Friday, December 30, 2016

Toffee, Peanut Butter and Caramel Cookie Bars

So I found this recipe sometime between September and November, and they have been talking to me.  Since I don't like having sweets in the house, I thought I'd make them for Thanksgiving, except it was just me and D.  Then I thought I would make them for my work's cookie swap, but someone was diagnosed with meningitis and the days after, I noticed how many women don't wash their hands after using the rest room.  So I didn't want to participate in the Great Meningitis Cookie Swap.

Christmas rolled around and my back started acting up, so cheesecake was out (requires getting out of a chair a lot).  So back to these.

They were really simple to make.  But man was the pan heavy!   I was going to only eat just 1.  I ate 4 over the week. I gave 2 away.  D had some. My brother had some. My dad had some.

I would make again.

I used my hand mixer (seriously, am I the only person who finds a hand mixer easier to use than the Kitchen Aid Heavy As Shit Stand Mixer?).  The butter/sugar takes a bit to blend that way.

Toffee, Peanut Butter and Caramel Cookie Bars

Photo by ALB

12 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
2 c light brown sugar (or dark...whatever you have)
½ c creamy peanut butter (or crunchy...whatever you have)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
2½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (used's what I had)
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
1 cup Reese's peanut butter chips
1 cup Heath toffee bits
Cooking Spray

Caramel Filling
11 oz bag Kraft caramel bits (or unwrapped caramel squares)- unwrapping them is a PITA
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 Tablespoons butter, doesn't matter if it is softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick foil (or spray the hell out of the pan with cooking spray).

Cream butter and sugar together in mixer. Add peanut butter and beat. Add eggs and vanilla.

Add flour, oats, baking powder, and salt.

Stir in chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and toffee.

Cookie Dough 

Press 2/3 of the cookie dough on the bottom of the pan.

Place all filling ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until smooth. Stir in between! (this took 5 30 second/stir increments for me)

Pour caramel mixture evenly over the dough.

Drop the remaining dough on top using your hands. (Like a crumble, a little here, a little there)

Ready for the Oven

Bake for about 30 minutes (mine were 35... next time I'm trying 33).

Fresh out of the Oven

Let cool completely and cut into bars.

From Hugs and Cookies XOXO, with my comments

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Slow-Cooker Barbacoa

So in an effort not to eat roller food/spend money out on food, D made this before we went to a beer festival.  I guess he put it on at 9am.  We got home at 8pm.  Then I forgot to put it in the refrigerator (it was on warm on the Crock Pot).  (I may have also had roller food).

So Sunday rolled around, and we decided to have it (after we put it in the refrigerator, and then heated it up).  It was dry, I'll admit, but I think that was the function of the cook and his helper. It also didn't shred, so D sliced it.

Anyway, except for being dry, it was really good.  A lot of flavor.  I liked it.

We had with refried beans, and served the meat taco-style. I forgot a picture.

Slow-Cooker Barbacoa

Serves 8

3 to 4-pound beef chuck roast
3 bay leaves
1 cup cider vinegar
juice of 2 limes
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, drained
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chicken broth
flour tortillas
Toppings: shredded Colby Jack cheese, shredded lettuce, guacamole

Place roast and bay leaves in a large slow cooker. In a food processor or blender, combine vinegar, lime juice, peppers, garlic and seasonings. Process on high until smooth. Pour vinegar mixture and broth over roast. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours, until roast is fork-tender. Shred beef with 2 forks; return to juices in slow cooker. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings.

11 Smart Points (toppings not included)

Goosebury Patch, AUGUST 2013

Mongolian Beef and Vegetables

It's interesting we have a Mongolian Beef recipe, yet neither of us really remember it.  What's even odder, is we had it like 3 weeks ago.  I think I like this one better anyway, because it has vegetables in it.  Not that I love vegetables, but I love bulk.  So anyway, D made this (of course).  We were able to use a carrot that was in the refrigerator.  Instead of sugar snap peas, we subbed edamame for that because we had some from last week.

We were supposed to have with a Soba Noodles recipe (subbed with Whole Wheat Spaghetti, because shocking...Kroger didn't have soba or buckwheat noodles), but a miscommunication between D and me, led to plain noodles. It was ok. They were good, and soaked up the sauce.

Mongolian Beef and Vegetables

Photo by ALB

TOTAL TIME 35 mins
YIELD Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 cup)

12 ounces flank steak, thinly sliced (used 14 oz)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided (did not use)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1 cup snow peas, halved diagonally (used edamame)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (used 4 cloves)
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger

Place steak and cornstarch in a bowl; toss to coat. Combine sugar, 3 tablespoons water, and soy sauce in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Heat a large skillet over high. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil; swirl to coat. Add steak to pan in a single layer; cook 5 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Remove steak from pan; keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Add remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil and remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil to pan. Add broccoli, onion, and carrot; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add snow peas, garlic, and ginger; cook 1 minute. Add steak and soy sauce mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 258; Fat: 9.7 g; Sat fat: 2.3 g; Mono fat: 4.2 g; Poly Fat: 2 g; Protein: 22 g; Carbohydrate: 21 g; Fiber: 3 g; Cholesterol: 53 mg; Iron: 3 mg; Sodium: 513 mg; Calcium: 82 mg; Sugars: 12 g; Est. Added Sugars: 10 g

7 Smart Points (with my additions/subtractions)

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Quinoa Bibimbop Bowls

So before I start on what is a really good meal, I have a pet peeve.
What is it with Cooking Light giving out portion sizes like 12 oz ground beef.  What store sells ground beef in less than 1 pound packages?  And really, why am I going to do with 4 oz.  Yes, I can put it in the freezer where it will fall between a freezer burnt bag of open peas, and that 2oz of sausage I put in there from another recipe, only to never be seen again.  OK, rant over.

