Sunday, January 31, 2010

(20) Ultimate Beef Chili

This was a very filling, hearty chili. I love beans and lots of veggie in my chili, so this was a hit!! I left a little of the ribs/seeds in 1 of the jalapenos which didn't do a thing for the heat. I needed more heat, so I added some cayenne pepper. I also added salt and 2 soup cans worth of water after I added the beans. Oh, and you know that I did not use the bay leaves!!

Ultimate Beef Chili

Source: Eating Well Magazine January/February 1999
Yield: 12 servings, 1 cup each

Offer garnishes, such as reduced-fat sour cream and grated Cheddar cheese (about 1 tablespoon each per person), chopped scallions and chopped fresh tomatoes. Serve with warmed corn tortillas and a green salad topped with orange slices.

Active Time: 1 hour | Total Time: 3 1/4 hours

1 pound beef round, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
12 ounces dark or light beer
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
8 sun-dried tomatoes, (not packed in oil), snipped into small pieces
2 bay leaves
3 19-ounce cans dark kidney beans, rinsed (I used 4 15-ounce cans)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with another 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef.

2. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add onions and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, until onions are golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes. Add garlic, jalapenos, cumin, chili powder, paprika and oregano. Stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes.

3. Add beer and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, for about 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, bay leaves and reserved beef. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Add beans; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until chili has thickened, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Per serving : 235 Calories; 5 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 24 mg Cholesterol; 31 g Carbohydrates; 17 g Protein; 11 g Fiber; 496 mg Sodium; 582 mg Potassium

Tips & Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
For a hot, smoky chili, add 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.

(19) Chile-Cheese Corn Bread

I am a devoted fan of Jiffy cornbread. I love that stuff and it's SO easy, so I rarely stray from my friend. I am, however, trying to cook outside the proverbial box, so this recipe made its way into the rotation. The crumb on this bread is beautiful, the flavor is mild (not too sweet, not to bland), and it makes a ton!! The official recipe notes state that this spicy and I didn't even detect a teeny bit of heat, just in case you're worried about that!

Chile-Cheese Corn Bread

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 piece)
Source: Cooking Light, July 2007

Perfect for potlucks or large crowds, this tender bread balances spicy heat from chiles with sweet corn and salty cheese. Pair with a plate of hoppin' John and squash, or serve with a chicken tortilla soup.

1/3 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/3 ounces)
1 3/4 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extrasharp cheddar cheese
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (4 1/2-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine softened butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg substitute, nonfat buttermilk, and eggs, beating at low speed until well combined.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to buttermilk mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in shredded cheese, corn, and green chiles. Pour batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and cool for 5 minutes in pan.

CALORIES 175 (28% from fat); FAT 5.4g (sat 3.2g,mono 1.2g,poly 0.3g); IRON 1mg; CHOLESTEROL 39mg; CALCIUM 88mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.6g; SODIUM 480mg; PROTEIN 5.5g; FIBER 1.1g

1/31/10 - This week's menu

This week is being deemed 'clean out the freezer' week :)

- Ultimate Beef Chili
- Chile-Cheese Cornbread

- Parmesan Polenta with Sausage and Mushrooms
- Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing

- Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole
- Fresh Fruit

- Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry
- Brown Rice
- Egg rolls

- Fancy BLTs (bacon, tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella on a baguette)
- Oven fries or roasted potatoes
- Marinated Vegetable Salad

Friday and Saturday are opera rehearsal nights for me, so that means LEFTOVERS!! Then you'll see me again on Sunday :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

(18) Fiesta Rice

I have a recipe that I normally use when I want a zesty Mexican side dish. I decided to try this one because we've been on a brown rice kick lately. This took a while to cook, but was DELISH and very filling. I will make this again!

Fiesta Rice

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
Source: Cooking Light, May 2007

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (10-ounce) package frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of salt
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chiles, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add corn to pan; cook 10 minutes or until corn starts to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan. Set aside.

Melt butter in pan. Add onions; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice, cumin, and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add chicken broth, black pepper, salt, and diced tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in reserved corn and beans. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and juice.

CALORIES 226 (16% from fat); FAT 3.9g (sat 1.3g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.7g); IRON 2.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 4mg; CALCIUM 52mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.5g; SODIUM 354mg; PROTEIN 6.6g; FIBER 4.9g

(17) Slow-Roasted Pork Tacos

This is like crock-pot pulled pork, but in the oven. I ended up roasting the pork closer to 4 hrs - another use for my favorite Le Creuset :) I wanted SO BADLY to pour my prized bottle of Carolina BBQ Sauce over the pork, but I restrained myself! I cooked the night before we were going to eat these, shredded (It was VERY tender!!), stirred in the cilantro and then put it in the fridge.

For my taste, this needed something else on the pork. I should have made a good pico de gallo or homemade salsa. I had a jar of green salsa, so that and a dash of hot sauce made the tacos complete!!

Slow-Roasted Pork Tacos

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 2 tacos)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, October 2000

This simple recipe was inspired by the traditional kalua pork of Hawaii, for which a whole pig is rubbed thoroughly with salt and baked in an underground pit. In this dish, the salt combines with the slow cooking to make the pork incredibly tender and flavorful. Don't use a leaner cut of pork, such as pork loin or tenderloin, or the meat will be dry. These tacos are also terrific with a mango or other fruit salsa.

3 1/2 pounds Boston Butt pork roast
3 tablespoons kosher salt
20 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
10 lime wedges

Preheat oven to 275°.

