Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chicken and Coconut Curry

I love curry. Always.
This is a very quick, almost throw together recipe and while it was good, it needs a little tweaking for next time. More heat, and more curry paste. That's about it. And I think I will keep some of the green onions aside for tossing in at the last minute so they retain a bit more colour. They were tasty, but lost colour in the cooking process.



Chicken and Coconut Curry

3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves cut into chunks ( I used 2 breasts)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp canola oil
1 red bell pepper cut into strips
6 scallions (or green onions) chopped
2 1/2 tsp Thai Red curry paste ( I would amp this up to at least 4 tsps next time)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 (14 oz) can of light coconut milk
1 (12 oz) pkg of cauliflower florets
1 (6 oz) bag of matchstick cut carrots

Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Heat1/2 tsp oil in a large non stick skillet over meadium- high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally until browned and cooked through. About 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and keep warm.

Add the remaining 1/2 tsp oil to the skillet. Add the bell pepper and most of the scallions ( reserve some to add at the end so they retain some colour). Cook, stirring until the scallions turn bright green:about 1 minute.
Stir in the coconut milk, cauliflower and carrots; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender; about 6 minutes longer.
Return the chicken to the skillet and cook until heated through; about 1 minute.

I like to serve this with jasmine or basmati rice.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Balsamic and Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloin

We don't eat a huge amount of pork but a tenderloin is one of our favourite cuts. It is easy to BBQ, and is always moist and juicy-If you don't over cook it. The trick is to take it off the grill when it reaches about 160 degrees, ( use a meat thermometer, it will be your new best friend) cover it and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes before slicing. The temp will continue to go up, and the juices will spread more evenly through the roast. It should be just slightly pink on the inside. This does not mean it's underdone, or rare.
Alternatively you can cut the tenderloin into medallions bake them or pan fry them. I will post my favourite recipe for that soon as well. It's with apples and celery and cream... yum.


Balsamic Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloin

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1¼ pounds each)



Whisk everything together in a small bowl, and put the pork in a large ziploc bag with the marinade for at least 30 minutes or over night.

Sear the tenderloins on all sides, then grill for about 20-30 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees. Try to let it rest, covered for about 10 minutes before slicing.

I served this one with red pepper jelly because it was over cooked a little... oops.

Balsamic Salad Dressing

3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3Tbsp Olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
S&P
2 tsp Dijon or other grainy mustard
Herbs of your choice. Basil, tarragon,  or whatever you like
If you like it a little sweeter you can add a couple tsps of sugar, honey or sugar substitute.

You can just dump it all in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake it up, but if you want it to really emulsify you pour the vinegar and lemon juice in a bowl and slowly drizzle the olive oil in  while whisking like mad to get it to emulsify. It doesn't really affect the taste, so it's not necessary really.

I like to serve this dressing over romaine lettuce and mixed greens with red onion, red or orange pepper, nuts of some sort ( usually almonds or pine nuts or pecans) and some dried cranberries.

Enjoy!
~Pam





Sunday, June 19, 2011

Barbecued Vegetables

Yesterday we spent the day outside, so a BBQ seemed appropriate. Just sausages and veggies-simple and fast.

We love BBQ'd veggies in this house, and have them usually once a week in the summer months. We BBQ in the winter as well, just not as often. We tend to roast them in the oven more in the winter.

I took some pics of the sausage as well, but they were not as...um... macro friendly, if you catch my drift.

We tend to do different variations of these veggies depending on what we have, and what spices are right there when I open the cupboard door. Garlic, S&P, red chili pepper flakes and basil are the standards, but Italian seasoning, parsley, paprika, thyme and rosemary make regular appearances as well. Seasoning salt would be fine by itself in a pinch. Sometimes is just the spices and EVOO and other times I add some balsamic vinegar as well.
You can also so a southwest version by substituting cumin, coriander, chili powder or any of those types of flavours.
Any veggies will work, just cut them up to the same size so they cook evenly. We often use zucchini, onion( usually a red onion, or vidalia but anything is fine), red peppers (or whatever colour pepper you  have/like), mushrooms ( usually cremini or portobello), asparagus, yellow squash and sometimes tomatoes. 
Eggplant also works well.
Sometimes we top the cooked veggies with fresh grated parmasan or romano, or crumbled goat or feta cheese, or sometimes shredded mozzarella. But lots of times we don't top it at all.

