Sunday, March 30, 2014

Seared Tuna Niçoise

So D made this with the "taking one for the team," because he knew I would like it.  He was right.  I did.  He thought it was eh.    I would have again.  Him, he would be nice probably and do it.

It was like a deconstructed salad, which is why I enjoyed it.

Seared Tuna Niçoise

Photo by ALB

This flavor-packed dish combines tuna, hard boiled eggs, potatoes, and lots of veggies.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 ounces tuna, 3 egg slices, 1/3 cup potatoes, 1/4 cup beans, and 2 tablespoons tomato mixture)

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups quartered small red potatoes
1 cup haricots verts, trimmed
Cooking spray
2 (6-ounce) tuna steaks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup pitted and quartered niçoise olives (didn't use)

1. Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 1 inch above eggs. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 minutes. Drain; cool in ice water 5 minutes. Peel eggs; cut each egg into 4 slices.

2. Place potatoes in pan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 12 minutes. Add beans, and cook 3 minutes. Drain; plunge beans into ice water for 1 minute. Drain well.

3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle tuna with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add tuna to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cut thinly across the grain.

4. Combine remaining salt, oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add tomatoes and olives; toss. Divide eggs, potatoes, beans, and tuna among 4 plates; top with tomato mixture.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 311; Fat: 14.7g; Saturated fat: 2.6g; Monounsaturated fat: 9.4g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2g; Protein: 25.7g; Carbohydrate: 16.8g; Fiber: 2.4g; Cholesterol: 175mg; Iron: 2.7mg; Sodium: 596mg; Calcium: 68mg

Cooking Light AUGUST 2012

Monday, March 24, 2014

Baked Spaghetti Recipe

This is a recipe in progress.  When I first saw it on Pinterest it looked good provided some changes were made.  First we made it 8 servings instead of 12.  And then added, substituted and omitted some things.

Overall it was good.  It needed a little more salt although D said he added salt everywhere.  He also mentioned not to cook the spaghetti all the way.  Next time we think maybe we'll add an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce.

Photo by ALB

But we would have again.

Baked Spaghetti Recipe

Adapted from Taste of Home
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 30 min.
MAKES: 8 servings

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon butter (didn't use)
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained (didn't use)
Added 8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
Added 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained (didn't use)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained, optional (used 93/7)
12 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained (don't cook all the way)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (used 98% fat free)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Photo by ALB
In a large skillet, saute onion and green pepper in butter until tender. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, oregano and, if desired, ground beef, and garlic. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Place half of the spaghetti in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Layer with half of the vegetable mixture and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Repeat layers.

In a small bowl, combine soup and water until smooth; pour over casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional Information (based on my changes)
Calories 454; Total Fat 17 g; Saturated Fat 9 g; Monounsaturated Fat 3 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 80 g; Sodium 511 mg; Potassium 312 mg; Total Carbohydrate 42 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 5 g; Protein 32 g

Ingredients used to Calculate Nutritional Information
1.0 cup(s) Onion Raw Chopped 1/2 Cup, Generic: Calories: 68
1.0 cup(s) Diced Green Pepper, Raw: Calories: 32
28.0 oz(s) Diced Peeled Tomatoes In Juice, (Aldi): Calories: 146
8.0 oz(s) White Sliced Mushrooms 8 oz (226 G), Fresh Selections: Calories: 53
2.0 tsp(s) Spices - Oregano, dried: Calories: 6
1.0 lb(s) Lean Ground Beef (93/7), All Natural: Calories: 948
12.0 oz(s) Spaghetti, Kroger: Calories: 1202
2.0 cup(s) Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese: Calories: 880
1.0 container (1 3/10 cup (120ml) ea.) 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup, Campbell's (on Label): Calories: 175
0.25 cup(s) Water - Municipal: Calories: 0
0.25 cup(s) Cheese - Parmesan, grated: Calories: 108
3.0 clove Garlic - Raw: Calories: 13

Kong Bao Ji Ding (Diced Chicken and Peanuts Sauteed with Dried Chiles)

I think I liked this one better than D.  But that's because I only had to eat it, and he had to make it.  He said seeding the chiles was kind of a pain. We had the chiles from when D made 7 Chile Chili.