Trim fat from roast; rub surface of roast with salt. Place meat in a large Dutch oven; cover and place in oven. Cook for 3 hours or until pork falls apart when pressed with the back of a fork. Remove from oven; let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Remove meat from bones, and shred with 2 forks. Set aside.

Warm tortillas according to package directions. Fill each tortilla with about 1 1/2 ounces pork; serve with cilantro and lime wedges.

CALORIES 333 (40% from fat); FAT 14.9g (sat 4.9g,mono 6.4g,poly 2.2g); IRON 2.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 88mg; CALCIUM 97mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.4g; SODIUM 486mg; PROTEIN 25.9g; FIBER 2.7g

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Let's Learn About: Chipotles

Marji asked a question in one of her comments - can you substitute chipotles for jalapenos. The answer is YES!!! And here's the scoop on the peppers and why you can make the substitution (in most cases!)....

Because chipotles are jalapenos that have been smoked/dried.

But what's the difference?
They are just as spicy (in my experience), but have a smokier, deep flavor.

If you're cooking with a dried chili, you can put it straight into a soup or stew to impart a smoky flavor and some heat. You can also boil up a cup or 2 of water and drop the chili in. Let it sit until it's soft then remove, cool, and chop!!

Other forms: 

Chipotles in Adobo

These come in small cans like this and the peppers in a tomato/vinegar/herb sauce. You will end up with quite a few peppers in the can, which can be annoying (because I hate wasting food!!!). I have found a pretty easy solution to this problem. On a small plate, scoop out one pepper with a little sauce into a pile. Make several separate piles on your plate and stick the plate in the freezer for a few hours. When they are frozen, pop the individual pepper balls off and put them in a ziplock baggie and store in the freezer. Then whenever your recipe calls for 1 pepper, you can grab it out of the freezer and not waste a whole can! VOILA!

Chipotle Powder

One of my favorite places in all the world is Penzeys. It's a spice store with locations all over the country and they have EVERYTHING. If Penzeys doesn't have it - you're not going to find it (not easily, at least!!). They are also super affordable! Anyway, the chipotle powder is great and very versatile. You can use it in soups, stews, bbq sauce, the possibilities are endless!

Happy Chipotle-ing! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

(16) Moroccan Chickpea Stew

This one's a shout out to my veggie friend, Paige, who's inspired me to add more meatless mains to the rotation!!

This was INCREDIBLY flavorful and filling! I loved the different textures - hard chickpeas mixed with the soft tomatoes and potatoes. Our bowls were closer to 2c/serving - for only 250 calories!? Woohoo! I kept some of the seeds in the jalapeno so it would have a little kick (we like it spicy!), but if you're not a spicy fan, just take all the seeds out. This took 45 minutes from start to finish (which, coincidentally, was the time that it took the brown rice to cook in the microwave!). I was going to make green beans, but got lazy, and I'm glad. It didn't need a side, although a nice piece of naan or some sort of flatbread would have been yummy!

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, November 2007
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups stew, 1/2 cup rice, and about 1 tablespoon yogurt)

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over whole wheat couscous instead of brown rice, if you prefer. For milder heat, seed the jalapeño.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup diced carrot (about 1 large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato, about 1 large
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
3 cups hot cooked brown rice
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, and jalapeño to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in potato and next 7 ingredients (through broth). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Serve over rice. Top with yogurt.

Wine note: With spicy ethnic cuisine, seek out the German grape gewürztraminer, which yields wines with floral and lychee aromas, as well as natural sweetness that makes a perfect foil to the jalapeño and cumin in the stew. Chateau St. Jean Gewürztraminer 2006 ($15), from Sonoma, California, offers classic honeysuckle and melon aromas, with a spice-friendly sweetness and snappy acidity that adds texture to the dish. -Jeffery Lindenmuth

CALORIES 251 (14% from fat); FAT 3.8g (sat 0.6g,mono 1.9g,poly 1g); IRON 2.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 1mg; CALCIUM 97mg; CARBOHYDRATE 47.5g; SODIUM 401mg; PROTEIN 7.3g; FIBER 6.8g

Monday, January 25, 2010

(15) Chicken Baked in White Wine Marinade

I never cook chicken breasts on the bone, but they were on sale this week, so I thought I'd live on the wild side! This smelled SO STRONG (hello onions!) going in the oven, but they came out very mild and tender. Oh and I baked them in my favorite Le Crueset, because it had a lid and because my chicken was ginormous and would never have all fit in an 11x7 pan! This was easy to prep the night before and pop into the oven!

Chicken Baked in White Wine Marinade

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, July 2008

Baking the chicken with the marinade infuses it with more flavor. Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts stay moist and succulent; the skin is discarded after baking. For the prettiest presentation, remove meat from the bones, and slice thinly across the grain.

1 cup dry white wine
1 cup vertically sliced onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 (8-ounce) bone-in chicken breast halves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 4 hours or up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

2. Preheat oven to 375°.

3. Place the chicken, skin side up, in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish. Pour marinade over chicken. Cover and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 40 minutes or until done. Transfer chicken to a platter. Discard skin, bay leaf, and marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper.

Wine note: Chicken breasts such as these have a delicate flavor and work best with light wines. In summer, serve them with a cold pinot grigio, which is generally made without oak and is lighter and fresher than chardonnay. Try the snappy Tamás Estates Pinot Grigio from Monterey County, California and Livermore Valley. The 2006 is $12. —Karen MacNeil

CALORIES 184 (19% from fat); FAT 3.8g (sat 1.1g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.8g); IRON 1.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 90mg; CALCIUM 24mg; CARBOHYDRATE 2.1g; SODIUM 377mg; PROTEIN 33.2g; FIBER 0.3g

(14) Roasted Potato Wedges with Rosemary Butter

I have a bad track record with oven fries. They seem so simple. They should not be hard, right!? But alas, I have screwed up more oven fries than I can remember (same with rice, but that's another story for another day!).

