since one coworker has issues with milk and even though he's usually okay with stuff baked with butter, I gave him a break since his sensitivity seems to be rising. The margarine I used had whey in it but it was better than butter I guess.

Blondies are just one of those things that really seem lacking without nuts. Maybe it's because they're so rich. It's like chocolate fudge without nuts. It's just not the same.

They came out really pretty though - easy to cut, good texture. They weren't terrible and I think I would have really enjoyed them if I had stuck to just chocolate chips.

It's tough getting started again after a long weekend. I can't wait for my maternity leave.

Blast From The Past: Ruth Wakefield’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from June 2007. Those aren't much different than a blondie and that recipe is awesome. I would have made those again but then I wouldn't have had anything to blog about today.

Question of the Day: Do you like butterscotch chips?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Not very rich or very brown but very good
--Salisbury Steaks with Rich Brown Gravy

Salisbury Steaks with Rich Brown Gravy
The Most Decadent Diet Ever Copyright 2008

1/3 cup egg substitute I used one real egg
¼ cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons onions soup mix
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 pound 96% lean ground beef my meat wasn't 96% lean
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup fat-free lower-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Olive oil spray
1 onion, sliced and separated into rings (about 3 ½ cups)

Combine the egg substitute and the oats in a medium mixing bowl. Let stand for 3 minutes to soften the oats. Add the onion soup mix, minced onion, garlic powder, pepper and beef/ Mix until well combined, and then shape into 4 oval patties about 1 inch thick, 3 inches wide, and 4 ½ inches long.

Put 2 tablespoons of the flour in a medium shallow bowl, Dip the patties in the flour to coat them on all sides. Shake off any excess.

Put the remaining flour in a medium mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in enough broth to form a paste. Then slowly whisk in the remaining broth, then the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce until well combined. Set aside.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, lightly mist it with spray. Put in the patties, side by side. Brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Pour the broth mixture into the skillet. Add the onion rings to the skillet. Use a wooden spoon to stir them gently into the broth mixture, being careful not to break the patties. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, flipping the patties once, halfway through. Transfer the patties to a platter. Spoon the onions and gravy over the patties. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 205 calories, 13g carbs, 26g protein, 5g fat, 2g sat fat, 60mg chol, 1g fiber, 573mg sodium

I think it goes a little far to call this a 'rich brown' gravy. It was delicious but not very brown nor incredibly rich, although that it just my personal opinion based on what I consider rich (cream, butter, etc).

I used the 'natural' beef that I picked up in the local organic store a while ago. They raise the beef right there. I really wanted to save that meat for burgers but it was the only ground beef I had left. I don't think they labeled what percentage of fat it contained. I thought it would be fattier than it was but I would guess it was about 80-85% lean.

I don't know if it was the beef or the recipe but I was very pleased with the flavor and texture of these salisbury steaks. I was worried that the oatmeal might stand out but it didn't. I made Horseradish Smashed Potatoes to serve with these, from this same cookbook, which I love BTW. It was a great combination.

This was another recipe chosen because I had everything on hand to make it, including a half package of onion soup mix. I would make this again.

I don't think dinner has been filling my husband up. The past two nights, he has eaten leftovers from the freezer later in the evening - very unusual for him. In fact, on the weekends, when I tell him to eat leftovers, he always gets a sour look on his face.

What did he eat the past two nights? Liberace's Macaroni and Cheese with Ham - leftovers that I have been dreaming about eating myself and now it's all gone. The thing about my husband is that he's always asking me permission if he can eat this or eat that and it's almost always something that I obviously meant for him to eat. But if there's something I'd rather hoard for myself or that I'm saving for a recipe, he eats it without asking. It's not like he has any idea which category a food falls into - I haven't mentioned my lusting for that leftover macaroni and cheese - yet he manages to do this over and over again. I need to start hiding things.

Monday is a holiday here so I'll probably take the day off from blogging too.

Blast From the Past: Salisbury Steak Deluxe from June 2007. I like that version too and I've made it two or three times.

Question of the Day: Do you ever hide food from anyone else in the house?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rich but delicious
--Dijon Maple Chicken

Dijon Maple Chicken
Saving Dinner Copyright 2003

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter, divided
½ cup onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup half and half I used whipping cream
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup (you can use pancake syrup)

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a skillet, melt half the butter over medium-high heat and cook chicken till browned on both sides. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.

In same skillet, add the rest of the butter and cook onion till translucent. Stir in broth with a whisk, making sure to whisk the browned bits up off the bottom of the pan. Add half and half, mustard and maple syrup. Bring to a low simmer and cook till thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour chicken over sauce and serve.