Basic recipe-

Cut up your veggies of choice into approximately same size chunks. I use one of each of the bigger vegetables and about 10 or so mushrooms.
Mince some fresh garlic according to your taste. You could also use whole cloves, just smashed with the flat side of a knife a little to release the flavour.
Put the veggies and garlic in a large bowl, or large zip lock bag and add your S&P, seasonings of choice (I am going to guess at about 1 tsp of each? [except the hot stuff]) I usually add more basil, cuz I love basil, and about 1-2 Tbsps of Olive oil. You don't want too much olive oil. Just barely enough to coat most of the veggies. And if you want to add some Balsamic vinegar do that here as well. Not much. maybe a teaspoon? lemon juice or white wine is a good alternative as well.
Toss that around in the bowl or bag, then dump that all into a BBQ grilling basket, ( we have one like this but anything like this will do) or if the tines on your grill are close enough together you can put it right on the grill. Our BBQ is archaic so we need the basket. It takes about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. 
If you want to put it in the oven throw them on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, or any shallow pan, and roast in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes, stirring twice.

Super yummy and delicious.

Thanks for looking!
Enjoy!
~Pam


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Tea Biscuits

Ah the flavors of years past. My Mom used to make these every year for Christmas, and as soon as I popped one in my mouth to *cough* taste test it, I was reminded of Christmas. These are quick and easy to make, and freeze well. I might add, they taste good frozen as well.  There are as many names for these little gems as there are recipes. I have several versions and this one is my favorite. It is on the sweeter side, but I like sweet things.


Mexican Wedding Cakes   325 degree oven for 20 minutes

1 cup butter
3 TBSP icing sugar ( plus more for rolling the baked cookies in)
2 cups cake and pastry flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely chopped pecans (you could substitute walnuts or almonds)

In a medium sized bowl cream the butter and 3 Tbsp Icing sugar together until smooth.
Add 2 cups of flour, vanilla and chopped ( or ground) nuts. Beat again until mixed.

Roll into medium sized balls, or alternatively you could roll them into crescent shapes. But I am far to anxious to get these babies into the oven so I can eat some, so for me balls it is. Plus that's how Mom did it. ♥
Bake on a cookie sheet at 325 for about 20 minutes. Don't over bake them.

While they are still warm, (not hot, be reasonable here)  roll them in icing sugar. I usually put a cup of sugar into a bowl and that way I can pop a few cookies in a once and swirl them around to coat.

After you take them out you might find some of the icing sugar has melted into the cookie especially if you have done it while they are really hot. Just sprinkle some more on there and you are good to go.

This recipe makes about 30 or so cookies

Enjoy!
~pam

LOVE OF THE SEA: Watermelon Wednesdays-A refreshing gazpacho...

LOVE OF THE SEA: Watermelon Wednesdays #5.... A refreshing gazpacho...:
**Disclaimer: I have NOT tried this recipe, but I plan to very soon and I will report back with my findings.**

I found this awesome looking recipe on a blog I read called Love of the Sea. You can click the link above to go directly to her page with the recipe. It's for a watermelon gazpacho, and I thought it looked like a refreshing treat on a hot day. I LOVE watermelon.
This recipe originally came from Martha Stewart. Well not actually right from her, but rather from her website.  ;-)



Ingredients:
5 cups peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped watermelon