Anyway, this recipe IS IT. I did not measure the oil I put in the pan, I just made sure there was enough on the pan. You want to use a pan with sides... Like this one... (see how pretty my fries are!?!)

High, high heat, metal pan, metal spatula, greased pan = oven fries success!! I would never put butter on fries - I love butter, but on fries?! NO. But this was so right, so so right!! I did not feel the need to dirty a pot, so I melted the butter in a little bowl in the microwave, added the chopped rosemary, and let it sit for a few minutes. Delish delish delish!!

Roasted Potato Wedges with Rosemary Butter

Yield: Makes 4 servings
Source: Gourmet Magazine, November 2005

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lb russet (baking) potatoes (about 4 medium)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 500°F. Oil bottom of a shallow baking pan (15 by 10 by 1 inch) with 1/2 tablespoon oil.

Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges and toss with salt, pepper, and remaining tablespoon oil in a large bowl. Arrange potato wedges, flat sides down, in baking pan, then cover pan tightly with foil and roast 10 minutes. Remove foil and roast 10 minutes more. Loosen potatoes with a metal spatula, then turn over onto other flat sides and roast until tender and golden, about 10 minutes.

While potatoes roast, melt butter with rosemary in a small saucepan over moderately low heat. Loosen potatoes with spatula, then transfer to a serving dish or plates and spoon rosemary butter over them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

(13) Beef, Barley, and Mushroom Soup with Goat Cheese Bruschetta

January, cold, winter = soups! Of course I failed to check the weather when I picked this recipe and it was 80 degrees out today! But it still hit the spot. This made a HUMONGOUS serving (2 cups each) and wasn't too hard to put together. I let it simmer for 1.5 hours because I was waiting for my husband to get home. Delish!!

I also have to say, I was really excited to get to cook with herbs de Provence! I had bought a big bag of them when we were in Paris and forgot all about it!! So when I found them in the back of the cabinet, I was extra happy :) I love Paris!!

Beef, Barley, and Mushroom Soup with Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Source: Cooking Light, Soups and Stews
Yield: 6 servings (serving size = 1.5c soup and 1 pc bread)

2 tsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, each cut into 8 wedges
1/3 c chopped shallots
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 lb sirloin beef tips
1 (8oz) package presliced mushrooms
3 cups water
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
1/2 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 (14oz) cans fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
6 (1/2") slices French Bread
cooking spray
2 oz herbed goat cheese

1) Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, shallots, and garlic; saute 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Add beef and mushrooms; saute 8 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add water and next 7 ingredients (through broth); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hr or until barley is tender.

2) Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on a baking sheet; lightly coat tops of bread with cooking spray. Broil 2 minutes or until toasted. Turn bread slices over, spread goat cheese evenly over bread slices. Broil until cheese begins to bubble. Cool 1 minute. Serve with soup.

Calories 321, fat 7.9g, protein 24.5g, carb 37.7g, Fiber 4.9g, chol 38mg, iron 3.5mg, sodium 777mg, calc 66mg

1/24/10 - This week's menu!!

After a trip to Pittsburgh and a clean-out-the-fridge hiatus, I'm back with a real menu...

- Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Stew with Goat Cheese Toasts (I am not sure of the real name on this one, but it's something similar!)
- Salad

- Chicken Baked in White Wine Marinade
- Roasted Potato Wedges with Rosemary Butter
- Steamed Broccoli

- Slow-Roasted Pork Tacos
- Fiesta Rice
- Pineapple

- Shrimp Bruschetta Pasta (this is an Amy creation)
- Salad
- Garlic Bread

- Moroccan Chickpea Stew
- Brown Rice
- Green Beans of some sort...

So what's on your menu this week!?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

(12) Chicken Green Chili with White Beans

This recipe was a total hit in my book!! I couldn't find Anaheim chiles (ack!) so I bought poblanos. Delish! This soup was not spicy at all (I cleaned the seeds/ribs out of the peppers very carefully), but it was very flavorful. It was the PERFECT consistency/texture. The soft beans and the soft chicken with a swirl of the creamy sour cream = heaven in my mouth!!! I can't wait to eat these leftovers!

PS: I used olive oil instead of peanut oil. I wanted the baby to be able to eat some of this. It was fine. So if you don't have any peanut oil, just use what's on hand!

Chicken Green Chili with White Beans

Yield: 6 servings
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, October 2004

Our kitchen has found that Anaheim chiles run the gamut from mild to fairly hot.

6 Anaheim chiles
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 chicken leg quarters, skinned (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1 3/4 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans (such as Goya) or other white beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
6 lime slices

Preheat broiler.

Cut chiles in half; discard seeds and membranes. Place halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 5 minutes or until blackened. Place in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel chiles; discard skins. Chop chiles.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 6 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Return chicken to pan. Add broth, 1 1/2 cups water, and cumin; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken; cool slightly. Remove chicken from bones; cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Discard bones. Add chicken to pan; stir in chopped chiles and beans.

Combine 1/2 cup water and flour, stirring with a whisk. Stir into chicken mixture. Bring to a simmer; cook 15 minutes. Stir in salt. Spoon about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream. Serve with lime slices.

