Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction Sauce

I'm sure you are all just ASTOUNDED that I am finally posting something other than a menu plan!  Unfortunately, it seems like it was all I could find time for with Christmas LOOMING.  Yes, LOOMING.  I hate that I didn't enjoy the season as much as I normally do.  It is my own fault.  I put off the preparations (shopping, baking, etc.) that we, as mothers must do, and as a result things became a bit stressful for me and I didn't even get to do as much baking as I normally do.  I found myself doing the minimum and I DIDN'T EVEN DO SUGAR COOKIES WITH MY KIDS!!!!! for the first time ever.  Oh, the shame.  Speaking of firsts, I also didn't even get Christmas cards out this year for the first time EVER since my oldest (11) was born.  Well, now that that is off my chest, I can now look forward and resolve to do better next year.  

This pork recipe is fantastic.  Please try it!  It is SO flavorful, not to mention healthy!  It is a winner that I will be making again!

Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction Sauce

1/2 c. bourbon
1/4 c. packed, dark brown sugar
1/4 c. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. salt
1-11/2 lb. Pork Tenderloin, trimmed

To prepare sauce, combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 11 minutes), stirring frequently.  Remove from heat. 

To prepare pork, combine chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt, stirring well.  Rub evenly onto pork.  Cut pork crosswise into 12 slices.  

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (I like to use my griddle so I can fit everything on).  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Serve with sauce.  

Source: Cooking Light

Nutritional Information

277 (13% from fat)
4g (sat 1.4g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.5g)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Menu Plan

We just got home from a week of solid travel.  It was fun to visit relatives, but if feels so good to be home.  We have SO much organization to do.  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday: Sandwiches, cause we just got home!

Wednesday: Burrito Casserole , Spanish Rice, & Iceburg Lettuce

Friday: Homemade Pasta, Olive Garden Breadsticks, Salad

Saturday: BWW Night: Onion Strings, Side Salad, & Wings

Sunday: Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup, Tortilla Chips & Salsa

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, on a Tuesday

Monday: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup (MIL's Homemade, canned)

Tuesday: Broccoli and Chicken Stir-fried Rice

Wednesday: Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction Sauce, Rice, & Steamed Vegetables

Thursday: Healthy Homemade Fish Sticks & Two-Step Mac and Cheese

Friday: Homemade Pizza Crust (Not sure on toppings)

Saturday: Bloomin' OnionWallaby DarnedHoney Wheat BreadOutback Steaks, Steamed Veggies

Sunday: Cheddar Chicken Chowder & French Baguettes

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chewy Granola Squares

My kids just LOVED these Chewy Granola Squares.  They are such a perfect little snack to send with them to school and so easy to make.  Give them a try!  I know I will be making them again and again!  I feel much better about them eating these than the granola bars they are always asking for at the grocery store.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the finished bars (the last pic is right before they went into the oven).  I made these after I put the kids to bed one night and they disappeared so fast the next day I never got around to it! 

Chewy Granola Squares

2 1/2 c. Quick Rolled Oats
1/2 c. Rice Krispies
1/4 c. Coconut
1/2 c. M&M Mini's (you could sub chocolate chips, marshmallows, raisins, or anything your heart desires)
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Butter, softened
1/4 c. Honey
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Add all of the ingredients together and mix until combined.  Press into a 9x13 inch pan (you may want to line with Parchment paper first for easy removal).  Bake at 350* for 18-20 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars.  Let set completely, then cut into bars.  

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles are a hugely popular recipe online.  Why wouldn't they be?  They only contain 3 ingredients, are relatively easy to make, and the taste?  Out of this world!  They are certainly one of the baked goods that my family looks forward to most at Christmas.  You simply MUST add them to your Holiday Baking.  Trust me!

Here are the ingredients you will need if you want to make a double batch, which I did since I was making them for an exchange.  I only ended up using 3 of the boxes of Baker's Semi-Sweet chocolate for a double recipe though.  

Oreo Truffles

1-16 oz. package Oreos, divided (NOT DOUBLE STUFFED!)
8 oz. package Cream Cheese, softened (I use reduced-fat)
2-8 oz. packages Semi-Sweet baking chocolate

If desired, crush 9 of the cookies in the food processor and reserve for later use (sprinkling on top for decoration).  Or, if you are like me, and your kids already ate at least 9 of the Oreos, just use pretty Christmas sprinkles and skip this step;P

Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs in the food processor.  Drop in cream cheese by the spoonful. Mix in food processor until it is all mixed together and has formed one large ball.  Put in bowl.  Place bowl in freezer for about 10-15 minutes so that it is easier to work with.

