Monday, December 28, 2015

Unbeatable Sausage Gravy

I was left to my own devices for Christmas, because D had to go home for a family emergency. I couldn't go because there was no place to put the dogs on Christmas (if you are unfamiliar with dog boarding, you have to basically call in September to board your dog between Thanksgiving and Christmas...any later...good luck).

So D and I had planned on having biscuits and gravy but it was just me, so what to have. I decided I would have biscuits and gravy anyway.  Except I don't know how to make gravy.  But since D had already bought the ingredients (sausage and milk), I knew I could find the recipe.

The one below is what I found.  It was extreemely easy to make, and I did it while the biscuits were baking.  It is simple.  I added more pepper, because I like pepper.

I would have again.

Unbeatable Sausage Gravy

Photo by ALB

From Pillsbury

Homemade Biscuit Recipe if you aren't using Grands (which personally, I'm not a fan of).

12 oz bulk pork sausage (used 16 oz Jimmy Dean All Natural)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper (closer to 1/2 tsp)
3 cups milk

Crumble sausage into large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until browned and no longer pink, stirring frequently.

With wire whisk, stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in milk. Cook until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Split warm biscuits; place on serving plates. Serve sausage mixture over warm split biscuits.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cilantro-Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Sour Cream

This recipe came about in 2 ways.  One, when it was Hanukkah, Cooking Light emailed out this recipe.  So I pinned it.  Second, we had left over hash-browns from the Southwest Shrimp and Corn Chowder, so we decided to have these.  You won't get 12 latkes if you do it this way.  Such is life.

D made them.  He said the key is to get the oil in the pan very hot, (something he doesn't usually do), to prevent them from sticking.

We both liked them a lot. We would have again.  We had with Jalapeno Chicken.

Cilantro-Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Sour Cream

Photo by ALB

Turn a basic latke recipe into a Mexican-style dish by adding cilantro and jalapeno peppers to the potato cakes and serving with chipotle-flavored sour cream.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 latkes and about 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream mixture)

6 tablespoons light sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
3/4 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
6 cups shredded peeled baking potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup grated fresh onion
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

2. Combine potato and onion in a colander. Drain 30 minutes, pressing occasionally with the back of a spoon until barely moist. Combine potato mixture, flour, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; toss well.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. (let the pan oil get hot...about 15 minutes). Spoon 1/4 cup potato mixture loosely into a dry measuring cup. Pour mixture into pan; flatten slightly. Repeat the procedure 5 times to form 6 latkes. Sauté 3 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Remove latkes from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and potato mixture to yield 12 latkes total. Serve with sour cream mixture.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 260; Fat: 11 g; Sat fat: 2.2 g; Mono fat: 6.9 g; Poly fat: 1.2 g; Protein: 5.6 g; Carbohydrate: 35.3 g; Fiber: 3.8 g; Cholesterol: 35 mg; Iron: 2.1 mg; Sodium: 268 mg; Calcium: 36 mg

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2010

Monday, December 21, 2015

Southwest Shrimp and Corn Chowder

I think Cooking Light emailed me this recipe.  I'm glad they did.  It was pretty hearty, and had a lot of flavor.  It wasn't spicy at all, but very bone-warming.

The only thing I would add to this is more cumin.  It really didn't taste "Southwest" to me.

We had with Cheese Quesadillas.

Southwest Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Photo by ALB

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped serrano chile (about 1 small)
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes, diced, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (add more)
1 (15.25-ounce) can whole-kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
1 pound peeled and deveined small shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, and serrano chile to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add canned chiles to pan; cook 1 minute. Add flour to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and next 5 ingredients (through corn); bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in shrimp; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 212; Fat: 6.7 g; Sat fat: 3.4 g; Mono fat: 1.5 g; Poly fat: 0.7 g; Protein: 19.3 g; Carbohydrate: 18.3 g; Fiber: 2.2 g; Cholesterol: 130 mg; Iron: 2.5 mg; Sodium: 702 mg; Calcium: 131 mg

Cooking Light, APRIL 2009

Monday, December 14, 2015

Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps

I pinned this recipe thinking I'd make it when D wasn't home, but I never made it because it involved cooking, so there ya go on that.

D saw it and decided we should have it.  Except I don't like eggplant.  So he decided to replace it with more zucchini.  And he made the hummus from scratch. And he used an actual grill.

We would have again.  We had with couscous mixed with some herbs we had in the fridge.

Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps

Photo by ALB

Make the most of summer's fresh vegetables tonight with 20-minute, 5-star veggie wraps.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 wrap)

4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices red onion
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 (12-ounce) eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (used zucchini)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (8-ounce) container plain hummus (used homemade hummus)
4 (1.9-ounce) whole-grain flatbreads (such as Flatout Light)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush onion, bell pepper, and eggplant with 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and bell pepper to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Remove from pan. Add eggplant to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. (D used a grill). Remove from pan; coarsely chop vegetables. Combine vegetables, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, parsley, and salt; toss to combine.

2. Spread 1/4 cup hummus over each flatbread, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges. Divide vegetables over each flatbread; top each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up wraps, and cut diagonally in half.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 356; Fat: 22.7 g; Satfat: 3.1 g; Monofat: 13.6 g; Polyfat: 4.4 g; Protein: 16.8 g; Carbohydrate: 35.4 g; Fiber: 15.3 g; Cholesterol: 13 mg; Iron: 3.6 mg; Sodium: 788 mg; Calcium: 156 mg

Cooking Light, APRIL 2012

Monday, December 7, 2015

Creamy Roasted Mushroom and Brie Soup

So awhile ago, I decided I was going to eat less meat.  That didn't happen, because of bacon, but I did manage to pin a few recipes that were vegetarian (if you don't count chicken broth).

So the other day, I wasn't feeling well, and D made the grocery list.  He saw this recipe and knew we had brie in the fridge, so on the list it went.  And then he made it.

It was really creamy, and good.  D used regular and cremini mushrooms.  I don't know if he roasted or sauteed them.  I do know we should have again.

We had with Beer Bread.

Creamy Roasted Mushroom and Brie Soup

Photo by ALB

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

From Closet Cooking

A cream of mushroom soup with brie to make it extra creamy and good!

1 tablespoon oil
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white wine (or broth)
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 ounces brie, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Toss the mushrooms in the oil, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in a preheated 400F/200C oven until they start to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes, mixing them up once in the middle.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan.