CALORIES 248 (20% from fat); FAT 5.6g (sat 1.5g,mono 1.9g,poly 1.4g); IRON 3.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 45mg; CALCIUM 87mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.1g; SODIUM 903mg; PROTEIN 19.1g; FIBER 4.8g

(11) Bacon-Cheddar Corn Muffins

This recipe had mixed reviews on the Cooking Light website. I wanted to try the muffins, however, and form my own opinion. This is a 3 star recipe. It was fine. We'll eat them, but they're not great. I would not serve these to company. I needed a really strong bacon flavor and didn't get that at all. What you get is a standard corn muffin. Nothing wrong with that, just not what I signed up for!!

Bacon-Cheddar Corn Muffins

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 muffin)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, July 2007

Use extrasharp cheese for the most intense flavor. These muffins are great for breakfast or with soup; split and toast leftovers.

Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese
4 center-cut bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups. Coat liners with cooking spray; set aside.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

Combine milk and juice in a medium bowl; let stand 2 minutes (milk will curdle). Add butter and egg; stir well to combine. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in cheese and bacon. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 400° for 17 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

CALORIES 142 (30% from fat); FAT 4.8g (sat 2.6g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.3g); IRON 1.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 30mg; CALCIUM 88mg; CARBOHYDRATE 19.1g; SODIUM 342mg; PROTEIN 5.2g; FIBER 0.6g

Monday, January 11, 2010

(10) Rigatoni Mediterranean

This is a solid 3 star recipe. It's not AWESOME, but it was hearty, flavorful, and worth making. I feel like it was missing something, but I can't seem to put my finger on it. My husband suggested kalamata olives. I agree, or think maybe some red pepper flakes, a bit of tomato paste (to boost the tomato flavor) or even some sundried tomatoes! Anyway, a very filling dinner. Took about an hour to chop, saute, and bake.

Rigatoni Mediterranean

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, July 2007
Yield: 10 servings (serving size: about 2 cups)

This is an easy and delicious meal. Allowing this entrée to stand about 20 minutes after baking allows the flavors to meld.

1 pound uncooked rigatoni
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
5 1/2 cups diced peeled eggplant (about 1 pound)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups thinly sliced Walla Walla or other sweet onion (about 1 large)
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 6)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can organic crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

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

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant to pan, and sauté 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in pan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add sweet onion, zucchini, and green onions to pan; cook for 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add chopped basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Combine pasta, eggplant, and tomato mixture in a large bowl; stir in shredded mozzarella. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 15 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes.

CALORIES 346 (29% from fat); FAT 11g (sat 4g,mono 5.3g,poly 0.8g); IRON 2.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 17mg; CALCIUM 224mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45.7g; SODIUM 397mg; PROTEIN 15.7g; FIBER 5g

Oh me oh my!!!

I am giddy and wee bit nervous!!

I am a big fan of The Pioneer Woman. If you don't know who she is, she's a woman living somewhere cold (Oklahoma, I think!?) on a cattle farm in the middle of nowhere. She is an amazing photographer, makes some awesome recipes, and is overall a pretty funny person. Someone I'd love to drink a glass of wine with!!

Anyway, she started a website called Tasty Kitchen. It's a user community (mostly of her 4 zillion blog readers, I suspect) of personal recipes, photos, etc. It's pretty cool! Anyway, I finally got the guts up to submit a recipe around Christmas time. Since they need to be original recipes and I mostly just cook from CL, I don't have much to contribute. My cranberry muffins (well, my mom's!) were the first submission. This weekend I submitted my pumpkin bread.

Tasty Kitchen actually reviews and approves all of the recipes. So today I went online to see if my bread had been approved and OH.MY.GOD. Not only had it been approved, I'm one of the top 5 featured recipes of the day!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

This is seriously exciting! It's also a little stressful! What if I'm the only one in the world who like this!? Ok, well, my husband and daughter were stuffing it in their faces too, so maybe not the only ones... but you know what I mean.... a little nerve-wracking!!! But I'm pretty pumped!

So if you're wondering what that sound is, it's me, tooting my own horn!! It's also me encouraging you to check out both The Pioneer Woman and Tasty Kitchen!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

(9) Better than Mom's Meatloaf

Three things you need to know:
1) My mom never made meatloaf much when we were growing up. (so I can't really say this is "better than mom's")

2) My husband will eat most anything you feed him. Meatloaf is #1 on his list of things I am not allowed to make. Boo!

3) My husband and I have been married almost 5 yrs, together 9 years.

You can probably now deduce that I haven't eaten much meatloaf in my life. My husband is out of town overnight for a business meeting and for some reason, I felt like making meatloaf! YES! Freedom to partake! I found this recipe in my stack. It's from Weight Watchers magazine 2005. I find WW recipes either hit or miss. This one is a hit in my book. The original recipe suggests you free form the meatloaf into 2 smaller loaves, but it also gives instruction for a loaf pan, which is what I did. These are hearty, moist slices and quite flavorful! I can't believe it's less than 200 calories per serving!

Better than Mom's Mini-Meatloaves

Source: Weight Watchers Magazine, March/April 2005
Yield: 8 servings (1 slice per serving)

Well-seasoned lean ground beef and ground turkey breast combine to make two exceptionally flavorful meatloaves - one for tonight and another for the freezer.