So I found this recipe either in the Cooking Light that is in the bed or the Cooking Light that is on the coffee table.  Either way, I dog-eared the page, and remembered there may be a recipe in there that I was interested in.  D and I were lazy about making a grocery list on Saturday, which meant I had about 5 hours to make one on Sunday while he was at work.  This recipe got added on, as I made the list both on the couch and right before taking a nap.

So we had this last night.  We had decided against frozen green beans because we didn't see why they were needed. D figured it out last was because cooking fresh ones involves another pot (versus the microwave), and a lot of bowls were already used. Still fresh green beans are a keeper.

The taste was very good.  I'm reading now about the heat from the jalapeno... I must not have taste buds.  There was heat to the dish?    I loved the egg yolk over everything.

Definitely would have again.  (I did do the dishes).  For lunch I had it sans egg.  It was still tasty. I forgot to bring Asian Hot Sauce to add.

Quinoa Bibimbop Bowls

Photo by ALB (with and without the egg)

Bibimbop is a Korean dish that means "mixed rice." For this version, we took a hearty grain like quinoa and served it with crunchy vegetables and a fried egg. Jalapeño seeds add heat to the spicy-sweet beef mixture; remove the seeds and membranes before mincing for sensitive palates. Let the family build their own bowls, so this way, everyone's happy.

Yield: Serves 4

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 large carrot, cut into 3-in. julienne strips
1 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
4 radishes, very thinly sliced
1 (8-oz.) pkg. microwave-in-bag haricots verts (French green beans) (used fresh green beans)
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided (used 1tsp)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium jalapeño, minced
12 ounces 90% lean ground sirloin (used 1lb)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
4 large eggs

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork. Stir in salt.

2. Bring rice vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add carrot; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in onion and radishes. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. Drain.

3. Heat beans according to package directions. Combine beans, 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon oil in a bowl, and toss to coat.

4. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and jalapeño; sauté 1 minute. Add beef; cook 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Stir in remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and sugar; cook 1 minute. Place beef mixture in a bowl.

5. Return pan to medium-high heat. Crack eggs into pan; cook 2 minutes. Cover and cook 1 1/2 minutes. Spoon 2/3 cup quinoa into each of 4 bowls; top each with 1/3 cup beef mixture, 1/2 cup carrot mixture, 1/4 cup beans, and 1 egg.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 472; Fat: 19.5 g; Sat fat: 5.8 g; Mono fat: 8.7 g; Poly fat: 3.1 g; Protein: 32 g; Carbohydrate: 42 g; Fiber: 6 g; Cholesterol: 241 mg; Iron: 6 mg; Sodium: 670 mg; Calcium: 106 mg; Sugars: 10 g; Est. Added Sugars: 3 g

12 Smart Points (with my additions/subtractions)

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fried Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich

So D knows I love Soft-Shells.  You can pretty much get them frozen all year round but frozen makes for tiny little suckers.  However, they are cleaned for you.

So our freezer is full, and we were trying to make room, and saw we had 4 more servings of crab. D found this recipe.  He always broils them with hot sauce for me, but I agreed to have them fried this time, except not really. He replaced the 2 Cups of oil with 2 TBSP of oil.

If you are trying to figure out the Nutritional Information, you will be left with about half the flour and half the panko.

So they weren't deep fried but they were very good. A good crunch and flavorful.

Would have again.  We were going to have with a salad, but the lettuce was iffy, so we had with fries.

Fried Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich

Photo by ALB

4 Servings
Adapted from Bon Appetit

¼ cup mayonnaise (Hellman's Light)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (for once in our lives we didn't have Old Bay, so Creole Seasoning was used)
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 Fresno chile, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (we have a 3 lb bag of jalapenos so 1 was used).
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Crab And Assembly
Vegetable oil (for frying; about 2 cups) (used 2 TBSP)
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning, divided (for once in our lives we didn't have Old Bay, so Creole Seasoning was used)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1¼ cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
4 soft buns, warmed

Whisk mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, and Old Bay seasoning in small bowl.
DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Whisk vinegar and mustard in medium bowl. Add cabbage and chile and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Crab and Assembly
Pour oil into a large skillet, preferably cast iron, to a depth of 1/2" and heat over medium-high heat until oil bubbles immediately when a pinch of flour is added. (use 2 TBSP...use your skills or google to learn how to pan-fry, not deep fry).

Meanwhile, whisk flour, cayenne, and 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning in a shallow bowl; season with salt and pepper. Place eggs into another shallow bowl. Whisk panko and remaining 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning in a third shallow bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Dredge crabs in flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip back into bowl. Coat in panko mixture.

Working in 2 batches, place crabs, shell side down, in skillet and cook until golden brown, about 4 (2 minutes) minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with salt.

Build sandwiches with buns, sauce, crabs, and slaw.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gyro Meat Loaf with Tzatziki Sauce

I have been wanting meat loaf for a few weeks, and found this recipe.  D said he would make it.
It was supposed to be made with store-bought Tzatziki Sauce, but it was quicker to just make it then go hunt however many stores to find it.

It was lamb with spinach and cheese.  How could it be bad?  We had it with Greek Potatoes (2 baking potatoes, sauteed with Greek Seasoning, salt, and pepper, and some vinegar.

We will have again.

Gyro Meat Loaf with Tzatziki Sauce

A spin on a classic meat loaf, I love this because I can sneak spinach in on my meat-and-potatoes family. Serve it with Greek-style potatoes or a Greek salad. I also get to make a whole other meal the next night with the leftovers—gyros.

Photo by ALB

Adapted from A Taste of Home
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min.; Bake: 55 min. + standing
MAKES: 8 servings



Adapted from

1 (8 ounce) containers plain yogurt
1 cucumbers - peeled, seeded and diced
1 tablespoons olive oil
3 TBSP lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
6 cloves garlic, peeled

Adapted from A Taste of Home
Meat Loaf
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pounds ground lamb
1 pounds ground beef, 90/10
1 cup refrigerated tzatziki sauce

In a food processor or blender, combine yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and garlic. Process until well-combined. Transfer to a separate dish, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for best flavor.