Add the broth and mushrooms, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the milk and brie, let the brie melt, fish out the rinds and season with salt and pepper to taste before pureeing to the desired consistency and enjoy!

Option: Saute the mushrooms in a pan with the onions instead of roasting them.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 287, Fat 18g (Saturated 9g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 46mg, Sodium 239mg, Carbs 14g (Fiber 2g, Sugars 6g), Protein 13g

Monday, November 16, 2015

Italian Chopped Salad for Two

So I love Italian Subs, and this reminded me of a sub without the bread.  It is a little high in calories, but definitely worth it.  You could easily make this 3 portions.

Italian Chopped Salad for Two

Photo by ALB

From Pinch and Swirl

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
2 ounces Pecorino Romano or provolone cheese, diced small
3 ounces salami, sliced into thin ribbons
6 oil packed sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
12 kalamata olive, pitted and coarsely chopped (didn't use)
Added 4 Pepperoncinis

To make the dressing:
In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, garlic, shallot and Italian seasoning. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the salad:
Place cannelini beans in a large salad bowl. Add dressing and gently stir to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Add chopped romaine to beans and toss gently to incorporate beans and coat lettuce with dressing. Sprinkle remaining ingredients over and serve.

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal the way I ate it)
Calories: 692; Total: Fat 42 g; Saturated Fat: 13 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 19 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 63 mg; Sodium: 2233 mg; Potassium: 1150 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 49 g; Dietary Fiber: 17 g; Sugars: 9 g; Protein: 34 g

Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, and Walnuts

So I guess technically this should be called Fusilli with Spicy Italian Sausage, Broccoli Rabe. and Walnuts, because that's what D made.  Our Kroger, in a mind baffling move doesn't sell linguine or orecchiette.  So we make do with what we can get.

Overall, this was very good.  The tang from the cheese and the crunch from the walnuts made it a little different from your basic pasta, spinach and sausage dish.

We would have again. We had a with a Caesar Salad.

Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, and Walnuts

Photo by ALB

Warming winter flavors unite to create this simple and elegant weeknight dish.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

6 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta (we used 8 oz of fusili)
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided (used cooking spray)
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
8 ounces sweet turkey Italian sausage, casings removed (used Spicy Pork Italian Sausage)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 12 ounces), trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Added 1 tsp of butter
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid; drain.

2. While pasta cooks, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (didn't use oil). Add walnuts; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer walnuts to a plate.

3. Add remaining 4 teaspoons oil and sausage to pan (used cooking spray); cook 6 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage. Add garlic, broccoli rabe, and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

4. Add pasta, remaining 1/2 cup pasta water, walnuts, rind, juice, and red pepper and butter to pan; toss to combine. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (with none of my changes)
Calories :424; Fat: 21 g; Sat fat: 5.9 g; Mono fat: 7.7 g; Poly fat: 5.8 g; Protein: 24 g; Carbohydrate: 37 g; Fiber: 2 g; Cholesterol: 57 mg; Iron: 3 mg;   Sodium: 507 mg; Calcium: 83 mg

Nutritional Information (with my changes)
Calories: 587; Fat: 15 g; Sat fat: 6 g; Mono fat: 3 g; Poly fat: 5 g; Protein: 19 g; Carbohydrate: 62 g; Fiber: 6 g; Cholesterol: 16 mg; Sodium: 151 mg

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

Beer-Braised Chicken Thighs with Cremini Mushrooms

So I love braised chicken. It's a comfort food.  D does too, but he isn't a big egg noodle fan.  So I try to put the noodles on the menu sparingly, but I love them too.

He made this.  It had a good salt bite, and the comforting feeling was definitely there.  Considering Atlanta hasn't seen the sun going on 9 days, this hit the spot.

We had with Oven Roasted Green Beans.

Beer-Braised Chicken Thighs with Cremini Mushrooms

Photo by ALB

A wide skillet and less liquid allow for a relatively short, intense braise--less than 20 minutes, compared to many hour-long versions.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 chicken thigh, 1/2 cup sauce, and 1/2 cup noodles)

6 ounces uncooked no-yolk egg noodles
3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 (6-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, halved
3/4 cup dark porter beer (used a Guinness Stout)
3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook egg noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. Combine 3 tablespoons flour, thyme, and paprika in a large zip-top plastic bag. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to bag; seal. Turn to coat.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Remove chicken from flour mixture; discard flour mixture. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken; cook 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan (chicken will not be cooked through). Add onion and mushrooms to pan; cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, beer, stock, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Return chicken to pan. Reduce heat and cook, partially covered, 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with noodles.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 475; Fat: 11.1 g; Sat fat: 2.3 g; Mono fat: 4.9 g; Poly fat: 2.1 g; Protein: 43 g; Carbohydrate: 45 g; Fiber: 4 g; Cholesterol: 162 mg; Iron: 4 mg; Sodium: 474 mg; Calcium: 42 mg

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2015

Baked Italian-Style Cauliflower

So when I first came across this recipe, I really thought it was a side dish.  And looking at it more closely, I saw it was a meal.  Then I thought it had a lot of cheese.  No.  Perhaps I should read recipes more closely, rather than make them up in my head.

So after all that, I decided we should have it.  When I was making the grocery list, I noticed it didn't have a full pound of ground beef.  I decided it needed to, only because we have a habit of putting a half pound of ground beef back in the freezer never to be heard from again, and thus it is a waste of money.

So anyway, D made this.  It pretty much tasted like meat sauce on top of cauliflower. It wasn't something I'd ever put together on my own, but it was pretty good.  The portions were huge.

We had with a salad, but really, at least I would have been fine with just the main dish.

Baked Italian-Style Cauliflower

Photo by ALB

Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 cups)
Hands-on: 28 Minutes
Total: 28 Minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces lean ground sirloin (we used 1 pound of 93/7)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as McCutcheon's)
2 ounces pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (we didn't use)
1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into florets
Cooking spray
1 ounce French bread baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces (used bread crumbs)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in beef. Sprinkle with salt and peppers, and sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in sauce and olives.

2. Preheat broiler.

3. Steam cauliflower 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place cauliflower in an 11 x 7-inch broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with sauce mixture.

4. Place bread in a mini chopper; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Combine crumbs and cheese; sprinkle over cauliflower mixture. Broil 4 minutes or until browned.

