Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A simple one
--Lemon Grilled Asparagus

Lemon Grilled Asparagus
Dana Carpender’s Every Calorie Counts Cookbook Copyright 2006

1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

Snap the ends off of the asparagus where they want to break naturally. Discard the ends and place the spears in a plate with a rim – a glass pie plate will do nicely.

Mix together the lemon juice, oil, and garlic, and pour the mixture over the asparagus. Turn the asparagus this way and that, to coat. Let it sit.

Heat the tabletop grill. When it’s good and hot, lay the asparagus in a single layer. Grill for 10 minutes, and serve.

Yield: 3 servings Per serving: 61 cal, 5 g fat, 2 g protein, 4 g carbs, 2 g fiber

Here's a quick one that wasn't planned. My mother-in-law gave me some asparagus from her garden on Sunday. The flavors in the recipe are simple but I was more interested in how it would come out using my Griddler. The Griddler gave it a nice grilled flavor since it really caramelized the asparagus. The stalks were quite thin and got pretty soft but I have to admit I like my vegetables cooked soft.

This was definitely faster than roasting the asparagus in the oven. I plan on using the Griddler to grill many more vegetables. My old George Foreman grill didn't work very well for thin items but the Griddler is great for them.

This is one of my newer cookbooks that was written by the same author who wrote many low-carb cookbooks but unlike many of those books, this one focuses on healthier recipes. Some of those other low-carb books are filled with high fat, high protein, high calorie recipes.

Okay, back to my little break.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Taking a bit of a break

I had to make some tough choices this weekend. Get work done around the house or work on blog material? The house won. I'm way behind and I only have about 10 weeks to go before the baby comes. We celebrated Russian Easter yesterday and we're stocked with leftovers to get us through one or two meals. I should have a few recipes later in the week. Or not. I do love my blog but I must pay attention to priorties right now.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Trying something different
--Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili
American Dietetic Association Cooking Healthy Across America Copyright 2005

1 pound extra-lean ground beef, such as sirloin
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon allspice
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces thin spaghetti, cooked I used Smart Taste
¾ cup finely shredded mild cheddar cheese I used 50% Light Cabot Cheddar
1 small onion, finely diced

Brown the beef and onion in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add 2 cups water and the garlic, tomato paste, vinegar, chili powder, cocoa powder, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Adjust the cumin and pepper.

Serve over spaghetti. Add cheese and onions.

Makes 6 servings: Per serving: 320 cal, 12 g fat, 6 g sat fat, 40 mg chol, 520 mg sodium, 29 g carbs, 4g fiber, 24 g protein

I've always been fascinated with Cincinnati chili. I've never eaten it before but I've seen it on many food shows. They ladle it over spaghetti for a 2-way, add cheese for a 3-way, onions for a 4-way and beans (cooked separately) for a 5-way. It always looked so damn good.

I knew the recipe traditionally had cinnamon in it but I figured it would meld into the other flavors, such as when you add chocolate or cocoa to chili which I've often done. It really doesn't though - the cinnamon stands out, which I found very off-putting. One of my two biggest cooking disasters since starting this blog involved a crab enchilada casserole that had cinnamon in a tomato sauce. I still get queasy thinking about it and we never even ate it - it went straight into the trash. The smell was enough to prompt it's dismissal.

When I smelled the cinnamon and allspice cooking in this chili, that was all I could think of but I was going to give it a chance. I compared this recipe to one I found on allrecipes and it looked similar enough that while this isn't completely authentic (it's a healthy recipe, after all), it looks like a fair representation of Cincinnati chili. It's probably not as fine textured and it's thicker but the flavor seems right. Cincinnati chili is loved by many so I figured there must be something to it. I made it the night before which I hoped would help.

In the end, with the cheese and lots of raw chopped onion (a 4-way), this wasn't half bad. I just don't know if I could get used to this kind of chili after 38 years of eating, I guess you would say, a Texas-style chili. I don't think I would make it again, although if I'm ever in Cincinnati, I might stop in at a chili parlor and sample the real McCoy.

Blast From The Past: Texas-Style Chili from January 2007. Yes, I think I'll stick to chili recipes in that style from now on.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had Cincinnati chili? Do you like it?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spicy but not salty
--Cajun Lemon Chicken Strips

Cajun Lemon Chicken Strips
American Dietetic Association Cooking Healthy Across America Copyright 2005

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon cayenne

Spray a 9-inch square dish with the cooking spray. Add the chicken.

