Friday, May 28, 2010

Three recipes in one week!

Tasty Tuna Casserole
Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook Copyright 2009

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni I used Smart Taste
1 can (12 ounces) white water-packed solid tuna
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
4 ounces fat-free cream cheese, cubed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Drain macaroni; stir into tuna mixture.

Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1-1/2 cups equals 334 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 56 mg cholesterol, 851 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 29 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 very lean meat, 2 starch, 1 fat. (I copied this info from online where the recipe called for reduced-fat cream cheese but the cookbook called for fat-free so the fat might be a bit lower with the fat-free.)

This was one of the most difficult dishes to photograph. It's not exactly a pretty recipe but it has many other favorable features. It's healthy, not too expensive and quick and easy to prepare. It tastes pretty good too. I like the touch of oregano but you can experiment with the seasoning.

I thought this would dry out easily but it stayed moist until I packed away the leftovers. I'm not sure how well it will freeze but we'll see. It made quite a bit so I had no choice but to freeze the leftovers.

I really like this cookbook. It's organized by categories and then by calories per serving. I'm not sure how beneficial that is but in the end it really comes down to taking in fewer calories than you're burning, if you want to lose weight, so I think it's wise to emphasize calories. And despite the fact that this recipe uses a fat-free ingredient, this book doesn't rely heavily on fat-free products, which I think is a good sign. Fat-free products that aren't naturally fat-free just aren't natural LOL!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another veggie recipe

Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Honey
Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007 Copyright 2006

1 Tbsp butter
1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered, trimmed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Honey

Melt butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper; saute 3 minutes. Add thinly sliced garlic cloves, saute 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Add water; cover and cook 3 minutes until Brussels sprouts are tender. Drizzle with honey and toss well to coat.

I saw these gorgeous Brussels sprouts at the auction and I couldn't resist. I had planned on making my favorite Brussels sprouts recipes, Shredded Brussels Sprouts. I never intended on making Brussels sprouts any other way than shredded after making that recipe, but I compromised here and cut them into smaller pieces (mostly into sixths instead of quarters). It worked. It worked so well, I ate the entire pan of these for dinner!

I think Brussels sprouts get a bad rap because they're hard to cook well when they're left whole. Shredding them or cutting them into smaller pieces, at least quarters, is the way to go, in my opinion. It's the best way to get flavor throughout them without overcooking.

Two recipes this week - wow! Will there be a third? Stay tuned.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A vegetable recipe for a change

Asparagus with Mushrooms
Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook Copyright 2009

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt WAY TOO MUCH IMO!
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon pepper I used white pepper

In a large skillet, saute asparagus and ginger in oil for 2-3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add the mushrooms, salt, sugar and pepper. Cook and stir 2-3 minutes longer or until mushrooms are tender. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 3/4 cup equals 92 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 599 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

I haven't been eating enough vegetables lately. I eat lots of salads but they're mainly just lettuce with a few carrots and some cabbage, nothing exceptionally nutritious. I'm going to try to mix things up and work more vegetables into my diet and I started with this recipe.

I had some execution problems. The ginger wanted to burn so I had to keep everything moving and I added the mushrooms right away. The recipe calls for way too much salt. The mushrooms lost a lot of water at the end, which was actually a blessing since when I drained that liquid off, much of the salt went with it. I find a sprinkle of salt is all it takes to let the mushrooms release a bit of water so they steam a bit as they sauté yet they won't end up looking like they came out of a can.

While this isn't a knock-your-socks-off recipe, I enjoyed it. It was different than other asparagus recipes I've tried. I liked the Asian influence and I will have to remember this as a side for other Asian dishes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A very basic cookie

Icebox Cookies
Taste of Home Grandma’s Favorites Copyright 2006

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional I didn't use these

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts if desired. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into 3 10x1-inch rolls. (They don't really spread so shape them to the size you want to end up with.) Tightly wrap each roll in wax paper. Freeze for at least 12 hours. (I only froze them a couple of hours.) Cut into 3/8-inch slices and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Yield: about 7 dozen. I didn't get anywhere neat that many, maybe about 3 dozen.

I've been wanting to bake something but I get so confused looking for a recipe. I don't want to buy anything extra to make something. I packed away most of my baking pans so loaves, cupcakes, etc are not an option unless I dig those pans back out. I prefer to use up more of what I have on hand (candies, chocolate, sprinkles, fruits, etc) so I usually skip over these basic recipes. That has led to me making a whole lot of nothing so I finally decided to go simple, even if this recipe doesn't make much of a dent in my pantry.

Sometimes you can't beat simple. Nick loved these and believe it or not, home baked goods are not always an easy win with him. I started out only baking half of the dough but so many disappeared that I went back and baked the rest of them. I won't be able to take these to work.

They have a salty, brown sugar flavor that would be a good base for add-ins (mini chocolate chips, nuts, chopped maraschino cherries, which I considered but then Nick wouldn't have eaten them).

I'm really going to shoot for at least one new recipe a week for now, and not a baked good every time. I'm not making any promises though.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


That is the only way to describe my life right now - stalled. That's not to say that life is unpleasant for me, but I am ready to move on. The local rental market is still not cooperating, unfortunately.

They're having a book sale in the lobby today. Proceeds benefit my son's daycare so I had to buy, right? I got 5 books for under $40, which isn't too bad for a sale like that (they are new books and both the center and the company running the sale needs to make money). I don't remember the last cookbook I bought before today.

I've been cooking but I haven't been making new recipes. I believe that my off-the-cuff cooking has greatly benefited from all the recipes I've tried over the years. I mostly keep things simple - quesadillas, stir-fries, simple pasta dishes, basic broiled or grilled meats. I'm still using a lot more convenience items but they were really starting to add up so that motivated me to get back to more 'real' cooking.