Get your double boiler heating to melt the chocolate (or if you don't have one, like me, get your stockpot with glass bowl heating).

Roll cookie mixture into approximately 42 balls, about 1 inch in diameter.  Place on baking sheet on wax paper.  Place in fridge or freezer for a few more minutes so they are firm.  

Gingerly, roll the balls in the melted chocolate.  I like to use a fork to gently turned them about.  You need to be go it quickly so that the balls don't lose their shape.  Scoop the balls out of the chocolate with your fork and tap the fork against the bowl a couple of times to get rid of excess chocolate.  Place on wax paper and sprinkle with Oreos or your decor of choice while the chocolate in nice and soft.  Repeat until done.  Leave balls on wax paper until they harden, then package them as you wish.  Store in refrigerator.   

Source: Allrecipes

Tilapia Parmesan

If you are like me this time of year, you are resorting to fast food and cookies far too often.  Not that there is anything wrong with cookies....but you know what I mean.  Do you know what is perfect for those nights you don't seem to have enough hours in your day?  Fish!  It is such a quick and easy thing to cook.  Dare I say, it is easier and quicker than hitting the drive through?  I should add, my kids absolutely LOVE Tilapia prepared this way.  They INHALE it and I never seem to make enough to satisfy them.


Tilapia Parmesan

1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese
1/4 c. Butter, softened
3 Tbsp. Mayonnaise (light is fine)
2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp. Basil, dried
1/4 tsp. ground Black Pepper
1/8 tsp. Onion Powder
1/8 tsp. Celery Salt
2 lbs. Tilapia Fillets
Cajun Seasoning, optional

Preheat your oven's broiler.  Grease a broiling pan, or line pan with aluminum foil.  In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan, butter, mayonnaise, and lemon juice.  Season with basil, pepper, onion powder, and celery salt.  Mix well and set aside.

Arrange fillets on a single layer on the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the fillets with some Cajun Seasoning if you would like a little extra kick.  Broil a few inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes.  Flip the fillets over and broil a few more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.  Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned (mine could have used an extra minute browning, as you can see) and fish flakes easily with a fork.  Be careful not to overcook the fish!

Sources: Allrecipes & The Girl Who Ate Everything

Friday, December 3, 2010

Smoky Sesame Cheese Log

Today is your lucky day.  I am sharing my families absolute FAVORITE Thanksgiving appetizer.  I stumbled upon this recipe about 8 years ago in a Taste of Home magazine and I have been making it for Thanksgiving ever since.  It is, of course, also perfect as a Christmas appetizer.  We are usually doing a lot of traveling at Christmas though, so I don't get to do much of the cooking.  Enjoy!

Smoky Sesame Cheese Log

2-8 oz. packages Cream Cheese, softened (reduced-fat is fine, that is what I usually use)
1 c. (4 oz.) Monterey Jack cheese (I have also used Sharp Cheddar in a pinch and I think we might like that even better)
1/2 c. Bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds, toasted
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 c. Bacon, crumbled & cooked
1/2 c. Sesame Seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp. Chives, minced

Assorted Fresh Vegetables or Crackers

In a large bowl, beat the first five ingredients until blended.  Add liquid smoke.  Shape mixture into a log.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight ( I sometimes speed up this process by just popping it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so before rolling it).  

For topping, combine the bacon, sesame seeds, and chives; roll cheese log in topping.  Serve with vegetables and/or crackers.

FYI: I usually use an entire 1 lb. package of bacon in this recipe (minus the couple slices that inevitably get stolen by my family while I am trying to cook;)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Menu Plan

It has been too long!  I had a great Thanksgiving where I cooked massive amounts of food and I have several delicious recipes just BEGGING to be shared.  Hopefully, I will get to that very soon.  For today, I want to share my December Monthly Menu Plan.  I took a break from doing monthly shopping, and I decided it was time to go back to it.  It really does make our lives run so much more smoothly (not to mention, I'm convinced it saves us lots of money).  It is a little work up front, but, when finished...I won't need to think about it until next month which is AWESOME.  Especially since I need to focus my time and energy preparing for Christmas.  YIKES!  I so admire all of you that have all of your shopping done before Thanksgiving.  In my next life, I am going to be super-organized like that:-)  I also admire all of you that have been better about keeping up on your blogs than me.  Ugh!  My intentions are good, but I always feel guilty blogging when I should be cleaning, like NOW.