Nutritional Information (without any modifications that we made)
Calories: 306; Fat: 14.9 g; Sat fat: 4.3 g; Mono fat: 7.8 g; Poly fat: 1.2 g; Protein: 16.3 g; Carbohydrate: 46.8 g; Fiber: 5.3 g; Cholesterol: 33.9 mg; Iron: 2.3 mg; Sodium: 667 mg; Calcium: 145 mg

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2011

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Chicken Avocado Patties

D had to go out of town last week, so I was left to my own devices. I told him I was having refried beans for dinner, but then I found this recipe, so I also decided to make something similar.

I changed the name from Burgers to Patties, because the way I am with Pizza is only with red sauce, else it is Shit on Bread, D is that way with Burgers. Without a bun, it isn't a burger. Fair enough.

Anyway I made these, and they were pretty good. I'm not the best cook so I used a food thermometer to determine if they were done enough. D had one when he got home from his trip, and he said, "Good job!"

I served with refried beans (from a can).

Chicken Avocado Patties

Photo by ALB

Serves: 4 Patties
Adapted from Laughing Spatula

1 pound ground chicken
1 large ripe avocado - cut into chunks
1 chopped clove of garlic
1/3 cup Panko crumbs
1 minced Serrano pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 Cup chopped Cilantro
Cooking Spray 1 cup of Hot Pepper Shredded Cheese
1 cup Pico de Gallo

Add all ingredients, through cilantro to a large bowl and toss gently.
Shape into desired size patties
Heat grill pan sprayed with cooking spray to on medium heat.
Place patties in pan. Cook for 7-9 minutes. Flip.
Cook 5 more minutes.
Add Cheese to each burger and let melt.
Remove from pan.
Top with Pico.

Nutrition Facts from My Fitness Pal
Servings 4.0
Calories: 353; Total Fat: 19 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 145 mg; Sodium: 1054 mg; Potassium: 631 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 11 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 37 g

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chile Verde Con Carne (Beef Green Chili)

So D and I went to a Hatch Chile Festival earlier in the month. We ended up buying some bags of chiles. And we found a beef chile and a pork chile. So this is the beef chile.

I think I like pork green chili better than beef, in general. This particular chili reminded me of Homesick Texan's Green Chili, just with beef instead of pork. The beef was a little chewier, whereas I like the texture of pork better.

D made this on the stovetop, not the crockpot.

I think we'll just stick to her Pork Green Chili.

Chile Verde Con Carne (Beef Green Chili)

Photo by ALB

Yield: 8 1-Cup Servings
Adapted from Lisa Fain, Homesick Texan

1 pound (about 7) Hatch chiles (could use Anaheim)
1/2 pound (about 3) poblano chiles
3 jalapeño chiles (used 4 chiles in crock pot)
3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon bacon grease or vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth (3 cups if using a slow cooker)
1/2 pound fresh tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons masa harina (used corn meal)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Sour cream, for serving (not in nutritional information)
Cilantro, for serving(not in nutritional information)
Warm tortillas, for serving (didn't use)
Tortilla chips, for serving (didn't use)

Roast the Anaheim, poblano, and jalapeños chiles under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tight and let the chiles steam for 20 minutes. When done, take the chiles out of the bag and gently rub off the skin of each chile. Remove the stems and seeds, and then dice.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the beef with the salt and pepper. Heat the bacon grease or oil on medium-low in a large heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, and then working in batches brown the beef on all sides. This should take about 5-7 minutes per batch. If using a slow cooker, after the beef has browned, remove it from the pot and place in the slow cooker. If using the Dutch oven, place the browned beef into a large mixing bowl.

Once the beef has been browned, leaving the heat on medium-low, add the onions to the pot and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

If using the large pot to cook the beef green chili, pour into the pot the chicken broth, and then scrap the bottom of the pot to incorporate all the cooked bits into the broth. Add the chopped chiles, the cooked beef, the tomatillos, half of the chopped cilantro, cumin, oregano, and allspice to the pot.

Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for 3 hours or until the beef is fork tender. At this time, add the remaining cilantro and then taste and adjust seasonings. Mix the masa harina with 1/4 cup of water and then stir into the pot until well combined. Continue to cook for 30 more minutes and then add the lime juice. Serve warm with sour cream, cilantro, warm tortillas and/or tortilla chips.

If using a slow cooker, transfer the onions and garlic from the pot into the slow cooker. Leaving on the heat, pour into the Dutch oven the chicken broth, and then scrape the bottom of the pot to incorporate all the cooked bits into the broth. Pour the broth into the slow cooker and add the chopped chiles, the tomatillos, half of the chopped cilantro, cumin, oregano, and allspice. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6.

After it’s cooked on high for 4 hours or low for 6, remove the lid from the slow cooker and stir in the remaining cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings. Mix the masa harina with 2 tablespoons of water and then stir into the pot until well combined. Continue to cook 30 more minutes uncovered and then stir in the lime juice. Serve warm with sour cream, cilantro, warm tortillas and/or tortilla chips.

If you can’t find fresh Anaheim or poblano chiles, I would substitute 28-ounces canned chopped green chiles, drained. If you can’t find fresh tomatillos, I would substitute 1 (11-ounce) can of tomatillos, drained and cut in half.

Nutrition Facts (from MyFitnessPal)
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 376; Total Fat: 14 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 121 mg; Sodium: 641 mg; Potassium: 850 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 12 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 47 g

Braised Chicken Thighs with Wild Rice Pilaf

I love braised chicken.  It is typically flavorful, and moist.  A good comfort food.

This recipe needs tweaking, however. It is a bit on the bland side.  It needed more salt, and perhaps more thyme.  It did call for a tablespoon of fresh thyme.  I got to about 1 teaspoon, and decided that must be a typo.  I put in another teaspoon of dried, but I think that is where the blandness came from.  And we used salted chicken broth, as well.  So more salt and thyme, next time.

The texture was really good.  The walnuts added an unexpected crunch.

It did pick up flavor the next day.  Since we used 1 pound of Brussels Sprouts, we didn't have a side.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Wild Rice Pilaf

Photo by ALB

Browning the meat in the pan first adds all that roasted chicken flavor to the pilaf. The Brussels sprouts and chicken thighs slowly braise as the rice cooks--a protein, vegetable side, and starch all in one pan. Sweet golden raisins and cider vinegar balance out the other hearty, earthy flavors in the dish.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 chicken thigh and about 1 cup rice mixture)

1/4 cup walnut halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup uncooked wild rice (such as RiceSelect) (used brown, because we had it)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1 cup water
1/4 cup golden raisins (didn't use)
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (used 16 oz)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts; cook 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally. Remove walnuts from pan; coarsely chop.

2. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned. Turn and cook 3 minutes. Place chicken on a plate (chicken will not be cooked through). Add rice, onion, carrot, celery, and thyme to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring to coat rice. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stock, and 1 cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 45 minutes. Return chicken thighs to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Top with raisins and Brussels sprouts. Return to a simmer; cover and cook 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and chicken is done. Place chicken on a platter. Stir walnuts and vinegar into rice mixture. Serve rice mixture with chicken.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories 503 Fat 15.2 g Satfat 2.7 g Monofat 5.5 g Polyfat 5.3 g Protein 44 g Carbohydrate 49 g Fiber 7 g Cholesterol 162 mg Iron 4 mg Sodium 476 mg Calcium 87 mg

Cooking Light, MARCH 2015

Pita Sandwiches with Grilled Beef and Lemon-Tahini Sauce

So, send the Recipe of the Week every Friday.  It was odd they sent one the day I was craving hummus and Greek Food.  I sent the recipe to D and he said ok.

We tweaked a couple of things because we weren't going to buy bulger just for this recipe.  So we decided to use breadcrumbs.  He used really lean beef, so he added an egg, to keep the patties together.  Overall, it was really good and I would gladly have again.

We had with a Greek Salad.

Pita Sandwiches with Grilled Beef and Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Photo by ALB

Recipe adapted from Jamie Purviance, from

Serves: 4
Prep time: 25 minutes
Grilling time: 9 to 11 minutes

1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, about 8 ounces, minced or grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pushed through a press
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 whole pita pockets (standard size)
Added tomato

1. Mix all the patty ingredients, and then gently form eight patties of equal size in an oval shape, each 2½ to 3 inches wide and about ¾ inch thick. With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 1 inch wide in the center of the patties to prevent them from forming a dome as they cook. Refrigerate the patties until ready to grill.

2. In a small bowl whisk the sauce ingredients until smooth and the tahini is thoroughly incorporated.

3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450° to 550°F).

4. Grill the patties over direct high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to medium doneness (160°F), 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. During the last minute of grilling time, toast the pitas over direct heat until slightly puffed (making them easier to stuff), turning once.

5. Cut the pitas crosswise in half and place a dollop of the sauce inside each. Then add a patty, cucumber slices, and onion. Top with additional sauce and serve right away.

Nutrition Facts (from MyFitnessPal)
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 557; Total Fat: 23 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 123 mg; Sodium: 830 mg; Potassium: 460 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 49 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g; Sugars: 11 g; Protein: 38 g

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cheesy Skillet Gnocchi

We actually had this recipe last year.  However, we were both sick, so neither of us remembered it very well.  So we tried it again.

It reminded me of Spaghetti with Simple Sauce.  It was pretty good, and we both liked it.

Will have again. We had with Caesar Salad.

Cheesy Skillet Gnocchi

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 3/4 cup)

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (16-ounce) package prepared whole-wheat gnocchi
4 ounces mild Italian sausage, casings removed (used Spicy)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl. Add gnocchi; cook 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Place gnocchi in a large bowl. Add sausage to pan; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add sausage to gnocchi. Add tomato and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add gnocchi mixture and stock to pan; sprinkle with cheese. Place pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Sprinkle with basil.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 301; Fat: 8.6 g; Sat fat: 2.8 g; Mono fat: 3.4 g; Poly fat: 0.5 g; Protein: 14 g; Carbohydrate: 40 g; Fiber: 8 g; Cholesterol 16 mg; Iron: 4 mg; Sodium: 691 mg; Calcium: 128 mg

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2014

Monday, October 26, 2015


D and I have long said restaurants are a certain kind of special if they can mess up hummus.  And we have had bad restaurant hummus.  Also we have noticed that hummus is getting more and more expensive in restaurants (seriously, $10+?), so it isn't something we eat out a lot.

However, we have it at home.  It is easy to make; it takes a long time for tahini to go bad, and you can vary up the flavors.

I was craving it this past week, so we made some on Saturday.  I remembered a picture on Sunday when we were attacking the leftovers, so it isn't a great or pretty picture.

But the hummus was good.  Most of this recipe is just by taste.


Photo by ALB

2 15 oz cans Chickpeas (or whatever that normal size can is in the grocery store)
6-8 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 C Tahini
Lemon Juice from 2 lemons
2-3 tsp Kosher Salt
3-4 TBSP Olive Oil

Drain the chickpeas, reserving 1/4 cup of liquid.

Rinse the chickpeas.

Put the chickpeas, garlic and tahini into a food processor, and pulsate for a few minutes.

Add the reserved liquid, along with the lemon juice and the Kosher salt.

Process until smooth, while adding the olive oil.

Taste and adjust seasonings, to your satisfaction.

Serve in a bowl, with pita chips.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pork Chile Verde with Red Chile Salsa

So D and I went to a Hatch Chile Festival earlier in the month. We ended up buying some bags of chiles.  And we found a beef chile and a pork chile.  So this is the pork chile.

The verde part of the chile was really good.  The Red Chile Salsa...well that part was just odd.  It was made with honey.  On the front of your mouth you got a sweet, but when swallowed it was a bland flavor of nothing.  The salsa was kind of gross on its own.  However, if you stirred it into the green chile chili, then it was good.

I'm not really sure if we would have again.  We have a Homesick Texan Green Chili that we both enjoyed better.  Still this was different, and I'm glad we tried it.

Pork Chile Verde with Red Chile Salsa

Photo by ALB

YIELD:  13 1 Cup servings

TOTAL TIME: 3 hours 30 minutes

3 cups (or more) chicken broth, divided
1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, cut into 1/2-inch wedges, divided
1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh cilantro with tender stems
Olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 4- to 4 1/2-pound pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
3/4 cup diced roasted peeled seeded mild green chiles (such as Hatch or Anaheim)
2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 pound yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes chopped
Fresh cilantro
Red chile salsa (below)

Puree 2 cups chicken broth, 1/4 of tomatillos, green onions, cilantro with stems, and garlic in blender. Set salsa verde aside.

