Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day #88 - Ballpark Food

Today was Opening Day for the St. Louis Cardinals 2011 baseball season!  And in honor of America's pasttime, I wanted traditional stadium food - a hot dog.    I served up my jumbo beef dog with ketchup, pickle, and shredded Colby Jack cheese.   On the side I had a handful of Veggie Chips (EatSmart Naturals brand by Snyders).  And I washed it all down with a tall glass of Coke while I watched the game on TV.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day #87 - Beef Barley Soup

It's been a while since I've had one of my infamous "turn leftovers into soup" posts.   So that is exactly what you get tonight.    I made beef barley soup using last night's leftovers.

I started by bringing a couple cups of beef broth to a boil in a small pot.  I added some diced carrots, celery, and onion, and let the vegetables simmer and soften.  Then I stirred in a cup of last night's leftover barley risotto, added some pepper & dried herbs to taste, and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes.

Quick & easy!    And it made for a delicious, fragrant soup too - especially those mushrooms which absorbed the wine last night.  Delicious!!   (I actually think I enjoyed the soup more than the risotto...)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day #86 - Barley Risotto

Trying a new recipe tonight.  This one is for Barley Risotto with Ham & Mushrooms.   I found the recipe in the April 2011 edition of Food Network Magazine.

The recipe was pretty easy to follow.   Start by melting some butter in a skillet.  Add shallots and cook until soft (this was my first time using shallots).  Add barley and cook until toasted, then toss in sliced mushrooms, spices, and white wine.  I also threw in a couple stalks of asparagus that I had left in my fridge.   Add chicken broth and let simmer until most of the broth was absorbed, then stir in diced ham steak, grated parmesean cheese, and parsley.   I think the whole dish took me 30 minutes from start to finish.

The dish had great flavor, probably due to the wine and the mushrooms.   A nice, hardy, quick, comfort food.   And a good amount of protein and fiber with the barley and vegetables.  This recipe is a keeper!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day #85 - Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Tenders

Tonight's recipe was adapted from the Pampered Chef "29 Minutes to Dinner" cookbook.   I made crispy oven-baked chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, and a slaw/salad.

The original recipe for the chicken tenders (Crunchy Whole-Grain Chicken Bites) called for a mixture of crushed whole grain chips, dry ranch dressing mix, and paprika as the breading for the chicken.   Instead, I used Garden Salsa SunChips, BBQ seasoning, dried basil, and Parmesean cheese.   I took one large chicken breast, and cut it in fourths, lengthwise, making chicken tenders.  I dipped the tenders in egg white, and then coated with the chip mix.   Placed them on my stoneware baking pan, along with some frozen sweet potato fries.   Cooked them for 20 minutes, flipping halfway.

The slaw recipe was also adapted from this same Pampered Chef recipe.   I took baby carrots and julienned them, then cut a stalk of celery on a thin bias.   I also added in some thinly sliced green onion and julienned artichoke hearts.  And a handful of dried cranberries for some color and sweetness.   Instead of making a mayo, sour cream, and ranch dressing mixture from the recipe, I mixed my slaw with some Poppyseed dressing.

This whole dinner was close to 29 minutes.  I didn't actually time it.   But it was delicious!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day #84 - Taco Salad

Taco salad!   Mixed Greens, Romaine lettuce, red onion, green bell pepper, diced grilled steak, shredded Colby Jack cheese, crushed Garden Salsa SunChips, Thousand Island dressing, and black bean salsa.   Yummy!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day #83 - Pizza night

Saturday night - pizza & a movie.   I took a Totino's party pizza (Supreme flavor) and jazzed it up with a little diced red pepper, garlic salt, and black pepper.  Once it was cooked, I added some grated Parmesean cheese on top.

The salad was romaine lettuce, mixed greens, bell pepper, red onion, peanuts, and honey mustard dressing.

The perfect combination for a movie night while it snows outside.    Yes...snow in March!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day #82 - Shrimp Scampi

I have a couple boxes of Contessa brand Shrimp Scampi in my freezer, and figured I should give them a try. So I sauteed the shrimp with some broccoli florets, then tossed it all with some whole grain spaghetti. It was tasty!!

Blog Stats

I was looking through the blog statistics today.   In a couple short months, this blog has been viewed over 2,600 times!!   And, the viewership stretches around the world:

  • Australia
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I find that list of countries fascinating and rather exciting!   

Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day #81 - Grilled Cuban

Tonight I made Grilled Cuban Sandwiches - thin sliced pork (the leftover pork chop), deli ham, pickle slices, Swiss cheese, and mustard....grilled on whole wheat toast.   I blame the cats for distracting me and burning my sandwich.   A handful of Garden Salsa SunChips on the side, and some frozen mango chunks for dessert.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day #80 - Salsiccia Skillet Sautee

Tonight I made a one-post Salsiccia Skillet Sautee.  I started with a pound of ground salsiccia (Italian Sausage) and browned it in a large skillet.   I added in some diced red onion, asparagus, and green bell pepper, and seasoned it all with salt, pepper & garlic.   I let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes until the veggies were softening, then I dumped in a can of Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes.  Let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
I filled up a large soup bowl with the skillet sautee and stirred in some cooked rice.  Sprinkled a little grated Parmesan cheese on top.

I realize that the photo of my meal doesn't look too appetizing, so you get a bonus photo of the mixture cooking away in the skillet.  It's much more colorful:

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day #79 - Sesame-Soy Roasted Veggies with Steak

Let me just say that these were some of the best roasted veggies I've ever tasted, so I want to share the recipe with you.  (I wasn't measuring while I was cooking, so the amounts are estimated to the best that I can.)

Sesame-Soy Roasted Veggies:
1/2 soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 red onion
1 bunch of asparagus
1 yellow bell pepper
1 bunch broccoli
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil.  Take 1/4 cup of sauce mixture and reserve to the side.
Chop veggies into 2-inch pieces and add to medium mixing bowl.  Pour the remainder of the sauce over the veggies and toss until covered.  Spread veggies in a roasting pan or sided baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sesame seeds.   Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or until veggies are fully roasted.
Makes about 4 servings 

To go along with the veggies, I cooked up a steak.  I used a large sirloin steak, because it was on special the day I went grocery shopping.  (You can use any cut of steak, meat, or fish you prefer).   I heated up a grill pan on my stove with a little vegetable oil.   Seasoned the steak with a little Garlic & Peppercorn rub, and then grilled it on both sides.  Near the end of the cooking time, I poured the reserved sauce mixture over the steak and let it caramelize in the pan and on the steak.   I then let it sit and rest for about 5 minutes, while I reheated some of the leftover coconut cashew rice from last night.

These veggies were so good, I went back for seconds.  I could have eaten the entire pan of them.  I hope you enjoy them too!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day #78 - Caribbean-inspired Citrus Pork Chops

Tonight I created Caribbean-inspired Citrus Pork Chops, with a variety of sides.  This was not following any sort of recipe...just an idea in my head as a way to try and use grapefruit juice with the defrosted pork in my fridge.

First, I started by preparing a box mix of cornbread, and got that cooking in the oven.

Second, I peeled & chopped a sweet potato into large chunks, and steam cooked that in the microwave for approximately 6 minutes until fork tender.   I then drained the potato chunks and set aside.

Third, I made a Caribbean-citrus sauce for my pork - I took the juice of a grapefruit, added about 2 tablespoons of honey, a squirt of spicy mustard, a dash of Jamaican Jerk rub, and some grated fresh ginger.   I whisked that all together, and set it aside.

Fourth, I heated up some vegetable oil in a large skillet while I prepared my pork chops.  I sprinkled them with course sea salt, black pepper, and some more Jamaican Jerk rub.  When the skillet was ready, I added the pork chops and cooked about 2 minutes on each side until they were golden brown.  I then poured in the citrus sauce, and let it all cook together until the pork was cooked and the sauce had thickened. 

Once the pork was cooked, I pulled the chops out of the pan and put them on a plate to rest.   I added the sweet potato chunks to the skillet and tossed them a few times to coat in the thickened citrus-ginger glaze.

During the last couple minutes of this whole process, I took a package of Coconut Cashew Basmati Rice (a microwave quick-cook product that I found at Target), and cooked that for about 90 seconds.

Assembled the rice, pork chops, sweet potato, and cornbread on my plate, and topped with a few diced green onions for color.

