Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day #179 - Tangy Island Pork

This is a sweet and tangy Island-inspired pork dish, with pineapple and peppers, served over Orzo Pasta.   I kept track of the ingredients and cooking times I used on this dish, and will type up the recipe for you soon. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day #178 - Balsamic Wine Chicken

I cooked tonight!  Shocking, I know!

This morning before work, I put a chicken breast in a ziploc baggie with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.   I placed the chicken in the fridge and let it marinate throughout the day.

When I got home from work, I took the chicken out of the fridge and browned it on both sides in a saute pan with a little olive oil.   Once both sides were browned, I added a splash of water and a couple splashes of semi-dry white wine to deglaze the pan, covered with a lid, and let simmer until the chicken breast was fully cooked.

I also cooked a package of Knorr's Pasta Sides; the Parmesean noodle variety.   I tossed in a handful of frozen peas to the pasta.

I took my small plate and added a couple large spoonfuls of pasta.  Sliced my chicken breast and placed it on top, then sprinkled it with a little crushed black pepper and dried herbs.  My attempt at a fancy presentation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day #177 - Turkey Royale sandwich

I picked up dinner on my way home from work tonight.   This sandwich is called the Turkey Royale.  Turkey, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and cranberry spread on a brioche roll [from Tommy's Sandwich Shop].   And locally made potato chips [from the Billy Goat Chip Company].

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day #176 - Maranara Shells

Tonight was another basic dinner.   Can you tell it's summer and I am too hot and tired to cook when I get home??

I cooked some whole grain mini shell pasta, and mixed it with veggie pasta sauce.  With some grated parmesean cheese on top.  Nothing fancy.   But it was good!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day #175 - Burger

The last time I bought a large package of ground beef, I shaped some into hamburger patties to stock my freezer.  I took some round Ziploc containers, lined them with plastic wrap, then formed the hamburger patty in the bottom.  Wrapped tightly with plastic wrap, sealed, and tossed in the freezer.   Then when I was in the mood for a burger, I could just pull out one Ziploc container, thaw it, and I have a pre-formed patty.   Which is what I did tonight.

I started by sauteeing some onion slices in olive oil in a small skillet.  Once I removed the onions, I added the defrosted burger patty and pan-cooked until done.   I served the burger with the sauteed onions, BBQ sauce, swiss cheese, and romaine lettuce on a whole grain Sandwich round bun.   With my burger I had a handful of SunChips, and some frozen peach sorbet for dessert.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day #174 - Tuna & Tomato

Tuna salad and tomatoes.  A nice, simple, summer comfort food.

The tuna salad consists of tuna, mayonnaise, pickle relish, garlic salt, and diced romaine lettuce.   I seasoned the tomato slices with a little sea salt, topped it with the tuna salad, and sprinkled some crushed black pepper.  Yuumm! 

Along with this simple dinner I had some crackers and sliced pear (not pictured).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day #173 - Leftovers

Finally finished the last tupperware of Mexican Mac & Cheese.  That recipe lasted me several meals!  Tonight I reheated the mac & cheese with a little extra cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, and some black bean & corn salsa. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Days #171 & 172 - Picnic and Quinoa Salad

Yesterday (Wednesday June 22nd) was the first Wednesday night performance of the Muny Opera's summer season.  The Muny is an outdoor, open-air theater here in St. Louis.   Each summer they put on seven musicals, one week per show.   In celebration of the opening show (which was Legally Blonde), we had a Girls Only picnic in the park before the show: me, my mom, grandma, two aunts, and two cousins.   Picnic dinner consisted of hot sandwiches on hoagie rolls, fruit salad, pretzel bites, and a cookie bar for dessert.

Sorry for not posting this last night, but I didn't get home from the show until 11:30pm, and didn't get around to posting until tonight.

Tonight I prepared a quick and light dinner.  I took some precooked quinoa, and tossed it with chopped romaine lettuce, tomato, onion, Kalamata olives, and a red wine vinaigrette.  A handful of Saltine crackers on the side to add some crunch, as well as help scoop up the salad and soak up the dressing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day #170 - BLT Salad

Tonight I threw together a BLT Salad.  Romaine lettuce, baby spinach, tomato, cucumber, diced ham, shredded cheddar cheese, ranch dressing...and BACON!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day #169 - Beef Tenderloin with Apricot and Olives

Tonight I tried a new recipe that I found on 

Beef Tenderloin with Apricot and Olives -

The description from the recipe site calls it "Tender chunks of beef tossed in a deliciously tangy sweet sauce."   I served it over a bed of orzo pasta.

