Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Biggest Loser recipe

Buffalo Chicken-Blue Cheese Meatloaf
Biggest Loser Family Cookbook Copyright 2008

Olive Oil Spray
2/3 c. Old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. Fat-free milk
2 1/2 Tbsp buffalo wing sauce, or more to taste
1 pound extra-lean, ground chicken breast
1/2 c. Finely chopped celery
1/4 c. Shredded carrot
1/4 c. Finely chopped sweet onion
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
2 oz. Crumbled reduced-fat blue cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 9x5 loaf pan with olive oil spray.
Combine the oats and milk in a medium mixing bowl and stir to mix. Let stand
for 3 minutes, or until the oats begin to soften. Stir in the wing sauce until well
mixed. Add the chicken, celery, carrot, onion, egg whites and salt. With a fork or
clean hands, mix the ingredients well. Add the blue cheese and gently mix to combine.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread so that the top is flat. Bake
for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through and no
longer pink. Cut into 8 slices and serve immediately.

*edited to add - I baked the meatloaf ahead of time and then I grilled it.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 263 calories, 6 g fat, 74 mg cholesterol, 485 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 35 g protein.


I checked this book out of the library again. One mystery about my library is that they are constantly getting new cookbooks but the cookbook section never grows. They are obviously rotating some out but I can never tell which ones. One thing I I'm sure of is that I'll never see them at any of their book sales - there are never any cookbooks at those sales by the time I arrive. Someone is grabbing them all up.

I did enjoy this meatloaf but I thought the 'buffalo' flavor could have been more pronounced. I meant to add some wing sauce to the top but I forgot. This didn't scream 'Buffalo Wings!' but it had a very nice flavor and also texture - I'm loving oatmeal as a binder in meatloaf. It makes such a tender, melt-in-your-mouth meatloaf.

Busy day. TGIF!

Oops! Almost forgot to link to all my ground chicken recipes.

Question of the Day: Do you like blue cheese?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I didn't miss the skin

Kickin' Chicken
Better Homes and Gardens Kids Favorites Made Healthy Copyright 2003

Nonstick cooking spray
8 chicken drumsticks I used thighs and drumsticks
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. bottled)
2 tsp. cooking oil
3/4 cup bottled barbecue sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange juice or water
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. light molasses or maple-flavored syrup I used maple-flavored syrup
Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce, optional

Lightly coat a 15x10" baking pan with cooking spray. Skin chicken. Arrange chicken in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, for sauce, in a medium saucepan cook garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Stir in barbecue sauce, ketchup, juice, brown sugar, molasses, and if desired, hot pepper sauce; heat through.

Carefully brush chicken with sauce. Turn chicken and brush with additional sauce. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink(180F). Reheat any remaining sauce; drizzle some of the sauce over chicken; pass remaining sauce.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 188 cal, 5g fat, 78mg chol, 355mg sodium, 13g carbs, 0g fiber, 22g protein


This sauce had a really nice flavor. I thought I might miss the skin on the chicken but I really didn't miss it at all. While it wasn't anything really special it did hit the spot. And did I mention how good the local corn is this year? Yum.

I'm so tired. Will I ever sleep through the night again? Seriously, I haven't slept through the night in at least 13 months. That is just ridiculous. I'm too old for this.

Question of the Day: Do you buy orange juice on a regular basis? I don't. It was sort of a staple when I grew up. Even though we didn't drink loads of it, it was always there. Now I buy it occasionally but it seems we never finish it when I do buy it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Things are looking up

Cheddar-Bacon Drop Biscuits
Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009 Copyright 2008

9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese I used Cabot's 50% light sharp Cheddar
2 applewood-smoked bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk I used reduced-fat
1/4 cup water
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheese and bacon. Add milk and 1/4 cup water, stirring just until moist. Drop dough by 2 level tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. I made them with my 1/4 cup scoop. Bake at 400° for 11 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Yield:18 biscuits (serving size: 1 biscuit)

Calories (for the smaller size biscuit) :91 (37% from fat)Fat:3.7g (sat 2.2g,mono 0.8g,poly 0.1g) Protein:2.8g
Carbohydrate:11.5g Fiber:0.4g Cholesterol:10mg Iron:0.7mg Sodium:127mg Calcium:32mg


I love biscuits and I had some buttermilk and some applewood smoked bacon in the fridge so this recipe was perfect for me. I did make them bigger since the fluffy inside of a biscuit is my favorite part and I knew I would eat at least two of the smaller biscuits. I was worried they would be lackluster but they weren't. They weren't a top-of-the-line fluffy, fatty biscuit but they had enough butter and the bit of bacon and cheese added enough umpf to these that they were firmly in the pretty good category.