Blend the remaining ingredients in a small bowl; pour over the chicken. Turn the chicken to coat both sides. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour, but overnight is fine.

Grill 6 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through or bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. If grilling, discard the marinade. If baking, the chicken can be baked in the marinade.

Serves 8. Per serving: 140 cal 1.5g fat, 65mg chol, 120mg sodium, 4g carbs, 0g fiber, 26g protein

Once again, I thought something was missing in this recipe and something was - salt! Of course. This cookbook is put out by the American Dietetic Association and all of the recipes are written by registered dietitians, I believe. These recipes are healthy from all angles, which includes being lower in sodium. This had lemon juice and ketchup so it wasn't flat, it just didn't have that oversalted taste that I'm so used to. That is a good thing, by the way. My blood pressure has been really good since starting this gestational diabetes diet but I know it's something I need to work on since it was starting to creep up before I got pregnant this time. I need to start watching my sodium intake a bit more.

I got absolutely nowhere last night when I sat down to plan next week's menu. I drew a complete blank. I'm getting a bit tired of healthy eating to be honest but I have little choice right now. I'm just plain getting tired.

Blast From The Past: Crumb-Coated Dijon Chicken from September 2006. That's a personal favorite and I think I'll add it to next week's menu. That's a start. I have everything to make it too.

Question of the Day: Do you pay attention to sodium intake?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another stir-fry from my favorite new cookbook
--Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Red Pepper, and Asparagus Stir-Fry

Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Red Pepper, and Asparagus (Broccoli) Stir-Fry
American Dietetic Association Cooking Healthy Across America Copyright 2005

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons dry sherry, divided
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon rice wine or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces I used broccoli
1 large red bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 8-ounce package fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 cups cooked brown rice (about 1 1/3 cups uncooked)

Cut the pork crosswise into ½-inch slices, and cut the slices into ¼ inch strips. Place in a zip-top plastic bag. Add the soy sauce and 4 tablespoons sherry. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Combine the chicken broth, 2 tablespoons sherry, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and the rice wine, cornstarch and white pepper in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned. Remove the pork to a dish and keep warm.

Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet over high heat. Add the asparagus and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and mushrooms. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and ginger; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sit-fried pork and the chicken broth mixture. Cook and stir on medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 30 seconds. Serve with the cooked rice.

Serves 8: Per serving: 250 cal, 7g fat, 35mg chol, 230mg sodium, 30g carbs, 4g fiber, 17g protein

I've been doing a lot of stir-fries lately. It's a easy way to fulfill my nutritional requirements since they're generally heavy on vegetables and meat and light on carbs, if you limit the rice. This particular recipe didn't excite me that much. I'm not sure why - it was flavorful but I felt like something was missing. It was too mellow. Maybe the sauce could have used a little soy sauce too.

I used broccoli since I wasn't sure if my husband would like the asparagus. I'm not sure that he's as big a fan of stir-fries as I am but I always make some egg or spring rolls along with them and I know he likes those.

I had to go to so many stores to find jarred ginger. I prefer the jarred variety and I always have trouble finding it. I was just about to give up when I moved a few things over and found one lone jar sitting all the way in the corner of the produce section.

I love this cookbook. I picked it up in Ollie's for under $10 (even used on Amazon it's over $20! - yay Ollie's!). It breaks down recipes by region which I'm never crazy about (recipes end up all over the book - you can't just flip to the chicken section for a chicken recipe) and there are no pictures but there are so many recipes in there I want to try. In fact, I'm cooking from this same cookbook the entire rest of the week.

It isn't just recipes either - the book includes other information regarding healthy eating. It's definitely one of my favorite finds.

I'm running out of steam. It's impossible to sleep through the night anymore (I have to get up at least once, usually twice to pee). I'll have to keep that in mind when choosing recipes for next week. I need simple, simple recipes.

Blast From The Past: Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes from February 2006. I really miss pancakes. I know I could work them into my meal plan but I think it's too dangerous. I want a HUGE stack of pancakes.