....all this dinner needs is a pina colada and an island ;)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day #77 - Mega Sub

 Something about the warmer temperatures and sunshine today have put me in the mood for a picnic.  And the last thing I want right now is a bowl or hot soup or pasta, or to be "slaving away" in a hot kitchen.  So I made myself a mega sub sandwich - sourdough bread filled with mixed greens, 2 kinds of cheese (colby jack and swiss), 3 kinds of meat (turkey, ham, and roast beef), honey mustard dressing, and pickle relish.    Subway, eat your heart out!

A small handful of Fritos to go along with my sandwich, and a tall glass of peach iced tea to wash it all down.   For "dessert," I will be having a small bowl of Greek yogurt mixed with almond extract and frozen mixed berries.

It's like a summertime picnic.... in March..... in the bug-less comfort of my apartment!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day #76 - Reuben

Tonight I went out to dinner with my parents.  We went to Chris' Pancake House.  Since I didn't have the traditional corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, I ordered the Reuben Sandwich for dinner tonight :)  It was delicious!!!  So thick and full of ooey gooey cheese & sauerkraut & thousand island dressing.   And then to try and counteract the grease and fat, I got a fruit cup on the side instead of the fries.    Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day #75 - Pepper & Soy-Meat Spaghetti

Tonight I made spaghetti with roasted peppers and fake meat.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  Fake meat.  They are Boca brand Meatless Ground Crumbles.  I saw them in the grocery store and was curious, so I picked some up to try.   They are made from soy, and are low-calorie, low-fat, high-protein. 

While my whole grain spaghetti was boiling away in its pot, I heated up a skillet with some olive oil.  To the skillet I added a couple handfuls of frozen roasted bell peppers, and a handful of the soy crumbles.  I let those heat through, and then dumped in a half-can of veggie pasta sauce.   Added the cooked pasta, tossed to coat, then topped with a little fresh-grated Parmesean cheese.

Product review:  They were okay.   Yes, they had the appearance and texture of ground beef.   But they didn't taste like beef.  In fact, I don't think they had much taste at all.   But between the peppers and pasta sauce, there was enough flavor.  The soy crumbles were just an extra nutritional bonus.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day #74 - St. Patrick's Pasta

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Since I'm not having the traditional corned beef & cabbage supper for St. Pat's, I decided to make some green pasta.  I had some leftover sandwich filling from last night (diced ham, turkey, artichoke hearts, and spinach), so decided to put it to use.   While the whole wheat penne was cooking, I heated up some pesto sauce on the stovetop, and stirred in the spinach-artichoke mixture.   I drained the pasta (apparently no enough, as my pesto thinned out), mixed in the pesto-spinach-artichoke sauce, then tossed in some shredded Italian-blend cheeses.  I let that all cook together in the pot for a minute or two, then piled it up on my plate.  With another handful of cheese on top for good measure.   Served with a wedge of sourdough bread to mop up the sauce. 

Green and delicious. 


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day #73 - Spinach-Artichoke Monte Cristos

Trying a new recipe tonight!   I was sitting at work, trying to figure out what to have for dinner.  I navigated over to the Rachael Ray Show webpage, and clicked on Recipes.  One of the first recipes to appear was for Spinach-Artichoke Monte Cristo sandwiches.  Perfect!   Today, March 16th, is National Artichoke Hearts Day.  I bet you didn't know that (unless you follow me on Facebook).

The sandwich was delicious!  Ham, turkey, spinach, artichokes, cheese...grilled between thick slices of sourdough bread.   Served along with a small Caesar salad.
(I opted to use sharp White Cheddar cheese instead of buying gruyere, and I didn't dip my sandwich in egg.  So I guess mine wasn't a true Monte Cristo).

And, as much as I hate to admit this.... I set my smoke alarm off tonight making this dinner.  Crazy for that to happen on such a simple dinner.   I was heating my little skillet so I could toast my sandwich...and for whatever reason beyond me, I decided to put a pat of butter in the skillet instead of buttering my bread.  Well... that butter browned and smoked the instant it hit the skillet.  Ooops! Lesson learned.   And I had to wait for a 2nd skillet to heat up, but I didn't make the same mistake twice.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day #72

... I know what you are thinking. Here we go again, another salad.  Is this girl a rabbit?   Yes, another salad.  And no, I'm not a rabbit.  Although I do like jelly beans.   But sometimes, you just have to eat a lot of salads before the produce goes bad in the fridge.