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 pound ground lean beef (7% fat)
1/2 pound ground turkey breast
2/3 cup quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp chopped parsley (I used 2 tsp dried parsley)
1 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup ketchup

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2) Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet; add the onion and saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

3) Meanwhile, combine the beef, turkey, rolled oats, eggs, parsley, mustard, 2 tsp of the Worcestershire sauce, the garlic, thyme, seasoned salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir in the onions and blend lightly with a fork (I just used my hands!). Let stand 10 minutes.

4) Shape the mixture into two (6-inch) loaves and place on the baking sheet. Combine the ketchup with the remaining teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce; brush over the top of each loaf. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a loaf reaches 160 degreesF, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Cook's Tip: If you prefer, the entire batch can be made in a single 9x5-inch loaf pan, sprayed with nonstick spray. Increase the cooking time to 1 hr. Slice off half the loaf and, when cool, wrap in foil and freeze.

Per Serving:
188 Calories, 8g Fat (2g Sat. Fat, 0g Trans Fat), 104mg Chol, 365 mg Sodium, 9g Carbs, 1g Fiber, 20g Protein, 29mg Calcium

(8) Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms

This dish was an awful lot of prep. It took close to 30 minutes to trim, quarter, slice, chop, etc. It was worth it, though! This is an elegant presentation of vegetables. Quite honestly, I could see this on a Thanksgiving dinner table. Also, it was not extremely strong, which I worried about with 5 cloves of garlic. (I hate having dragon breath!!)

Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, September 2006

Cremini mushrooms are a surprisingly good source of niacin. Roasting is a great way to cook green beans, giving them crisp browned edges and intensifying their flavor.

6 cups quartered cremini mushrooms (about 1 pound)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
Cooking spray
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine first 4 ingredients on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with thyme and pepper. Toss well to coat. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until beans are lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt; toss to combine.

CALORIES 107 (32% from fat); FAT 3.8g (sat 0.3g,mono 2.1g,poly 1.2g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 75mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.7g; SODIUM 310mg; PROTEIN 4.8g; FIBER 4.6g

(7) Buttermilk-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

I really liked this method of making mashed potatoes. For whatever reason, I can never figure out how long to boil potatoes, so this was great (and only a plate to wash!). It wasn't overly parmesan-ish to me, but I didn't measure the cheese out and I probably should have. In any case, flavorful, creamy, and just right!

Buttermilk-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, November 2009

Be sure to purchase a crumbly wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano for this super quick potato side dish.

2 pounds russet potatoes
2/3 cup fat-free milk
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Prick each potato several times with a fork. Place potatoes in the microwave, and cook at HIGH 16 minutes or until tender, turning after 8 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes. Cut each potato in half lengthwise; scoop out flesh with a large spoon, and transfer to a bowl.

2. Combine milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until butter melts. Add milk mixture to potatoes; mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in buttermilk and remaining ingredients.

CALORIES 240 ; FAT 7.9g (sat 4.9g,mono 1.9g,poly 0.3g); CHOLESTEROL 22mg; CALCIUM 117mg; CARBOHYDRATE 35.2g; SODIUM 366mg; PROTEIN 7.5g; FIBER 3.5g; IRON 1.7mg

1/10/10 - This week's menu

The menu this week will be short and full of leftovers! My husband is on a business trip (soon to return) and then we'll be visiting with family at the end of this week, hence the heavy emphasis on leftovers!

- Meatloaf (it's actually a WW recipe... hoping it will be good!)
- Buttermilk-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes (CL)
- Roasted Green Beans w/Mushrooms (CL)

- Rigatoni Mediterranean (CL - this was on last week's menu but never got cooked)
- Salad
- Garlic Bread

Tuesday = leftovers (chorus night)

- Chicken Green Chili w/White Beans (CL)
- Bacon-Cheddar Corn Muffins (CL - this one has mixed reviews online, so I'm interested to see if we like it or not!!)

- leftovers or sandwiches

And that's it for us this week! What are you cooking?! 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

(6) Pumpkin Bread with Raisins

I adapted this recipe from a few different ones that I like. It makes two big, thick, moist loaves of bread! YUM! This is not a super spicy/strong pumpkin bread, but a mild, flavorful, and filling loaf. Use your biggest bowl. I have a big stainless bowl from the kitchen supply store. It's perfect for situations like this!! My biggest glass bowl just wasn't big enough!!

PS: If you're in the St. Augustine/Jacksonville, FL area, I highly recommend Angela's Restaurant Supply on San Marco in St. Augustine.

Anyway, I baked mine in dark baking pans. If you bake in glass/non-dark baking pans, you'll need to bump the temp up to 350 and check it after an hour.

Pumpkin Bread with Raisins

Yield: 2 loaves

Cooking spray
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup oil
1 16-oz can pumpkin
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
1 cup raisins

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 2 loaf pans by spraying with cooking spray.

2) Combine first 7 ingredients (flour through allspice) in a large mixing bowl. Combine with a whisk.

3) Mix next 6 ingredients (applesauce through raisins) in a bowl, stirring well to combine.

4) Fold wet ingredients into the flour mixture, stirring just enough to combine. Pour half of the batter into each loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes - until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5) Allow loaves to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then turn loaves out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let loaves cool for about 30 minutes. (if you cut into it while it's still piping hot, it will crumble! I know, I know, waiting stinks!)

Baking in dark pans

Good morning!! I am tinkering with a recipe for pumpkin bread right now. If it's good, you'll see it on this blog and if it stinks, well, forget I ever said anything about it! :)

Anyway, I'm baking in dark pans. I can never remember what to do, so I came to google and I thought I would blog about it (1) for my memory's sake and (2) to share the info with you in case you didn't know.