Brush heavy large pot with oil; heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add pork to pot; cook until browned, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot (add oil if needed).

Add onion to pot; sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle cumin seeds over; cook until onion is golden and cumin is toasted, about 2 minutes. Add remaining tomatillos; cook until tender and browned in spots, stirring occasionally and reducing heat to medium if browning too quickly, about 8 minutes. Return pork and any juices to pot. Add 2 cups reserved salsa verde, 1 cup broth, chiles, and oregano.

Cover; simmer over medium-low heat until pork is tender, about 2 hours.

Add potatoes to pork. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in remaining salsa verde; bring to simmer. Thin with additional broth, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide chile verde among bowls. Top with cilantro and dollop of red chile salsa.

Red Chile Salsa

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 2-ounce package dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, coarsely torn
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add chiles; fry until fragrant and chiles turn light orange, stirring often, about 2 minutes.

Transfer to plate; cool. Heat same skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté until golden, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup water; remove from heat.

Puree chiles, garlic-water mixture, honey, and cinnamon in blender, adding more water by tablespoonfuls if too thick. Transfer to bowl. Season with salt.

Grilled Polenta with Spicy Steak

So now that D and I know where to find polenta, we decided to try it again.

We both liked this meal.  However, it was small.  We have been trying to eat the correct portion sizes lately, except for salad.  Salad sucks, but it fills you up (it is horrible as a left over though, and I won't do it).

So anyway, this was really good.  But  the portion is too small for the next day.  So I have to figure that out.  When we have again, we have to have a side that isn't salad, that I can take to work the next day.  Such issues...

Grilled Polenta with Spicy Steak

Photo by ALB

Yield: 4 servings

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
1 (18-ounce) tube of polenta, cut into 8 slices
1 ripe peeled avocado, sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
1/2 cup refrigerated fresh salsa
Lime wedges (optional)

1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine 1 teaspoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin, chile powder, and pepper; rub evenly over steak. Add steak to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices.

2. While steak rests, brush remaining 1 tablespoon oil over both sides of polenta slices; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add polenta to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Arrange 2 polenta slices on each of 4 plates; divide avocado evenly among servings. Top each serving with about 3 ounces steak, 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, 2 tablespoons queso fresco, and 2 tablespoons salsa. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 397; Fat: 19.2 g; Sat fat: 4.6 g; Mono fat: 10.1 g; Poly fat: 2.6 g; Protein: 28.9 g; Carbohydrate: 24 g; Fiber: 5.1 g; Cholesterol: 41 mg; Iron: 3.1 mg; Sodium: 739 mg; Calcium: 70 mg

Cooking Light, JUNE 2010

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken

D and I have long given up getting 4 meals from any Asian dish made by Cooking Light.  It never seems to happen, despite us weighing out and measuring every ingredient, before and after cooking.

So we were surprised that this one did.  And big servings at that (although we did use a 9 oz package of rice noodles, because it was all we could find, and what the heck are you going to do with 2.25 oz of dry noodles besides take up room in the pantry).

We both really liked the dish but both felt it needed to be spicier, which is just our preference.

We would have again.  We had with broccoli.

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken

Photo by ALB

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
1 (6.75-ounce) package thin rice sticks (rice-flour noodles)
2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic to pan; cook 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Place in a large bowl. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon oil, chicken, and next 6 ingredients (through sambal).

2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain. Cut noodles into smaller pieces. Add noodles to bowl; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 381; Fat: 8.1 g; Sat fat: 1.5 g; Mono fat: 3.2 g; Poly fat: 2.7 g; Protein: 27.5 g; Carbohydrate: 47.1 g; Fiber: 2.3 g; Cholesterol: 60 mg; Iron: 3.1 mg; Sodium: 614 mg; Calcium: 55 mg

Cooking Light, MARCH 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pappardelle With Pork Sugo And Hazelnuts

This one was a weird one.  First what is a Sugo, and second how does Nutella tastes with pork?  Well, that's what I initially thought when I saw Hazelnuts.  It turns out, hazelnuts can be used in other foods besides on waffles.

D made this on Sunday.  It was very good.  An Italian Pulled Pork, basically.  Because Kroger didn't have any tomatoes in stock, we used canned San Marzano tomatoes (thankfully we were at the fancy Kroger). He thought it needed more of a tomato flavor.  I thought it tastes just fine. We also used Penne and not Pappardelle because Kroger charges $5/8.8 oz of Papparedelle, and I think that is ridiculous for some wheat, eggs, and water.

I have no idea if it was easy or hard...he seemed to be in the kitchen a lot.  I would have again.  We had with bread.

Pappardelle With Pork Sugo And Hazelnuts

Photo by ALB

Adapted from Bon Appetit

5 large plum tomatoes, quartered (Used canned San Marzano tomatoes since Kroger decided not to sell fresh ones on Sunday)
7 garlic cloves, 1 finely grated, 6 left whole
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Kosher salt Freshly ground pepper
½ cup blanched hazelnuts
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), fat trimmed, cut into 8 pieces
4 large shallots, quartered
2 cups red wine
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
5 sprigs oregano, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
5 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces Grana Padano cheese, finely grated, plus shaved for serving
1 pound fresh or dried pappardelle (used 1 lb of penne, because 8 oz of pappardelle was $5).

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss tomatoes, grated garlic, and 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes, skin side down, in a single layer; season with salt and pepper. Roast until browned around the edges, about 25 minutes. Set aside. 

Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Toast hazelnuts on another baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop. 

Reduce oven temperature to 275°. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high. Cook pork in batches, turning occasionally, until brown, 8–10 minutes; transfer to a platter. 

Add shallots and whole garlic cloves to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits; bring to a boil and cook until wine is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Return pork to pot and add milk, broth, and reserved tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Tie oregano and thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine; add to pot. Cover and transfer to oven. Braise meat until very tender, 2–2½ hours. 

Remove from oven; discard herbs and use a potato masher or pair of forks to shred pork and mash vegetables into medium-size pieces. Gradually add butter and grated cheese, stirring as you go to fully incorporate into sugo. 

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, transfer to a platter, and toss with half of sugo. Serve topped with hazelnuts, chopped oregano and thyme, and more Grana Padano.

Do Ahead
Sugo can be made 1 week ahead. Let cool; cover and chill, or divide in half and freeze up to 3 months.