Serves 6. Per serving: 350 cal, 10 g fat, 56g protein, 6g carbs, 155mg chol, 423mg sodium

This was a recipe of convenience. I had everything on hand to make it. I enjoyed the tangy cream sauce but I don't make a habit out of making cream sauces so I don't know if I'd make it again. I certainly didn't regret making it. I really liked the sauce with the brown rice.

Too bad I didn't use a garnish - that photo looks pretty sad.

Time to return this book to the library. I think I'll be checking it out again in the future. It was my plan to run out and buy it but since I've recently acquired so many new cookbooks, I'll wait a bit.

This had been a long week and it still isn't over. I'm looking forward to a long weekend.

Blast From The Past: Rick Katz’s Brownies for Julia from May 2007. That was the dessert I made for Memorial Day last year. I don't know if I'll be doing any cooking this year. I certainly won't be torturing myself with something as awesome as those brownies. Those would be way too tempting.

Question of the Day: Do you make cream sauces very often at home?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Finally, a good steak
--Steak Sauce

Steak Sauce
Sunset Barbecue Cook Book Copyright 1962

1 bunch green onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
Butter for sautéing
1 cup catsup
½ cup wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon each of celery salt, garlic salt, onion salt, chili powder, dry mustard and dried mixed herbs

Cut up green onions and garlic in small pieces and sauté in butter until brown. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl, then add the sautéed onions and garlic. Marinate steaks in this mixture for 3 hours before grilling.

It's so hard to find good steaks around here, never mind at a decent price. When I saw these T-bones on sale for $4.99/lb, I grabbed them. Never mind the price, they were some of the better looking steaks I've seen locally in quite a while.

This steak sauce is just glorified ketchup but I love ketchup, even on steak so it was a winner in my eyes. I only rubbed a little bit of the sauce on the steak and let it marinate while I was at work. I served the rest of the sauce on the side and even dipped my french fries in it.

It rained all day yesterday but when I got home and started the grill, the sun came out!

Blast From the Past: Big Game Baked Round Steak from December 2005. I have to start using up the venison in our big freezer. My husband is asking for it but I'm just not in the mood. This deer isn't as tasty as the one I used in that recipe.

Question of the Day: What do you like with steak? A-1? Heinz 57? Ketchup? Nothing?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yum yum yum
--Macaroni and Cheese with Ham

Macaroni and Cheese with Ham
Liberace Cooks! Copyright 1970

12 ounces elbow macaroni I used 14.5 ounces of Smart Taste macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk I used 1% milk
4 cups grated Cheddar cheese I used Cabot 50% Light Cheddar
1 teaspoon salt
Dash white pepper
1 cup sour cream I used lite sour cream
2 cups diced cooked ham

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Melt the butter, blend in the flour, and gradually stir in the milk. Cook and stir until thickened. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper and continue to cook until the cheese is just melted. Stir in the sour cream. Grease a large casserole and make layers of half the drained macaroni and ham. Pour half the cheese sauce over the top. Repeat, using the remaining macaroni, ham and sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven for half an hour.

Serves 8.

When I saw this cookbook I had to grab it just for the kitsch factor but it's actually a really good cookbook. There are a variety of recipes, including some reflecting Liberace's Polish heritage which I can especially appreciate. He loved to entertain and the book is sectioned off into different types of entertaining - buffet, outdoor, indoor, etc.

This recipe is from the TV dining section. TV dining! Yes, Liberace had a dining room/television room. I love it. I admit, I like to watch television while I eat. I like to fall asleep with the television on. I once had a small apartment in which I had a great view of the television from the bathroom - pure heaven!

I chose this recipe since I had some ham in the freezer, leftover from Russian Easter. Nevermind that I needed to buy $5 worth of cheese to make this but at least I used up that extra ham. You could probably get away with less cheese and you could use a less expensive cheese but I like the Cabot's 50% Light Cheddar and I used two blocks of it.

Personally, I thought this ranked up there as one of my favorite macaroni and cheese recipes. I was impatient and didn't bake it long enough to get a crust on top (in retrospect, I should have save a bit of the shredded cheese for the top). Otherwise, I loved the flavor and the texture. The sour cream gave it a nice tang and that ham my MIL gave me was really good.

My blood sugar was pretty low when I checked it after dinner. I was ticked that I didn't eat more of this. I sure wanted to.

Blast From The Past: Horn and Hardart’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese from November 2005. That's also a favorite macaroni and cheese recipe of mine. Comparing it to today's recipe, I don't think I could put one over the other - they're quite different. That one was more gooey, today's is creamier and tangier. Which I would choose would depend on my mood at any given time.