Question of the Day: What kind of ginger do you cook with? Dried, jarred or fresh?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back to healthy eating
--Beef Steak Gyros

Beef Steak Gyros
The Healthy Beef Cookbook Copyright 2006

Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
¼ cup diced cucumber
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon minced garlic I used dried - I didn't want the garlic to burn
2 beef shoulder center steaks, cut ¾ inch thick (about 8 ounces each) I used flank steak
Salt and pepper, as desired
4 whole wheat pita breads, cut crosswise in half I used whole grain pitas with flax and honey
4 tomato slices
4 onion slices

1. Combine Yogurt Sauce ingredients in small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Combine oregano and garlic; press evenly onto beef steaks. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 9 to 12 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning twice.
3. Carve steaks into thin slices; season with salt and pepper, as desired. Fill pita pockets with equal amounts of steak, tomatoes, and onions. Drizzle with sauce.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 251 cal, 6g fat, 58mg chol, 537mg sodium, 21g carbs, 2.4g fiber, 28g protein

Okay, this was not an authentic gyros recipe but it did utilize the same flavors and I enjoyed it. I wanted to use the Greek yogurt that I picked up recently. I can actually get Greek yogurt locally now - our Wal-Mart is carrying it - Oikos Organic. It wasn't as good as the Fage Greek yogurt I've tasted but the Fage I tasted wasn't fat-free, it was a low-fat variety. I can get Fage at one of the grocery stores in the nearest city but that isn't very convenient.

Of course, I missed having a big fluffy pita but I don't even know if I can get the big fluffy ones locally. These whole grain pita pockets made with flax and honey were very good but it's just not the same. I used to eat gyros when I lived in Philadelphia but I haven't had one (a real one) in many, many years.

Blast From The Past: Greek Beef & Rice from July 2006. Not an authentic Greek recipe, but delicious.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had a gyro? Do you like them?

Monday, April 21, 2008

I cheated and it was worth it
--Danish Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Danish Cinnamon Coffee Cake
The New Antoinette Pope School Cookbook Copyright 1961

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 ½ cups cake flour
1 1/3 cups milk

Cream butter well with electric beater. Add sugar, small amount at a time, and beat until blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating in each one about 1 minute. After all eggs have been added, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add salt and flavorings. Next add combined flour and baking powder alternately with milk, and blend until smooth with a spoon.

Place batter in a pan that measures 9x13-inches. Grease pan with 1 tablespoon of unsalted shortening and coat with flour. Cover with Topping, below, and bake at 350 degrees F about 55 minutes. Test with cake tester.

Topping for Danish Cinnamon Coffee Cake

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter, cold and firm
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sifted cocoa

Serves 12 (or more - this is a big cake).

Despite all of my worrying, the doctor is quite pleased with my blood sugar numbers. So I cheated! Well, I cheated because I just couldn't stand it anymore. Not necessarily not eating something 'bad' but I had an uncontrollable urge to bake something 'bad' and I can't bake something new without tasting it.

This isn't charting any new territory but this was a fabulously light and fluffy coffee cake. It rose up so high, I could barely get the lid on it to transport it to work where I hope it disappears quickly before I grab another piece. I'm allowing myself just the one. Although I may need to sample another taste, just to see how it is the next day. I have obligations to monitor the quality, after all.

I chose this because I thought it used all ingredients I generally have on hand but I was forgetting that my almond extract is missing (I think it spilled at one point). I was going to just use all vanilla but I'm glad I went out and got the almond extract. It really adds that extra something.

I wanted to make something from one of my older cookbooks so I could join in the Weekend Cookbook Challenge this month, since the theme is Vintage Cookbooks (pre-1980). Carla at Chocolate Moosey is hosting. I'll post a link when she does the round-up.

This cookbook is from 1961 - not my oldest cookbook but certainly vintage. It's a classic and still available used online, although usually for more than the $2 I paid from my cookbook guy at the farmer's market. The recipes hold up to time. It's a very comprehensive cookbook that is probably as useful now as when it was written. It was originally published in the the 40s, I think. This was pre-convenience foods which is why it holds up so well.

Speaking of my cookbook guy, on Friday I made my first trip to see him this year and he was so happy to see me! He said he was worried about me even though I clearly told him I would be MIA for the winter months. He's not all that with it.

I was such a bad girl and I walked out of there with a load of cookbooks. I bought 10 books and a bunch of someone's recipe clippings/cooking pamplets, all for $19. Can't beat that with a stick. I got some good ones too. Unfortunately, they aren't necessarily healthy cookbooks and they certainly don't include calorie and carb counts so I may just have to admire them for now.

Blast From The Past: Creole-Style Pork Tenderloin Patties from July 2007. That recipe was also from this cookbook and I loved it.

