Thursday, June 26, 2008

Menu - Week of June 22

I haven't done one of these in a while, yeah it's a little late, but I hope to get back on track! This week may not be the healthiest, but I'm trying to use up some stuff I have on hand.

Sunday - Pepperoni Roll & salad

Monday - chicken wings & thin crust pizza, vegetables & low fat dip

Tuesday - Basil tomato sauce over whole wheat penne with turkey meatballs & caesar salads

Wednesday - Taco salad bowls

Thursday - Chicken fajitas, chips & salsa

Friday - Going out to eat

Saturday - Pad Thai w/shrimp & chicken

Eat Your Bowl....Taco Salad

I've made taco salad a couple of times before, but I forgot to blog it. So the third time, I did some more experimenting, and this is my favorite so far. It's such an easy & quick meal that is also great for the summer time. I got the original idea for the tortillas from Chelley, a fellow WC'er. The idea to add the rice came from one of my favorite cooking sites Cooking Light. Then I played around with all of those ideas, and came up with the following. You could also use the filling to make burritos, tacos or nachos, which I probably will do with the leftovers.

Eat Your Bowl Taco Salad
(the recipe makes too much for two servings, but I plan on using the leftovers)

1 lb ground beef
low carb large flour tortillas
2 coves garlic, minced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 can of black beans
handful of shredded or torn lettuce
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced (or green onion would be great sprinkled on top of salad)
2% Mexican cheese blend
1/2 -3/4 cup cooked brown rice (yellow or Mexican rice would have been great, but I didn't have any on hand)
1 tsp cumin
juice and zest of half a lime

Preheat the oven to 425. Brown ground beef, drain and add minced garlic, seasonings & water, recipe below. Add diced onions and black beans to meat mixture. Simmer till slightly thickened. (I kept rice separate since Jamie didn't want any, if not, you could add it to meat mixture)

Brush tortillas with some vegetable oil or use non-stick spray, and bake on balls of tin foil or inverted ramekins on a baking sheet for about 6 minutes, till slightly browned and crispy.

Add the lime juice, zest and cumin to the cooked rice.
Toss the meat and rice mixture, or just layer into the bowls, add the dressing, and top with tomatoes, lettuce, extra onions if desired, and cheese.

Taco Seasoning:

1 tsp cilantro (I only had dried on hand)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cumin
2-3 tbsp Mexican chili powder

Mix above ingredients together in a bowl, and add 2 tbsp or more if desired, to browned ground beef and add 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp of water, and simmer till slightly thickened.

2/3 cup fat free sour cream
2/3 cup fresh medium salsa
1/2 tbsp of taco seasoning

Mix above ingredients, and toss in or put on top of taco salad.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Penne & Turkey(meat)balls

I love pasta & meatballs, and decided to switch and lighten things up a bit. I have never cooked with ground turkey, so I gave it a try. The meatballs turned out great, they were moist & flavorful, nothing was sacrificed because of substituting turkey for beef. I'll definitely be adding ground turkey to my meals...I'm thinking my next venture will be turkey burgers....

Simple Basil Tomato Sauce

1 can of whole tomatoes, crushed by hand, with juices
15 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup Merlot
6 oz tomato paste
salt & pepper to taste
1/8 tsp red peeper flakes
pinch of sugar
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
bunch of fresh basil, torn by hand (maybe 12 leaves)

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and garlic and cook till tender. Add tomato paste and cook for a minute.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. I served on top of Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate.


1 lb ground turkey (I used 93/7 fat content)
1/3 cup onion, finely diced
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix ingredients and form into 1 1/2-2 inch equal sized meatballs.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, turning a few of times so the sides cook evenly. Remove and add to the sauce and simmer for 40 minutes.

Think Thin

You might be thinking....not another pizza post??? But after making the pepperoni bread & grilled pizza, I had some leftover ingredients. And since pizza is my favorite goes! It's a very simple, under 20 minute & light dinner which uses a Flatout wrap as the crust, so it's thin & crispy. Add a salad, and you've got a great summer meal.

Easy As Pizza Pie Flatout Pepperoni & Mushroom Pizza

1 Flatout Italian Herb wrap
turkey pepperoni
sliced button mushrooms
fresh basil
finely shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
pizza sauce (I used my own recipe in the post for Grilled Pizza)
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil on a wrap and place on a pizza pan or cookie sheet, and bake for 3-5 minutes or until slightly browned and crisp.

Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce, and add cheese and toppings. Bake for an additional 7 minutes till cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and top with torn fresh basil leaves.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chicken Wings - 2 Ways

In an effort to not deep fry one of Jamie's favorite foods, I made two different types of chicken wings, both baked in the oven. He gave both kinds a very enthusiastic thumbs up.....enjoy!

Sticky-Gooey Glazed Chicken Wings

1/2 lb chicken wings, rinsed, dried, separated at joints, tips discarded
1/8 tsp each of salt & pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
zest & juice of half a lime

Preheat oven to 400. Mix the garlic & onion powder, salt & pepper and paprika together in a bowl. In another bowl mix the rest of the ingredients, set aside. Rub dry mixture on chicken.

Drizzle a little vegetable oil (or use non-stick spray) in a baking dish, add chicken and bake for 40 minutes, turning over halfway through.

Add honey mixture to chicken, toss wings to coat. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, turning halfway through. Sauce will caramelize and stick to the chicken. Jamie said it tastes good dipped in Ranch dressing.

Baked Buffalo Wings

1/2 lb chicken wings, rinsed, dried, separated at joints, tips discarded
1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp of melted butter, divided (I used Smart Balance 50/50 blend)
1/2 cup Frank's Buffalo Wings sauce (approximately)

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Mix flour & seasonings. Toss wings in flour mixture, and put in dish. Drizzle the melted butter over the wings.

Bake for 40 minutes, turning halfway through. Mix one tbsp melted butter & Buffalo sauce and pour on chicken. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, turning halfway through. Goes great with celery & bleu cheese dressing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rollin, Rollin', Rollin' - Pizza Style

This is my second time making this pepperoni bread, and it was fantastic - I forgot to take pics the first time around - it was so good, everyone gobbled it up too fast! I got the original recipe from Amber's Delectable Delights, and made some changes. Actually, there are so many things you could do with the basic recipe, and it's great for parties, a snack, or add a salad and it's a meal. Enjoy!

Pepperoni and Cheese Bread


1 roll refrigerated french bread dough OR 1 loaf frozen bread dough (thawed)
Regular or turkey pepperoni
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Dried Italian seasoning
My pizza sauce (in post below)


Preheat oven to 350.
Roll out bread dough, and drizzle with olive oil, a few small dollops of sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella, Parmesan cheeses, Italian seasoning, and place pepperoni on top of the cheese.

Carefully roll the bread dough into a cylinder shape. Pinch ends and top to seal. Brush top and sides with some olive oil.

If desired, top loaf with cheese, pepperoni, and/or Italian seasoning. Make a few diagonal slices in top of loaf for air to escape while cooking.
Bake at 350 for ~20 min. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with pizza sauce.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What's Better Than Pizza in the Oven? On the Grill!!

Pizza is my absolute favorite food, I've only made it once on the grill, but I used a pre-made Boboli shell. I have made homemade dough before (soooo much better than store bought) but I've only ever used it on my pizza stone in the oven. This was my first time trying this dough recipe from Epicurious, and grilling homemade was almost a complete success....

...but I made a slight mistake when turning the dough over, my tongs took a chunk of dough out, causing those edges to cook faster. So it wasn't as pretty as it couldn't have been, but it was so much better than the oven, and practice makes perfect, stay tuned for my next grilled pizza creation....

Pizza Dough
From Bon Apeitit March 2007/Giada De Laurentiis

3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
I added 1 tbsp of dried Italian herbs

Pour 3/4 cup warm water into small bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil.

Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt in processor. (Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil; process until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 1 minute. Transfer to prepared bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough.(Can be made 1 day ahead, store in airtight container in refrigerator.) Roll out dough to desired thickness. (Start in center of dough, working outward toward edges but not rolling over them.)

Heat the grill to high, then turn down to med-high.
Have all pizza toppings ready to go beside the grill. You have to work quickly!

Carefully lay dough on a floured pan or pizza paddle, brush the dough with some olive oil, and flip the oiled side onto the grill. Leave on for about 3 minutes, then using tongs, flip pizza over.

Layer sauce and toppings on pizza crust. If using fresh herbs, put on at the very end. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

I topped all the pizza with homemade sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh parmigiano- reggiano & fresh basil. On one half I added some turkey pepperoni. The other half, I topped with thinly sliced red onions, mushrooms and roma tomatoes.