My notes:  My beef didn't brown up very nicely, which is obvious by the icky-colored photo.   Also, I didn't cook down my sauce long enough so it was still a little thin and runny.   But the flavors were good.  I liked the bite of the garlic and olives against the sweetness of the apricot preserves.  I would try this recipe again.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day #168 - Father's Day Pizza

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! 

Tonight I ate dinner with my parents.  We ordered Papa John's pizza - some sort of meat lover's pizza with sausage, canadian bacon, and pepperoni.   To accompany the pizza, we had SunChips and a tossed salad - romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, ham, broccoli, shredded provolone cheese, and croutons.  I tried a chocolate fig balsamic vinaigrette dressing with my salad.  It had a nice sweet taste from the figs & chocolate, but not overpoweringly sweet. It was delicious! 

Dessert was an apple pie pastry "pizza," also from Papa John's, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day #167 - Sweet & Savory Waffles

Tonight, waffles appealed to me.   In order to make it "dinner appropriate," I started by making a whole grain Belgian waffle.  In a small skillet, I sauteed diced deli ham, red apple, and chopped pecan chips seasoned with a dash of cinnamon & nutmeg.   When the waffle was ready, I topped it with a thin layer of sharp shredded Cheddar cheese, the ham & apple mix, then another sprinkle of cheese.   The sweet and savory combination worked with the grainy waffle, and was a satisfying dinner.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day #166 - Gorgonzola Pear Spinach Salad

Tonight I am revisiting one of my favorite salads, with a slight twist.    As I know I've said before, I love the combination of Gorgonzola cheese and pears on a salad.    In an attempt to change it up a bit for the blog, I used baby spinach leaves instead of romaine lettuce.   I also made a red wine vinaigrette dressing instead of balsamic.

Gorgonzola Pear Spinach Salad (serves 1)

1 cup baby spinach leaves
3 slices deli ham, chopped
1/2 pear, any variety, diced
1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese
small handful chopped walnuts
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, whisked together with 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
black pepper

Layer the spinach, ham, pear, and cheese on a small dinner plate.  Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, top with walnuts, and season with black pepper if desired.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day #165 - B.L.T.

 Ahhh...summertime.   When produce is coming in season.   Tonight I had my B.L.T. of the summer - 2 slices of toasted whole grain bread, a little light mayo, romaine lettuce, a juicy tomato, and 4 strips of bacon.    I love a good BLT!

With the sandwich I cooked up a few sweet potato fries.  I also made a light "salad" of cubed watermelon & cucumber with a balsamic vinegar drizzle.  The combination of sweet and tangy was a light and refreshing accompaniment to the sandwich.  I'm not sure where I got the idea of pairing those ingredients, but it sounded good while I was on the ride home from work.   The watermelon was perfectly sweet and juicy!!  My first slices of watermelon for this summer. I had another wedge for an evening snack.

This meal was summertime on a plate!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day #164 - Mexican Mac & Cheese

I got this recipe from my friend, Sandi.   She found it in a magazine in a waiting room, but doesn't remember which one.  Here is the recipe:

12 oz dried mostaccioli or rigatoni pasta
1 lb bulk pork sausage (I used Mexican seasoned sausage)
1 cup chopped onion
1 16 oz jar green medium-hot salsa
2 8-9z pkg. shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 cups)- I used Mexican four cheese blend
tomato wedges, sliced jalapeno peppers, and chopped fresh cilantro
salsa (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 3-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in large skillet cook sausage and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat. Return sausage and onion to skillet. Stir in green salsa.
3. In prepared baking dish layer half of the cooked pasta, half the sausage mixture, and half the cheese. Repeat layers.
4. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Top with tomato, jalapeno, and cilantro. If desired, serve with additional salsa. Makes 12 servings.

I cut the recipe in half, and used small whole grain shells pasta instead of mostaccioli.   I also used a combination of ground beef and ground chorizo.  Topped mine with diced tomato and cilantro.   This was a very easy recipe to make, and tasted great.  One that I would make again!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day #163 - Quinoa Spinach Salad

Another salad night!

This one is baby spinach, cooked quinoa, diced yellow onion, chopped red tomato, chopped ham, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day #162 - Orange Chicken

Tonight I overheard a conversation on the bus about Chinese food. And darned if it didn't put me in the mood for Chinese!   I dug through my freezer and found a bag of PF Changs' Orange Chicken.  Along with the breaded chicken and orange sauce, it also contained carrots, water chestnuts, and edamame. I threw that into a skillet and let it cook.  With my orange chicken, I also made some whole grain quinoa, instead of rice.
Very delicious, and satisfied my Chinese craving.