Still there was a lot of flavor despite having issues of finding ingredients (we used all the "or" ingredients).

I would have again.  We had with broccoli and rice.

Kong Bao Ji Ding (Diced Chicken and Peanuts Sauteed with Dried Chiles)

Photo by ALB

This Sichuan dish—often better known by its Americanized name "kung pao chicken"—is only moderately spicy.


1 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. soy sauce
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3 tbsp. shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. chicken stock
4 tsp. chiangang (Chinese black vinegar) or balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
2 tsp. Chinese dark soy sauce
3 tbsp. peanut oil
12 dried hot red chiles, stemmed, halved crosswise, and seeded (I believe we used arbol)
5 scallions, white part only, thickly sliced crosswise
1 large clove garlic, peeled, ends trimmed off, and thinly sliced
1/2" piece ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup shelled raw skinless peanuts

1. Mix together cornstarch and 1 tbsp. of the soy sauce in a medium bowl, add chicken, toss well, and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining 3 tbsp. soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, stock, vinegar, sesame oil, and dark soy sauce. Set aside.

2. Heat peanut oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add chiles, half the scallions, garlic, ginger, and chicken and stir-fry until chicken is golden, 3-5 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and stir-fry until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in peanuts. Garnish with remaining scallions.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Garlicky Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Spinach

Grilled Cheese with Bacon.  Nothing could be wrong with that one.  Will have again with fries.

Garlicky Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Spinach

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 sandwich)

1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 cups baby spinach leaves
4 cups baby arugula leaves
4 center-cut bacon slices, halved
8 (1-ounce) rustic Italian bread slices
2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
2 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add spinach and arugula; stir until wilted. Remove spinach mixture from pan. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook until crisp. Remove bacon.

2. Top 4 bread slices evenly with cheeses, bacon pieces, spinach mixture, and the remaining 4 bread slices.

3. Heat pan over medium heat. Add sandwiches to drippings in pan; weigh down with a plate. Cook 2 minutes on each side.

Nutritional Information 
Calories: 300; Fat: 11.9g; Saturated fat: 5.8g; Monounsaturated fat: 2.8g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2g; Protein: 16g; Carbohydrate: 33g; Fiber: 3g; Cholesterol: 32mg; Iron: 3mg; Sodium: 716mg; Calcium: 279mg

Cooking Light APRIL 2014

Skillet Cajun Spiced Flounder with Tomatoes

I saw this recipe and wasn't totally sure if D would try it but he said ok.

He said it was really easy.  He thought about making it with canned diced tomatoes to make it more "stewy" but the tomatoes did break down.  He said the one thing he would do, is season the fish rather than lay them in the pans.  We would have a gain.

We had with rice.  Next time we will aslo add a vegetable.

Skillet Cajun Spiced Flounder with Tomatoes

Servings: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1 fillet
Old Points: 4 pts
Points+: 5 pts

Photo by ALB

1 tsp olive oil
4 (6 oz) pieces flounder fillets (or any white fish such as tilapia)
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
2 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp Cajun spice seasoning

In a deep skillet, cook onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat for a few minutes until soft. Add tomatoes, peppers and spices, stir and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 2-3 minutes.

Lay fish fillets in the sauce, cover and cook on medium-low until fish flakes easily, approx 12-15. To serve, place fish on plate and spoon sauce on top. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 205.8; Fat: 3.8 g; Protein: 33.2 g; Carb: 10.2 g; Fiber: 2.0 g; Sugar: 0.6 g; Sodium: 341 mg

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spicy Nacho Bake

So if D and I made this whole recipe we'd be eating Spicy Nacho Bake for years (well, not really). However we noticed it would be pretty easy to half. And in a pan that big without a side, we would knock it down to 8 servings.

D and I made this together. The actual prep was very fast. The cooking/baking time was what took so long. Next time I think we'll use taco seasoning with salt. It needed a little more. Or maybe add some Penzey's Southwest seasoning.

I would have again.

Spicy Nacho Bake

Photo by ALB
Yield: 2 casseroles (15 servings each)- we halved the recipe and got 8 servings
Prep: 1 hour Bake: 20 min.