Nutritional Information (My Fitness Pal)
Calories: 679; Total Fat: 29 g; Saturated Fat: 9 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 89 mg; Sodium: 414 mg; Potassium: 762 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 57 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g; Sugars: 10 g; Protein: 36 g

Sausage and Kale Sauté with Polenta

This recipe was mailed to me by Cooking Light.  I haven't tried polenta in about 10-12 years, so I decided maybe it was time to retry it.  D said ok.

That led to the issue of where to find polenta.  We both thought tubes were sold in the produce refrigerated section at the Kroger.  It wasn't. Or with the gourmet cheese and hummus.  It seemed it wasn't anywhere to be found.  On Facebook, there were a lot of Italian Section kind of made me laugh, because our Kroger doesn't have an Italian section, unless you are counting pasta and sauce.  The "fancy" Krogers intown sell San Marzano Tomatoes and tomato paste in a tube, but that's about it.  At the 3rd Kroger I decided I wasn't leaving until I found this stuff.  Surely, I wasn't the only person in Atlanta who wanted the Kroger to sell polenta in a tube. It is in the Organic Shelf Section with the Mac and Cheese boxes, on the bottom shelf (I have since found it in the same place at the first 2 Krogers).  There you go.

So back to the review.

It turns out that if you add sausage to anything, it tastes good.  D thought it needed more kale, I thought the kale needed to be cooked a little more, but both of us liked it. And the polenta was good too.   We would have again.  We had with a Caesar Salad.

Sausage and Kale Sauté with Polenta

Photo by ALB

Leftovers from this one-dish hit make for an easy, delicious breakfast--simply reheat and top with an over-easy egg.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 2 polenta slices and about 3/4 cup sausage mixture)

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces sweet pork Italian sausage, casings removed
8 ounces prepared polenta, cut into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices (more like 19 oz to get 8 1/2-inch slices)
6 ounces prechopped kale
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as Dell'Amore)
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes, stirring. Remove sausage. Add polenta to pan; cook 5 minutes. Remove polenta. Add kale, 1 tablespoon water, and pepper to pan. Cover; cook 2 minutes. Uncover; stir in sausage and marinara. Nestle polenta, browned side up, into sausage mixture; sprinkle with cheese. Broil 2 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 260; Fat: 16.6 g; Sat fat: 5.7 g; Mono fat: 6.6 g; Poly fat: 1.6 g; Protein: 10 g; Carbohydrate: 18 g; Fiber: 3 g; Cholesterol: 33 mg; Iron: 3 mg; Sodium: 408 mg; Calcium: 79 mg

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2014

Bacon, Cheddar and Beer Risotto

This has been on Pinterest for awhile.  I'm always hesitant about beer in food (besides a chili) because if you don't use the right beer, it can give it a weird flavor.  Anyway, we seem to have a plethora of styles of beer in our fridge right now, so we tried this recipe.

It was rather comforting.  Kind of like a savory oatmeal, if you must.  The calories are higher than on Emily Bites.  This is due to using real bacon and butter.

I would have again.  D thought it would be better with smoked paprika instead of cayenne.  I couldn't tell you.

We had with a chopped salad.

Bacon, Cheddar and Beer Risotto

Photo by ALB

Yield: 8 (1 CUP) SERVINGS
Adapted from Emily Bites

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
12 oz bottle of beer (Used Smuttynose Brown Ale)
6 cups fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3/4 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese (Used Kroger Sharp)
2/3 cup 2% reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (Used Sargento 2%)
4 slices cooked bacon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Make sure your bacon is cooked.

Place the butter in a large sauté pan and bring it over medium-low heat until butter is just melted. Add onions and cook 3-5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until garlic is fragrant. Add the rice and stir to combine. Cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring throughout.

Pour in the beer and turn the heat up to high until the beer begins to simmer. Reduce heat back to medium-low and add ½ cup of the chicken broth. Stir until the liquid dissolves and then add another ½ cup. Repeat until all the broth has been added and the rice is creamy and al dente.

Remove the rice mixture from the heat and add the cheeses, bacon and cayenne pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined and serve.

Nutrition Information (MyFitnessPal)
Calories: 308; Total Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol: 39 mg; Sodium: 710 mg; Potassium: 175 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 41 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 1 g; Protein 15 g

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Spiral Pepperoni Pizza Bake

So my friend Diana pinned this, and I decided D and I should have it.  We have pizza every Friday night to "carb up" for a long run on Saturday.  Let's try to be a little different.

I knew D was busy, so I decided to prep this.  One thing led to another, and I ended up making the whole thing.  I halved the recipe, and I didn't layer it, because dirtying a third baking dish seemed stupid.

It was rather kid friendly, meaning bland.  It's definitely a "make again" dish, but I would change things.  D thought we could sub the ground beef and pepperoni for sausage and mushroom, as well. Also to cut back on calories, next time, maybe cut back on cheese.  (Blasphemy!)

We had with a Caesar Salad.

Spiral Pepperoni Pizza Bake

Photo by ALB

Prep: 30 min.
Bake: 40 min.
YIELD: 6 servings

Adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 package (8 ounces) spiral pasta (used penne and ziti because that's what we had)
1 pounds ground beef (used 90/10)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt (increase to 1 tsp next time)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (increase to 1/2 tsp next time)
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning (increase to 1/2 tsp next time)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (increase to 1/2 tsp next time)
2 Cups Basil and Tomato Pasta Sauce
1 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain. Sprinkle with seasonings. Stir in sauce; remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk and Parmesan cheese. Drain pasta; add to egg mixture and toss to combine. Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Top with beef mixture, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni (I added the pasta mixture and pepperoni to the Dutch Oven and stirred, then threw the cheese on top).

4. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. Bake, uncovered, 20-25 minutes longer or until golden brown and heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts (from MyFitnessPal)
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 505; Total Fat: 23 g; Saturated Fat: 11 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Trans Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 129 mg; Sodium: 1151 mg; Potassium: 391 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 43 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugars: 9 g; Protein: 37 g

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Short Rib Pho French Dip Banh Mi with Thai Basil Chimichurri

I think I saw a picture of this on Pinterest and decided it should be made, which is kind of interesting because I'm not a huge anise fan.  But the picture kept drawing me back.  (Go to to see).