Day #161 - Pizza Night

My apologies. I forgot to post last night. I got involved in watching the Tony Awards, and completely forgot about my blog until the computer was turned off and I was in bed.

Tonight for dinner, I cooked up a frozen pepperoni pizza, and made a small side salad to eat with it.   With my pizza dinner, I plopped in front of my computer to watch the Tony Awards red carpet webcast, followed by the actual ceremony on TV. 

It was a very low-key, relaxing dinner and evening.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day #160 - Sweet Pepper Burger

Tonight I wanted to use the leftover burger patty from Wednesday night.  I reheated it in the microwave, then topped it with a little sweet red pepper sauce.  Served on a whole grain sandwich round with leafy green lettuce and swiss cheese, with baby carrots, cucumber wedges, and Cheese-its on the side.

The sweet red pepper sauce has a slight kick to it. Well, I completely forgot that I made these burger patties with the Cocoa Chipotle rub inside.  WOW some bites of the burger had a lot bigger spice kick than I would have liked.  Ooops!  I'm glad I had the cucumber slices to cool down my mouth.  Next time, I should probably label my leftovers so I remember what they included.  Lesson learned!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day #159 - BBQ and Sausage Roll-Ups

You get two meals today for the price of one!!

Today was our first summer bar-be-que at my office. We have them monthly each June, July and August. Today's menu consisted of BBQ smoked ribs, chicken breasts, and hot dogs, a tomato & cucumber Balsamic salad, Gorgonzola Snap Pea Potato Salad (which I made), an assortment of chips, and Klondike bars for dessert:

The potato salad recipe came from one of my favorite food/recipe blogs: Coconut & Lime.
Rachel (the blog author) posted a recipe for Gorgonzola Garlic Chive Pea Shoot Potato Salad  on Monday, and after mentioning it to my manager, he suggested I make it for the bar-be-que. Instead of using the pea shoot greens in the recipe, I substituted sugar snap peas, which I cut into forths. They added a nice sweet crunch to the potato salad! Everyone I talked to really enjoyed this salad, and it is one I would recommend you try for your own picnics and bar-be-ques this summer!

After that large lunch, I didn't end up eating supper until later this evening.   I took a pre-cooked cheddar beef sausage, sliced it in half lengthwise, and rolled each one in half of a whole-grain tortilla with some BBQ sauce, pickle relish, and swiss cheese.   I guess they would be mock pigs-in-the-blankets? 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day #158 - Caesar Pasta Salad

Tonight I made a summery Caesar pasta salad for dinner.

In a medium pot, I brought 1/4 box of Cavatappi pasta to a boil, and cooked until al dente.

While the pasta was cooking, I chopped up 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup diced carrots, 1/2 cup cucumber, 1 cup romaine lettuce, and 1 cup deli turkey breast.  I tossed everything (except the lettuce) in a medium mixing bowl, along with a couple tablespoons of Caesar dressing (enough to coat).   I mixed well, then set aside to let the flavors "marry" while the pasta finished cooking and cooling.

Once the pasta was cooked, I drained it, then tossed the noodles with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.  I set this aside until cool.   After fully cooled, I tossed in the turkey & vegetables, the shredded romaine lettuce, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesean cheese.   Seasoned with salt, pepper, and additional Caesar dressing (it was a little dry). 

It was a nice light dinner, perfect for a warm summer evening.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day #157 - Burgers

Tonight I made some burgers for dinner.  No, I didn't fire up a grill outside - it's too hot, and I don't own an outdoor grill.   These were made in a skillet on my stovetop.

I took the pack of ground beef and seasoned the meat with a little salt, pepper, and the Cocoa Chipotle rub.   Formed it into large thin patties, and cooked them in the skillet until browned on both sides.  Instead of a regular bun, I used a Sandwich Thin. And I topped my burger with lettuce, swiss cheese, pickle relish, and BBQ sauce.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day #156 - Chicken Orzo Skillet

Tonight I created this easy one-skillet meal.