1st:  BBQ Meatballs, Potatoes, & Fresh Vegetables
2nd: Chinese-Style Roast Pork, Jasmine Rice, & Green Beans
3rd: Homemade Pizza Crust (Not sure on the toppings yet)
4th: CHINESE NIGHT IN: Bourbon Chicken, Rice, Egg RollsEgg Drop Soup
7th: Burrito Casserole, Spanish Rice, & Iceburg Lettuce
9th: Crab Cakes, Potatoes, Veggie
10th: Tacos in a Bag
11th: OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE NIGHT:  Bloomin' Onion, Wallaby Darned, Honey Wheat Bread, Outback Steaks, Steamed Veggies
12th: Broccoli & Chicken Stir-fried Rice
13th: Cheddar Chicken Chowder & French Baguettes
14th: Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein
15th: Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction Sauce, Rice, & Steamed Vegetables
16th: Healthy Homemade Fish Sticks & Two-Step Macaroni and Cheese
17th: Homemade Pizza Crust (Not sure on toppings)
18th: BWW NIGHT: Onion Strings, Side Salad, & Wings
19th: Tortellini & Ham & Salad
20th: Dirty Rice
21st: Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup, Tortilla chips and homemade salsa
22nd: OUR FAMILY CHRISTMAS: Lobster PizzaCheddar & Herb Biscuits, Crab Legs, & Side Salad
29th: Baked Potato Soup & Sweet Dinner Rolls
30th: Herb Crusted Salmon with Mixed Greens Salad & Minnesota Wild Rice Pilaf
31st: NEW YEARS EVE!!  Homemade Pasta Making Night!

*Easy French Toast Casserole
*Caramel Rolls

Other Snacks:
*Chewy Granola Squares
*Jerky Lovers Jerky

Christmas Baking- Not finalized, still thinking!:
* Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies
*Peanut Butter Blossoms
*Oatmeal Carmelitas
*Homemade Oreos
*Apple Cider Caramels
*Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
*Chex Mix
*Sugar Cookies
*Oreo Truffles
*Glass Block Holiday Jello

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Tuesday:  Beef Empanada Pot Pie & Salad

Wednesday: Chinese-Style Roast Pork, Jasmine Rice, & Green Beans

Thursday: Thanksgiving

Friday: Leftover Day

Saturday: Turkey Noodle Soup

Sunday: Hamburgers & Fries

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Herbed Chicken Parmesan, Orzo, & Broccoli/Carrots

Tuesday: Ragu Alla Bollognese with Fettuccine & Salad

Wednesday:  Chicken & Apple Smoked Sausages, Creamed Corn, & PW's Basic Breakfast Potatoes

Thursday:  Tilapia Parmesan, Homemade Rice-a-Roni, & Green Beans

Friday:  Leftovers

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Yesterday, I was really on a roll.  I got the carpets and furniture shampooed and I cooked and baked up a storm.  I am so glad that I finally got some photos of these Chicken Taquitos.  We have had them before, and they are a hit with my entire family.  Back in college, I LOVED El Monterey Chicken & Cheese Taquitos and I think these taste SO much like them.  Except better, because I know they are much healthier:)

Here is what you will need to get rolling:)  I also did a little step-by-step in pictures this time.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

1/3 c. (3 oz) cream cheese (I use reduced-fat)
1/4 c. green salsa
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice 
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. sliced green onions
2 c. shredded cooked chicken (I like to boil mine for this recipe)
1 c. Pepper jack cheese, shredded
12 Flour Tortillas (soft taco size)-you can make less or more depending on how much filling you like in yours. I like mine nice and thin.
Kosher Salt
Cooking Spray

Heat oven to 425*  Lightly coat baking sheet with nonstick spray.  

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for 20-30 seconds so it is soft and easy to stir.  Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic.  Stir to combine, then add cilantro and green onions.  Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time, just store the mixture in the fridge.

Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave until warmed and soft enough to easily work with.  If I am doing all 12, I do 45-60 seconds.  

Lay all the tortillas out and equally distribute the chicken mixture amongst them on the lower 1/3 of the tortilla, about 1/2 in. from the edge.  Remember to work quickly so that your tortillas don't cool and start to crack.  If they do, you can repeat the microwave/wet paper towel technique.    

Roll it up as tightly as you can.  