Anway, short ribs are one of those foods that are always marked down at Kroger, so I figured eventually we'd get to 5 pounds if I kept buying them.  We got to 3, when we decided to make this.

D finished making it and we realized we didn't have a side, so he put some tater tots in the oven.  You don't really need to do that.  You also can easily make these sandwiches 6 servings (get more bread and add 2 more eggs).  The sandwich was huge and messy.

I'm not really sure of the Nutritional Information.  We had a lot of broth left, and a lot of chimichurri (which was a lot of the calories). I guestimated around 850 calories.  Still I would have again.

Short Rib Pho French Dip Banh Mi with Thai Basil Chimichurri

Photo by ALB

From:, inspired by The Pig and The Lady in Hawaii.
Prep time: 30 MINUTES
Cook time: 3 HOUR 30 MINUTES

Short Ribs
5 pounds bone in short ribs (used 3)
1/2 of a small onion
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
4 cups beef broth, divided
1 star anise
1 (4 inch) cinnamon stick
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons fish sauce (may use soy sauce, but fish sauce is best)
2 green onions, chopped

Thai Basil Chimichurri
1/4 cup each red wine vinegar 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
1 fresno chile, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh thai basil (used regular basil)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

1 long french baguette, cut in fourths, halved and toasted
4 slices swiss cheese
Mung bean sprouts
Sliced limes (didn't use)
Pickled carrots (we threw carrots into some rice vinegar/vinegar/red wine vinegar and let it rest)
Pickled jalapenos
4 fried eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat a large heavy bottom dutch oven over medium high-heat. Add the ribs to the skillet and sprinkle with salt + pepper. Sear the ribs on all sides for about 1 minute per side.

To the pot, add the onion, garlic, ginger, 3 cups beef broth, star anise and cinnamon. Cover and place in the oven, cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat shreds easily. Check once or twice while the ribs are cooking to make sure there is enough liquid. If needed, add 1 1/2 cups of water to keep the ribs in liquid about 1/3 a way up the pot.

Once the ribs are cooked, remove them from the broth and place on a plate to cool slightly. Carefully strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and then place back in the pot. Add the remaining beef broth and 1 to 1 1/2 cups water depending on how much water you added during cooking. You want a total of at least 2 1/2 to 3 cups broth. Add the shiitake mushrooms and bring to a boil, cook five minutes. Remove from the heat and add the fish sauce and green onions. Keep warm over low heat if needed. Shred the meat.

To assemble, spread the thai basil chimichurri (recipe below) along the bottom of each baguette and then stuff with meat. Top with a few slices of swiss cheese. Place on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for 1 minute to melt the cheese. Remove and open the sandwiches back up. Top with mung bean sprouts, pickled jalapenos + carrots and a fried egg. Ladle the pho broth into small bowls and serve along side the sammies for dipping. Serve with extra chimichurri.

To make the, chimichurri (I make mine while the ribs are cooking), combine red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic, shallot, and chile in a medium bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in thai basil and cilantro. Using a fork, whisk in oil. Taste and season with salt if needed. Store in the fridge until ready to serve or up to one week.

Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs

So last week, I posted a picture of Tomato Basil Chicken on Facebook, and my aunt texted me asking for the recipe (I hadn't put up the recipe, at the point).  And yes, I am a Facebook Food Putter-Upper.
So I sent her over the recipe and she sent me back this one.  It looked like it would have a lot a flavor.  And it might fulfill my secret plot to get D to refill the gas on the gas grill (we have both gas and charcoal).  So I showed it to him, he said yes, and thus my evil plot worked.

They were really flavorful and juicy.  They were devoured.  We had with a Barbecue Salad (some Dole Chopped Salad thing).

Definitely a hit.

Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs

Brush chicken thighs with a tequila glaze that's been sweetened with pineapple juice and honey for a deliciously tropical grilled chicken entree. Serve with rice pilaf and a mixed green salad for a complete meal.

Photo by ALB

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 thigh)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup tequila
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons grated lime rind
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Cooking spray

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat using both burners. After preheating, turn the left burner off (leave the right burner on).

2. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; rub evenly over chicken.

3. Bring the pineapple juice, tequila, and honey to a boil in a small saucepan; cook until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 10 minutes). Combine cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, and stir well. Add cornstarch mixture to juice mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in lime rind, 3 tablespoons lime juice, and red pepper.

4. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray over right burner (direct heat). Cover and grill for 5 minutes on each side, basting occasionally with juice mixture. Move the chicken to grill rack over left burner (indirect heat). Cover and grill an additional 5 minutes on each side or until done, basting occasionally.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 241; Fat: 7.6 g; Sat fat: 2.1 g; Mono fat: 2.8 g; Poly fat: 1.7 g; Protein: 18 g; Carbohydrate: 17.2 g; Fiber: 0.4 g; Cholesterol: 64 mg; Iron: 1.2 mg; Sodium: 374 mg; Calcium: 19 mg

Cooking Light, JUNE 2011

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tomato Basil Chicken

So we have a basil plant outside that grows like a weed.  Pretty much the only plant that we have that does.  So this recipe popped up and it was a "must have."  Truth be told, I think this has been on the menu 3-4 times but for some reason we never get around to having it.

Anyway, you should have it.  Very flavorful. We had with Warm Nutty Brussels Sprouts Salad.

The Nutritional information is probably higher than it should be because I counted the marinade.

Tomato Basil Chicken

Photo by ALB

from Plain Chicken

4 plum or roma tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tsp dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (used 2 lbs, raw)

Cut tomatoes into quarters and place in a food processor. Add the vinegar, basil, oil, garlic and salt; cover and process until blended.

Pour dressing into a large resealable plastic bag; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for up to 4 hours. (or longer )

Drain and discard marinade. Light Grill. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°.

Nutritional Information (per serving based off My Fitness Pal)
Servings 4.0
Calories: 378; Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 166 mg; Sodium: 417 mg; Potassium: 1073 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 11 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 9 g; Protein: 52 g

7 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 4 servings)

Nutty Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

My friend Delane turned me onto Brussels Sprouts, so whenever I see them in a way I hadn't thought about and look good, I usually want to try. D and I finally got around to trying this one.

The sprouts tastes like sprouts. The breadcrumb mixture was something that made you want to lick that bowl. Together, it was a great salad.

Definitely would have again. We had with Tomato Basil Chicken.