We had the best corn last night too, picked up from one of the local trucks. I made a chicken recipe that turned out good as well (you'll hear about that soon). Yes, things are improving.

Question of the Day: How often do you buy bacon? I only buy it occasionally for use in recipes. I don't remember the last time I made bacon just to eat bacon. We rarely eat a proper breakfast.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Having an off-week

Herbed Roast Pork
Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009 Copyright 2008

1 ½ tablespoons butter, softened
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Rub butter mixture over pork. Place pork on broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475 degrees for 17 minutes or until a thermometer reaches 155 degrees (slightly pink). Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into thin slices.

Yield: 8 servings 156 cal, 6g fat, 23.8g protein, .2g carbs, .1g fiber, 79mg chol, 1.5mg iron, 435mg sodium, 10mg calcium

This was the first pork tenderloin I've had in a while and it was disappointing. The coating was flavorful but it didn't penetrate the meat. The meat was rather bland but I'm not sure if that is the fault of the recipe or the pork. I wish I had cooked it a bit longer since even though I know it's safe these days, pink pork isn't my thing.

I've been on such a good roll but these past couple of recipes haven't been anything thrilling.

I barely got a wink of sleep last night between the two boys and I don't think I can form one more sentence. Let's hope the week improves.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Okay but not my favorite

Steamed Green Beans with Tomato-Garlic Vinaigrette
Cooking Light Annual Recipes Copyright 2008

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1/2 cup seeded chopped tomato
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 pound green beans, trimmed

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; slowly add oil, whisking to combine. Stir in tomato and thyme; let stand 10 minutes.
2. Steam beans, covered, 7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Cut into 2-inch pieces; add to tomato mixture, tossing gently to coat.

Yield 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)

Calories:73 (44% from fat)Fat:3.6g (sat 0.5g,mono 2.5g,poly 0.5g) Protein:2.4g Carbohydrate:9.8g Fiber: 4.2g Cholesterol:0.0mg Iron1.4mg Sodium:162mg Calcium 48mg


I bought these green beans for something else but this recipe was simpler. I have been making bigger cooking plans than I can carry out lately. It didn't help that I wasn't feeling well yesterday, and I do most of my cooking on Sunday.

This was a nice light recipe but it didn't wow me. I'm not a huge great fan of crisp-tender green beans. It gave me a chance to try fresh thyme. Dried thyme is something I can only take in small doses. Fresh thyme is a bit better but still not my favorite herb. If you like crisp-tender green beans and thyme, this might be a great recipe. I can't really say.

I'm still dragging a bit. I hope the week gets better.

Question of the Day: How do you like your green beans cooked?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mouth and nose watering

Mandarin Beef
Betty Crocker Great Tasting Beef In A Snap! Copyright 1991

1 pound beef boneless sirloin or round steak
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil Are they nuts??? I used about 1 tablespoon and a nonstick pan (and there was already 1 tablespoon in the marinade)
1 teaspoon finely chopped gingerroot
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1 to 2 tablespoons chili paste Just add to taste since the heat varies with chili pastes and sauces
green onions (unspecified amount - use as much as you'd like)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

Trim fat from beef steak; cut beef lengthwise into 2-inch strips. Cut strips crosswise into 1/8-inch slices. Stack slices and cut lengthwise into thin strips.

Toss beef, 1 tablespoon oil, the cornstarch, salt, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, the sugar and white pepper in glass or plastic bowl. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. I put this together in the morning before work.

Cut onions diagonally into 2-inch pieces. What onions? There are no onions in the ingredient list but from the picture I can see they wanted green onions. Cut bell pepper into 1/8-inch strips.

I didn't pull out the ruler and just cut the meat and veggies willy-nilly without paying attention to what the recipe said.

Heat 12-inch skillet or wok until very hot. Add oil; rotate skillet to coat bottom. Add beef, gingerroot and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes or until beef is brown. Add bell pepper, carrot and chili paste; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in onions and 1 tablespoon soy sauce; stir-fry 30 seconds.

Makes 4 servings. I served it over some ramen mixed with soy sauce. This isn't really saucy so keep that in mind if you plan on serving it with plain rice.

Per serving (this is with the 1/4 cup oil and without any rice or noodles) : 375 cal, 25 g protein, 7g carbs, 27g fat, 72mg chol, 910 mg sodium

I think this is one of the best stir-fries I've made but boy was it spicy. I used chili-garlic sauce (Huy Fong) and I didn't think I used all that much of it because I know it's hot stuff but wowza I was still surprised by the heat. Even my husband who burned through my last jar of the chili-garlic sauce using it on pizza, sandwiches and everything else he ate, thought this was hot. Our noses were running. My son has been getting into spicy foods lately but he was complaining about his belly before dinner and asked for SpaghettiOs so I didn't get his reaction.