The general rule is - if you're baking in a dark pan, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. You have to watch it a little closer and make sure the middle gets done, but this should help you not burn the bottom of whatever you're baking!

More on the bread in a bit. Happy Saturday!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

(5) Cranberry-Apple French Toast Casserole

This recipe got mixed reviews on the CL website. Some said it was soggy, others said it was dry (go figure). Ours bordered on the soggy side (in the middle, at least), but the flavor was delish!! It was SWEET and a little gooey. We had bacon along side and the salt helped cut the sweet. This would be nice on a brunch buffet as a little something sweet!

Cranberry-Apple French Toast Casserole

Yield: 12 servings
Source: Cooking Light, November 2007

This prep-ahead casserole, which turns extra dinner rolls and cranberry sauce into a brunch or dessert treat, is especially welcome if you are entertaining houseguests for the long holiday weekend. While we enjoyed the tartness of the Granny Smith apples, any baking apple will do. Serve with apple wedges.

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups diced Granny Smith apple (about 2 apples)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of ground cloves
1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1 pound dinner rolls, quartered
Cooking spray
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups apple juice
1 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
3/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 250°.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apple, cinnamon, and cloves to pan; cook 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Stir in 2 tablespoons brown sugar; cook 2 minutes or until sugar melts. Remove from heat.

Place quartered rolls on a jelly-roll pan; bake at 250° for 15 minutes. Arrange rolls in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle cranberries evenly over rolls; top with apple mixture. Combine apple juice and the next 5 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour egg mixture over roll mixture; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Uncover dish, and sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until golden.

CALORIES 270 (28% from fat); FAT 8.5g (sat 2.9g,mono 3.6g,poly 1.2g); IRON 2mg; CHOLESTEROL 112mg; CALCIUM 103mg; CARBOHYDRATE 41.9g; SODIUM 265mg; PROTEIN 7.7g; FIBER 2.4g

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

(4) Corn and Bell Pepper Chowder

We live in Florida. It's normally warm here, but this week, brrrrrrrrrrrrr! It was in the 20s when we left for work this morning and didn't break out of the 40s during the day. That kind of weather calls for SOUP! This recipe is a quickie, great for a weeknight dinner. A little chopping, a little stirring, 30 minutes later, you've got soup! This is a hearty bowl, too. This soup, a nice green salad, and some crescent rolls = happy family!! I can't wait to have the leftovers!

Corn and Bell Pepper Chowder

Yield: 4 servings (about 1.5 cups each)
Source: slightly tweaked recipe from Bon Appetit

4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed if frozen), divided
2 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
2 Tbsp butter
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 5-6oz Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 large shallots, chopped
2 Tbsp whipping cream
Chopped green onions

1) Blend 2 cups corn and 1 cup broth in blender until almost smooth.

2) Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add next 3 ingredients; saute 5 minutes.

3) Add 2 cups corn, 1 cup broth, and puree from blender. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in cream.

4) Season chowder with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with onions.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 255, Total Fat: 10.9 g, Cholesterol: 25.8 mg, Sodium: 494.2 mg, Total Carbs: 38.5 g, Dietary Fiber: 4.8 g, Protein: 6.8 g

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

(3) Pork Chops with Maple Mustard Glaze

This was absolutely delicious!! I had to go out and buy real maple syrup... SO worth the money! This is a glaze, not a sauce, so don't be expecting to cover rice with this. It coats the pork chops beautifully and is sweet, but tangy. It's the perfect balance of flavors. (and it's EASY!!)

Pork Chops with Maple Mustard Glaze

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop and about 1 tablespoon sauce)
Source: Cooking Light, May 2006

Maple syrup makes a fine stand-in for honey or sugar in sauces. Here, it adds a rich, sweet note to herbed mustard sauce. This sauce goes nicely with sautéed chicken breasts as well.

1 teaspoon butter
4 (4-ounce) boneless pork loin chops, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons heavy cream

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle pork chops evenly with salt and pepper; add pork to pan. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add broth and next 4 ingredients (through thyme) to pan. Bring to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in cream, and reduce heat to medium. Return pork to pan; simmer 3 minutes or until pork is done, turning once.

CALORIES 214 (22% from fat); FAT 5.2g (sat 1.9g,mono 1.9g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 68mg; CALCIUM 38mg; CARBOHYDRATE 14.6g; SODIUM 751mg; PROTEIN 26.3g; FIBER 0.3g

(2) Crisp Mashed Potato Cakes

Back in the saddle again, kind of.... I tell you, I would like to claim mommy brain sometimes. If you have kids, you know what I mean. I was cooking, talking to my husband, singing songs with the baby, fixing her food, etc etc. So I wasn't 100% focused on cooking. I totally failed to cook the green onions. OOPS. I realized it as I was putting the tray in the oven. We don't mind raw green onions, so it was fine.

These were DELISH. Let me make a few suggestions. First, don't make them too big. Secondly, don't be tempted to over cheese them. I know, I know, I wanted to just PILE the cheese in, but that would equal disaster. Also a good shortcut - I used my favorite refrigerated mashed potatoes (please note that nobody is paying me anything for saying this!! I just love these!):

The recipe suggests that you flip them. I flipped one and was like "no freaking way". So I didn't flip any of the others. That's FINE. They needed browning, so I gave them a minute or two under the broiler before I brought them out. I hope you'll try these. They are delish and something different for a side dish!

Crisp Mashed Potato Cakes

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 potato cake)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, November 2007.

Cheddar cheese, bacon, and a panko coating make these a satisfying side dish.

Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups mashed potatoes, chilled
2 tablespoons shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 center-cut bacon slice, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add green onions to pan, and cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Place mashed potatoes in a medium bowl. Stir in onions, cheese, salt, pepper, and bacon. Divide potato mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Place panko in a shallow dish. Dredge patties in panko. Place patties on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes. Carefully turn patties over; bake an additional 12 minutes or until golden.

CALORIES 122 (16% from fat); FAT 2.2g (sat 1.1g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.1g); IRON 0.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 6mg; CALCIUM 40mg; CARBOHYDRATE 22g; SODIUM 290mg; PROTEIN 3.6g; FIBER 2g

Monday, January 4, 2010

(1) Turkey Reuben Sandwiches

I know, I know, this is not exactly a recipe, more like a method, but whatever, I needed some guidance! I normally don't put dijon on a reuben, but it was quite tasty!! They were easy and quick and filling. And a good way to use up that leftover New Year's Day sauerkraut! YUM!

PS: I used some light butter-spread stuff instead of canola oil.

Turkey Reuben Sandwiches

Source: Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2006
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

Smoked turkey stands in for corned beef in this lightened variation of a deli favorite. Serve with a pickle wedge and chips.

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 slices rye bread
4 (1-ounce) slices reduced-fat, reduced-sodium Swiss cheese (such as Alpine Lace)
8 ounces smoked turkey, thinly sliced
2/3 cup sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fat-free Thousand Island dressing
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided

Spread about 3/4 teaspoon mustard over each bread slice. Place 1 cheese slice on each of 4 bread slices. Divide turkey evenly over cheese. Top each serving with 2 1/2 tablespoons sauerkraut and 1 tablespoon dressing. Top each serving with 1 bread slice, mustard sides down.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 sandwiches to pan; top with another heavy skillet. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden; remove sandwiches from pan, and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and sandwiches.

CALORIES 255 (38% from fat); FAT 10.7g (sat 4.8g,mono 3.9g,poly 1.5g); IRON 0.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 44mg; CALCIUM 311mg; CARBOHYDRATE 18.9g; SODIUM 865mg; PROTEIN 19.6g; FIBER 3.4g

Starting of the new year with a bang...

Well alrighty then! Starting out the new year with a kitchen mishap. Good times! Tonight, I made turkey ruebuens (which I will review in a sec) and Cheese Fries from Cooking Light. DISASTER. We had someone at the house tonight, so I thought I'd do 1.5x the recipe so we had enough. Apparently more is not merrier where fries are concerned. They were not ready after 40 minutes, total mush and stuck to the pan like crazy.

Now for the blonde moment of the evening. I went on the CL website to read reviews - thinking someone had maybe had this problem before and had a suggestion on how to make them not stick. Yeah guess what, that would be ME. Okie dokie! In my defense, it was in 2005 and seeing as how I can't remember things you told me yesterday, I don't feel TOO stupid, but I do feel mildly dumb!

These are tasty, but I have got to figure out how to avoid the stick. Suggestions? Are you a whiz at oven fries?! Help a sister out!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

1/3/10 - This week's menu

Yay! Happy New Year! Let the games, er, I mean cooking begin!! Instead of going for 210 new recipes in 2010, I think I will just try to beat my own record! I got off to a slow start in 2009 because we were all sick, sick, sick (darn daycare germs!). So my goal is to hit 100 by my daughter's 2nd birthday (June 30th).

This weeks menu:

- Turkey Reuben Sandwiches
- Cheese Fries
- Cherries

- Pork Chops with Maple Mustard Glaze
- Crisp Mashed Potato Cakes
- Leftover collard greens

- Corn & Red Bell Pepper Chowder (Bon Appetit)
- Salad
- Crescent Rolls

- Cranberry-Apple French Toast Casserole
- Bacon
- Canteloupe

- Rigatoni Mediterranean
- Salad
- Garlic Bread

What's cooking in your house this week!?

The method to my madness...

I have a problem. I'm certain that I need a 12-step program. I subscribe to every food magazine under the sun. I love to read them, pile them up, read them again, pile them up.... you get the picture.

A while back, I bought this handy basket which I keep in the kitchen. It's stuffed to the brims (and until recently, overflowing!) with food magazines. A few months back, I decided enough was enough - I HAD to trim the basket down to magazines 1 yr old or less. *SIGH* I have magazines from 2006 in this pile.

So I had to figure out what exactly to do with all of the recipes I wanted to try. I finally decided on a method of folders. It was around back to school time, so I got a pile of them for dirt cheap and labeled each with a meat type (beef, pork, turkey, etc) or a course (dessert, appetizer, drinks, and so on).

Then I set off on the daunting task of actually pulling and sorting recipes. I go through magazines and pull out recipes that I might want to try at some point in time. Then I file them. If they have two pages, I staple them together. If there are 2 recipes on a page I want to try, I cut them apart (unless they can be filed in the same folder).

Sorting them by food type/course is extremely helpful to me. When chicken is on sale, I grab the chicken folder and find a recipe. When I'm looking for a veggie, I grab the veggie folder, pull a recipe that looks good and move on.

So this is what I'm up to today!! If you have a method for sorting recipes, I'd love to see/hear about it! Happy recipe hunting :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Roundup!

What a fun year in the kitchen! I started out wanting to make 209 new recipes in 2009. I obviously didn't quite make it (123), but I don't think I did half bad! We ate some new things, some good comfort foods, some light meals, some fattening goodness, and had a few stinkers along the way. I cooked the most in September and the least in March (we were SICK! Ugh!). It looks like we cooked chicken the most in our house!