Question of the Day: How old is your oldest cookbook? I have no idea which is my oldest. I know I have one from the 1930s.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm glad I didn't change my mind
--Pork & Peppers Mexican-Style

Pork & Peppers Mexican-Style
Good Carb, Better Carb Cookbook Copyright 2004

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped green onions
¾ pound lean pork, cut into ¼-inch pieces I used pork tenderloin
3 bell peppers, preferably red, green and yellow, diced (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dried chipotle pepper (optional) I used this
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese I used Cabot 50% light cheddar
¼ cup sour cream I used lite sour cream

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add green onions; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add pork; cook and stir 5 minutes or until browned. Add peppers and garlic. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until peppers begin to soften.
2. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms, cumin, chili powder and chipotle pepper, if desired. Cook and stir 10 to 15 minutes until pork is cooked through and vegetables have softened.
3. Serve with topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving (without the tortilla): 271 cal, 9g carb, 17g fat, 6g sat fat, 63mg sod, 98mg sodium, 3g fiber, 22g protein

I didn't really want to make this last night but the clock was ticking on the fresh mushrooms so I went ahead and made it. I really liked it. It reminded me a lot of the chicken enchiladas from Living the GI Diet. I added more peppers and mushrooms. You could really play around with the vegetables in this. I picked out whole wheat tortillas to go with this.

My grocery bill was record setting last night and I didn't even get all of my produce (the garlic and onions were sickly as were the mushrooms). I can't figure out of if it was just higher prices or if I went overboard. I did buy a few expensive items that I don't buy regularly - Pull-ups, sunscreen, flank steak. That's almost $25 extra right there. The sad thing is that I barely blinked. I just shook my head.

Blast From The Past: Find your own in the archives. I'm almost caught up with updating the archives. There are over 650 recipes! I have just about the last week of recipes to enter and it will be completely up-to-date. When I'm out on maternity leave I hope to fine tune it a bit. It's a bit sloppy right now.

Question of the Day: Do you like the flavor of chipotle peppers?

A great basic turkey burger
--Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers
The Best Light Recipe Copyright 2006

1 1/4 lbs. 93% lean ground turkey
1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Combine the turkey, ricotta, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl with your hands until uniformly combined. Divide the mixture into 4 portions. Lightly toss one portion from hand to hand to form a ball, then lightly flatten the ball with your fingertips into a 1 inch thick patty. Repeat the process with the remaining portions.

2. Heat the oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until smoking. Lay the burgers in the skillet and cook until light brown and crusted, 3-4 minutes. Flip the burgers over & continue to cook until the second side is light brown, 3-4 minutes longer.

3. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and continue to cook until the burgers are no longer pink in the center and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 8-10 minutes longer, flipping once more if necessary for even browning.

Makes 4 patties (I made 5 and they were good sized burgers.)

PER SERVING (if you make 4) : Calories 250, Fat 12g, Sat Fat, 3 g, Chol 85mg, Carb 3g, Protein 30g, Fiber 0g, Sodium 520mg

This turkey burger tasted like a burger. Not a beef burger but a burger made out of turkey. Does that make any sense? No? How 'bout this - it didn't taste like meat loaf. A lot of turkey burgers are doctored up quite a bit and while they're quite delicious, they can't compare to eating a plain meaty burger. This was just a basic burger ready to be accessorized as you would any beef burger. As you can see, I skipped the bun and went rather basic. I did dip it in a little bit of ketchup.

I used my Griddler to make these and I think that made them a bit drier than they would be otherwise. The Griddler really squeezed the moisture out of these. The Griddler is not really good for cooking anything with a lot of moisture (or fat I imagine) since there's no tilt and the liquid or fat will run over the sides if you don't keep an eye on it (trust me).

Blast From The Past: Favorite Turkey Burger from January 2008. They were excellent but more than just a burger.

Question of the Day: Do you make burgers out of anything besides beef?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I could get used to this

I didn't cook last night. My husband was sick and just wanted soup (canned). My son opted for Spaghetti-Os. I picked up some frozen seasoned fish and some frozen seasoned vegetables. It was the night of the microwave.

And it was great. No prep and very little clean up. A girl could get used to that.