There was an omission in the ingredient list. The green onions weren't listed. I used 3-4. I added the white part with the peppers and carrots and then the green parts at the end. This isn't saucy and it didn't call for rice but I had some ramen in the cupboard so I made that. I'm glad I did - it helped cut the heat a bit. With a couple of mini egg rolls, it wasn't the healthiest meal but still better than a lot of other meals. The heat felt therapeutic somehow.

Why this called for 1/4 cup of oil, I have no idea. That is definitely not necessary, especially if you use a nonstick skillet.

This is one of those supermarket check-put line cookbooks that I picked up at that flea market a couple of weeks ago. It was 50 cents, the same price many of the hard cover books were but it appealed to me and it was worth the 50 cents for this recipe because I will definitely be making this again. I thought the marinade was perfect. Sometimes I can't get my meat to brown properly after marinading it but this browned perfectly since the marinade (is that even the proper term here?) wasn't a wet one.

Question of the Day: How many different hot sauces do you have right now? We have two different chili sauces and a bottle of hot sauce. It would be easy to get out of control buying different hot sauces but I've resisted so far.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This is not light at all

Neapolitan Bundt Cake
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book Copyright 2008

3 cups (15 ounces) flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
½ cup strawberry jam I used 1/4 cup since I skipped the glaze
3 drops red food coloring
1 recipe chocolate glaze (they provide their own recipe with chocolate, heavy cream, corn syrup, etc but I just used melted chocolate and butter)

This is an abridged version of their recipe. I didn't have time to type out their entire novel. If anything is unclear, let me know.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
2. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, vanilla and lemon juice together in a separate bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, until combined.
4. Reduce the mixer to low and add one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the rest of the buttermilk mixture. Add the remaining flour until just incorporated.
5. Divide the batter evenly between 3 bowls. Whisk the chocolate syrup and cocoa together and add that to one bowl of batter and combine. Add ¼ cup of the strawberry jam to another bowl of batter and combine. Add the plain batter to the pan, followed by the strawberry and then the chocolate (in that order).
6. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.
7. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack. Let cool completely then melt ¼ cup of the strawberry jam until pourable and brush that over the cake. I did do the glaze. Drizzle with a chocolate glaze. Let glaze set before cutting and serving.

I saw this book in the library and I was so excited. My America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook is one of my top cookbooks. This baking edition does not disappoint however, I am still watching what I eat so I picked out this recipe for the guys at work.

At first I wasn't too impressed. It stuck to the pan (not the recipe's fault - they suggest coating the pan with a paste of flour and butter which I will try next time. I used the flour/oil spray.) I skipped the strawberry glaze which would have pumped up the strawberry flavor which was lacking. I just thought it would make the cake too sticky. It was okay looking - not as pretty as I thought it would be.

I tasted a little the next day and I thought it was much better. I don't know if it needed to sit or if I just needed to step back from it. Still not a lot of strawberry flavor but still a good piece of cake - good texture, good chocolate flavor. I managed to track down Dutch-processed cocoa powder for this which I do think makes a difference.

This cake keeps well (without me eating it too, it lasts a lot longer!)

This is one of those recipes that was delicious but not special enough to say I'd make again. A baking recipe has to be extremely special for me to say I would make it again since there are just so many recipes and I can't bake every day. This recipe uses a lot of bowls too. It would have to be superspecial for me to dirty that many bowls again.

Question of the Day: You're handed a container of Neapolitan ice cream. Do you take all three flavors or do you only try to scoop out certain flavors? I will admit I usually eat the chocolate and vanilla first and then the strawberry because the brands I've had usually put the chocolate in the middle and I think it should be the vanilla. I tend to avoid fruit and chocolate (even though I don't exactly dislike the combo -obviously since I chose to make this cake).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another dud

Cherry Clafouti
Prevention’s Ultimate Quick & Healthy Cookbook Copyright 1998

1 teaspoon unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract I omitted this
2 cups pitted sweet cherries
1 ½ teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish or a 9-inch pie plate with the butter or margarine and dust with 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar.
2. In a blender, combine the remaining granulated sugar, the milk, flour, eggs, egg whites, vanilla and almond extract; blend or process until smooth.
3. Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking dish or pie plate. Add the cherries and pour in the remaining batter.
4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the clafouti is puffed, browned and firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
5. To serve, place the confectioners’ sugar in a small strainer and dust over the top of the clafouti. Cut the clafouti into 6 pieces.

Per serving: 187 calories, 3.3g fat, 74mg chol. ,1.1g fiber, 68mg calcium,60mg sodium

In high school, my French class had a cooking day. Our group made cherry clafouti. This was before the internet and one member of our group found the recipe in one of her mother's cookbooks. I know I loved it and I've remembered it all these years but I don't remember much about it. I'm sure we used canned cherries and it was custard-like.