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the first (meat loaf) eight ingredients. Crumble lamb/beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into a loaf and place in a greased 11x7-in. baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, 55-60 minutes or until no pink remains and a thermometer reads 160°. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with tzatziki sauce.

Freeze option: Securely wrap and freeze cooled meat loaf in plastic wrap and foil. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Unwrap meat loaf; reheat on a greased shallow baking pan in a preheated 350° oven until a thermometer inserted in center reads 165°. Yield: 8 servings.

Monday, November 14, 2016


So my friend C posted this recipe on Pinterest.  I looked at it in passing, and thought it looked good, but I didn't really have a plan to have it.  Then my friend L mentioned she had to go on the London Diet for medical reasons, which is rather restrictive.   I remembered the recipe and passed it on to L, but felt bad to give her an untested recipe so D and I decided to test it out for her.

So a few may take exception to the name since there is no pasta (it's like my pizza versus shit-on-bread if there is no red sauce on the crust).  Is this lasana or a casserole since there is no pasta?  Either way, I liked it.  D wasn't so much a fan, but he isn't a fan of goat cheese, and he was unsure of the Greek Yogurt (very tangy).  But he looked at different ways to make it better which is good.
Suggestions were using Ricotta, taking out the Italian Seasoning and Goat Cheese and replacing with Greek Seasoning and Feta.  Other suggestions were replacing the zucchini with egg plant.


Photo by ALB

From What Runs Lori
Servings: 6 Huge servings

1 white onion, diced
1 pound of 90% ground sirloin
1 15oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp Italian spice blend
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound of zucchini and/or yellow squash, cut into medallion rounds
1/2 cup raw goat cheese, shredded
2 cups Greek yogurt
Add 1 C of Mozzarella
1 head broccoli, roughly chopped
1 egg

In a large skillet or sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the diced onions. Sautee on medium-high until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the ground turkey, canned tomato and tomato paste, spices, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic. Continue to cook all ingredients until the turkey is cooked through. Set aside when done.

In a medium bowl, combine raw goat cheese, Greek yogurt, (mozzarella cheese), broccoli pieces, and egg. Mix well.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a 13 x 9 Pyrex glass baking dish. Place a layer of zucchini and squash rounds evenly across the bottom, making a sort of liner.

Add a layer of turkey-tomato sauce on top of the zucchini. Top that with some of the broccoli and yogurt mixture, as shown above. Continue with this layering process until you have used all of your ingredients.

Top the entire dish with more shredded goat cheese, if desired.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Rustic Chicken with Garlic Gravy

This was in my "Tried" section of Pinterest, but for whatever reason I didn't write a review.  I remembered liking it, but that the gravy was on the thin side.  It's been getting colder in the house (we haven't turned on the heat yet), so comfort food and Sunday Dinner was what I wanted.  D looked at the recipe and said ok.

He said it was pretty easy to make.  We had with Oven-Roasted Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes.

Would have again.

Rustic Chicken with Garlic Gravy 

Photo by ALB
A delicious one ­pan meal that is delicious served with mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta, to make the most of the delicious gravy. To save yourself the chore of separating and peeling all that garlic, look for pre-­separated/peeled garlic cloves in the produce section of your grocery store.

Adapted from Jennifer at Seasons and Suppers
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 6

2 Tbsp. cooking oil (used PAM)
6-­8 chicken thighs, skin on (used 4.5 pounds of chicken)
Salt and freshly ­ground black pepper
20­-22 cloves of garlic (D used 1 head), separated and peeled
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth (used Fat-Free...use less if you want a thicker gravy)
1 1/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or about 3/4 tsp. dried leaves)
2 Tbsp. butter (used 3 TBSP because D always uses butter in comfort dishes)

1. Heat the oven to 400° F with rack in center of oven.

2. In a oven-­safe Dutch oven or oven-safe skillet with a lid, heat the oil (used PAM) over medium high heat. Dry the chicken pieces well by patting them with a paper towel. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with a bit of salt and the pepper. Cook the chicken until well browned, turning regularly, for about 8 minutes in all then remove chicken to a plate. You can remove some of the fat in the pan if you have lots, but do leave enough to cook the garlic in the next step.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic, and cook, stirring regularly, until it is starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the garlic and stir until combined. Return the chicken to the pot, cover, and bake for 15 minutes in the pre­-heated 400° oven. (If you pot or skillet doesn't have a lid, you can tightly cover the top with tinfoil instead.)

4. Remove the pot from the oven and put it on a burner. Be careful not to touch the hot pot! Remove the chicken pieces from the pot to a clean plate. Over medium-high heat, whisk in the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth, thyme and a bit more salt and pepper, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring regularly, until sauce thickens. Turn the heat off and stir in the butter. Taste sauce and add more salt and pepper (you won't need more salt, I promise), if it needs it. Add the chicken back to the pot to re­-warm with the sauce. Serve spooned over mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.

10 Smart Points (with my additions/subtractions)

Recipe by Seasons and Suppers at­chicken­garlic­gravy/

Monday, October 3, 2016


D and I went to the local Hatch Chile Festival this past weekend. I found this recipe and D made it. It needs a little tweaking but overall was good.

We'll have again.


Photo by ALB

Adapted from Lisa Fain, Homesick Texan
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients for the green chile salsa:
12 fresh Hatch or Anaheim green chiles
2 jalapeño chiles
1/2 pound ground beef, preferably coarsely ground (used 1 lb)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (use 1 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (use 1 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (use 1 tsp)

Ingredients for the Frito pies:
4 cups Fritos (used 4oz)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterrey Jack or Muenster (used 1/2 C)
1/4 cup diced onions
1 jalapeño, sliced
1/2 cup sour cream, for serving (Used 1/4 Cup)

If using fresh green chiles, roast the Hatch and jalapeño 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. After the chiles have steamed, remove from the bag and rub off the skin. Remove the stems and seeds from both the chiles and finely chop.