  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 3/4 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1 pepper)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, minced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine 5 cups watermelon and the cranberry juice in the jar of a blender, and puree until mixture is smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a large bowl or plastic storage container, discarding pulp. You should have 3 cups strained liquid.
  2. Add cucumber, celery, bell pepper, onion, herbs, lime juice, vinegar, jalapeno, and remaining cup chopped melon to watermelon liquid, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until soup is well chilled, at least 1 hour. Serve, or store in refrigerator up to 1 day

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Steak Fajitas

Since I had oodles of steak left over from yesterday's dinner, and some avocado's I needed to use I decided Steak Fajita's were perfect. They were fast and yummy. I didn't have anything to go with them so I just had a handful of PC lime and habanero tortilla chips and they were quite tasty.


Steak Fajitas

Steak of your choice. I used two left over T-bone steaks from yesterday. This also works well with chicken.
**if you didn't season your pre-cooked steak, or if you are using raw meat, increase the amounts of spices a bit**
1/2 tsp garlic powder  or 1 garlic clove, minced (used powder this time)
Vegetable oil
1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, whatever you like for heat
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
juice from 1/2 a lime ( about 2 TBSPs?) If you dont have lime juice you could use lemon juice, or white wine.
one red pepper, sliced
one green pepper, sliced
1/2 an onion, sliced ( I used vidalia because that's what I had. Anything would work)
S&P
sour cream, avocado, plum tomato, shredded cheese, or whatever topping you like on your fajitas
Whole Wheat tortilla wraps

Thinly slice up the pre-cooked steak, (or raw if you are not using left overs) Heat up about a TBSP of oil in your frying pan over med-high heat, and toss in the steak. 
Sprinkle with S&P if you are using raw, or didn't season your grilled steaks, chili flakes OR cayenne, cumin, oregano and garlic powder. Heat that up well, while stirring fairly regularly. When its pretty much heated through, add the lime juice all at once, give it a good toss around then in less than a minute dump it out into a bowl to keep warm while you saute the veggies.

While the pan is still hot and has some remnants of the steak juice and oil in it, toss in the peppers and onions with a little S&P, and a little more of the cumin, oregano and chili pepper flakes. Toss them around in the pan until they start to brown up a little and soften a little. You want the pan to be hot and dry enough to saute them without steaming them and making them too soft.

Now you are ready to put together your fajita. First warm up your tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to make it more pliable and less likely to tear. After it's warm I usually slather some sour cream on the wrap first, then add a few pieces of steak, then the pepper/onion mix, then some avocado, seeded and sliced plum tomatoes ( I use plum tomatoes because they are usually less watery and more meaty) and sometimes I add shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack.

I always use saran or waxed paper or aluminum foil around my wraps. It keeps them from falling apart, and helps contain the juices better. It's really easy if you wrap it up, cut it in half then peel back the wrapping as you eat it.

Normally I might make this with some spanish rice but I totally didn't have the time or energy.

Enjoy!
~pam

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Let's see what we have in the fridge....

Tonight's dinner was made up of whatever I could put together from whatever I had already. I had a few steaks that I had taken out yesterday, and didn't get to cook so we grilled those, BBQ'd some potato packets, and I made a veggie concoction.


Potato Packets:

I peeled and sliced up some potatoes, sliced some onion (I think it was a sweet onion?) and tossed that in a bowl with  some melted butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, parsley and some fresh thyme. I mixed that all up in the bowl and put single serving portions in some aluminum foil and wrapped it up and threw them on the grill first.

Veggie concoction: (I started this about the same time as we threw the steaks on the grill)

I used some zucchini I had (that had actually seen better days but we won't talk about that),  half an onion, two plum tomatoes, garlic and (sort of) fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and red chili pepper flakes and some goat cheese. It was actually super delish. I sliced the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick circles, then cut those into semi circles, diced the onion, minced the garlic, seeded and chopped the plum tomatoes, tore up the basil and crumbled the goat cheese. (I do that by putting it into a small bowl and using two knives to slice it up.)
First I heated up some veg oil and butter in a non stick skillet, and sauteed the zucchini, onion and garlic with S&P,  until they started to get some colour. When they were browned to my liking, all at once I tossed in the tomatoes, basil, red chili pepper flakes and about 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar, and stirred that for less than a minute. I served it with some goat cheese sprinkled on top.