So it's been on my mind to make this but why I chose this 'lite' version, I have no idea. Big mistake. The cherries, which were perfectly sweet and delicious, had no flavor after being in the oven. The custard (or what I thought should be custard) tasted like paste, and not that good paste that kids like to eat. It was edible but not worth it. I tossed it.

It was worth a shot to find a good 187 calorie dessert but this just didn't work for me. Of course now I am extremely curious as to what this should taste like, it all it's full-fat and sugar glory. Some examples I am finding look as custardy as I remember but others, even with all the fat and sugar, look much like this version. Maybe it was just the cherries - I've read that you should keep the pits in them for more flavor. Someday I will get it right.

Question of the Day: Did you cook in high school? I remember very little cooking from home ec - vegetable dip, a strawberry pie with a chocolate rice krispie crust. I never took cooking as an elective (I was cooking dinner every night - why would I want to do more cooking in school?)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Another good one from Ms. Ray

Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats Copyright 2005

3 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons EVOO - extra-virgin olive oil - 2 turns of the pan
1/4 pound smoky bacon or turkey bacon, chopped I used applewood smoked bacon
1 1/3 pound ground turkey breast I only used a pound
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
(You may substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons each sweet paprika and cumin combined)
Coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons, 5 or 6 sprigs, fresh thyme leaves I used a small bit of dried thyme
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery from the heart, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups frozen peas that's a lot of peas!
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour I used a little more
2 cups chicken broth I used sodium-free bouillon
1 cup sour cream, divided I used lite sour cream
3 tablespoons butter I used less
1 large egg, beaten
10 to 12 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped I didn't use these

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Heat a deep, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, to the skillet. Add bacon and brown it up, then add ground turkey to the pan and break it up. Season the turkey with smoked paprika, salt and peppe,r and thyme. When turkey browns up, add: onions, carrots, celery. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, then add red pepper and peas cook another 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook flour 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and combine. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and combine. Simmer mixture over low heat.

Preheat your broiler to high.

When potatoes are tender, add a ladle of cooking water to the egg. Drain potatoes and return to the warm pot to dry them out a little. Add remaining 1/2 cup sour cream, butter, half of the chives, and salt and pepper. Smash and mash the potatoes, mashing in the beaten, tempered egg. If the potatoes are too tight, mix in a splash of milk.

Pour turkey mixture into a medium casserole dish. Top turkey with an even layer of smashed potatoes and place casserole 5 inches from hot broiler. Broil the potatoes until golden at edges and remove the casserole from the oven. Garnish the casserole with the remaining chives and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

This is supposed to be a 30-minute recipe but it took me much longer. The veggies only cook during the sauté and simmer and even though I chopped mine finely, I still had to cook them longer than called for to get them tender. They were still on the crisp side in the end.

I used a large baking dish so the filling was spread out rather thinly (which made for easier reheating - I made this ahead of time and reheated it in the oven). I had trouble with my potatoes almost sinking into the filling (maybe because I only used a pound of turkey). Since I made this ahead of time I should have let it cool and firm up a bit before topping it with the potatoes.

Making this was a bit of an ordeal - peeling potatoes, chopping bacon, chopping veggies, making two components, the sinking potatoes. It was a bit more work that I thought it would be, same as another Rachael Ray recipe, the Bourbon Orange Skillet BBQ Chicken with Cornbread Topper . However, just like that other recipe, all was redeemed in the end because this was really good. Shepherd's pie (cottage pie or whatever you call it) can be bland but the smokiness in this was great. I used applewood smoked bacon which added to the smokiness, I think. It was the first time I used it - I didn't even realize that was what I bought - and it seemed smokier.

There were a lot of peas. I like peas but I still thought they were a bit overpowering (although very pretty). I know this isn't exactly a light recipe but it does have a lot of vegetables and I lightened it up where I could. I removed as much bacon fat as I could, I used lite sour cream, I used sodium free bouillon, I cut back on the butter.

I've been put off by RR's long ingredient lists and the formatting of this cookbook in particular. There will be a recipe written out in full and the next recipe will just tell you what to ADD to, OMIT from, or SWAP in the original recipe to make it into something else. I don't care for that. Maybe it's my ADD but I prefer to see all of the recipes written out in full.

I will say that her recipes always sound delicious and so far, they've always turned out delicious so I will probably make a greater effort to try more of them from now on.