In a Dutch oven on medium-low heat, add the ground beef, salt, and pepper. While occasionally stirring, cook until the beef has browned, about 10 minutes. Add the onions and tomatoes, and while occasionally stirring continue to cook until the onions have softened and the tomatoes are beginning to release some juices, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in the diced chiles, water, salt, cumin, and oregano, turn the heat down to low, then while occasionally stirring cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings (I usually add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt).

To assemble the green chile Frito pies, evenly divide the Fritos among 4 to 8 bowls, then top with the green chile salsa, cheese, onion, and sliced jalapeños. Serve with sour cream on the side.

Notes: If you don’t have access to fresh green chiles, you may substitute 16 ounces canned green chiles or 2 cups frozen green chiles, thawed. Drain and rinse them before using and be careful when adding salt since they may already have been salted, too.

Vietnamese Pork Salad

We've had this twice.  It is very good.  Lots of flavor, and the dressing has a good heat in it.

Vietnamese Pork Salad

Photo by ALB

Think of this impressive salad as a deconstructed version of a spring roll.

Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups) (we got 4 servings)

2 ounces uncooked rice vermicelli noodles (used angel hair Pasta)
12 ounces ground pork (used 1 lb lean)
7 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 teaspoons fish sauce, divided
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons chopped unsalted peanuts
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
2 teaspoons Sriracha
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup diagonally cut seeded cucumber
1 cup diagonally cut carrot
1/2 cup diagonally cut yellow squash
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (have used mint and have subbed basil)

1. Cook rice vermicelli according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 8 minutes, stirring to crumble. Combine 1 tablespoon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, and oil in a bowl; add to pan. Cook 1 minute; remove from heat.

3. Combine remaining 6 tablespoons juice, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons fish sauce, peanuts, green onions, and Sriracha in a bowl. Arrange lettuce, cucumber, carrot, and squash on a large platter. Top with noodles, pork mixture, cilantro, and mint. Drizzle juice mixture over top.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 268; Fat: 16 g; Sat fat: 5.1 g; Monofat: 7.2 g; Polyfat: 2.4 g; Protein: 12 g; Carbohydrate: 19 g; Fiber: 2 g; Cholesterol: 41 mg; Iron: 1 mg; Sodium: 337 mg; Calcium: 38 mg; Sugars: 8 g; Est. Added Sugars: 5 g

13 Smart Points (with my additions/subtractions)

Cooking Light, JUNE 2016

Easy Homemade Ramen

When we got back from vacation in August, I came down with strep throat, and then got a cough that hurt my entire body.  I was sick for about a month, and I really wanted comfort food, which included Ramen.  When I would get sick as a child, my father always made me ramen soup.  Just the $0.25 soup, which was probably $0.10.  So that's what I wanted, except I didn't want to get a headache from the seasoning packet.

So I found a recipe and adapted it to my liking.

Easy Homemade Ramen

Photo by ALB

Adapted from Damn Delicious
Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 20 minutes; Total Time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
5 cups chicken broth
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more, to taste
5 packages Ramen, seasoning sauce packets discarded
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Whisk in chicken broth, mushrooms, soy sauce and 5 cups water.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in noodles until loosened and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.

Add chives and serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Cheesy Sausage, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole

This dish was decent.  I thought it would be more of a comfort dish, but it really wasn't.  The tasted was better for left-overs.  Make sure to half the recipe if it's only 2 people.

Cheesy Sausage, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole

Photo by ALB

We traded white rice for whole-grain quinoa and kicked out any processed ingredients for a new take on this comfort classic. Freeze an extra pan of this whole-grain main for kid-friendly comfort. To add more flavor to quinoa, try toasting it. Here's how: After you've rinsed and drained the quinoa, heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the quinoa. Toast, stirring, until the grains begin to smell fragrant. Then, add the water and cook as normal.

Yield: Serves 12 (serving size: about 1 cup)
(Half the recipe)

2 1/2 cups water
2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
4 (4-oz.) links sweet chicken Italian sausage, casings removed (used pork)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups whole milk
2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
6 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Bring 2 1/2 cups water and quinoa to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 14 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes.

3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, and sausage; cook 7 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage. Remove sausage mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

4. Add flour, butter, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add milk and stock; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to medium; stir in broccoli, 2 teaspoons thyme, 3/8 teaspoon salt, 3/8 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Stir in quinoa and sausage mixture.

5. Coat 2 (8-inch) square microwave-safe glass or ceramic baking dishes with cooking spray. Divide quinoa mixture between dishes. Combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and panko in a bowl; add remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and cheddar. Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over casseroles. Bake at 400°F for 18 minutes or until browned, or follow freezing instructions.

How To: FREEZE: Cool unbaked casseroles completely; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 2 months. THAW: Remove foil. Microwave at HIGH 20 minutes or until thawed. REHEAT: Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 25 minutes; then broil 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 296; Fat: 13 g; Satfat: 5.3 g; Monofat: 4.7 g; Polyfat: 2.3 g; Protein: 17 g; Carbohydrate: 28 g; Fiber: 4 g; Cholesterol: 48 mg; Iron: 2 mg; Sodium: 399 mg; Calcium: 154 mg; Sugars: 4 g; Est. Added Sugars: 0 g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2016

One-Pot Cheesy Pasta Bake

This was a good dish.  Except it was missing a key ingredient...garlic. So D added it in.  I liked it better as a left over but overall I'd have it again.