Nutty Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

Photo by ALB

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3/4 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (about 8 cups)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 ounce shaved Asiago cheese

1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute or just until golden, stirring constantly. Add breadcrumbs; cook 1 minute or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Transfer garlic mixture to a small bowl.

2. Separate leaves from Brussels sprouts; quarter cores. Heat remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add leaves and cores to pan; cook 8 minutes or just until leaves wilt and cores are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; toss with breadcrumb mixture, salt, and pepper. Top with walnuts and cheese.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 71; Fat: 3.1 g; Sat fat: 0.6 g; Mono fat: 1.1 g; Poly fat: 1.1 g; Protein: 3.5 g; Carbohydrate: 8.9 g; Fiber: 2.3 g; Cholesterol: 1 mg; Iron: 1 mg; Sodium: 160 mg; Calcium: 47 mg

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Salad

So I'm not really sure why it took me a year to get around to making this.  I've had it on my to-try list that long.

Labor Day came yesterday, and I wanted something tasty but not too caloric.  I showed D two chicken salad recipes and he said this one.  So this is the one we had.

D grilled the chicken, since we needed chicken for 4 meals this week. I put everything else together. He had his on toast, I had mine on a tortilla wrap.  We both added tomatoes.

The taste was flavorful and zesty.  The original version had blue cheese instead of cheddar.  Also if you aren't a cilantro fan, I don't think it would change the taste to leave it out.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Photo by ALB
Adapted from Prevention RD
Yield: 6 servings, 1/2 cup each)

5 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup Franks Red Hot Wings Buffalo sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt buffalo sauce, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir in chicken, celery, cilantro, and cheese. Refrigerate until serving or up to 5 days in the fridge.

Nutrition Information (from My FitnessPal):
Per Serving:
Calories: 147; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 72 mg; Sodium: 546 mg; Potassium: 210 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 2 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 1 g; Protein: 17 g

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sopapilla Cheesecake

So there are some recipes that are pretty stupid easy (at least to me). This would fall into that category.

D and I were having a party, and I always make an "easy" dessert and then another dessert, so this was the easy one.

Anyway it took me about 20 minutes to prepare the whole thing.

The result...At least 5 people said they ate half the pan. I thought they tasted like the cheese Danish you get at 7-11. I also thought I ate half the pan.

Anyway, if you aren't really a great baker, this could be up your alley.

Sopapilla Cheesecake 

Adapted from Pillbury 

Photo by ALB

2 cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (softened) (I used Neufchatel, because I find it creamier)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 TBSP Cinnamon
4 TBSP Sugar

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Unroll and spread 1 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased 9×13 pan (I greased it with PAM). Press all the perforations to seal.

3. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 cup of the sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Spread over dough in baking dish.

4. Unroll second can of dough. Carefully place on top of cream cheese layer. Pinch seams together.

5 Pour melted butter evenly over top. Mix sugar with the cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (I baked for 25 minutes).

7. Cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate for easy cutting. Cover and refrigerate any remaining bars.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Spinach and Feta Chicken Burgers

So this recipe caught my eye.  One, cilantro is hard to come by since Mexican Cilantro is not being sold at the moment.  Two, I had no idea what Halloumi was, and three, Feta just is delicious.

So I showed D and he said ok.  He made it.  I won't lie, my picture isn't that great, but life happens.  The flavors were really good together.  It was messy.  Everything was just good.  We had with a cauliflower "tabbouleh" from Whole Foods, that I would not recommend but that is another issue.

I didn't rebuild the calories to check the accuracy.

I would have again.

Spinach and Feta Chicken Burgers (aka Spanakopita Burgers) with Grilled Halloumi, Roasted Red Peppers and a Spinach and Feta Sauce

Photo by ALB

From Closet Cooking

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 buns, optionally toasted or grilled
1 cup spinach
8 ounces halloumi, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 roasted red peppers, cut into 4 pieces

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat until frothy, mix in the flour and cook until a light golden brown, mix in the milk and simmer until it thickens, add the feta and cook until it melts, mix in the spinach, dill and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat when the spinach wilts.

Mix the chicken, spinach, feta, garlic, green onions, dill, salt and pepper, form into 4 patties, oil the grill, heat to medium high and cook the patties, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Grill the halloumi slices, about 2 minutes per side, and hit them with the lemon juice.

Assemble the burgers and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Calories 720, Fat 41g (Saturated 21g, Trans 0.3g), Cholesterol 243mg, Sodium 1324mg, Carbs 37g (Fiber 2g, Sugars 11g), Protein 50g

Macaroni with Sausage and Ricotta

Another Pinterest Find, althought the picture was odd.  Called Macaroni, their picture used what look liked linguine.  But flour and egg taste pretty much the same to me, so I let that go.

D was working late, so I decided to make this.  Of course by the time I finished cutting the onion and the garlic he was home, and took over.    Basically this is deconstructed lasagna.  It is very good, but also pretty quick.

And it uses almost all ingredients that we tend to have in the house (minus ricotta).  We had with a Caesar Salad.

Would have again.

Macaroni with Sausage and Ricotta

A bit of sausage goes a long way in flavoring the creamy ricotta tomato sauce in this healthy and quick pasta recipe. While this recipe calls for macaroni, you can make this dish with any type of tubular pasta. It’s just the thing to satisfy your craving for comfort food in a hurry.

Photo by ALB

Makes: 6 servings
Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
Added 3 Garlic Cloves
6 ounces mild pork sausage, casings removed (used spicy)
1 14-ounce can no-salt-added whole peeled tomatoes, chopped, with their juice (used diced)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt plus 1 tablespoon, divided
12 ounces thin tube-shaped pasta, such as pasta al ceppo
6 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Put 2 quarts of water on to boil in a large pot.

Meanwhile, combine oil, onion and sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring and crumbling the sausage with a spoon, until the onion is golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook until the tomatoes have reduced and separated from the oil, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt to the boiling water, stir in pasta and cook according to package instructions until just tender. Just before the pasta is done, return the sauce to medium-low heat. Add ricotta and basil and stir until combined. When the pasta is done, drain well and toss with the sauce and Parmigiano. Serve at once.

Per serving: 362 calories; 12 g fat (4 g sat, 6 g mono); 16 mg cholesterol; 48 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 3 g total sugars; 15 g protein; 3 g fiber; 441 mg sodium; 276 mg potassium.

EatingWell: September/October 2014