Question of the Day: Do you like peas?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Certainly lighter than beef

Zucchini Burgers
America's Healthy Cooking Copyright 2004

1 ½ pounds zucchini, shredded
2 tablespoons margarine
1 large onion, finely chopped
¼ cup fine dried bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 onion bagels, split and toasted I didn't eat these on bagels

1. Drain zucchini in a colander for 30 minutes; then squeeze to remove moisture. While zucchini is draining, melt 2 teaspoons of the margarine in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion; stir often until lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Scrape into bowl.
2. Mix drained zucchini, crumbs, eggs, and cheese with onion in bowl. In frying pan, melt remaining 4 teaspoons margarine over medium-high heat. Ladle three ¼-cup mounds of zucchini mixture into pan, spreading each to make a 3-inch wide patty. Cook until patties are lightly browned on bottom (about 3 minutes). With a wide spatula, turn patties over; continue to cook until browned on other side (about 3 more minutes). Remove from pan and keep warm. Repeat to cook remaining zucchini mixture, making 3 more patties. To serve, place burgers on bagels.

I got 8 patties and a baby using my 1/4-cup scoop.

I didn't copy the nutritional info since it included the bagel calories and bagels come in so many different sizes. The calories were 262. If anyone wants the full info, let me know.

The name 'Zucchini Burgers' conjures up visions of something more than just a zucchini pancake but these were basically just zucchini pancakes. I'm not complaining - I love zucchini pancakes. These were a good version - mostly zucchini which is a plus, although flipping them was a delicate maneuver. They were a bit light on salt but I'm trying to cut back on salt so that was okay with me.

I never thought of eating zucchini pancakes as a sandwich before which is really a good idea. They have protein from the eggs and cheese and are certainly less caloric than meat burgers. I made these for my lunch this week and I'll probably try one on a whole-wheat bun.

What a day yesterday. I baked and cooked all day long and I think it was just too much. I don't know what I was thinking but since we didn't have anything else planned, it was probably a good use of my time. Not everything turned out as I expected which you'll be hearing about in the coming days.

Question of the Day: Do you like zucchini?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another quickie

Easy Marinated Chicken
The New Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Cookbook Copyright 2002, 2006

2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh chopped onion , finely
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 pinch black pepper
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sherry, lemon juice, onion, garlic, rosemary, and pepper.
2 Place the chicken in a shallow glass dish, and pour the marinade over it, and cover.
3 Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
4 Broil or grill the chicken until it is done, 5 to 7 minutes on each side, basting with the marinade. Serve hot.

I saw that this recipe was online already so I didn't copy it straight from the book. The recipe online calls for cooking sherry but I thought the book called for dry sherry. Cooking sherry would have added the salt that this lacked but I liked laying off the sodium for a change (well I dipped the chicken in Heinz 57 sauce but I would have done that anyway). I will update this with the correct version of sherry and the nutritional information as soon as I get a chance.

This chicken was very moist. I love the flavor of rosemary with chicken. I wanted to grill it outside but with the baby not feeling good, I stayed inside and used the Griddler. I think chicken stays a bit moister when I use the Griddler but I do miss the grill flavor.

Dan is still sick. Poor guy isn't getting any better. There's a bunch of stuff going around - I hope Nick isn't next.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just a quick post

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas
Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007 Copyright 2006

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 2)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro I skipped this
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeño peppers
1 cup chopped cooked chicken (about 8 ounces), divided
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas I used whole-wheat tortillas
3/4 cup (3 ounces) reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Cooking spray
3/4 cup salsa

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; stir until blended.

Place 1/4 cup chopped chicken over half of 1 tortilla. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon onion mixture; fold in half. Repeat procedure with the remaining tortillas, chicken, cheese, and onion mixture.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla in half. Serve with salsa.

4 servings (serving size: 1 quesadilla and 3 tablespoons salsa)

Calories: 328 (30% from fat) Fat: 10.9g (sat 4.8g,mono 4.1g,poly 1.5g) Protein: 27.9g Carbohydrate: 29.4g Fiber: 2.1g Cholesterol: 65mg Iron: 2.5mg Sodium: 786mg Calcium: 248mg

This was strikingly similar to another chicken quesadilla recipe that I've made before but after almost 4 years of blogging, I'm bound to start repeating myself. I didn't really need a recipe to make quesadillas and I often make them on the fly but then I can't post about them and I was desperate for something to post about today.

I really liked the whole wheat tortillas. As much as I like the multi-grain ones, I sometimes don't want all that whole-grain flavor and these were a nice compromise. They probably aren't all that much healthier than plain flour tortillas but there should be a slight nutritional improvement.

I've had the 2003, 2006 and 2007 Cooking Light Annuals for a while and they're fantastic so I recently bought the 2008 and 2009. The 2008 seemed as great as the ones I already had but the 2009 collection seems slightly changed - a bit more gourmet or upscale. Is it just me or had anyone else who follows Cooking Light noticed this? That collection contains the recipes from the 2008 magazines.