Question of the Day: Should macaroni and cheese be creamy or gooey? Or do you like it another way?

Monday, May 19, 2008

I couldn't resist
--Surprise Cookies

Surprise Cookies
Martha Stewart’s Cookies Copyright 2008

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
About 15 large marshmallows, halved crosswise (cut in half horizontally)

For the frosting:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup plus 1 ½ teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make cookies: Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.
3. Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
5. Make frosting: Put confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Melt butter with the cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add butter mixture to the confectioners’ sugar. Whisk in the milk and vanilla. I ended up adding a little bit more confectioners' sugar.
6. Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered. Let stand until set, about 10 minutes, Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

I only picked up one cookbook at the auction on Friday night and then I was disappointed not to find any cookbooks at the community yard sale on Saturday morning so I was chomping at the bit when I went to Costco later that day. I told myself I would buy one cookbook that was under $15. That didn't leave many options (well, not as many as if I allowed myself $20). I admit that I took notice when this Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook came out but I figured it would fussy and the recipes would be too 'unique' for our tastes. It was a book I would pick up somewhere down the line but I wasn't in a rush.

Once I saw the book, my opinion changed immediately. There are many useable recipes in this book, plus several that are unique for the more adventurous bakers. Still, I told myself I would wait until after the baby was born and I wasn't on such a strict diet. However, on Saturday when I picked up the book and saw this recipe, I tossed it right in my Costco cart and made tracks to the checkout line.

What you see here is actually a combination of the recipe online and the one in the book since they differed, even though I copied the recipe right off of Martha's site (I'm not the best typist and I prefer to cut and paste when I can). Online called for less frosting which you can probably get away with. It called for a longer cooking time (10 to 12 minutes) but cooking time is always variable. The book said halve the marshmallows crosswise and the site said cut them horizontally. I still don't know which way they should have been cut. I cut them top to bottom but I don't think it matters.

My son took one bite of these and said 'You're the best!' LOL. They're sweet and chocolately, just like a kid would like. They're more like little cakes than cookies - my son ate his with a fork.

I could only have a taste of these but I have to agree - 'I'm the best!' LOL.

Blast From The Past: Beef Kabobs With Oriental Sauce from June 2006. We finally have gas for the grill again. I can't wait to start grilling again.

Question of the Day: What's your opinion of Martha?

Friday, May 16, 2008

More needless worry
--Honey-Glazed Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Honey-Glazed Spiced Pork Tenderloin
The Most Decadent Diet Ever Copyright 2008

2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1¼ pounds trimmed pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Use a fork to mix the paprika, salt, black pepper, onion powder, chili powder, and cayenne in a small bowl.

Rub the tenderloin evenly with the olive oil. (I forgot to do this.) Then rub the spice mixture evenly over it until the tenderloin is thoroughly coated. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the honey and garlic in a small bowl.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, lightly mist it with spray. Cook the tenderloin for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until just browned on all sides.

Place the tenderloin in a roasting pan or ovenproof skillet. Use a pastry or basting brush to evenly coat the tenderloin with the honey mixture. Roast, uncovered, for 16 to 18 minutes, or until it is just barely pink inside or a meat thermometer inserted in the center reaches 155 degrees F.

Remove from the oven, loosely cover the tenderloin with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board. Holding your knife at a 45-degree angle, slice the tenderloin into thin slices. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Per serving: 210 calories, 7g carbs, 30g protein, 6g fat, 2g sat fat, 92mg chol, 364 mg sodium

When I smelled the spice mixture for this, I thought it might be a little bit strong and not quite what I was in the mood for. However, after I glazed the tenderloin with the honey-garlic mixture, it all came together quite nicely. There was a nice coating on this and the flavor was great.

TGIF! Unfortunately, it's raining cats and dogs out there and I need to head out to a doctor's appointment so I can't just ignore it. Hopefully it will let up later today so I can get to auction this evening. I signed up to bring fruit to a picnic on Sunday but the weather forecast is iffy. I'm worried I'm going to end up with a pile of fruit and no one to eat it. I can always bring it to work on Monday but I hate to spend the money if I don't have to. I did great at the grocery store last night. Cleaning out my cupboards last week kept me focused.

Blast From The Past: Easy Dill Pickles from June 2007. I love those refrigerator pickles. I can't wait to get my hands on some pickling cukes this year.