I didn't do anything special for the steaks. Just a sprinkle of steak spice and grill them on super high heat for about 3-5 mins a side, (depending on how you like them done. I like them med-rare) then we let them rest on the kitchen counter for a few minutes to let the juice distribute itself all over the steaks.

Simple and delicious.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Veggie Pizza with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

I never seem to eat enough pizza, which is a shame, because I  love pizza. Veggie pizza is my absolute favourite. This was a throw together pizza because I didn't get home from dance rehearsal until late, and I needed to eat so I could go to bed. This was pretty darn delicious... or maybe I am just REALLY hungry :)

Veggie Pizza with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

One store bought thin crust pizza or flat bread. ( I used a PC flat bread here) Or if you are really ambitious (and I am not) you could make your own pizza dough.
Olive oil
Presidents Choice Tomato Pesto ( this is my new favourite pizza sauce/topping)
one small zucchini sliced thinly into rounds then halved
one green onion, diced
one plum tomato, thinly sliced
salt, pepper, basil, red chili pepper flakes or whatever you like
goat cheese

I like to do my pizza on the grill, but it was too late at night to be firing up the grill so I did it in the oven on my grill pan. It's basically a cookie sheet with holes in it. First this I do is heat the oven to 425, and put the grill pan in the oven to heat it up. While that is heating I brush the underside of the pre-cooked pizza crust or flat bread with olive oil. 
Heat up a skillet and when it is hot pour some olive oil in, and when that is hot, toss in the sliced zucchini with some salt and pepper.
Now the pizza grill pan should be good and hot, so you can put the crust in to warm and crisp up a bit on the bottom.
When the zucchini has softened a bit, sprinkle it with some basil and the diced green onion.
When the pizza crust has warmed up, take it out and spread some PC tomato pesto all over it., top that with some crumbled (more like mushed) goat cheese, then the zucchini/onion mixture, and top that with the sliced tomatoes. Pop that in the oven for a few minutes to warm the tomatoes and you are good to go.

Thanks for looking.
Enjoy!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shrimp & Mango Noodle Salad, and a Tuna and Avocado wrap

Today was hot. Really really steamy hot. So for supper I wanted something cool and refreshing. I figured wraps or sandwiches of some sort, and a salad would be perfect. While at the grocery store looking for something cool and refreshing ( aka enjoying the free air conditioning there- they keep it like an ice box) I saw a box of mangoes that were ripe and grabbed a few figuring I could incorporate that into dinner. Mangoes are delicious, and since is feels tropical outside I figured we may as well eat something tropical too.
They also had some decent looking corn on the cob.
So I came up with a shrimp and mango salad with rice vermicelli, and a tuna and avocado wrap.
The mango shrimp concoction was quite delicious and I will definitely be making that again. The tuna wrap was pretty standard as far as wraps go. I love avocado on my wraps.
 

Mango & Shrimp Noodle Salad

300 grams of rice vermicelli
1 large mango
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp brown Sugar
1 Tbsp hot chili garlic sauce
1/4 tsp salt ( next time I might use fish sauce. I didn't have any today)
cooked, peeled shrimp
1/2 cup snipped basil and mint ( 1/4 cup each)

Cook the vermicelli according to package directions. I give mine a boiling water bath. When the noodles are tender, drain them, rinse in cold water and drain again.

Peel the mango, struggle to get the pit out without wasting any of the flesh, then dice the flesh while cursing at how difficult mangoes are to pit and peel. If you don't have a  mango splitter, I highly suggest you get one. I LOVE mine. I hated trying to get into a mango before Santa left me one in my stocking a few years ago. It is easy as pie. Actually easier than pie. Pie can be time consuming... I digress.