One-Pot Cheesy Pasta Bake

Photo by ALB

This easy skillet pasta bake is a surefire family hit. Pasta and meat sauce topped with mozzarella cheese will make everyone at the table happy, and the all-in-one-pot technique will have the cook smiling pretty. Cooking the pasta in the meat sauce not only lessens the amount of dishes you have to do and the time it takes to get dinner done, but the starches in the pasta thicken the sauce—without you having to do a single extra thing.

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

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
Add garlic
8 ounces 90% lean ground beef
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups unsalted crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
8 ounces uncooked whole-grain penne pasta
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
4 ounces preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)

1. Preheat broiler to high. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add onion (and garlic); sauté 2 minutes. Add beef and oregano; cook 3 minutes, stirring to crumble.

2. Add stock, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and pasta; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 to 13 minutes or until pasta is done. Stir in spinach.

3. Sprinkle cheese over pasta mixture. Place pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 457; Fat: 16.6 g; Sat fat: 5.9 g; Mono fat: 6.3 g; Poly fat: 0.8 g; Protein: 31 g; Carbohydrate: 52 g; Fiber: 9 g; Cholesterol: 52 mg; Iron: 7 mg; Sodium: 598 mg; Calcium: 281 mg; Sugars: 8 g; Est. Added Sugars: 0 g

Cooking Light, September 2016

Rainbow Fried Rice

Eat this with the Char Sil.

Rainbow Fried Rice

Photo by ALB

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup chopped Char Sil
4 cups cooked long-grain rice, chilled
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup minced green onions
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggs; stir-fry for 1 minute or until done. Remove from pan.

Add yellow onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until translucent. Stir in Chinese-Style Roast Pork; stir-fry 2 minutes over medium-high heat. Add rice and soy sauce; stir-fry 2 minutes. Return eggs to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in iceberg lettuce, green peas, salt, and white pepper; stir-fry 1 minute. Sprinkle with green onions, and drizzle with sesame oil.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 219 (28% from fat); FAT 6.7g (sat 1.4g,mono 3.1g,poly 1.5g); PROTEIN 9.7g; CHOLESTEROL 85mg; CALCIUM 33mg; SODIUM 455mg; FIBER 1.7g; IRON 1.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 29g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2005

Chinese-Style Roast Pork (Char Sil)

We have no Chinese Restaurants by us. So we have to come up with our own. I have made this. It is easy and good!  Use the extra Char Sil for Rainbow Fried Rice.

Chinese-Style Roast Pork (Char Sil)

Photo by ALB

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons minced green onions
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed and cut into (2-inch) cubes

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork; seal and marinate in refrigerator 24 hours, turning bag occasionally. Remove pork from bag, reserving marinade.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place pork on the rack of a broiler pan lined with foil. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Turn pork over, and baste with reserved marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Bake an additional 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Preheat broiler. Broil pork 5 minutes or until browned.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)

Nutritional Information 
CALORIES 193 (41% from fat); FAT 8.9g (sat 3g,mono 4g,poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 21.2g; CHOLESTEROL 73mg; CALCIUM 28mg; SODIUM 249mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 5.8g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2005

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cheater Korean Beef

I thought I would try to help cook each week, so I found this recipe.  I didn't end up making it, but D did.  It was very flavorful, and pretty fast.  There was a lot of spiciness to it, although as leftovers it was subdued (but still very good).

We had with Bibb Lettuce (as wraps), and rice.  Will definitely have again.

Cheater Korean Beef

Photo by ALB

Recipe adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pounds 93/7 ground beef
3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, cut into tiny matchsticks
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup soy sauce
2-3 teaspoons chili paste
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste
1 cup green beans, cut into bite size pieces
3 green onions, sliced thin

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown the beef until cooked through, crumbling it as it browns. Drain thoroughly, then add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute or two until fragrant.

Whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, and chili paste. Pour the liquids over the beef, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes to blend the flavors and slightly thicken the sauce. Add the beans, stir and simmer a minute longer. The beans will warm in the hot skillet. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Broccoli and Cheddar Chicken Pasta

So this was very good.  The Broccoli Sauce was different.  Next time we are going to add regular broccoli (not processed) to bulk it up.

Broccoli and Cheddar Chicken Pasta

Photo by ALB

Instead of adding broccoli florets to the pasta, a double serving is incorporated into the creamy sauce. Heat the broccoli and sear the chicken while the pasta cooking water comes to a boil. The leaner dairy components create a creamy taste without all the added calories and fat or a typical broccoli and cheddar pasta dish.

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

8 ounces uncooked whole-grain penne pasta
2 cups frozen steam-in-bag broccoli florets
Add fresh steam (to not put in the food processor)
1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cooking spray
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 ounces preshredded 2% reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped green onions

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

2. Heat broccoli according to package directions; cool slightly. Combine stock, milk, and flour in a bowl. Place broccoli and stock mixture in a blender; blend until smooth.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broccoli mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in pasta, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in cheese. Top with green onions.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 436; Fat: 10.5 g; Sat fat: 4.4 g; Mono fat: 2.8 g; Poly fat: 1.6 g; Protein: 33 g; Carbohydrate: 52 g; Fiber: 7 g; Cholesterol: 99 mg; Iron: 3 mg; Sodium: 564 mg; Calcium: 348 mg; Sugars: 4 g; Est. Added Sugars: 0 g 

Cooking Light, September 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Green Chile Hominy Casserole with Chorizo

Sigh!   Homesick Texan kicked it out of the park again.
Another hit from her (and her grandmother).

D made this. Originally he was going to make it with chicken chorizo to lighten it up. But after 18 hours in the fridge, the smell emanating from the chorizo package was so god-awful, we decided that we didn't want to poison ourselves, so into the trash it went.  So up to the bodega to get REAL (pork) chorizo, and D was off to the races.

Except that I thought the portion was too small (we had 6), this was delicious and decadent-tasting.  It had the spiciness heat of the peppers and chorizo, the creaminess of the sour cream, the texture of the hominy.