Place seam side down on a baking dish.  Lay all the taquitos seam side down and make sure they are not touching each other.  Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister, and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.  

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the edges start to get golden brown.  

Dip them in salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.  


Monday, November 8, 2010

My Thanksgiving Menu

It is time I start to construct a Thanksgiving Menu.  This is not set in stone, I am feeling a little apprehensive about Ree's Caramel-Pumpkin Cheesecake so I might change that.  I also need to decide on a few other desserts.  It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Pumpkin Pie, I just don't know which recipe I am using.  Stay tuned!

Smoky Sesame Cheese Log & Crackers

Vegetable Tray

Main Meal:
Green Bean Casserole, or I might decide to do the Green Bean Casserole Alton Brown Style again

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce- I am intrigued by this.  We LOVE Cran-Pom juice, so why not!

Turkey Brine: I really want to try a fresh turkey this year, we have always gotten frozen.  Are these hard to find as the day draws near?  Anyone have any experience, especially locally?

Dinner Rolls- Will these finally be the rolls I DON'T screw up at Thanksgiving???

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey Gravy

My MIL's Slow Cooker Stuffing, similar to this one, it just eliminates the mushrooms and adds pork sausage


Jello Jigglers (specially requested by my children)

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Caramel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Classic Beef Pot Roast

Tuesday:  Mixed Fajitas with Peppers & Onions

Wednesday: Easy Calzones & Salad

Thursday: Shrimp, Broccoli, & Sundried Tomatoes with Pasta

Friday: Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitoes

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Zuppa Toscana & French Bread

Smokehouse Chicken

This Smokehouse Chicken is always very well received at my house.  The biggest challenge I encounter is keeping everyone away from the bacon so that I have a slice to top each chicken breast half with.  Why is it that whenever I make bacon, everyone ends up in the kitchen trying to steal a slice?  I always make a little extra, but it never seems to be enough.  

Smokehouse Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts
Seasoning for Chicken Breasts (I used Durkee Grill Creations Chicken Seasoning)
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil
8 Tbsp. BBQ Sauce 
2 c. Sharp Cheddar, Shredded
8 slices bacon
1/3 c. Green Onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 450*.  Place bacon on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until done.  

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add oil.  While your skillet is heating prepare chicken.  Cut each chicken breast in half and place each chicken breast half between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound out to an even thickness.  Sprinkle with seasoning.  Fry each chicken breast until done, turning to other side when the first side is browned. 

Once all of the chicken is done, place on a baking pan.  Place about 1 Tbsp. of BBQ sauce on each piece of chicken and spread to coat.  Sprinkle 1/4 c. of cheese on each chicken piece and top each with 1 slice of bacon.  Sprinkle with green onions.  

Place in oven at 450* for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  



Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I just adore all things containing buffalo sauce, I have already posted recipes for buffalo chicken nachos, dip, and wings.  That is why I knew, when I came across this yummy recipe for Buffalo Chicken Pizza that is would be a hit.  At least with me;)  OK, and my husband.  While my kids love wings, they refrained from giving this pizza a try.  They are very boring with their pizza though, for them it is pretty much straight up pepperoni or cheese.

Give it a try!  Tis' the season for buffalo wings, right?  Why not buffalo chicken pizza!

Here it what you will need to get started!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Pizza Crust (you can use store bought or homemade, I use my homemade)
1/4 c. Franks Red Hot Sauce
1/4 c. Blue Cheese Dressing
1/4 c. Ranch Dressing
10 oz. Chicken, Shredded (I like to boil and shred mine for this recipe if I don't have leftover)
1 c. Smoked Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 c. Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1/4 c. Gorgonzola, crumbled
Franks Red Hot Sauce, for drizzling

In a bowl, mix hot sauce, blue cheese dressing, and ranch dressing.  Spread over dough as a sauce.  Top with 1/2 c. each of cheddar and jack cheeses.  Add chicken on top, then remaining cheeses, including Parmesan.  Drizzle liberally with hot sauce.  Add crumbled Gorgonzola on top.  Bake until just beginning to brown.

Note: As you will see if you click on my recipe for homemade pizza dough, I bake my pizza at 500-550 degrees (as hot as my oven will go).  And I pre-bake my crust until it is just beginning to brown before I put on my toppings.  If you are using a different crust, I encourage you to follow the baking instructions for your particular crust recipe.