So now that you have managed to get into your mango and dice it up, stir the lime juice, sugar, chili-garlic sauce and the salt or fish sauce in a bowl, and toss in the mango chunks, shrimp, herbs and the cooked noodles. It is ready to eat right away.
The sauce does something magical to the mangoes. I love mangoes but this was especially delicious, and even my hubby liked it and he does NOT like mangoes.

For the tuna avocado wrap-

I mixed a can of tuna with some mayo, lemon juice and dill. Spread some hummus or whatever you like on a whole wheat  wrap, add a glop of the tuna, some alfalfa sprouts, thinly sliced red pepper and red onion, a pinch of bagged broccoli slaw, some avocado wedges, some lettuce, or whatever you like on your wraps. I like a mixture of crunchy and soft things. Then  place it on some waxed paper, or saran wrap and  roll it up, and wrap it up in the waxed paper/saran so it doesn't fall apart, and if it's especially juicy it contains the drippage too. I slice it in half and peel the paper back as I eat it. 

And here is a pic of a mango splitter. You really need one. They are available at most department stores.

Thanks for looking. Enjoy!



Monday, June 6, 2011

Lentil Salad

I was at a BBQ yesterday and someone brought a lentil salad, which I had never had the pleasure of trying before. It was delicious, and since my daughter has recently decided to eat a vegetarian diet I asked for the recipe. Turns out it was from Costco. Go figure. So I attempted to make it today, and it turned out pretty darn good if you ask me. Even the Hubby liked it.
It was fast, easy, healthy and inexpensive. Right up my alley.


This is the veggies and the parsley, before I added the cooked lentils.


And the finished dish. Ok I am not a good photographer, but I assure you, it was pretty and tasty.

Lentil Salad


1 1/2 C dried lentils, rinsed
2 C water
2 C vegetable broth
1/2 C yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Combine in a med. saucepan, bring to a simmer, cover and continue to simmer 20 minutes until lentils are tender but not mushy and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaves, drain and cool.

2 large ripe plum tomatoes, or 5 cocktail tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 C red onion, chopped
1/2 C celery, chopped
3 T fresh parsley, chopped

A handful of slices almonds
1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped
In a large bowl combine all ingredients except lettuce.

Dressing
4 T lemon juice ( fresh squeezed)
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp italian herbs or herbs de provence or whatever combination you like. This time I used coriander, and tarragon.
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp cumin
Shake dressing in a jar until well blended.
Drizzle dressing over lentil vegetable mixture.
Chill for an hour.
Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Roasted Red Pepper Penne

Today I tried another recipe from my friend Jacy's blog. Of course I modified it a bit to suit our family but it was basically the same. You can find her recipe here. I love pasta, and I love roasted red peppers so I figured this was a sure fire hit. It was delicious, and while I tend to stick with the original recipe to start I will likely make some additions next time I make it. I will add more heat next time by adding some red chili pepper flakes, and I may try less fennel or an entirely different herb. I liked it, but my daughter was iffy of the fennel.



5 red peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
about 3/4 of a head garlic, peeled, whole cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
a couple handfuls of baby spinach
(dried red chili pepper flakes to taste)
1 and 1/2 boxes of smart pasta penne

Pre heat your oven to 425 F
Place chopped red peppers, onions and whole peeled garlic cloves in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt pepper and fennel seeds. Spread evenly on a foil lined baking sheet and place in the oven for about 45 mins or until tender and starting to turn colour, stirring it around once to make sure they are cooking evenly.

While the veggies are cooking, start a big pot of salted water boiling.

Once the veggies are done, put them in a food processor and puree them with a little water if necessary. As soon as it is pureed, throw in a few handfuls of baby spinach. You could leave them whole, or tear them up or if you need to be more sneaky you could whirl them in the food processor with the sauce and call it parsley. But you didn't hear that from me ;-) I also added a Tbsp of fresh parsley at this point because I love parsley but its not really necessary. I would also add some dried red chili pepper flakes here next time, and perhaps some balsamic vinegar (although I didn't add it this time)

Cook your penne in lots of boiling, salted water (any starch should be cooked with salt in the water) when the veggies are almost done.