Definitely having again.

Green  Chile Hominy Casserole with Chorizo

Photo by ALB

From Homesick Texan, Lisa Fain
Yield: 4 to 6 sevings (we got 6)

2 poblano chiles
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from casing and crumbled
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 jalapeños, seeds and stems removed, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (15-ounce) cans hominy, drained
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Roast the poblano chiles under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tight and let the chile steam for 20 minutes. Take the chile out of the bag and rub off the skin. Remove stem and seeds and cut dice chiles.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

On medium-low heat, heat the vegetable oil and then cook the crumbled chorizo while occasionally stirring in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet until brown, about 8-10 minutes. With a slotted spatula, remove the chorizo and drain any excess grease from the skillet, leaving 1 teaspoon. Add to the skillet the diced onions and jalapeños while occasionally stirring, cook on medium-low heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the diced poblano chiles, chorizo, hominy, sour cream, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, lime juice and half of the cheddar cheese. Stir until well combined, taste and add salt and black pepper and adjust seasonings. Top with remaining the cheddar cheese and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling.

Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup

Last week, I really wasn't in the mood to menu plan.  D wasn't either.  So Wednesday, I looked in the fridge and saw we had some left over kale, found this recipe on my Untried list on Pinterest, and off I went on making it.  Also I had physical therapy that day, and I don't like waiting for dinner when I get home.

It was simple to make.  I did nearly kill us, as the sausage wasn't cooked nearly long enough (think completely raw in the middle).  So either brown the balls before putting them in the crockpot, or keep them in the crockpot, longer.

There was a lot of flavor, but not enough broth, thus the portions were small.  Still, I'd have again.

We had with Crusty Bread.

Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups soup, 4 meatballs, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese) 

6 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson) (use 8 Cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
5 garlic cloves, chopped
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
12 ounces dried Great Northern beans (used 1 lb.)
3 cups kale, stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound hot Italian sausage links, casings removed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)

1. Place first 8 ingredients in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Discard thyme and bay leaf.

2. Stir kale, tomato paste, and salt into bean mixture. Shape sausage into 32 meatballs; arrange on top of bean mixture. Cover and cook on HIGH 30 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked (more like 30 minutes and a zap in the microwave or cook for at least 60). Stir in juice. Divide soup among 8 bowls; top with cheese.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 298; Fat: 9.7 g; Sat fat: 3.6 g; Mono fat: 4 g; Poly fat: 1.4 g; Protein: 21 g; Carbohydrate: 33 g; Fiber: 9 g; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Iron: 4 mg; Sodium: 629 mg; Calcium: 189 mg

Cooking Light, MARCH 2015

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Salad

One of my friends is doing a low-carb diet.  Although I'm not a fan of substituting out starchy products for cauliflower, I will look at recipes that are just different takes on things.

This happened to be one of them.  The original recipe was for one person, but again, if I have a pound of ground beef, I'm not using 6oz.  I'm using the whole pound.  So I upped the ingredients and servings of everything but the dressing, and added tomatoes and onions, although, D didn't have tomatoes on his salad, and I didn't have onions on mine.  I wasn't really missing the roll, because I'm not a huge fan of sandwich bread (rolls, white bread, wheat bread), and usually the dogs get most of the roll anyway.

It helped that Center Cut Bacon and 93/7 Ground Beef were on mark down, as were salad greens.

So the salad was really good.  The dressing was simple yet totally went with it.  I would have again.

Bacon Cheeseburger Salad

Photo by ALB

Serves: 3
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes

Adapted from Buns in My Oven

For the salad:
8 cups Mixed Greens
1 cup Reduced-Fat Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
8 Dill Pickle slices, chopped
2 Roma Tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup Red Onion
8 slices cooked and crumbled center cut bacon

For the burger:
1 lb. 93%/7% ground beef
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup Light Mayo
2 tablespoons mustard
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon pickle juice

Add the greens, cheese, pickles, and bacon to a large bowl. Toss to mix.

Mix the seasonings into the ground beef.

Cook in a medium skillet until cooked to your liking.

Add to the salad.

To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Nutrition Facts (from My Fitness Pal)
Servings 3.0
Calories: 548; Total Fat: 30 g; Saturated Fat: 13 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g; Polyunsaturated Fat; 3 g; Trans Fat 0 g Cholesterol: 128 mg; Sodium: 2137 mg; Potassium: 457 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 14 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 5 g; Protein: 55 g

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mojo Grilled Chicken Breasts

D made this to go with the Southwest Zucchini boats.  It was very moist and flavorful.  I like the onions as well because they were sweet.  Would have again.

Mojo Grilled Chicken Breasts

Photo by ALB

The red onions develop a nice char on the grill, but they finish cooking and develop a depth and sweetness once left to steam. Drizzle any juices from the onion mixture over the grilled chicken.

Yield:Serves 4 (serving size: about 4 ounces chicken, about 1/4 cup onions, and 1/4 avocado)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rings
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Combine 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade in a medium bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and chicken to remaining marinade, turning to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

2. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion slices to pan; grill 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and onions to reserved 1/4 cup marinade; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand 10 minutes.

3. Return grill pan to high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to pan; grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. Serve chicken with onion mixture, avocado slices, and lime wedges. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 217; Fat: 9.8 g; Satfat: 1.6 g; Monofat: 5.3 g; Polyfat: 1.2 g; Protein: 25 g; Carbohydrate: 7 g; Fiber: 3 g; Cholesterol: 73 mg; Iron: 1 mg; Sodium: 495 mg; Calcium: 17 mg; Sugars: 1 g; Est. Added Sugars: 0 g

Cooking Light, JUNE 2016

Southwestern Stuffed Zucchini Boats

So this is one of those recipes that I instantly want to hate.
6 servings from 4 zucchinis.  It's either 4 servings or 8.  Nobody has time to to figure out that each person 4 people gets 2/3s of a zucchini and 2 people get the left over cuts.  Not to mention, all the stuff will fall out of the boat.