Source: How Sweet Eats  

Beef Chimichangas

Finally!  A lazy day at home!  Today I am planning on catching up on a few recipes I have been waiting to post.  This one is one that I have been making for a long time.  It can't be considered "diet friendly" so it is more of a special treat.  Everyone from the husband to all three kids loves this one.

Beef Chimichangas

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce, divided
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 flour tortillas (10 inches), warmed
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped jalapeno peppers
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

    • In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, onion, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic and cumin.
  • Spoon about 1/3 cup of beef mixture off-center on each tortilla. Fold edge nearest filling up and over to cover. Fold in both sides and roll up. Fasten with toothpicks. In a large saucepan, combine the chilies, peppers and remaining tomato sauce; heat through.
  • In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 1 in. of oil to 375°. Fry the chimichangas for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with sauce. 
  • Yield: 1 dozen.
Source: Taste of Home

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wasabi and Panko Crusted Pork with Gingered Soy Sauce

Hello!  I have missed all of you!  My life has been so crazy lately!  The kids have been keeping me on my toes even more than usual with their busy lives.  Between 3 kids in school, 2 in hockey (soon to be 3), dance, gymnastics, swimming, and many other social things, I feel like there just isn't ever enough time in the day!  As a matter of fact, last night I made hot dogs for dinner **hanging head in shame**.  Do you realize how unlike me that is?  I did, however, redeem myself tonight with these FABULOUS pork chops.  I thought that the sauce would be too spicy for my kids, so I served them theirs without.  What the heck do I know though?  The decided to try it anyway and LOVED it!  It really wasn't spicy at all, it just had great flavor.

Here is what you will need to get started:

Wasabi and Panko-Crusted Pork with Gingered Soy Sauce

Yield:  4 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop and about 1 tablespoon sauce)--I made 1/2 again this recipe so we would have enough

2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten ( I used an entire egg)
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 teaspoon peanut oil (I had to use more to get them nicely browned a couple Tbsp, I believe)
Cooking spray
1/8 teaspoon salt (I like kosher)
1 tablespoon bottled ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World)--I subbed with regular ground ginger
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons sake or dry sherry
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon wasabi paste
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

Place panko in a shallow dish. Place egg white in another shallow dish. Dip pork in egg white; dredge in panko.
Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat; add pork. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan; sprinkle with salt.
Reduce heat to medium. Add ginger to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Combine broth and the next 4 ingredients (through wasabi) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in green onions. Spoon sauce over pork.

CALORIES 215 (28% from fat); FAT 6.8g (sat 2.1g,mono 2.9g,poly 0.8g); IRON 1.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 65mg; CALCIUM 15mg; CARBOHYDRATE 10.8g; SODIUM 454mg; PROTEIN 24.5g; FIBER 0.9g 

Cooking Light, MARCH 2006

From my table to yours, this was my 7 year old at dinner tonight.  Can anyone guess what he got into before dinner?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sausage & Pepper Calzones

Hello!  Yes, I am still alive!  I'm sure you were wondering!  The fact is, I am on a journey right now to lose some weight.  No, I haven't stopped cooking and I have been busy trying to balance recipes that taste delicious without being incredibly high in calories.  I have a family that needs to love what I am making too.  I am not a big fan on fat-free rubber tasting frankenfoods, so you aren't going to see me go in that direction, so don't be afraid. For me, if my family isn't satisfied with with what I make, it isn't going on here.  Please trust me when I say these Calzones fit EVERY requirement.  Diet or no diet, I would eat these again and again.  I made them for dinner 2 nights ago and had them for lunch yesterday and today.

If you don't have time to do make the dough and let it rise, just use the refrigerated pizza dough like I used in this calzone recipe .  The chicken apple sausage is SO yummy though, you must try it.  Even my picky 11 year old loved the flavor.  The only change I plan on making for next time is to use an egg wash on the calzones before putting them in the oven so that they brown up a little better.

Sausage & Pepper Calzones


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 12 1/3 ounces)
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
Dash of sugar
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper (about 2)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound chicken apple sausage (such as Gerhard's or Sam's club Members Mark brand which is what I used), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/4 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

To prepare dough, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 tablespoon oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

To prepare filling, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, and sausage; sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Spoon mixture into a bowl; cool slightly. Add mozzarella and remaining ingredients to sausage mixture; stir well.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Spoon about 1/2 cup sausage mixture onto half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold dough over filling; crimp edges of dough with fingers to seal. Place calzones on a large baking sheet lined with foil and coated with cooking spray. Pierce the tops of the dough once with a fork. Lightly coat the calzones with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 14 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Coat a sheet of foil with cooking spray. Place 1 calzone on coated side of foil; seal. Repeat procedure with remaining calzones and cooking spray. Place calzones in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; freeze.