I'll be back with a recipe tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Healthy and delicious
--Spinach and Beef Skillet

Spinach and Beef Skillet
The Healthy Beef Cookbook Copyright 2006

1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut ¾ inch thick
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips I used some red and some yellow
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons water I left this out - my peppers had been frozen which makes them softer and more watery
3 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach I used baby spinach
½ cup sliced green onions
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 cups hot cooked brown rice, prepared without butter or salt I couldn't find the brown rice I thought I had so I used Uncle Ben's

1. Cut beef steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into ¼-inch-thick strips. Toss with sesame oil and garlic.
2. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of the beef; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Repeat with remaining beef.
3. In same skillet, add bell pepper, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and water. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until pepper is crisp-tender. Add spinach and green onions; cook and stir until spinach is just wilted. Stir in ketchup, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce and beef; heat through. Serve over rice.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 361 cal, 9g fat, 62mg chol, 691mg sodium, 30g carbs, 2.8g fiber, 37g protein

This was another nice little stir fry. I might have liked a few more vegetables in it but beef is the star of the recipes in this cookbook. You could definitely add more vegetables and/or a different variety, if you'd like. The sauce was mellow but quite tasty. I was worried about the spinach but it blended in quite nicely. The last time I made a recipe with cooked greens (baby arugula), it wasn't very pleasant but the baby spinach was much more tender.

I wasn't crazy about the meat - the pieces were a bit thicker than I would have liked. I should have sliced it in the morning when it was still somewhat frozen. It was completely thawed by the time I got home. I picked this beef up in Costco and it was cheap but not the optimal cut for a recipe like this. My son loved it though - he kept asking for more 'steak'.

This is perfect for Sweetnick's ARF 5-A-Day Tuesdays. Bell peppers, green onions and spinach are super healthy. You also get a small kick of lycopene from the ketchup.

I know I promised to be back on track this week but I just got word that my husband is home with a stomach bug. I'm not sure if it will be worth cooking what I had planned tonight. I'm not even sure I want to go home tonight knowing what a big baby he can be when he's sick.

Blast From The Past: Spicy Orange Beef from July 2006. That's one of my other favorite beef stir fries but it's light on vegetables.

Question of the Day: What's a good bland food to feed a sick person?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Here's that recipe
--Turkey Meatloaf with Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze

Turkey Meatloaf with Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze
The Best Light Recipe Copyright 2006

1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
½ cup milk or plain yogurt I used milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves I used a lesser amount of dried thyme
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds 93 percent lean ground turkey
1 1/3 cups fresh bread crumbs I used lite high fiber wheat bread
¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider or white vinegar I used cider vinegar

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top; set aside. Fold a piece of heavy-duty foil into a 10 by 6-inch rectangle; set aside.
2. Combine the onion, garlic, oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium skillet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onion has softened, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, thyme, mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt together.
3. In a large bowl, mix the turkey, bread crumbs, parsley, cooked onion mixture, and egg mixture together with your hands until uniformly combined. Press the mixture together in a compact mass, the turn it out onto the foil rectangle. Using your hands, press the meat into and evenly thick loaf about 2 inches tall and 1 inch smaller than the foil on all sides.
4. Transfer the foil and meatloaf to the center of the prepared wire rack. Stir the ketchup, sugar and vinegar together, then brush half the mixture evenly over the meatloaf. Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes.
5. Brush the meatloaf with the remaining ketchup glaze, and continue to bake until the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Cool at least 20 minutes before slicing into 1-inch pieces. I refrigerated this overnight and then sliced and grilled it on my Griddler.
Serves 8.

Per serving: 260 cal, 10g fat, 3g sat fat, 120mg chol, 18g carbs, 26g protein, 1 g fiber, 480mg sodium

As promised, here is the turkey meat loaf recipe. I thought about halving the topping but I didn't. You could though - it's a good amount of glaze. A delicious glaze, but if you're watching your bad carbs, it won't hurt the recipe too much to cut the amount in half. My levels stayed within range after I ate this, all three times (I ate it for dinner and then two lunches).

The 'Best Recipe' cookbooks are a bit boring in appearance and the instructions are sometimes tedious but I'm finding that you can rarely go wrong with a Cook's Illustrated recipe.

I like to grill my meat loaf to reheat it. As you can see, Cuisinart replaced my Griddler. So far, I've had no trouble with the new one. I absolutely love being able to remove the grill plates to clean them, after years of dealing with one of the George Foreman grills that didn't have removeable grill plates.

That's all I have to offer you today. I don't do much cooking over the weekend anymore since I can't do much eating on the weekend anymore. I've been doing a great job of cleaning leftovers out of the freezer.

Blast From The Past: Spicy Glazed Meat Loaf from April 2006. That was a good meat loaf recipe too.

