Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pork Chops with Cranberry-Thyme Pan Sauce

This recipe was AWESOME! I loved it! Matt and I felt the need to change things up, and boneless pork chops seemed the way to go. But, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them...until I came across this epicurious recipe. I followed the recipe nearly exactly, although I did make a few adjustments, which I listed below:

* pork took longer to cook, because I some HUGE boneless chops!
* I used more wine and more cranberry sauce
* I used shallots instead of green onions

The pork came out perfectly and the sauce was amazingly delicious! I served this with cinnamon nutmeg apple slices and a mixed green salad.

For the apples, I sliced and peeled 2 medium sized apples. I placed in a small pot and added a touch of water. I simmered until softened, and added cinnamon and nutmeg as they cooked. I placed the apples on top of the pork, after I had spooned on the sauce.

For the salad, I tossed mixed greens with crumbled turkey bacon, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, and honey goat cheese. For the dressing, I combined a few tablespoons of cider vinegar, some apple cider, a tiny bit of honey, shallots, and some salt and pepper. I streamed in extra virgin olive oil, and voila!

Matt hates goat cheese, so I omitted it on his salad, and cooked up some brown rice for him as well, as he feared the meat and salad would not be enough.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

More Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Last time I made these, they weren't "pretty" so I tried to disguise them in my pictures by shooting from different angles and in not so great lighting. Here are some pics from round 2, and they came out much better looking, and still great tasting! Still not 100% in terms of the perfect whoppie pie look, but getting closer.

Also, this time I used the filling recipe from the recipe I posted last time, link here. It was a much better consistency to hold the pies together, but it was a little too sweet. I doubled the recipe to make 8 whoopie pies, and next time I would cut back on the sugar.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Steak & Cheese Sandwiches with Sweet Potato Chips

My husband looooves steak and cheese sandwiches, and I don't mind them either! But, we both know they are something we shouldn't really eat. I decided it might be a good idea to make them at home, that way I can control the ingredients and try to make it somewhat healthier. Here's what I did...

I browned one package of extra lean shaved steak over medium heat, adding salt and pepper as it cooked. I also sauteed sliced green peppers and white onions until soft. I prepared multigrain rolls by slicing across nearly all the way through.

Meanwhile,I began working on the sweet potato chips. I was going to make sweet potato fries, but once I came across this simple recipe in my Martha Stewart Living catalog, I couldn't resit. I sliced 2 sweet potatoes using my mandoline. Once sliced, I placed on two greased (with olive oil spray) baking sheets. I drizzled with the sliced potatoes with a little extra virgin olive oil, and then sprinkled with fresh black pepper, sea salt flakes, and dried rosemary. I baked for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. FYI - I switched the baking sheets to alternate racks half way through the baking, and it seemed to work well.

One the steak and veggies were cooked, I assembled the sandwiches. I placed the peppers and onions on the steak and topped with low fat cheese, and placed under the broiler to melt. I served along with the chips. Pretty tasty! And, while this meal is far from healthy, it is at least a better alternative than a sandwich from a sub shop!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Matt Makes Dinner

Earlier this afternoon, my husband called me to tell me he wanted to make dinner. I was all for it! He was planning to pick up some steak. Perfect! We hadn't had red meat in quite some time, so I was looking forward to a nice, juicy steak, and also a night off from scrubbing pots and pans and the like.

He did a nice job, after all, he is certainly not a gourmet. But, then again, neither am I. He chose a Delmonico steak (wouldn't have been my choice, too fatty, but it was good nonetheless), brown rice (he even cooked it in beef broth), and canned green beans (eehh, whatever).

Now, he only got one steak, but it was a HUGE, monsterous slab of beef! So, he asked me how much I wanted, and I replied with something like "well, not as much as you." He took that and ran with it, as you can see in the portion sizes below!!!



Oh how I love him! My silly, silly husband!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Last weekend I had the pleasure of having a pumpkin whoopie pie. I thought about that whoopie pie ALL WEEK LONG, and couldn’t wait to try and recreate the delectable treat myself! I searched for the perfect recipe, and settled on this recipe from allrecipes.com. I really didn’t make any changes, except for the filling. In terms of the actual batter, I don’t think I would change anything…they turned out great. I did use pancake/egg rings to get the exact, circular shape that I wanted, and that worked out really well. In the picture on the allrecipes website, it looks as though you could also spiral the batter onto a baking sheet using a pastry bag.

Because I wanted a lighter and not so sweet filling, I simply mixed whipping cream with a little Splenda in my mixer. I refrigerated for a few hours to stiffen it up and spread on the pies.