Okay, back to work. The baby's still sick and Daddy's staying home today - that's a first (for either child).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Simple. Delicious. CHEAP!

Rotini with Broccoli Ricotta
America’s Healthy Cooking Copyright 2004

12 ounces dried rotini or other corkscrew-shaped pasta I used Smart Taste pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 pound broccoli flowerets, cut into bite-size pieces
1 ½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese a 15-ounce container is perfect
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Coarsely ground black pepper

1. Bring 12 cups water to a boil in a 5- to 6- quart pan over medium-high heat. Stir in pasta and cook just until tender to bite (8 to 10 minutes); or cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in wide nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broccoli and continue to cook, stirring, until bright green (about 3 minutes). Pour in ¼ cup water and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until broccoli is tender-crisp (about 5 minutes).
2. Drain pasta well, reserving ¼ cup of the water. Place in a serving bowl. Add vegetables and ricotta. Mix thoroughly but gently; if too dry, stir in enough of the reserved water to moisten. Offer Parmesan and pepper to add to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 540 calories, 25g protein, 75g carbs, 16g total fat, 29mg chol, 149mg sodium

I made this for my lunch this week and it was fantastic. I happen to like this sort of thing - I've always loved noodles and cottage cheese. I used Smart Taste pasta for more fiber. I separated it into 5 servings instead of 4 which brought the calorie count down. I'm not sure I trust the nutritional info though - 25 grams of protein seems awfully high although maybe I'm wrong. I just did a quick Google and saw that there were 3 grams of protein in a cup of broccoli which surprised me. This would make a great inexpensive meatless dinner.

This reheats surprisingly well. I thought it might be dry but it actually wasn't.

Well the baby's sick so we'll see how the rest of the week goes.

Question of the Day: Have you added more meatless meals to your menu in order to save money or eat healthier?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yes, it's her again

Zesty Cucumber Dip
The New Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Cookbook

1 cup nonfat yogurt
1 (.7oz) pkg Italian dressing mix
1 tomato, seeded & chopped
1/2 cucumber, seeded, peeled & chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 Tbs lemon juice

In medium bowl, mix yogurt & dressing mix until well combined. Stir in tomato, cucumber, onions & lemon juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

(The nutritional info is from another site - I forgot to copy it out of the book.)
Per 2 Tablespoons: 13.9 cal, 2.4 g carbs, .3 g, 172.1 mg sodium, 1 g protein, 0g fat

Yep, another Holly Clegg recipe. I do feel sheepish about posting yet another one of her recipes but if you do a Google search on Zesty Cucumber Dip you can find several other postings of this recipe on the internet without any mention of it's source so I hope she appreciates that. I do feel sorry for cookbook authors since the internet has certainly taken a bite out of their business but if the recipes are any good they're going to get out there with or without mention of where they came from.

I was heavy on the vegetables and kept the pieces on the larger size which was just my preference. Since I was only making it for me, I made it the way I wanted it. I made this to eat as a snack with whole wheat crackers. Basically I made it into a little vegetable salad.

I used to bypass recipes using yogurt but now that I can get Greek yogurt, I'm seeking them out. It's a whole different animal than the usual plain yogurt. This was really flavorful and pretty too, although my picture doesn't do it justice. I was losing light and the flash picture did it even less justice.

The rest of the week will be busy - I have recipes I just hope I find the time to post about them.

Question of the Day: Do you snack?

Monday, July 13, 2009

The guys still need their treats

Chocolate Malted Cookies
Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2006 Copyright 2005

1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons malted milk powder (such as Carnation)
5 tablespoons butter — softened
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium
speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Lightly spoon flour into
dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and
salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Gradually add flour mixture to
sugar mixture, beating at low speed until well blended. Stir in the milk
chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate minichips.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake
at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool on pans 2 minutes or until firm. Remove
cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cookie = 125 cal, 3.9 g fat, 1.9 g protein, 0.5 g fiber.

I may be watching my waistline but the guys at work aren't so I compromised and made a Cooking Light recipe for them this week. I didn't think these were all that light at 125 calories per cookie (although I made 3 dozen plus 2 cookies instead of 2 1/2 dozen so they probably had a few less calories). However, this was apparently a lightened version of a recipe that originally had about twice as many calories.

Wait a minute - I think I made the original version. Well maybe not the original version Cooking Light was working from but it was a full-fat version of a chocolate malted cookie. I liked this version better. They had a chewy texture, almost like those 'soft baked' cookies from Keebler which I happen to like. They didn't skimp on the chocolate. They're made with real butter. They definitely didn't suffer from a little lightening up.

These were even better the next day. I will probably make these again, which is high praise for a cookie recipe since there are just so many more out there that I haven't tried yet.