Question of the Day: Do you have any cookbooks, websites or other sources that you consider to be above average when it comes to recipe reliability?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Next week will be better

I did a rather boneheaded thing last night and I went grocery shopping without enough cash or a credit card. I had both in my coat pocket but it was so warm that I went shopping without my coat. I had to go all the way home and all the way back. I may have mentioned that I preferred the grocery store in the next town, not the one just a few miles from home.

Needless to say I didn't get around to copying the meat loaf recipe (Best Recipes are very long-winded). I'll play catch up this weekend, I promise. It's been a crazy week.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just a picture today

I didn't have time to transcribe this recipe last night. This is a turkey meat loaf from The Best Light Recipes. I really wanted some new diabetic cookbooks but I hit Ollie's first last weekend and I stocked up on some great healthy cookbooks instead. Most healthy cookbooks look at the big picture these days (instead of just being low-fat or just being low-carb). I bought so many cookbooks at Ollie's that I couldn't justify a trip to the bookstore for some actual diabetic cookbooks.

It doesn't look like diet is helping my gestational diabetes much anyhow. My fasting number is still a trouble spot even though I've been beyond compliant. It's frustrating.

For the bake sale, I ended up making red velvet cupcakes with whipped cream cheese frosting (from a box and a can!) and then I made pineapple gooey butter cakes. I was planning on making a King Arthur whole grain recipe for a peach-oatmeal bread but I just wasn't up to making a new recipe, especially since I couldn't eat it. I was surprised that my local grocery store did have the Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix. It's good stuff! When I saw that I was going to make those and the peach-oatmeal bread but I forgot to buy and thaw out the peaches. So I went back and got the ingredients for the Gooey Butter Cakes.

And that's why I didn't get around to transcribing this meat loaf recipe last night. It was good. I made it the night before and then I sliced it and grilled it on the Griddler the night we ate it. My son asked for more so I guess he liked it. He asked for barbecue sauce though. Guess who he learned that from?

Hopefully I'll get that recipe posted tonight.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A short one
--Bistro Steak

Bistro Steak
Mr. Food Every Day’s A Holiday Diabetic Cookbook Copyright 2002

1 1/2 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, about 1-inch thick
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the broiler. Coat a broiler pan or rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the steak on the broiler pan.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; mix well. Spread the mixture over the steak, coating well.

Broil for 12 to 15 minutes for medium-rare, or to desired doneness beyond that, turning halfway through the cooking.

Thinly slice and serve.

Calories: 158, Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 66 mg, Sodium: 149 mg, Carbohydrate: 1 g, Dietary Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 0 g, Protein: 22 g.

This was okay, not as good as a marinated steak. I'm not sure how I feel about tarragon. It was fine just nothing special.

This is another short one. I'm in the crunch. First a sick child and now I'm behind on work and I'm chaperoning a field trip today. Yikes! I can't wait for my 10 week maternity leave.

Question of the Day: Would you rather see a short post or no post when you pull up a blog (would you rather wait until the blogger had something substantial to say)?

Another yummy one
--Chops with Herb-Tomato Sauce

Chops with Herb-Tomato Sauce
Diabetic Living Slow-Cooker Meals Copyright 2005

4 pork rib chops (with bone), cut ¾-inch thick
Nonstick cooking spray
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp. quick cooking tapioca, crushed
1 ½ tsp. bottled minced garlic (3 cloves) I used fresh garlic
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
2 14 ½ oz. cans no-salt added stewed tomatoes, undrained I only used one can

1. Trim fat from chops. Lightly coat 12-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add chops; cook on both sides until brown. Set aside.
2. In 3 ½- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine onion, tapioca, garlic, Italian seasoning, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, salt and crushed red pepper. Add chops. Pour stewed tomatoes over chops.
3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or high-heat setting for 3 ½ to 4 hours.
4. To serve, transfer chops to serving plate. Using slotted spoon, spoon tomatoes over chops. If desired, drizzle with some of the juices.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 241 cal, 6 g fat, 62 mg chol, 287 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 27 g pro

I was tending to a sick child yesterday so I never got around to posting. Actually, the sickness passed rather quickly but I had to keep him home 24 hours per daycare rules. With a sick child I may have had time to post but with a well child I didn't get a moment of peace.

I did have time to throw this recipe in the crockpot. I know I sound like a broken record but it was surprisingly good for something so simple and it exceeded my expectations. I didn't even realize until later that I was supposed to use two cans of tomatoes but one was really plenty. The meat was tender and flavorful. Meat braised with tomatoes always reminds me of my mom's beef vegetable soup so maybe it was nostalgia that made me like this so much.