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium bell pepper (I used 1/2 yellow and 1/2 green)
1 cup grape tomatoes.
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups chicken broth (or stock)
Splash of white wine (optional)
1/2 cup Orzo Pasta
1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesean Cheese
Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic
Salt, Pepper, and dried herbs, to taste

1)  In large skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.   Once heated, use a garlic press to add the garlic to the oil.   Let cook down for about a minute, then add in chicken breast chunks. Cook chicken over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
2) While chicken is cooking, chop the bell pepper into half-inch chunks.  Once chicken is cooked, add bell pepper and frozen peas.  Sautee together until peas are thawed and peppers start to tenderize, about 2-3 minutes.
3)  Once vegetables are tender, cut the grape tomatoes in half and add to skillet along with chicken stock, splash of wine (if desired), and orzo pasta.  Stir together,.
4) Raise heat to high, and bring skillet mix to a light boil.   Once boiling, cover and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked and the majority of the liquid has been absorbed.   Stir in both cheeses, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and dried herbs.

The dish was very creamy, almost a risotto consistency.    The white wine added a subtle richness to the dish, but it could easily be omitted.   The best part was only having one main dish to wash!

Day # 155 - Cheddar Beef Sausages

Finally able to post the picture!!

Tonight's dinner consisted of:
Cheddar Beef Sausages, served on a hot dog bun with shredded cheddar cheese, spicy brown mustard, and pickle relish
Garden salad, made from romaine lettuce, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, grape tomatoes, peanuts, and Balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Pita Chips

It felt like summertime, complete with the heat wave here in St. Louis. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Days #153-154 - Catching Up

So sorry about the skipped posts!!   As you read in Friday night's post, I was away for the weekend on a scrapbooking "retreat" with some friends.   So my blog posting routine was all out of whack.

Here is how the rest of my weekend meals turned out:

Saturday Lunch - dining out at Ruby Tuesday.  Grilled Chicken Sandwich, topped with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and avocado slices.   Served with sweet potato fries.

Saturday Dinner - pizza.  None of us wanted to stop our scrapbooking and go out for dinner, so we called in for pizza.   The picture is of the cheese pizza, but I actually devoured a slice of veggie supreme without snapping a photo first.   

Sunday Lunch - Subway. My friend Lei and I stopped at a Subway for lunch on the way to the airport. I ordered the Cold Cut Combo on whole wheat, with lettuce, tomato, green pepper, cucumbers, Provolone cheese, and honey mustard dressing.  With a bag of cheddar SunChips on the side.   Again, I ate my whole lunch before I thought to take a picture.

Sunday Dinner - Veggies.    After all the junk food, fat, grease, carbs, and unhealthy food from the weekend, my body must have been craving vegetables!  By the time I got home from the airport at 7pm, all that sounded good was a large pile of veggie sticks with some cool Ranch dressing.

Whew that's a lot of junk.  Time to get back on track, both with my eating and my nightly blogging :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day #152 - Mexican

I went out of town for the weekend with some scrapbooking friends.    Tonight we went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, and thankfully I had 11 other ladies to remind me to take a photo for the blog!

I ordered a Fajita Quesadilla.   A large flour tortilla, loaded with seasoned chicken and queso cheese, served with a side of sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, and Mexican rice.   The chicken had a delicious seasoning, and I liked that it was small chunks of chicken instead of shredded chicken.  The cheese was melty, and the tortilla was crispy.  It was very delicious....and filling!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day #151 - Turkey Omelet

Tonight I cooked up an omelet for dinner.   I sauteed up some frozen green peas, green bell pepper, and diced turkey breast along with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, chive, and tarragon.   When sauteed, I removed the mix from my sautee pan, added a little more olive oil, then cooked my eggs until set.  Covered the omelet with shredded cheddar cheese, added the sauteed mix back in, and folded the omelet in half.   Served a large chunk of herb baguette to help push the filling back into the omelet as I ate.   Breakfast for dinner!

Day #150 - Honey Mustard Salad

So sorry I'm posting this a day late!!   I was out last night and didn't get home to post until after 10:00pm, so I chose to sleep instead of blog.

Last night, I needed something light and healthy to eat.  Which translates to salad.   Romaine lettuce, celery, green pepper, turkey breast, cheddar cheese, chopped walnuts, and a honey mustard dressing.  It satisfied me enough without filling me up, and was a "light" option, considering what the rest of my evening had in store...

A Dove Chocolate Discoveries tasting party!!    Yes, an entire party dedicated to delicious chocolate products.   We sampled chocolate-covered blueberries, cinnamon chocolate almonds, mini peanut butter chocolate baking cups, chocolate martinis, dark chocolate mousse, milk chocolate fondue, and Lil'Smokies cooked in chocolate BBQ sauce.   It was chocolatey heaven.   Here are a couple photos from the night:

(chocolate martini)

(chocolate BBQ Lil'Smokies and chocolate fondue)