If you start your penne on time, just keeping the lid on the food processor should be enough to keep the sauce warm until it's time to mix it together, If not, then keep your sauce warm on the stovetop in a sauce pan, and wait to toss in the spinach until the pasta is almost ready. You don't want to really cook the spinach, just warm it and wilt it a little.

Drain the pasta, add it back into the pot, and dump the pureed pepper sauce on and mix it up. I served it with fresh Parmesan shavings. Shredded mozzarella might be nice for a change.

This was really good. Next time I think I will add some balsamic vinegar to the sauce, and maybe some roasted zucchini  as well, which I would roast, but not puree.




Asian Beef Noodle Soup


*from eat shrink and be merry

4 oz uncooked soba noodles, whole wheat spagettini, or rice vermicelli
6 cups sodium reduced beef broth
3 TBSP hoisin sauce
1 TBSP each soy sauce, grated ginger root, toasted sesame oil, and feshly squeezed lime juice
12 ounces (340 g) beef tenderloin, thinly sliced
3 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves or thinly sliced bok choy
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 each of chopped fresh mint leaves, and chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup bean sprouts

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well, rinse with cold water and drain again. Set aside until soup is ready to serve.
In a large soup pot, combine beef broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger root, sesame oil, and lime juice. Bring to a boil. reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes.
Add beef, spinach, green onions, mint and basil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, just until beef is cooked through. Taste soup and add salt and pepper if desired. 
To serve soup, place some cooked noodles in the bottom of a soup bowl, top with bean sprouts and ladle soup over top. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings
Nutritional info per serving:
Cal: 220
total fat: 7 g
saturated fat: 2 g
protein:18 g
carbs: 22 g
fiber: 2.3 g
Cholesterol: 40 mg
sodium: 656 mg

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pork Tenderloin with cranberry pan sauce and butternut squash



(from weight watchers in 20 minutes)

1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin trimmed and cut into 8 slices
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup reduced sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1 TBSP grated orange zest
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 (10 oz) package frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp unsalted butter

1. Spray large non stick pan with cooking spray and set over med high heat. Sprinkle the pork with 1/2 tsp salt and the pepper. Add to the skillet and cook until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add the broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cranberry sauce, orange zest, thyme and pork along with any accumulated juices; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered until the pork is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

3.Meanwhile combine the squash puree, pumpkin spice and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt in a microwavable bowl. Dot with butter. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir; microwave stirring twice more until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.

serves 4

Per Serving:
264 cal
8 g fat
95 mg chol
728 mg sod
14 g carbs
3 g fiber
33 g protein
28 mg calc

weight watcher points- 5

* I serve this with whole wheat egg noodles, and I use fresh butternut squash instead. I don't use butter, but rather cut the squash in half, spray it with cooking spray and sprinkle it with cinnamon and bake it cut side down on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven. If I am in a hurry I microwave it for 10 minutes first.
I stole this recipe from a friend of mine and fellow recipe blogger Jacy . Check out her recipes here.. Everything I have tried of hers has been delicious so far.
... and I totally borrowed (stole) her picture as well... thanks Jacy! ;)


We made this the other night and everyone LOVED it.


1 store bought pizza crust. I used Presidents Choice flat bread, but the thin crust pizza crust or anything you like would be fine. We use pita's on occasion.
Olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
6oz mushrooms (whatever kind you like, we used crimini)
2 leeks, green tops removed
2 sprigs of thyme
Tomato pesto (I used PC Tomato Pesto)
Fresh mozzerella
1 plum tomato
Salt and pepper

You can attack this pizza a number of different ways: do it on the grill...do it in the oven (on a pizza stone, the back of a cookie sheet, a pizza pan, or right on the rack). I used my flat grill sheet for my BBQ. Its basically like a cookie sheet with lots of holes in it. I like my pizza crust a little crispy on the bottom, but not crunchy.