Question of the Day: What do you usually bring along to potluck picnics?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Worried for nothing
--Irish Grinders

Irish Grinders
Better Homes and Gardens Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes Copyright 2003

1 2 to 3 pound corned beef brisket with spice packet I used a low-sodium one, only 1.5 pounds and it didn't have a seasoning packet
1 cup water I used 1/2 cup
1/3 cup Dijon-style mustard I used about half the amount and I used spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish I used about 1 1/2 tsps
4 cups coarsely shredded cabbage
8 whole wheat Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, split and toasted
Dijon-style mustard I used Thousand Island dresssing instead

1. Trim fat from meat. Sprinkle spices from packet evenly over meat; rub in with your fingers. If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3 ½ or 4-quart slow cooker. Place meat in the cooker. In a small bow combine the water, 1/3 cup mustard and horseradish. Pour mustard mixture over meat. Top with cabbage.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
3. Transfer meat to a cutting board. Thinly slice meat across the grain. Arrange meat slices on roll bottoms. With a slotted spoon, place some of the cooked cabbage on meat. Spread additional mustard on roll tops. Add roll tops.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 344 cal, 19g fat, 4 g sat fat, 58 mg chol, 312 mg sodium, 26g carbs, 17g fiber, 32 g protein

I was a bit worried about this, since things didn't go exactly as planned. I had this corned beef in the freezer since just after St. Paddy's Day and I discovered there was no seasoning packet with it. Would the cabbage be flavorful enough? I was too lazy to research the proper seasonings.

I don't like things too liquidy in the crockpot so I halved the sauce but kept the cabbage amount about the same and that worked out great. I used spicy brown mustard since I had an excess of that whereas I'm always running out of Dijon and my favorite brand is hard to find. I thought the flavor and the consistency of the sauce and cabbage was just right.

I didn't get to cook this as long as I would have liked to. The meat wasn't falling apart tender. I made it the night before and just sliced it thinly and reheated it in the cabbage and sauce and I thought it was just perfect. I really like the low-sodium corned beef (or maybe it's just lower-sodium but it's still an improvement over the traditional version).

My only regret is that a slice of swiss cheese would have been great on these too but I didn't think about that until it was too late. It would have been a nice addition but I still felt the cabbage, corned beef and Thousand Island dressing combination was very satisfying on it's own.

I have a couple of other Better Homes and Gardens slow cooker cookbooks but I like this one that I checked out of the library better, despite the low-carb angle. It calls for a few low-sugar items but otherwise the recipes are rather 'normal'. Bad carbs don't work all that great in the crockpot - pasta, potatoes, rice, etc can be mushy and gummy in a slow cooker.

Blast From The Past: The New York Reuben from May 2007. These Irish Grinders are similar to Reubens but since they aren't grilled and there's no cheese (although cheese would be great on these), they have a slight nutritional advantage.

Question of the Day: Do you like corned beef?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bad garlic
--Caramelized Garlic Chicken

Caramelized Garlic Chicken
Saving Dinner Copyright 2003

3 teaspoons olive oil, plus additional for greasing foiled pan
6 cloves garlic, pressed
6 teaspoons brown sugar
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Line shallow roasting pan with foil, lightly grease the foil with a little oil.

Heat oil in small skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften. (Don t let garlic get brown!) Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar until well mixed. Set aside.

Place chicken breasts on greased foil-lined pan, spreading the garlic mixture evenly over chicken.

Bake for 10—15 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender and juices run clear.

Makes 6 servings. PER SERVING:295 Calories (kcal); 5g Fat (16% calories from fat); 55g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 137mg Cholesterol; 155mg Sodium.

This cookbook from the library really excited me. There's a Saving Dinner website where you can plan recipes and shopping lists and this book does the same. I prefer to plan my own menus and shopping lists but I thought the recipes were tempting.

Some of the recipes were marked 'Recipe Rave' and this was one of them. I'm not sure why a cookbook would want to draw special attention to some recipes. They should all be 'raves' as far as the author is concerned, right? There was a quote from someone saying how her husband really doesn't like chicken but he loves this recipe. I was drawn in immediately. I'm a sucker, what can I say?

The result? Well, I wasn't 'raving' about it. I do think my garlic was a problem. It's so hard to find good garlic around here. I often attempt to purchase it in the grocery store and all I find is a basket of splitting, sprouting, sometimes rotting garlic. As much as I love jarred ginger, I don't care for jarred garlic very much - it's not even close to fresh.

My garlic looked good until I cut into it and saw that it had started to sprout. I always remove the little sprouted area but by that point, the rest of the garlic is usually off which I think was the case here. The garlic had a weird 'green' flavor. I can't fathom that the dish would have been all that fantastic with fresh garlic but I suppose it might. I don't think I'll waste my time trying this recipe again. At least it wasn't horrible and it was still edible.