I'm supposed to bake something for that bake sale on Thursday and I still have no idea what I'm going to make or when I'm going to make it. The basics are signed up for already. I wish I could get red velvet cake mix in my local stores. My sister makes cupcakes from it with the whipped cream cheese canned frosting on them and it's really an excellent combination. Best boxed mix and canned frosting combination that I've had. Boxed cake is never a problem really (not for me - I think it's great) but there are only a few canned frostings that I enjoy.

Well I have to cut this short - I'm way behind on the work that pays the bills.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Everything tastes good this week
--Picante Meat Loaf

Picante Meat Loaf
501 Delicious Diabetic Recipes Copyright 2000

1 pound ground chuck
2/3 cup soft whole wheat breadcrumbs
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup coarsely chopped carrot
2 egg whites, beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon rubbed sage I left this out - I couldn't find any in my cupboard
¼ teaspoon pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
½ cup picante sauce
Cherry tomatoes (optional)

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl. Shape mixture into 6x4x2-inch loaf, and place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. I made my loaf really flat so it would cook more quickly.
2. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Brush picante sauce over meat loaf. Return to oven, and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Garnish with cherry tomatoes, if desired.

First of all, I can't believe I forgot to copy the nutritional information. I hope I remember to add it this weekend.

Eating less must be great for the appetite because everything seems to taste better than I think it will. This really wasn't anything special yet I found it to be very satisfying. I think it was the picante sauce. I love picante sauce. My son scarfed this down too! He doesn't usually eat cooked carrots but he didn't even noticed them in this meat loaf. I chopped the onion and carrots in my mini-chopper so they were very fine. He's been quite a big eater lately. Well, for him.

It was sad to see all of the food I can't eat at the grocery store last night. My numbers are getting even better so that is good motivation but I would love a nice sweet, gooey baked good. I still haven't decided what to do for the bake sale next week. I picked out a couple of whole grain recipes that sound delicious but I might be safer just making something tried and true so I won't have to taste it at all.

Blast From The Past: Brown Sugar Meat Loaf from October 2005. One of my favorite meat loaves but definitely higher in carbs.

Question of the Day: How do you usually chop vegetables? With a knife? Mini-chopper? I usually use my mini-chopper that attaches to my stick blender. I get so much use out of the chopper - way more than the immersion blender or whisk attachment.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Some things you can't mess up
--Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata
501 Delicious Diabetic Recipes Copyright 2000

2 tablespoons dry white wine I was out of wine so I used water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons reduced-calorie margarine I used light butter
½ teaspoon chicken-flavored bouillon granules I used more since I used water instead of wine
4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Lemon slices (optional)

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat until margarine melts, stirring often. Set aside, and keep warm.
2. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to ½-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
3. Combine flour, paprika, and red pepper in a shallow bowl; dredge chicken in flour mixture.
4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat until hot. Add chicken, and cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is lightly browned. I added the wine mixture to the pan.
5. To serve, transfer chicken to a serving plate, and drizzle with wine mixture. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings.

Per serving: 154 cal, 4.2 carbs, 26.8 g pro, 2.9 g fat, 66 mg chol, .3g fiber, 194 mg sodium

Once again, I wasn't expecting this to be that good. I think I have a mental bias when I see the words 'reduced-calorie' in a recipe. It wasn't all that different than other chicken piccata recipes I've tried. I was worried because I was out of white wine but in the end, I thought this was very flavorful and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I don't think you can mess up chicken piccata. I added the lemon mixture to the pan with the chicken at the end so that the chicken could soak in the flavor. You don't get any real sauce that way but it wasn't all that much to begin with.

And an added bonus, I had a freakishly low (for me) post meal blood glucose reading. I even had some pasta with this (Smart Taste but still pasta). I don't know where that came from but it was interesting. My numbers are definitely going down. My blood pressure was better too. At least healthy eating has some benefits. I can't say that I don't miss the bad stuff because I do. I really, really do.

Blast From The Past: Chicken Piccata from March 2006. I really liked that chicken piccata recipe but it's a bit more involved for after work cooking than I look for these days. I'd have to do the prep work ahead of time but lately I have no extra time in the evenings and definitely the mornings (packing my 'healthy' food takes a lot more time).