2 pounds ground turkey or beef (we used beef)
2 large onions, chopped
2 large green peppers, chopped
2 cans (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (16 ounces each) hot chili beans, undrained
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (11 ounces each) whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
2 envelopes taco seasoning
2 packages (13 ounces each) spicy nacho-flavored tortilla chips (we used about 10 oz)
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Photo by ALB

In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onions and green peppers over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes (mixture will be thin...ours was not).

In each of two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dishes, layer 5 cups of chips and 4-2/3 cups of meat mixture. Repeat layers. Top each with 4 cups of chips and 2 cups of cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Taste of Home 2014

Nutritional Information for 8 servings
Calories: 564; Carbs: 56; Fat: 25; Proteing: 30; Sodium: 1479; Fiber: 10

Ingredients used
Aldi - Ground Beef - 93% Lean, 7% Fat, 16 oz: 680 calories
Onions - Raw, 1 large: 63 calories
Peppers - Sweet, green, raw, 1 large (2-1/4 per lb, approx 3-3/4" long, 3" dia): 33 calories
Happy Harvest - Diced Tomatoes, 2 container (1 4/5 cups ea.): 175 calories
Aldi Dakota's - Mild Chili Beans, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.): 420 calories
Aldi Dakota's Pride - Black Beans, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.): 350 calories
Corn - Whole Kernel, Canned, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.): 210 calories
(Aldi) Happy Harvest - Tomato Sauce, 1 container (9/10 cup ea.): 70 calories
Old Elpaso - Taco Seasoning, 1 container (1 of package ea.): 90 calories
Doritos - Spicy Nacho, 11 oz (28.3 g): 1,540 calories
Kroger - Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 8 oz: 880 calories

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spinach Salad with Chicken, Avocado and Goat Cheese

So I wasn't sure what D would think when I suggested this salad.  Except for salads are pretty simple to make, I was unsure of the goat cheese, the lack of seasonings and what not.  But the pretty pictures on Recipe Girl's page got us.

So I started making it (sauteeing chicken, but then D took over).  It took about 20-25 minutes.  Really fast.

It was really good, although I wish it had been bigger.  But perhaps it was because I was hungry, or I don't think 2 Cups of Spinach is all that much.  Either way, I would have again.

Spinach Salad with Chicken, Avocado and Goat Cheese

Photo by ALB
Adapted from
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 min

8 cups chopped spinach (1 bag)
1 cup halved cherry or pear tomatoes (We used grape tomatoes)
1/2 cup corn (frozen, canned, or cut off the cob) (we used a 14 oz can of corn because what were we going to do with 1/2 can of corn?)
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (used 4 chicken thighs, sauteed with cumin, salt, pepper and oregano)
1 large avocado, sliced
1/3 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese (used cotija because that's what Aldi had)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place spinach in a large salad bowl. add remaining salad ingredients.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss (a little at a time... as much dressing as you desire).

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Calories: 437; Total Fat: 28 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 10 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 60 g; Sodium: 505 mg; Potassium: 692 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 20 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g; Sugars: 9 g; Protein 28 g

Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders

D and I had some plans and this looked easy for a Sunday, so we made it.  We went back and forth on sliders or sandwiches.  Sandwiches won out because the rolls were marked down to $0.49 at Kroger.

The taste was ok.  We both think it needed more cooking time (which would work out great if trying to make this on a work day).  The chicken's only flavor was beer, so maybe it needed longer time to cook out.  Also next time we would take the liquid in the crockpot and perhaps make a sauce.  I ended up using whatever sauce we had in the fridge.

It needs work.  We had with Honey-Chipotle Baked Beans.

Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders

Adapted by the Beeroness
Servings: 4

1/4 cup tomato paste
Photo by ALB
3 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
12 ounces porter beer (high ABV dark beer works best)
6 boneless skinless chicken thigh fillets (we used 1.5 pounds)
18-20 slider buns (we used 4 sandwhich buns)

In a small bowl whisk together the tomato paste, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder and brown sugar.

Add the sauce, chicken and beer to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken pulls apart easy with a fork.

Using two forks, shred chicken.

Scoop chicken into slider buns.