Blast From The Past: Garlic Bread from October 2005. Now, that was a good day for garlic.

Question of the Day: Do you have any trouble finding good fresh garlic?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Healthy potatoes for ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday
--Horseradish Smashed Potatoes

Horseradish Smashed Potatoes
The Most Decadent Diet Ever Copyright 2008

1 pound unpeeled red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces I used a thin-skinned white potato
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half I used whipping cream
2 ½ tablespoons light butter
1 tablespoon bottled horseradish, or more to taste
Black pepper

Place the potatoes in a medium pot. Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches. Place the pot over high heat and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes, covered, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Just before the potatoes are cooked, combine the half-and-half, butter and horseradish in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on low for 1 to 2 minutes, until the butter is melted.

Drain the potatoes and transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Use a potato masher or large fork to mash them slightly. Pour in the half-and-half mixture and continue to mix until the potatoes are smashed, leaving some lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Per 1/3 cup serving: 97 calories, 2 g pro, 16g carbs, 3 g fat, 2 g fat, 8mg chol, 2g fiber, 125 mg sodium

These were yummy. I did use whipping cream since I had some leftover but I'm watching carbs more than fat these days. Not that I'm going hogwild with fat but there was little fat in the rest of this meal.

These potatoes are perfect for Sweetnick's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday. Keeping the skin on the potatoes keeps more of the nutrients and fiber from the potatoes and more importantly, makes preparing this recipe a breeze. I didn't even bother nuking the butter mixture separately. The light butter I use melts quite easily.

I cleaned out my cupboards and my refrigerator over the weekend. For all my complaining about the price of food, I sure do waste a lot of it. I'm trying to work on that. This recipe used a bit of the whipping cream I had leftover from my dad's birthday cake and some horseradish which I already had on hand. It barely makes a dent in my excesses. I have so many baking products - different chocolate and chips, flours, sprinkles, etc. What a time not to be able to eat sweets.

Blast From The Past: Smashed Potatoes from April 2006. The parsley was too much for me in that recipe but my husband liked it. He liked today's potatoes too. He often passes on plain mashed potatoes.

Question of the Day: Do you like potatoes 'smashed' with the skins on or do you prefer creamy white mashed potatoes?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge
--Marita Deleon’s Low-Fat Carrot Cake

Marita Deleon’s Low-Fat Carrot Cake
Cooking With The Young and the Restless Copyright 1997

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup light molasses
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups grated carrots
1 cup flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Dusting of confectioners’ sugar

In a large mixing bowl stir together, pineapple, pineapple juice, molasses, egg whites, and vanilla. In another mixing bowl combine flours, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Quickly stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Pour into a 13x9-inch pan sprayed with vegetable oil. Bake at 375 degrees until a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (Use some discretion here - I cooked mine at 350 for about 25 minutes). When cool, dust with confectioners’ sugar. I used frosting.

Low-Fat Cream Cheese Frosting
Splenda No Calorie Sweetener Copyright 2004

½ cup light butter, softened
1 cup Splenda Granular
1 pound nonfat cream cheese, softened I used low-fat
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat softened butter and Splenda briefly in medium bowl until Splenda is just incorporated. Add cream cheese, tablespoon by tablespoon. Mix until lump free, 1 to 2 minutes, Scrape sides of bowl and add vanilla extract. Mix well.

Make about 2 cups. Per serving (2T with nonfat cream cheese): 60 cal, 3g fat, 10mg chol, 190 mg sodium, 3 g carbs, 3g protein

The theme for the next Weekend Cookbook Challenge is TV Cooks - 'Find a recipe from a cooking show from the food channel, PBS, or your local area. Or pick a recipe from a cookbook you've bought off TV! Of cook something from a non-cooking TV show cookbook (does that even make sense?) ie The Sopranos.'

I immediately thought of this recipe that I had bookmarked some time ago. It's from Cooking with the Young and the Restless. I watched that soap opera at one point in my life but I'm not intimately familiar with the characters circa 1997 when this cookbook was published. I've never watched the Sopranos either but I enjoy those cookbooks too.

It wasn't until I was actually making this cake that I realized that it had no outright fat in it - no butter, no oil, not even any traditional fat replacers like yogurt or applesauce. I hesitated but I was already committed. I was a bit confused about the pineapple. I bought an 8-ounce can and used that undrained with a bit of orange juice added since I had no pineapple juice and there didn't seem to be 1/2 cup of pineapple juice in the can with the crushed pineapple. If you need 8 ounces of already drained pineapple, you'll have to start with the 20 oz can. My cake was thin and required much less baking than the recipe called for but turned out great otherwise so I'm not sure if I was right or wrong.