Question of the Day: Do you use butter, margarine, spread, etc? I mainly use light butter (butter and canola oil) and sometimes Smart Balance. Butter for baking of course, but that is on hold around here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More for me!
--Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The Sugar Solution Cookbook Copyright 2006

1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts and oil. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the Brussels sprouts, shaking the pan occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir in the garlic. Return to the oven and roast for 8 to 10 minutes longer, or until the Brussels sprouts are tender and the edges are lightly browned.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 108 calories, 6 g protein, 4 g fat, 16 g carbs, 0 mg chol, 330 mg sodium, 7 g fiber

I think I'm the only one who ate these at my house and I don't care. I love Brussels sprouts and I don't mind having them all to myself.

I'm surprised at the protein content in brussels sprouts. They aren't a complete protein and should be eaten with a whole grain. I didn't know that before but I'll remember that now. This recipe also has more than 5 grams of fiber per serving (these are huge servings!). If something has more than 5 grams of fiber per serving, I can subtract the fiber from the carbohydrate count. I haven't been cutting it that close with the amount of carbs I have but it's nice to know anyway.

One thing I now realize is how happy we all are with just a simple meat and sides. I made steak last night, a cheaper cut that was under $5/pound but still very good marinated and sliced thin. My son couldn't get enough of it. I used the Griddler but I'm going to make sure we get our propane tank refilled for our gas grill outside. I'll probably be doing a lot of grilled, broiled, pan-fried, etc meats for the next few months.

I even ate a few potato wedges last night. My numbers have been getting better. I've got a long way to go - gestational diabetes only gets worse as pregnancy progresses. They caught it early with me.

Blast From The Past: Grilled Chicken Marinade from January 2006. I think I could still get away with that recipe if I decrease the sugar or maybe substitute a small bit of honey.

Question of the Day: What do you eat most often for dinner - meat and sides? Casseroles? One pot meal? Salads? Sandwiches?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Not very pretty but tasty
--Pork Medallions with Sherry-Mushroom Sauce

Pork Medallions with Sherry-Mushroom Sauce
The Good Carb Cookbook Copyright 2001

1 pork tenderloin (1 pound)
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt I omitted this - there was salt in my lemon pepper
Olive oil cooking spray
½ cup dry sherry
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms I used more

¼ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ cup nonfat or light sour cream

1. Rinse the meat and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut the tenderloin crosswise into 8 slices. Using your palm, flatten each piece to about ½-inch thickness. Combine the lemon pepper, rosemary, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl and stir to mix well. Rub some of this mixture over both sides of the pork medallions.
2. To make the sauce, pour 1 tablespoon of the broth and all of the cornstarch in a small bowl and stir with a wire whisk to dissolve the cornstarch. Add the remaining broth and the sour cream and whisk until smooth.
3. Coat a large nonstick skillet with olive oil cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat. Add the pork medallions to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes or until nicely browned. Spray the tops of the medallions lightly with the cooking spray, turn and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until nicely browned on both sides and cooked through. Remove the medallions to a plate and cover to keep warm.
4. Add half of the sherry to the skillet use to cook the pork, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until most of the sherry has evaporated. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to brown and release the juices. Add the remaining sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry is reduced by half.
5. Reduce the heat to medium and pour any juices that have accumulated on the plate containing the cooked tenderloins into the skillet. Add the sour cream mixture to the skillet and stir to mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens slightly. To serve, place 2 of the pork medallions on each of 4 serving plates and cover with some of the sauce. Serve hot.

Per serving: 200 cal, 8 g carbs, 73 mg chol, 4 g fat, .5 fiber, 26 g protein, 310 mg sodium, 46 mg calcium

This was okay but honestly, you could have stopped after you seasoned and cooked the pork. It was very tasty on it's own. My son had his without the sauce and he kept asking for more. I finally had to cut him off so that there would be enough left for my husband. Then when my husband was eating (he had a dentist appointment so he ate much later), my son asked for more pork again! I think he was having a growth spurt or a tape worm last night.

I didn't even bother making a starch with this. I was going to make mashed potatoes but I think I'm the only one who really eats them anyway so I just had some high fiber toast with mine, along with green beans and salad. I might have been the only one who ate the mushrooms.

I'm really itching for some new cookbooks but they closed the bookstore near work so I need to wait until the weekend.

Blast From The Past: Marinated Flank Steak from May 2007. I'm using this marinade on a cheaper cut of meat tonight. I told myself that I was going to pick up some nice steak no matter what the price but the good steaks just didn't look that good for the price. I couldn't do it. So I picked up some cheaper sirloin I've had luck with before. Then I had to run back to the store the next day and the NY Strips were on sale for a nice price but I already had the sirloin.

Question of the Day: Do you like mushrooms?