Pizza Sauce

8 oz tomato sauce
3 oz tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (or more for a kick)
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and let flavors blend before using.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not Just Another Chicken & Potato Dinner

I've seen the potato recipe recently on the WC Board, so I decided to give it a try, I'm always looking for new ways to make potatoes, while keeping it a little lighter, without all the butter & cream. Although it looks like a gigantic mess of potatoes, they were REALLY good, a little crispy on the outside, yet soft in the inside & bursting with flavor from the fresh herbs. Check out The Pioneer Woman's Blog for this and other recipes (although I have not made any other recipes), her blog is really unique. As for the chicken, I love lemon chicken, so I decided to experiment by adding lime & orange flavors.

Triple Citrus Herbed Chicken

4lb whole chicken
salt & pepper
head of garlic, halved
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
a few sprigs of fresh Italian parsley, some left whole, some chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon, divided
juice and zest of half a lime, divided
1-2 tbsp Sonoma Pepper (lemon orange pepper blend from World Market)
extra virgin olive oil (1/4-1/3 cup)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse chicken, pat dry. Season inside of chicken with salt & pepper.
In a small bowl, mix some lemon juice/zest, lime juice/zest, olive oil, salt, Sonoma Pepper and chopped parsley in a bowl. Rub mixture under breast skin, (and the chopped garlic), the outside and inside of chicken. Put some garlic, sprigs of parsley, and halves of lemon & lime inside of chicken.

Place chicken in a roaster & cover. Roast for about 2 hours (or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees), basting a few times with juices. If desired, add a little chicken stock.

I served the chicken and potatoes with some garlic pan roasted broccoli.

Crash Hot Potatoes

Pioneer woman writes her recipes a little differently, so these instructions are adapted from her version

2 lbs of baby red potatoes (or how much you need), scrubbed clean
a few sprigs of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley & basil (from my garden!)
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and basting
Preheat the oven to 450. (I made the chicken following this recipe, so I added them to the already hot oven and cooked around 425)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add potatoes.

When the potatoes are tender, drain. Drizzle olive oil on a cookie sheet and place the potatoes on it and give plenty of room to spread out. (Looking at the picture, I didn't listen to this mine were too close together, but still turned out great)

Use a potato masher and gently press down on the potato until it slightly mashes.

Then rotate the masher 90 degrees and finish flattening it. Of course, you don’t want to absolutely smash it into the pan—you want it almost to resemble a cookie.

Repeat until all are flattened. Next, brush the tops rather generously with olive oil.

Next, sprinkle the potatoes with sea salt or Kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Add some chopped fresh herbs. (I used some fresh basil & parsley, but rosemary would be wonderful) Now throw them onto the top rack of a very hot (450-degree) oven, and cook them for 20-25 minutes. (Mine needed a little less than 20 minutes) Or until they’re golden and crispy and sizzling.

Less Than A 30-Minute Meal

I had some chicken in the fridge, and leftover ingredients from fajitas, so I just threw the items together, and came up with BBQ Honey Lime Chicken Wraps. Quick, easy, light - perfect for a busy, summery night's dinner.

BBQ Honey Lime Chicken Wraps

1LB chicken tenders, cut in smaller strips
BBQ sauce I used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Sauce
fresh lime juice
salt & pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp vegetable oil
8" tortillas
shredded Monterrey Jack Cheddar cheese
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced

Preheat grill pan, add some non-stick spray.
Put chicken in a bowl, add a squeeze of lime juice, salt, pepper (to taste), garlic powder & oil & toss to coat.

Grill chicken, in the last few minutes of cooking, I brushed some BBQ sauce on the chicken, and added the onions & tomatoes to the grill pan. I squeezed some additional lime juice

Heat tortillas if desired, add some more BBQ sauce in the middle of tortilla, add chicken mixture and top with cheese. Fold the bottom, then the sides, burrito style. You can put the wrap in the grill pan for a few minutes each side, or put in the microwave for 15 seconds to melt the cheese.

Quick (sort of...) Ribs - Big Flavor

This is another catch up post - ribs. It was my first time making them, and I don't eat them, so again, this was for Jamie. According to him, they turned out great, and it was pretty easy, so if you are looking for a recipe that requires little time (as opposed to marinating with rub or slow cooking) & effort this is it. I may have charred the ends a bit, but the meat was still moist & perfect.

from Allrecipes

Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 10 Minutes Yields: 4 servings
"Ribs are boiled in barbeque sauce before grilling to keep them extra tangy, tasty and moist!"