Tonight's salad was made with romaine lettuce, yellow & green bell peppers, shredded Italian-blend cheese, sliced deli ham, roasted peanuts, dried cranberries, and poppyseed dressing.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day #71

Believe it or not, we had snow again today. Cold, thick, wet, slushy snow. Brrr. Perfect weather for comfort food. Tonight I was in the mood for chili. I knew I wouldn't be patient enough tonight to make chili from scratch, so I picked up a can of Campbells' Chunky roadhouse chili. I decided to jazz it up by cooking some elbow macaroni, and making chili mac :) A little shredded cheese on top, and dinner was served.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day #70

I've been so busy today, that I completely lost track of time. Before I knew it, it was already 5:30pm! So I threw together dinner:
Deli-thin roast beef, swiss cheese, & spicy mustard, between 2 slices of sourdough bread, then grilled to toasted perfection.
Served with veggie sticks, Fritos chips (a splurge purchase at the store), and a dipping sauce made from ranch dressing and corn & black bean salsa.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day #69

We've had some beautiful weather today, and I wanted to get out and enjoy it a little more.   So I took a little stroll down Hampton to Tommy's Good Eats and picked up some dinner.   "The Uncle Mike" (turkey, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, cranberry chutney on a brioche roll) and some seasoned homemade chips.   It was delicious!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day #68

Tilapia with mashed sweet potatoes...

I peeled & chopped a sweet potato into chunks, then cooked it in my microwave steamer for about 8 minutes until fork tender.  I then added a tiny bit of butter and a splash of milk, and mashed until fairly smooth.

At the same time, I heated up a small skillet on the stove with a little pepper olive oil.   To the skillet, I sauteed a tilapia filet and some frozen stir fry veggies.  I seasoned that mixture with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper spice. 

It all came together quickly and easily....which is great on a Friday evening!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day #67

Chicken, cheese & rice.   I took a chicken breast and cut it horizontally across the breast, butterflying it so I had 2 thin halves.  I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, then cooked it in a skillet with a little olive oil, until the chicken had a nice brown sear on the outside and the chicken was cooked through.   (It cooked much faster since it was so thin.)    I served the chicken on a bed of leftover cheddar rice, and topped it with a little Gorgonzola cheese and some more dried Italian seasoning mix.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day #66

It wasn't until I was heading to bed that I realized I never posted my dinner!  Sorry to all my followers!

Today was a gloomy, overcast, rainy day.  And gloomy, overcast, rainy days make me crave comfort foods...such as grilled cheese and tomato soup.   But I didn't want a sandwich.   Instead, I made a loaded 4-cheese quesadilla - 2 whole grain tortillas stuffed with swiss, provolone, colby jack, and gorgonzola cheeses.   Microwaved for 1-2 minutes, and it was an ooey, gooey, cheesy, mess!  It paired nicely with my Campbell's tomato soup.   Also with dinner, I had a small bowl of mixed berries (not pictured).   I needed something healthy to balance out all that cheese!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day #65

Happy Mardi Gras!  In celebration of Fat Tuesday, I cooked up a T.G.I.Fridays frozen skillet dinner - Cajun Alfredo with Chicken & Shrimp.  It seemed appropriate for Mardi Gras :-)      To go along with the pasta, I served up a small Caesar salad and an everything bagel sandwich round.

For dessert, I heated up a Pillsbury Sweet Moments molten lava brownie, topped it with a small scoop of ice cream, and some Mardi Gras purple & gold sprinkles!  Oooey gooey chocolatey goodness :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day #64

Tonight's dinner was supplied by Sara, one of my awesome co-workers.  She brought me a "doggy bag" from a dinner she made recently.  It was 2 wedges of cooked polenta, with a topping mixture of salsiccia, white cannellini beans, tomatoes, and onions.   I placed the polenta wedges in a sautee pan with a little olive oil, and "fried" them until the outside was browned.  I  re-heated the rest of the mixture in the microwave, then spooned it atop the polenta.  To add some more color to my plate, I made a small salad of mixed greens, dried cranberries, gorgonzola cheese, and a balsamic vinegar drizzle.