So did anyone see who posted a comment over the weekend? Holly Clegg! And she didn't yell at me for posting her recipes. Phew! Funny because Friday night I was going through her cookbook making note of all the other recipes I still wanted to try and then I remembered why I had put that cookbook aside - I didn't want to end up giving you the entire book! I probably could if I didn't avoid a few key ingredients (due to my son's food allergies and allergy paranoia) that she makes wonderful use of - beans, nuts, shrimp. OMG - all hell is going to break loose around here if I ever add shrimp back into our diet. The Trim & Terrific book is loaded with great shrimp recipes. I went out and watched a clip of her on You Tube. Food Network should call her. I'd like see her representing the healthy food rather than Ellie K. I have one of Ellie's cookbooks and it just doesn't compare.

I found myself at a flea market this weekend, attached to another event, and I came across a woman with a boat load of cookbooks for sale for only 25 cents to $1. I almost needed to sit down. Of course I had my husband and the boys so I couldn't really 'shop' but I did manage to pick out $5 worth. I'm still sad about all of the ones I had to leave behind.

Question of the Day: Do you have any malted milk powder in your pantry right now?

Friday, July 10, 2009

More salad

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
The New Holly Clegg Trim and Terrific Cookbook Copyright 2002,2006

2 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped tomato
½ cup sliced red onion
¼ cup crumbled Feta cheese
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup white vinegar
½ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine the cucumber, tomato, onion and Feta.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, sugar, oil, salt and pepper.Toss with the cucumber mixture.Refrigerate until serving.

Makes 6 (1/2-cup serving)

Per serving:81 calories, 2g protein, 6g carbs, 2g sat fat, 1g fiber, 6mg chol, 74mg sodium


I noticed that this recipe would use up most of the odds and ends from this week so I made it and it was delicious. Now my produce drawer is nearly empty so I can hit the market tonight and fill 'er back up again.

Expect to see more Holly Clegg. I pulled out this cookbook and fell in love all over again. Not every recipe is a winner but as far as 'diet' cookbooks, this is one of my favorites.

I'm making pizza again tonight. I made it last week for the first time in months. It's been nice coming home to take out on Fridays but it's time to do a little belt tightening. I went back to pizza crust recipe from Martha which I just realized (over 3 years later) had an error in it here. It listed too much oil but I fixed it. It's a great crust. I will start using whole wheat again soon but I'm 'easing' the guys back into home cooked pizza.

Question of the Day: What's for dinner tonight?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A simple, fresh salad

Tomato and Scallion Salad
Cooking with Herbs & Spices Copyright 1963,1970,1984

3 large ripe tomatoes, chilled
½ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
Salt to taste, if desired
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Slice tomatoes and arrange them symmetrically on a chilled serving dish. Sprinkle with scallions and parsley.
2. Just before serving, pour the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper over the tomatoes.

This is the kind of dish that you don't really need a recipe to make yet I sometimes need to see a recipe to put it in my head to make something. I saw this and realized I had everything I needed to make it so I did. I only made it for myself so I used 1 tomato and about 1/3 of the dressing ingredients (but less oil). I'm not a huge raw tomato fan but I enjoyed it as a filling snack.

I'm so anxious to stock up on fresh produce on Friday night. I hadn't been in the mood to deal with it in a while but now I am. Everything I bought last week was so good, even the blueberries and it's been a while since I've had really good blueberries.

Question of the Day: Where do you buy your produce?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Ground Chicken Junkie

Herbed Chicken Meatloaf

1/2 cup frozen diced onion, red and green bell pepper, and celery I used fresh, about 1 cup
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons Greek seasoning I used McCormick's
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pita rounds, split I used whole wheat pitas
Toppings: sliced cucumber, sliced tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, plain yogurt, kalamata olives, lettuce leaves

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sauté onion, red and green bell pepper, and celery in hot oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
2. Stir together ground chicken, next 8 ingredients, and sautéed vegetables in a large bowl just until combined.
3. Place mixture in a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch baking dish. Bake at 350° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve meatloaf slices in pita rounds with desired toppings.

Makes 8 servings

Maybe I will just change this blog to a ground chicken blog. I just love the stuff. I'm sure I'll get a dud recipe eventually but so far I haven't had one with ground chicken. It's pretty hard to make a bad meat loaf too.

As usual, I made the meat loaf ahead of time and then I sliced and grilled it on the Griddler. I love that extra step but it's definitely not necessary. The lemon and Greek seasoning gave this meat loaf a different flavor than your typical meat loaf which made me happy. I love all kinds of meat loaf but it's nice to veer off the path of traditional meat loaf for a change.