I also went from 0 followers to 33, which isn't half bad I guess :) I really started this blog as a way for me to chronicle what I'm cooking, but if I can inspire others into the kitchen or help others cook a good meal, well, even better! I got a new camera recently. I'm trying to learn how to use it and how to take good food photos! If you have any pointers for me or other things you would like to see on this blog, please let me know! Happy New Year!! And stay tuned for even more new food in 2010.

First, the total stinkers - gotta find a non-stinky version in 2010!!
- Pumpkin Pancakes
- Hot & Sour Soup

I started compiling the entire list of links below and I thought, oh, I will pick out my favorites while I go... um that's hard!! But after a half hour of adding and removing, I was able to pare it down to a few of my favorites from the year!
Now the entire listing. They will eventually all make it to my website, but I'm still working furiously to get all the existing recipes migrated, so stay tuned....

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies
Basque Mushroom Toasts 
Beer Battered Asparagus with Garlic Aioli 
Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch
Italian Stuffed Jalapenos
Spanish Ham Croquettes

Ancho-Rubbed Flank Steak 
Barbecue Sirloin and Blue Cheese Salad
Beef Bourguignonne with Egg Noodles
Beef Carnitas
Beef Carnitas Tacos 
Classic Beef Pot Roast
Easy Shepherds Pie 
Horseradish and Mustard-Crusted Beef
Mixed Fajitas with Peppers and Onions
Onion-Smothered Italian Burgers
Rosemary-Merlot Flank Steak
Sirloin Steak with Dijon-Port Sauce
Skillet Stuffed Peppers
Steak & Potato Kebabs with Creamy Cilantro Sauce

Banana Bread
Bread Machine White Bread
Cinnamon Raisin Bread for Bread Machine
Salsa Cornbread

Apple Brown Betty
Basque Cake w/Cherry Preserves
Chocolate Baklava
Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints 
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Classic Carrot Cake w/Cream Cheese Frosting
Coca-Cola Cake 
Drop Sugar Cookies
Nutter Butter Banana Pudding Trifle
Pretzel Turtles
Tequila Lime Tart

Ginger Margaritas
Mocha Coffee Basque
Peach Mojitos
Red Apple Hooch Bowla
The Columbia's Red Sangria

Misc (meatless, sauces, etc):
Eggplant Parmesan
Garlic Aioli
Green Chile Sauce
Mushroom Ravioli with Parmesan Chive Sauce
Paprika Spice Blend
Penne with Mushroom Sauce 
Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans
Spinach Manicotti
Tex-Mex Egg Casserole

Balsamic Pork w/Shallots
Buttermilk Brined Pork Chops
Grilled Honey-Mustard Pork Tenderloin
Jambalaya with Shrimp & Andouille Sausage 
Maple-Sage Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Pork Chops Oreganata
Pork Tenderloin with Paprika Spice Rub
Teriyaki Pork and Vegetables with Noodles 

20-Minute Chicken Creole
Basque Chicken with Sweet Peppers and Tomatoes 
Chicken and Cashews
Chicken and Mushrooms in Garlic White Wine Sauce
Chicken & Broccoli Casserole
Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Sweet & Spicy Sauce
Chicken, Mushrooms, and Cheese Quesadillas
Chicken Scallopine over Broccoli Rabe
Chicken Tamale Casserole
Country Captain Chicken
Fresh Tomato, Sausage & Pecorino Pasta
Garlic-Rosemary Roasted Chicken
Gnocchi with Turkey, Peas, and Mushrooms
Green Chile-Chicken Enchiladas
Kung Pao Chicken 
Marmalade Chicken
Mixed Fajitas with Peppers and Onions
Mushroom-Herb Chicken
Red Rocker Margarita Chicken 
Rotini with Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomatoes
Sausage & Bean Casserole 
Sausage & Roasted Pepper Pasta 
Sesame-Orange Chicken and Shrimp 
Skillet Chicken Souvlaki
Southwestern Chicken Rollups
Spiced Chicken Skewers 
Spicy Basque Chicken

Autumn Apple & Spinach Salad
Barbecue Sirloin and Blue Cheese Salad
Basque Salad
Corn and Black Bean Salad

Basque Vegetable Rice
Creamy Polenta
Greek Bulgur Salad
Parmesan-Basil Rice Pilaf 
Stacey's Sausage Stuffing 
Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes
Sweet Potato Fries with Malt Vinegar
Two-Corn Polenta with Tomatoes, Basil, and Cheese

Scallops with Browned Butter Vinaigrette

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Grilled Salmon w/Apricot-Mustard Glaze
Lemon-Garlic Shrimp & Veggies
Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi
Jambalaya with Shrimp & Andouille Sausage 
Sesame-Orange Chicken and Shrimp
Sesame-Orange Shrimp
Shrimp & Grits Casserole

Amy's Big Batch Chili
Beef Chili with Bacon & Black Beans
Black Bean Soup
Italian White Bean and Spinach Soup
Light Italian Wedding Soup
Mediterranean Chicken Stew
Mexican Black Bean Sausage Chili
Spicy Sausage Chili
Tomato Poblano Soup
Triple Red Pork Stew

Bacon and Brown Sugar Braised Collards
Butternut Squash and Leek Gratin
Dijon Vegetable Roast
Green Beans with Bacon 
Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic & Parsley
Southwestern Corn & Pepper Gratin
Spinach Cheese Bake
Spinach Gratin
Spinach with Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins
Thyme-Garlic Roasted Asparagus
Warm Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Red Onions