Speaking of co-workers, I had the pleasure of cooking lunch for my whole office today.   I cooked the Potato Tot-Topped Shepherd's Pie (Rachael Ray) that I tried back on Day #43.   The smells permeated the office as it cooked, and I think everyone was glad when lunchtime arrived so they could eat.  To go with the meal, we had a tossed garden salad and some handmade bread (baked by my manager).
(organizing my ingredients)

(everything cooking and bubbling on the stove)

Time to eat!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day #63

Tonight for dinner, I'm having nachos.  But not just any ordinary nachos - these are gourmet nachos.  I started by taking 2 whole wheat soft tortillas and cut them into 8 wedges each.  I sprayed a baking sheet with a butter cooking spray, spread out the tortilla wedges, sprinkled them with a mix of spices (Chipotle rub, Southwestern Seasoning, and Jamaican Jerk rub - all Pampered Chef) - then baked them in a 325-degree oven for about 15 minutes until crispy.   I let them cool on the baking rack for another 5-10 minutes.

I had a small piece of leftover Ginger-Citrus Glazed Pork from earlier last week, so I diced that up, grated a little fresh ginger on top, and reheated it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to take off the chill.

I put the baked tortilla chips on a dinner plate, topped it with the diced pork, added some shredded cheddar cheese and a little black bean salsa - microwaved that for 30 seconds until the cheese melted.  I topped it with a little shredded mixed field greens, diced green onion, and a dollop of tangy Greek yogurt.

These were some of the most delicious nachos I've ever had.  The baked whole grain tortilla chips had a nice grainy crunch.  And the combination of the ginger, black bean salsa, and various spices gave the nachos a more Jamaican/Caribbean flair instead of a Mexican one.

Makes me wish I had more of that pork so I could make another helping....

After eating the nachos, I had a craving for something a little sweet and fruity, so I made some Microwave Peach Cobbler:

I started by putting a handful of frozen peach slices into a bowl and microwaving them for 45 seconds to start thawing.   To the bowl, I then added about a tablespoon of quick cooking oats, a teaspoon of brown sugar, a dash of milk, a dash of pure vanilla extract, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.   Mixed it all together, and microwaved for about another minute & a half, stirring occasionally.  Topped with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream.   Quick, simple, and satisfied my sweet craving.  Plus I get a serving of fruit :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day #62

Tonight I am going bowling with friends. I decided to leave home a little early & treat myself to dinner out.  So here I am, blogging from Panera Bread.  I haven't had their food in a few months, and it tastes better than I remembered.
I ordered two of my favorites: French Onion Soup & the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. Delicious!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day #61

Tonight I tried a new product.  This was Betty Crocker's new Whole Grain Chicken Helper -- Honey Mustard chicken with whole grain rice pilaf. All I had to do was add in the chicken. I did toss in some frozen broccoli and peas as well, to add more vegetables. But the whole dish was easy to cook and tasted delicious. Rather brainless for a Friday night.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day #60

Happy 2- month Anniversary to my Project :)

Tonight I was looking for something quick and easy to put together, so I cooked a chicken breast fillet and some sweet potato fries in the oven. Served the chicken breast on an Everything Bagel Sandwich Thin with some BBQ sauce, provolone cheese, and mixed greens. The sweet potato fries are a little overdone, because I was talking to my cousin on the phone while cooking and lost track of the oven timer.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day #59

Asian-inspired Pork Wrap:
I took a whole grain tortilla, spread half of it with a thin layer of leftover Butternut Squash risotto (from a few nights ago).  Added a few slices of last night's Orange-Ginger Pork Tenderloin, some steamed stir fry veggies (carrots, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and broccoli), a sprig of green onion, and a drizzle of soy sauce.   Served with a fresh pear.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day #58

Tonight's dinner was Orange-Ginger Pork Tenderloin.  This is the 1st recipe I've created from my new Williams-Sonoma "Cooking At Home" book.   A pork tenderloin, marinated overnight in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, orange juice concentrate, fresh ginger, and spices.  Grilled, then glazed with an orange-ginger-molasses sauce.   The flavor combination was delicious!  Sweet and spicy and tangy.   I served the pork with brown rice and steamed stir fry veggies.
(One thing that wasn't in the recipe - as the pork was resting, I added a splash of beef stock to my grill pan and deglazed the pan with all the juices and basting sauces.  It made a delicious sauce to drip over my pork, rice, and veggies.)

This is a recipe I will earmark to make again in the future!!