An even bigger plus was that this is made into pita sandwiches. You know how my husband likes sandwiches. I topped it with homemade tzatziki sauce (although I managed to drop most of the batch on the floor GRRRRRRRRR I paid $1.69 for 8 oz of Greek yogurt!), sliced some sweet onions, kalamata olives, feta and tomato. Yummy.

The boy asked for chicken tenders and since I had a baby screaming and other chaos happening while I was trying to make dinner, I readily agreed. I'm not sure if he would have liked this or not. He usually likes meat loaf. My husband scarfed this down.

This is definitely a keeper, just like all of my other ground chicken recipes.

Question of the Day: Is there any particular ingredient you are loving right now?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

When I was asked if I would like a review copy of the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook, I said 'sure!' A free cookbook? I couldn't turn that down but I did wonder if I would find it useful or if it would be too high-falutin' for me.

It arrived the day before our big cookout so I couldn't dive right into it. After the cookout, when everyone had gone home, the kids had crashed and I had cleaned up as much as I could, I sat down with this book and pretty much read it from cover-to-cover, something I rarely do with cookbooks.

Talk about perfect timing - I was suffering from a case of PPD - Post Party Depression - and this book was great medication. This is more than just a collection of recipes. It tells the story of Big Sur Bakery and the people who run it. I found their stories to be very inspiring, not just in terms of food but in terms of life and happiness.

And the recipes? Well, surprisingly not as far out of my realm as I suspected. There are plenty of recipes that suit me just fine - a wonderful chocolate bundt cake, doughnuts, breakfast pizza, scones, roasted chicken, potato frittata and quite a few more that are right up my alley. Most recipes that are out of my reach (not that many) are only there due to the ingredients - at the Big Sur Bakery it is all about using fresh and local ingredients and what is fresh and local in Big Sur is certainly not exactly what is fresh and local in central Pennsylvania.

It certainly inspired me to enjoy what is fresh and local in my area. Lately I've been passing on making the trek to auction (the farmer's market to non-locals) but I went on Friday and central PA produce is in full swing. I saw these huge spring onions and I knew exactly what to do with them.

Roasted Spring Onions
Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

4 large or 8 small spring Onions
1 tablespoon rice bran or canola oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Toss onions with oil. Place in baking pan and add chicken stock. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. I removed the foil for the last 10 minutes or so.

These were so simple and delicious. No, not every recipe in the book is this simple but sometimes simple is all you need.

Please check out the widget on my sidebar if you want to see a preview of this cookbook.

The downside to this cookbook is that it may have unleashed something in me. My cookbook collection could definitely use more books like this, books that tell a story.

Question of the Day: Have you ever been to Big Sur? Would you like driving on Highway 1 (the coastline hugging highway that leads to Big Sur)? I think it would scare the bejesus out of me.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Now for something lighter

Penne with Zucchini and Feta
Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2003 Copyright 2002

8 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta) I used Dreamfields
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

While pasta cooks, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oregano, zucchini, and crushed garlic; saute 3 minutes. Stir in broth, rind, juice, and pepper. Add pasta and cheese; toss well. Serve immediately.

4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Calories (based on regular pasta) : 260 (30% from fat)Fat:8.7g (sat 3.3g,mono 3.4g,poly 0.4g) Protein:10g Carbohydrate:37.3g Fiber:3.6g Cholesterol:17mg Iron:2.1mg Sodium:398mg Calcium:118mg

Cooking Light might just be my favorite source of 'lighter' recipes. The recipes aren't all fat-free or carb-free or sugar-free but there's always a great variety of lightened-up recipes.

This is a nice clean recipe that I made for my lunch this week. I used Dreamfield pasta for extra fiber - whole wheat pasta would work nicely too. Since I'm coming off a tangent of cooking that was heavy on fat, the lack of fat was probably more noticeable to me than it would be to someone who routinely watches their fat intake. This was delicious but a glug of EVOO or a pat of butter would have rounded out the flavors a bit.

I have some frozen, pre-cooked chicken that I might add to this to boost the protein and make it a full lunch.

Now that wasn't too painful, was it?

Question of the Day: Do you like feta cheese?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

He's 1!


6 weeks:

5 months:

1 year:

Usually I would say something such as 'time flies' but honestly it's been a long year! I haven't slept through the night since my bladder started waking me up during late pregnancy. It takes a toll on a very near 40-year-old woman.

But he's worth it. He's so smart and fun (yes, he does smile a lot but the camera distracts him). He's definitely more of a handful than his brother. He's into everything. EVERYTHING! Everytime I turn my back he is on the computer or running from the trash can with a piece of trash in his hand. My older son never had one honest-to-God tantrum and this one throws himself to the ground every chance he gets. He really livens things up around here.

Happy Birthday Daniel!