Crank the oven to 350, put in the stone.cookie sheet/pizza pan, whatever. Heat a skillet on the stove, adding a tbsp of both olive oil and butter when the pan is hot. Add sliced mushrooms (we like them sliced thinly) and sliced leeks to soften and brown. When they are almost done, strip the leaves off of the thyme sprigs and toss them in there as well.

Let me divert your attention to something you may or may not know...leeks can be dirty veggies, and just rinsing them under the tap isn't going to get all the sand out. Get a bowl of cold water and, as you chop the leeks, place them in the bowl to float. You might need to give them a swish to break up the rings because that's where the dirt and grit will be hiding. The leek slices will float on the top, and the grit will sink to the bottom. Scoop the ones off the top and throw them into the pan. Add a bit of salt, pepper, and the thyme leaves.

Ok, back to this pizza. While the mushrooms and leeks are browning, I pulled the hot pizza stone out of the oven, oiled the bottom of the prepared pizza crust, put it on the stone, and put it in the oven to warm.

Once the crust is warmed, pull it out of the oven and smear on some tomato pesto. Distribute the mushroom/leek mess over the pesto, add slices of roma tomato, cover with rounds of fresh mozzarella. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil (optional), salt and pepper, and slide back in the oven to melt the cheese.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Micro-wave Chili Stuffed Tomatoes- What???


Microwave you say? Really? I had my doubts but this is actually yummy.

4 large tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 cup canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
4 tablespoons shredded fat free monterey jack cheese

Cut off and discard a slice from the top of each tomato. With a small spoon remove the seeds and inner flesh and discard the seeds and chop the flesh.
Spray a large non stick skillet with olive oil non stick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook for about 20 seconds. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
Stir in the beans, chopped tomato, chili powder oregano and salt. Cook, stirring until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in a few tablespoons on water if the mixture seems too dry.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the tomatoes and sprinkle evenly with the Jack Cheese. Place the stuffed tomatoes in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high till the tomatoes soften but still hold their shape and the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Let stand at room temp for about one minute before serving.

Per serving: (1 tomato)
204 calories
4 g fat
34 mg Cholesterol
634mg sodium
24 g carbs
6 gr fibre
18 g protien
112 mg Calc.

Pineapple Mango Salsa



This is a great topping for grilled chicken or fish

1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 cup diced fresh mango
1/4 cup each minced red onions, minced red bell pepper, minced green bell pepper

optional-diced jalapeño pepper
1 TBSP minced fresh cilantro
1 TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Worth every Penne (pasta with chicken, bacon, spinach and pesto sauce


*from eat Shrink and be Merry

Sauce:
2 TBSP basil pesto
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


2 cups uncooked whole wheat penne noodles (about 8 oz/227 g)
4 slices reduced sodium bacon, chopped
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped red onions
3 big handfuls baby spinach leaves
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1/4 cup shaved parm or romano cheese, or 1/2 cup crumbled light feta cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste

To prepare sauce, whisk together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Cook penne noodles according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
While pasta is boiling cook bacon in large non stick skillet or wok over med-high heat for about 2 minutes. Remove and discard about 1 TBSP bacon drippings from skillet. Add mushrooms and onions to skillet. Cook and stir until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add spinach leaves and tomatoes. Cook until spinach is wilted. Stir in chicken and cook just until chicken is heated through. Add cooked penne noodles and mix well. Add reserved sauce and mix again. Remove from heat and sprinkle with Parmasan cheese and black pepper.

Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional info per serving.
Cal: 331
total fat: 10.6 g
saturated fat: 2.9 g
protein: 27 g
carbs: 31 g
fiber: 5.7 g
cholesterol: 50 mg
sodium: 270 mg