The pies were AMAZING! The consistency was perfect, they were dense and slightly chewy, just as a pumpkin dessert should be. And, I am glad I decided on the lighter filling, as it was the perfect subtle compliment to the pumpkin.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Crunchy Noodle Salad

Tonight, I made a recipe my husband requested after watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa. I served it as a side with grilled chicken, but probably would serve it with an additional side as well next time, as it didn’t quite work as the only side dish.

I followed the recipe (link here) nearly exactly, although I did cut the oil by 1/3 of a cup. Also, I didn’t end up using all of the dressing, and even with not using all of the dressing, I still felt there was too much of it on the salad. Some other substitutions/changes: I used wheat pasta, and light soy sauce in place of the regular varieties of each of those.

Not my favorite meal, but then again I am not the biggest peanut butter fan, so perhaps that was why. With less dressing and less of the salad itself, I would probably like it better. On the other hand, my husband did love it! But, he agreed that it would be best in smaller portions.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Vegetable and Tortellini Soup

Tonight I wandered into the kitchen wanting to make a soup, and ended up with a vegetable and tortellini soup based on what ingredients I had in the house. I didn’t necessarily keep track of what I did and how much of each ingredient I used, but I will try my best to recreate the process for you…

I started by dicing carrots and celery, and cubing fingerling potatoes. I parboiled the potatoes in a separate pot, and in the put in which I was creating the soup; I added the carrots and celery, along with a bay leaf, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I let the carrots and celery cook for about 5 minutes before adding one box of chicken stock, followed by the potatoes. Meanwhile, I boiled water for the tortellini and cooked those according to the directions on the package. I drained and set aside. After letting the vegetables cook for a few minutes, I added 1 ½ boxes of chicken broth, as well as a little bit of water (maybe ½ cup). I brought this to a boil and then simmered for about 15 minutes. After fifteen minutes, I brought the soup back to a boil and added mini bow tie pasta to the soup. With 6 minutes left on the timer, I added a handful of pastina pasta (small little star-shaped macaroni).

Before serving, I took out the bay leaf and added fresh parsley, fresh thyme, and the tortellini, stirring to combine. I served the soup with grated asiago cheese and crusty French baguette slices.

The dish was quite tasty and satisfied my autumn desire to have some homemade soup! My husband even found that this dish really held its own, despite the omission of meat.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chicken Picatta

This meal is one of the first I ever made. Also, it is the first meal my now husband and I ever made together, so it is special! Soon after I began making this meal, it became my go-to meal when I had company. Thankfully, I have increased my menu options when hosting a dinner party, but I still fall back on this tried but true favorite from time to time.

This Chicken Picatta is my mom’s recipe, and I have been making it for years. Over time, I have enhanced the recipe to what you see below.

Thin sliced boneless chicken breasts
1 large egg
½ cup flour (I use ¼ cup whole wheat, and ¼ cup all purpose)
Garlic powder
Fresh lemon juice
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup white wine

Beat egg with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mix, then flour mix. Brown in butter (I use Smart Balance Light, or sometimes just Pam, and it still browns just fine) in skillet. In a small pot, heat chicken broth, wine, and juice from ½ lemon until it boils. Pour broth mixture over the chicken breasts, add capers, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

I served this over lo-carb thin spaghetti and with a side of green beans.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Comfort Food - Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

My husband is a typical man. He grew up eating heavy, classic Italian dinners every Sunday. So, my rule of no starches really cramps his style! I wouldn’t say we never have starch, we actually have brown rice quite a bit, and occasionally we have whole wheat pasta…we just rarely have regular old pasta and almost never have potatoes. So, I decided to make him the ultimate comfort food meal, meatloaf with mashed potatoes. I used Emril’s recipe for Kicked Up Meatloaf, and made only a few minor adjustments. One, I omitted the veal, and simply added more beef and pork. Also, I omitted the peppers and celery from the mix recipe, and left off the bacon on the top.

Meatloaf is not my favorite meal, and certainly one I would not make if I could help it, but it was OK. My husband loved it, so I suppose it was worth it! And the potatoes, I must say, they tasted pretty darn good! Those were certainly a nice treat!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Buffalo Chicken Sausage with Wedge Salad

At the store earlier this week, I picked up some buffalo chicken sausage. I was excited to try it, as the many flavors of chicken sausage intrigue me so! I grilled the sausage, and served with a wedge salad and celery. For the salad, I wedged iceberg lettuce, and topped with light blue cheese dressing, crumbled turkey bacon, and sliced cherry tomatoes. I also served some celery sticks, and topped the buffalo sausage with crumbled blue cheese.

The sausage was OK. The taste was good, but the texture was a little strange. My husband and I are used to (and love) the Trader Joe’s variety of chicken sausage, but not this brand, which happened to be “Al Fresco.” Perhaps it was just this particular flavor? We’ll see if I give that brand another try…