2 1/2 pounds pork spareribs
2 (18 ounce) bottles barbeque sauce (I used Sweet Baby's Ray's)
1 onion, quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
I also added about 3 cloves of smashed garlic to the pot


1.Place spareribs in a large stock pot with barbeque sauce, onion, salt, and pepper. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a low boil, and cook approximately 40 minutes.

2.Preheat grill for high heat.

3.Lightly oil grate. Remove spareribs from the stock pot, and place on the prepared grill. Use the barbeque sauce in the saucepan to baste ribs while cooking. Grill ribs, basting and turning frequently, for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Southwestern Grillin'

My blog entries may be a little back and forth since I have some catching up to do. But I actually made this last night, and as Rachael Ray would say - YUM-O! It is pretty hot again, so I didn't feel like cooking in the kitchen. Grilling burgers and corn sounded great - and they were - one of my favorite burgers that I've made. It included my new favorite ingredient - Mrs.Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning (and it's salt free). I served it with a great big baby spinach & romaine salad. I did forget one thing - I was going to add some turkey bacon on top, or cooked and crumbled in with the beef mixture, I might try again tonight!

Sizzling Southwest Chipotle Cheeseburgers
*I estimated the amounts of BBQ sauce & seasoning

1lb ground sirloin (or whatever meat you prefer)
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (or grated)
1 clove garlic, minced
a dash of salt and pepper (if desired)
2 teaspoons of Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend (more if desired)
2 tbsp BBQ sauce (I used Stubs Smoky Mesquite, but Sweet Baby Rays Honey Chipotle or a honey BBQ sauce would be great too)
2 tbsp shredded Monterrey jack cheese
sliced red onion
sliced cheddar Monterrey Jack cheese
Extra BBQ sauce for topping

Mix together just till ingredients are combined (beef through shredded cheese & don't over mix!) Form into 4 patties, pressing down slightly in the center. Grill till desired, maybe 7 minutes each side for well done. A couple of minutes before burgers are done, put more cheese on top if desired, and toast the buns. Grilling the onion would also be good too! I topped with some extra BBQ sauce.

Southwest Chipotle and Lime Grilled Corn
*I estimated the following amounts

2 ears of corn, husked
1 tbsp Smart Balance or butter, softened
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
sprinkle of garlic salt & pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp of Mrs.Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning
squeeze of lime juice

Mix all ingredients and spread on corn. Wrap in foil and grill for about 15-20 minutes, turning often. Remove from foil and squeeze some more lime juice, sprinkle on extra seasonings if desired.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Catching Up With Cacciatore

I made this about a month ago, but didn't have my camera to upload the pictures, so the next few posts will be from the past couple of months. This recipe for Chicken Cacciatore is another Giada De Laurentiis recipe from the Food Network. I haven't had cacciatore in a while, but I love the flavors of tomatoes, chicken and peppers together & Giada, so I loved this recipe. I served it on top of macaroni, and with a simple bruschetta - diced tomatoes, a dash or salt & pepper, a little olive oil, and freshly chopped basil, on top of toasted baguette slices rubbed with garlic cloves.

Chicken Cacciatore

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 chicken thighs I omitted and just used chicken breasts
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped I sliced the peppers and also added half of a green pepper
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.

A Perfect Summer Dinner

I can't believe it's been about 2 months since my last post! I've been very busy, our family just moved to Tennessee, so I haven't been cooking much, and didn't want to blog since I didn't have my camera. first entry in a while was wonderful. It's very hot here, so I was looking to make something light, that could also be great for leftovers. I found this in my Cooking Light magazine recently, and is also available on their site, Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese was light & full of flavor, and you can easily make changes, such as substituting balsamic for the red wine vinegar, adding some sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella for the goat cheese, using different fresh herbs, etc. I also served with with grilled whole wheat pita bread and Mediterranean Hummus. I plan on making this often during the long hot Southern summer!

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese


1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
3 cups chopped grilled chicken breast strips (such as Tyson) I used 1.5 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breasts that I put in a marinade of extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper and some lemon juice & some minced garlic
1 1/2 cups trimmed arugula I used baby spinach
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup prechopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano I used dried
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar I used 2.5 tbsp
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil I used 2 tbsp
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
I prepared the orzo using chicken broth instead of water


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

2. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

3. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups salad and 1 tablespoon cheese)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 295(23% from fat); FAT 7.7g (sat 2.9g,mono 2.8g,poly 1.1g); IRON 2.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 55mg; CALCIUM 40mg; CARBOHYDRATE 32.1g; SODIUM 788mg; PROTEIN 24.4g; FIBER 2g