This was a thin cake. It had a fudge brownie consistency. I liked the molasses flavor but I think this might be a great recipe to substitute agave nectar in. That might be an experiment I have to try later down the line.

Blast From The Past: Martha Turner’s Carrot Cake from August 2007. Unfortunately there was no nutritional information included for today's cake but it's obviously better (nutritionally) than that cake which had 2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of oil. Yes, that cake was much better tasting but you couldn't eat it everyday and live a long and healthy life.

Question of the Day: Do you like carrot cake?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Enchiladas again
--Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas
The Best Light Recipe Copyright 2006

1 medium onion, chopped fine
½ teaspoon vegetable oil
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sugar
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Ground black pepper
8 ounces 50% light cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (4-ounce) can pickled jalapeno chiles, drained and chopped
½ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves I omitted this
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
Vegetable oil spray
1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving) I forgot this

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the onion, oil and ½ teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onion has softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on the instant read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bow, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the onion. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Toss together the shredded chicken, ½ cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of the cheddar, jalapenos, and cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40 to 60 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13x9-inch baking dish.
5. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup sauce and the lime wedges separately.

Serves 6. Per serving: 350 cal, 10g fat, 4.5 sat fat, 65mg sodium, 37g carbs, 33g protein, 7g fiber, 980 mg sodium

I know, I know. You're thinking 'how many times can this lady make enchiladas?' Well, plenty because I really like them.

I took some shortcuts with this recipe since I was short on time. I cut up the chicken into small pieces and put it in the sauce right off. When it was cooked, I took out the chicken (and onions) with a slotted spoon and mixed it with the other filling ingredients. Shredded meat would have been better but these were still damn good. Cook's Illustrated scores another win.

This is short because I have work to do. I need to get some nesting done. Don't panic, I don't exactly have the urge to nest but I'm afraid that by the time that hits, I'll be too big to move around. I don't remember ever getting the nesting urge with my first son either so I don't want to wait for it in case it never comes.

Question of the Day: Do you clean on schedule or on an as-needed basis?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Even I'm getting bored
--Stir-Fried Pork, Scallions, and Peppers in Garlic Sauce

Stir-Fried Pork, Scallions, and Peppers in Garlic Sauce
The Best Light Recipe Copyright 2006

¾ pound pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons dry sherry
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
5 teaspoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 cup scallion whites, sliced on the bias into 1-inch pieces
2 medium red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
1 ½ cups scallion greens, sliced on the bias into ½-inch pieces
1 recipe Garlic Sauce

1. Toss the pork with the soy sauce and sherry in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, and 2 teaspoons of the oil.
2. Heat 1 more teaspoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the pork and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the clumps, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pork to a clean bowl.
3. Add 1 more teaspoon oil to the pan and return to high heat until shimmering. Add the scallion whites and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 1 minute. Add the remaining teaspoon oil and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Clear the center of the pan and add the garlic mixture. Cook, mashing the garlic mixture into the pan with the back of a spatula, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Stir the garlic mixture into the vegetables. Add the pork and scallion greens and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine then add it to the pan and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, toss until the pork and vegetables are well coated with sauce and sizzling hot. Serve immediately.

Garlic Sauce:
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup dry sherry
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. Combine all the ingredients except the garlic and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Add the garlic and pepper flakes to the garlic mixture in step 1 of the stir-fry recipe. ?? Was I supposed to add 6 cloves or garlic to the recipe or 3?? I only added 3 big cloves and I forgot to add the red pepper flakes.

Serves 4. Per serving (without rice): 250 cal, 10g fat, 19g carbs, 21g protein, 3g fiber, 760mg sodium

If these stir-fries are starting to bore you, you're not the only one. This was a very good stir-fry. The sauce had lots of flavor (and there was a good amount of it). I was sort of rushed so my meat wasn't cut as thinly as possible and the onions were cut smaller than they should have been. I didn't have enough green onions either. It still turned out great but I'm just bored with the whole stir-fry thing right now since it seems like I've been making one at least every other week and it's usually pork.

I've gone a bit wild the past few weeks, with cookbooks. With my due date approaching, I think it's a form of escapism. Between auction, Ollie's, book clubs, Costco and the library, there's plenty of fresh material around and nowhere to put it! I had filled up my two shelves completely. What now? At least it was easy to pick recipes for next week.