So make it 4 servings or 8, and be done with that 6 shit.  D and I made it 4 which made it higher in calories, but we're still alive so it's all good.

The taste was awesome and we definitely have again.

We had with Mojo Chicken.  Defintitely could brown some ground chicken though and add it, that way, as well.

Southwestern Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Photo by ALB

By: Co+op, stronger together
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 (we made it 4)

Zucchini takes center stage, stuffed with spiced up black beans, red pepper and topped with cheddar.

4 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green onions
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons prepared salsa
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
Dash of hot sauce (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Scoop the flesh out of the zucchini halves. Gently squeeze it to extract any excess liquid, then dice about a cup of the flesh to use for the filling.

Cook the zucchini boats cut side down on an oiled sheet pan for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the boats over.

While zucchini is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the red pepper, green onions and zucchini flesh for 3-5 minutes. Add the ground cumin, salsa, and black beans and cook another minute. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, and hot sauce if using.

Evenly distribute the filling mixture between the zucchini boats. Return the filled boats to the oven and bake for 10-12 more minutes until cheese is melted.

Nutritional Information 4 servings from MyFitness Pal
Calories: 4, Fat: 17 g, Saturated Fat: 6 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 30 mg, Sodium: 752 mg, Carbohydrate: 28 g, Dietary Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 16 g

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Almond Butter Chicken Satay

So I'm a little odd.  I'm not a kebab fan. It's sometimes hard to get the meat off the skewers; if the skewers are wooden, one of my dogs will get a hold of them (choking hazard); and metal ones make you have to wait until your food is cold before you finally can hold the skewer.

However, I typically like the way a kebab should be flavored so I asked D if he would make these as breasts and not skewered.  So there we are.

We went to Whole Foods for Almond Butter.  We were already going there (not our typical store) to get portobellos since Kroger didn't have any.  We found a jar of Almond Butter for $12 but on sale for $4, so there you go.

We both liked this better as the first meal, than as a leftover.  But we both still liked it.  We had with Broccoli with Red Pepper flakes, because neither of us remembered we were going to have rice with it.

Would have again.

Almond Butter Chicken Satay

Photo by ALB

You can make the dipping sauce and add the chicken to the marinade before you leave for work in the morning, so you only need to skewer the chicken and grill when you get home.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 2 skewers, 3 tablespoons sauce, 6 cucumber slices, and 1 lime wedge)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light coconut milk, divided
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 24 slices (we had 4 6oz breasts, not cut)
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
3/4 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
Cooking spray
24 cucumber slices (forgot)
4 lime wedges

1. Combine 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon juice, and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken; seal. Refrigerate 2 hours.

2. Bring remaining 2 tablespoons coconut milk, 1/3 cup water, almond butter, hoisin, and Sriracha to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon juice.

3. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Thread 3 chicken pieces onto each of 8 (8-inch) skewers. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with sauce, cucumber, and lime wedges.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 224; Fat: 8.9 g; Sat fat: 1.5 g; Mono fat: 3.5 g; Poly fat: 1.6 g; Protein: 26 g; Carbohydrate: 10 g; Fiber: 1 g; Cholesterol: 73 mg; Iron: 1 mg; Sodium: 564 mg; Calcium: 47 mg

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2015

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cheesy Portobello Mushroom Burgers

So I'm continuing to try to find alternatives to eating so much bread, potatoes, and pasta during the week (carbs), and increasing the vegetables (although we aren't eliminating any of the foods from our diet). It supposedly will help with inflammation, and so I'm willing to try whatever if it can help me be less dependent on NSAIDs. Plus it is helping me lose weight, which is less weight on my back (I fractured it), so anything that can help...

 Anyway, I found Cheese Portobello Mushroom Burgers from, and decided they looked pretty good. Of course, because there is always the debate of whether these were burgers or patties since there was no bread, but I'll leave them as burgers for the title.

Right away, I knew we should increase the servings, and lower the amount of cheese.  Additionally, I was concerned they might be greasy cooking meat in a portobello.  So we changed the amounts of the ingredients up, although we didn't add or omit anything. They weren't greasy, but somewhat watery, from the mushrooms, but nothing too extreme.

They were very good (I liked them better than D), and next time I think minced garlic and sauteed onions should be added to the mix.  I would have them again.

We had with French Fries (because fries go with burgers/patties).

Cheesy Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Photo by ALB

Adapted from
Servings: 4

4 large portobello mushrooms
1 lb ounces 93 % lean beef
1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 ounce fresh spinach, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt + some to season mushrooms
1/2 tsp Black Pepper + some to season mushrooms
1/4 C shredded Parmesan Cheese
(Add minced garlic, 1-2 cloves)
(Add sauteed onion, 1/2 Cup)

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. (Saute onions and garlic).  Remove the stems from the portobellos, chop the stems finely and add to the ground beef. With a spoon, scrape out the gills on the underside of the mushrooms and discard. Chop the spinach and measure the cheese.

Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Mix the cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, and spinach (and onions and garlic) into the ground beef, using your hands. Form 4 patties and press them onto the portobello mushrooms.

Place the stuffed mushrooms on a small sheetpan or baking dish and cook for 20 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese to the top of each and pop back into the oven to melt the cheese or under the broiler to brown it.

Nutritional Information from MyFitnessPal
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 282; Total Fat: 14 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 81 mg; Sodium: 825 mg; Potassium: 587 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 8 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 31 g

Monday, June 20, 2016

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork

This recipe had one thing wrong with it. It was not spicy!  Looking at the ingredients, there is nothing besides crushed red pepper to add heat.  So you know we added chili garlic sauce to our servings.

Besides that, it was really good.  It was definitely something I liked for dinner, and leftovers for lunch.

We would have again.