Preheat oven to 450°.

To reheat, place foil-wrapped, frozen calzones on a large baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Source: Lightly Adapted from Cooking Light

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 8
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 369.1
  • Total Fat: 12.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 47.1 mg
  • Sodium: 977.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 44.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Protein: 18.8 g

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Cajun Chicken Pasta & French Bread

Tuesday: Taco Joes & Corn

Wednesday: Spaghetti alla Carbonara & Salad

Thursday:  Whole Wheat Buttery Crab Cakes & Potatoes

Friday: Taco Night

Saturday: General Tso's Chicken, Steamed Rice, & Egg Rolls

Sunday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Breakfast Extras:
*Cereal Yogurt Bars
*Steel Cut Oats 

*Soft Pretzels

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Old Posts Updated with Nutritional Information

Hi!  As I have been sharing with you, I am on a quest to shrink my waist-line.  Now, I LOVE to eat GOOD food, so I find it is best if I tweak old favorites and watch portion sizes.  I have update these 3 favorites with nutritional information that I ran through the Spark People recipe builder.  Hope this helps some of you that might have tight jeans, like me!

Penne alla Vodka

My Very Favorite Pizza Crust

BBQ Meatballs

Monday, September 20, 2010

Simple Sesame Chicken Noodle Bowl

So sorry I haven't been around much lately!  I have been trying to step up my exercising along with healthier eating and I seem to have let it cut into my blogging time.  Well, no more!  I will try to be better!  I think one of the most important ways to eat healthy is to cook your food yourself!  I have always been proud of the fact that I try hard to stay away from boxed and overly processed foods.

Now, when I say this is a healthy recipe, that doesn't mean it is fat-free and uses all non-fat fake ingredients (can you sense my bias??).  For me, healthy cooking means using GOOD stuff, in moderation.  I am not going to fill myself and my family full of chemicals instead of butter.  When I use bacon, I will use REAL pork bacon.  None of that turkey bacon (does anyone actually think that is a suitable replacement?).  In other words, I would rather eat a smaller portion of tasty food than fat-free cardboard or mystery food.

Without further ado, here is what you will need to get started:    

Simple Sesame Chicken Noodle Bowl
Serves 8

16 oz. Spaghetti Noodles
16 oz. Stir-Fry Vegetables, frozen
1 lb. Chicken Breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 c. Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Pure Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp. Hot Chili Oil
4 Tbsp. Canola Oil, divided
2 Tbsp. Hot Pasta Water
4 Green Onions, thinly sliced

Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions.  During the last 3 minutes of cooking time, add the frozen vegetables.  Drain.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. Canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Quickly saute the chicken until browned and cooked through.  

Combine the remaining ingredients, minus the green onions, to make the sauce (soy sauce, sugar, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili oil, canola oil, & hot pasta water).

Combine the chicken with the noodles/veggie mixture in a large serving bowl.  Pour sauce over it and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with green onions and toss again.  

Serve in a bowl with chopsticks!

Nutritional Info Per Serving:

Fat: 10.3g
Carbohydrates: 50.4g
Protein: 21.1g

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Simple Sesame Noodles, Chicken Breast, & Stir Fry Veggies

Tuesday:  BBQ Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, & Green Beans

Wednesday:  Penne alla Vodka & Salad

Thursday:  Panko & Herb Crusted Tilapia,  Cheddar Brushetta, & Salad

Friday:  Homemade Pizzas

Saturday:  BWW Night & Onion Strings

Sunday:  ABC Meatball Soup

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup, Updated

Recently, it has been brought to my attention (by my evil bathroom scale) that I need to start being more attentive to the number of calories that I am ingesting.  Since I already exercise plenty, I know that I will need to cut back on my goodie eating for a bit.  Since I'm sure there are others out there in the same boat, I will post my recipes with nutritional information when I figure it out for myself.  I cannot guarantee that the nutritional information is accurate, but I do my best using the Spark People recipe calculator.

Tonight I made Italian Wedding Soup, which I put on my blog some time ago.  I did tweak the recipe a bit to make it more flavorful and healthy, and I think it was even better than last time I made it.  My entire family just adores this soup.  Give it a try!  


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