Blast From The Past: Graham Cracker Chewies from December 2005, before we stopped eating nuts in our house. I've been meaning to try this recipe without any nuts but I haven't yet. If you can eat nuts, try this recipe! It's delicious. I originally got it off the internet but I've come across the same recipe in several cookbooks. I'm surprised I don't see it more though - it's really good.

Question of the Day: What do you do to 'escape' when you're stressed out?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Danger! Danger!
--Moist Corn Bread

Moist Corn Bread
American Dietetic Association Cooking Healthy Across America Copyright 2005

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup nonfat milk
1 teaspoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8- or 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Combine the canola oil, egg and milk. Add to the dry mixture and mix just until moist. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Brush with melted butter to keep the top soft.

Serves 6. Per serving: 220 cal, 5g fat, 40mg chol, 660mg sodium, 39g carbs, 1g fiber, 6g protein

I know some people don't like their cornbread sweet and that's cetainly their prerogative but I think they're nuts. The sugar is what makes cornbread tastes so darn good!

This was dangerous. I can eat a small piece of cake. I can taste one cookie. But this cornbread kept calling me back. I cut it into more than 6 servings (9) and rationed it out. I served it with chicken and cole slaw so the carbs evened out.

I didn't think this would be that moist and I admit, I didn't scientifically measure the oil but I wasn't off by much, if I was off at all. I was careful not to overcook this. I prefer cornbread to corn muffins since muffins seem to dry out so easily.

The recipes in this cookbook are written by many different nutrition experts. Some cut the fat, some add whole grains, some reduce sugar, etc. Some cookbooks try to do it all, but this is a nice approach too.

Blast From The Past: Sour Cream Corn Bread from January 2007. That recipe has more fat and less sugar. Pick your poison.

Question of the Day: Should cornbread be sweet or not?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Healthy and gorgeous
--Colorful Coleslaw

Colorful Coleslaw
The Most Decadent Diet Ever Copyright 2008

1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup fat-free plain yogurt I used Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fat-free milk
2 teaspoons sugar
4 cups packed shredded cabbage
3 ½ cups packed shredded red cabbage
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup red onion slivers
¼ cup chopped whole green onion
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Black pepper

Whisk the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, milk and sugar in a large resealable container. Add the green and red cabbage, carrots, parsley, red onion, and green onion. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Seal the container and refrigerate for 3 hours to 2 days.

Makes 5 servings. Per serving (3/4 cup) 92 cal, 3 g protein, 13 g carbs, 4 g fat, 4mg chol, 3 g fiber, 249 mg sodium

This is the cookbook that I picked up in Costco on Sunday. It is a cookbook even though the title makes it sound like a diet book. There is some diet advice but the bulk of the book is recipes and photographs of the recipes.

The author also wrote The Biggest Loser Cookbook which I'm also very fond of but they are a bit different. The Biggest Loser Cookbook is written from the perspective of the contestants and the recipes are a bit more basic. The recipes in this book aren't complicated by any meals but they definitely have more depth.

I thought I might have to doctor this slaw up. I made it in the morning and it seemed sort of 'dry' but after sitting all day, it was just right. It's a light dressing but all the flavors worked together really well. I think the kick from the onions and parsley was key. I'm glad I made this. I had a surplus of red and green cabbage in my produce bin and that bit of Greek yogurt leftover. It was destiny.

This is also a great submission for Sweetnick's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesdays. It doesn't take a nutritionist to see that this is a healthy recipe.

Blast From The Past: Cabbage Slaw from July 2006. I often turn to that recipe and it's delicious but today's recipe is a much more nutritionally beefed up version of cole slaw.

Question of the Day: Do you prefer flat leaf or curly parsley? I prefer the curly stuff.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Better for you?
--Multigrain Snickerdoodles

Multigrain Snickerdoodles
King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Copyright 2006

¾ cup unsalted butter I used salted
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, ground for 30 seconds in a food processor
1 cup whole barley flour
¾ cup traditional whole wheat flour

1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Cream the butter, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the orange juice and eggs, scraping the bowl, then add the oats, barley flour and whole wheat flour, beating until well combined. Refrigerate the dough, covered, overnight. (If you do this, I would suggest turning off the oven they just asked you to turn on!)

To prepare the coating, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a large plastic bag. (I used a bowl.)

Drop the dough by tablespoonful, 6 pieces or so at a time, into the bag. Gather the bag closed at the top, trapping some air inside. Shake gently to coat the balls with the sugar. Place them on the prepared baking sheets and flatten to about ½ inch thick, using the flat bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass. Repeat till you’ve used all the dough.

(I didn't chill the dough. I scooped it and sprinkled it liberally with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. I didn't flatten them - they flattened out nicely themselves.)

Bake the cookies, reversing the pans midway through (top to bottom, bottom to top), until they’re beginning to brown around the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool. For soft snickerdoodles, place them in an airtight container or plastic bag, once they cool. For crisper cookies, allow them to remain uncovered overnight before transferring to a storage container.

Makes 38 cookies. Per cookie (27g): 9 g whole grains, 109 cal, 4g fat, 2g protein, 6g complex carbs, 11g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 21mg chol, 66mg sodium

Obviously this isn't a healthy recipe since it contains butter and sugar but how much does using whole grains help? I'm not exactly sure. It has to be an improvement though, don't you think? I haven't been keeping up enough to know yet how much you gain by baking with whole grains (when you keep the fat and sugar) but I'll file this one under 'every little bit helps'.

I guess I'm suspicious because these were incredibly delicious. I don't know why I torture myself by baking when I can't indulge too much but I don't just bake for myself. My son loved these and actually said 'you make people happy' when he was eating these. I meant to bring some to work but I completely forgot.

I had a heck of a time finding barley flour since my local flour connection, the smaller grocery store in the next town that carries a wide variety of Bob's Red Mill products, didn't have it. I was dumbfounded - they always have what I'm looking for. I couldn't drive back up to the Amish store at that point, having just come from that area. They probably had it. Luckily I was headed to the big city and the grocery store there had it (and a fabulous organic section which I wish was in our store which is part of the same chain).

I'm not sure if you can substitute something else. Under substitutions, this book just says that there are so many different recipes in the book, there is no need to be concerned about substitutions??? Yeah, that helps. I believe it's a low-gluten flour so if you know anything about flour, that information might help you choose a substitute. I really don't know how much the barley flour contributed to the fantastic flavor. Substitute at your own risk.

I'm still way behind around the house. I'd rather blog. I got some fantastic cookbooks out of the library and even picked one up in Costco (I've been great at staying away from their cookbooks). Hopefully I'll be making some great new recipes in the next few weeks.

Blast From The Past: Snickerdoodles, Snipdoodles, or Schneckenoodles from December 2005. That's my standard snickerdoodle recipe and one of my favorite cookie recipes but these multigrain ones were just as good if not better.

Question of the Day: Are you using more whole grains in your cooking and baking?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Easy clean-up
--Steak in Foil with Mushrooms

Steak in Foil with Mushrooms
Our Favorite Meats Favorites From Home Economic Teachers Copyright MCMLXVI

2 lb round steak, 1 in, thick my piece of meat was smaller
1 c. sliced mushrooms I used an entire 8 oz. package
½ pkg. dry onion soup mix I only sprinkled a bit on, maybe 1/4 pkg, probably less
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. water

Center steak on heavy aluminum foil. Saute mushrooms in a small amount of butter; sprinkle over meat. Add remaining ingredients. Seal carefully. Bake at 450 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until tender. I baked it for about an hour at 400 degrees, then reheated it at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes the next day.

Yield:4-5 servings

First of all, Carla at Chocolate Moosey has posted the round-up for the latest Weekend Cookbook Challenge. The theme was vintage cookbooks and I submitted Danish Cinnamon Coffee Cake which I'm still dreaming about. If any of you are interested in the next WCC, you can find more information here. Next month's theme is TV Cooks - I have lots of celebrity chef cookbooks! I hope I can get in on that one too.

Back to today's recipe - I took advantage of the cooler weather we had this week and baked this steak. I made it the night before we ate it since an hour of cooking time doesn't figure into my weeknights these days. I've been working longer days to cover doctor appointments and field trips.

This came out very well. The steak was very tender but it wasn't falling apart. I didn't add all of the soup mix because I was afraid it would be too salty but I probably lost some flavor. Next time I might add some sliced onion, maybe some carrots and I'll play around with the seasoning - maybe I'll add a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

The house smelled so good while this was cooking!

I just love this old cookbook. I have the salad version but it just doesn't sing to me like this meat cookbook does. I think there's a dessert version. I'd look to get my hands on that.

My grocery bill was quite low last night. I'm really trying to tighten my purse strings. We have such a surplus of food in the house but it's harder to just use things up when I have to watch my carbs. It's harder to pick recipes with all of these constraints (cost, carbs, I only want fast and easy recipes, I'd like to use up what I have, everyone has to like it). That is why things will be light around here - I can't come up with enough new recipes with all of those constraints.

Enjoy the weekend!