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork

Photo by ALB

The Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork recipe is characteristic of the hot and spicy cuisine from the Szechuan province. You can substitute lean ground chicken or turkey for pork and asparagus for green beans.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup pork mixture and 1/2 cup rice)

1/2 pound lean ground pork (used 1 lb)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (used black pepper)
1 teaspoon peanut oil (used vegetable oil)
2 1/2 cups (1-inch) cut green beans
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups hot cooked white rice

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture, beans, and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until pork loses its pink color, stirring to crumble.

Combine hoisin and next 3 ingredients (through soy sauce) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add hoisin mixture to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information (without my changes)
Amount per serving
Calories: 254; Fat: 6.8 g; Sat fat: 2.2 g; Mono fat: 3.5 g; Poly fat: 1.1 g; Protein: 14.6 g; Carbohydrate: 32.5 g; Fiber: 3.3 g; Cholesterol: 43 mg; Iron: 1.5 mg; Sodium: 323 mg; Calcium: 47 mg

Cooking Light, APRIL 2006

Friday, June 10, 2016

Spicy Thai Red Curry Beef

D and I usually don't eat curry at home, because it is never creamy enough.  However, this looked good.

We made a few substitutions/additions.  We used green curry paste because we had it.  We added green beans to bulk up the recipe.  And we used sirloin instead of tenderloin because was on sale, and to be honest, I'm not going to pay for tenderloin to chop it up.  So there's that.

Anyway,  it was good.  Not terribly spicy. We would have again.  Of course we added Sambal Oelek to it.

Spicy Thai Red Curry Beef

Photo by ALB

This single-skillet supper is a quick ticket to rich, exotic flavor. Don't shake the coconut milk before opening; you want to keep the thick cream layer separated.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 cup beef mixture and 1/2 cup rice)

1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
4 teaspoons red curry paste (used green because we had it)
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 cups sliced red bell pepper
Added 1 1/2 cup green beans
1 cup sliced onion
12 ounces beef tenderloin, thinly sliced (used 1 lb sirloin)
1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups hot cooked brown basmati rice (used regular white rice)
4 lime wedges

1. Spoon coconut cream (thick layer at top of can) into a large skillet; stir in curry paste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add remaining coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, and red pepper; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add bell pepper and onion; reduce heat to medium, and simmer 4 minutes. Add beef; cook 3 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove pan from heat; stir in basil, lime juice, and salt. Serve beef mixture with rice and lime wedges.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 334; Fat: 11.2 g; Satfat: 6.5 g; Monofat: 2.6 g; Polyfat: 0.6 g; Protein: 24 g; Carbohydrate: 36 g; Fiber: 3 g; Cholesterol: 55 mg; Iron: 3 mg; Sodium: 645 mg; Calcium: 65 mg; Sugars: 6 g; Est. Added: Sugars 2 g

Cooking Light, JUNE 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Refried Bean Poblanos with Cheese

When I showed this recipe to D, I was kind of surprised he said yes.  I even mentioned it was vegetarian.  He still went for it.

We had it last night.  It couldn't have been easier, although D said next time he would like to char the peppers.

Anyway, I halved and seeded the poblanos, and he did the rest (opened cans, packets and the microwave).  With me seeding the poblanos the whole dish probably took 10 minutes instead of 6.  Also, despite poblanos not being that hot, don't rub your eye until after you have washed your hands, if you are handling the peppers (PSA!).

We would have again, or we would have half a pepper as a side dish.  It was really good. (We did have with sour cream, which wasn't pictured).

Refried Bean Poblanos with Cheese

Photo by ALB

Poblano chiles grown in a hot, dry climate can be more intense than others, so the spiciness of this dish depends on the heat of your peppers.

Prep: 2 minutes; Cook: 6 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 stuffed chile halves)

4 medium poblano chiles, halved and seeded
1 (16-ounce) can fat-free refried beans
1 (8.8-ounce) pouch microwaveable cooked long-grain rice (such as Uncle Ben's Original Ready Rice)
1/2 cup picante sauce
1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Place chile halves, cut sides up, on a round microwave-safe plate. Cover with wax paper; microwave at HIGH 3 minutes.

2. While chiles cook, combine beans, rice, and picante sauce in a medium bowl, stirring well. Spoon bean mixture evenly into chile halves. Cover with wax paper; microwave at HIGH 2 minutes. Uncover chiles, sprinkle each half with 2 tablespoons cheese, and microwave at HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle evenly with cilantro, if desired.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 303; Fat: 6 g; Sat fat: 3.1 g; Monofat: 0.0 g; Polyfat: 0.1 g; Protein: 17 g; Carbohydrate: 45.4 g; Fiber: 7.7 g; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Iron: 0.7 mg; Sodium: 960 mg; Calcium: 232 mg

Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast, APRIL 2009

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken

This was a little sad.  Not horrible.  But it was a little bland.  Both D and I thought so.  It needed a little more salt, and the chicken needed a good rub.  Still I'd have it again.

We were workinng on finding healthy Latino-inspired sides.  We had with Skillet Mexican Zucchini.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken

Photo by ALB

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
From Closet Cooking

Juicy chicken breasts wrapped in crispy bacon and stuffed full, to overflowing, with melted cheese and jalapeno peppers!

4 (6 ounce) chicken breasts, butterflied or pounded thin
salt and pepper to taste (need to add cumin)
2 tablespoons roasted jalapenos (or fresh, or pickled), diced
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup monterey jack or cheddar cheese, shredded
8 slices bacon

Lay the chicken flat, season the outside with salt and pepper, spread 1/4 of the mixture of the jalapenos and the cheeses on the chicken breasts, roll them up and wrap each in 2 slices of bacon

Grill over indirect medium heat, with the lid down, until the bacon is crispy and the chicken is cooked (160F to 165F), about 20-30 minutes, or bake in a preheated 400F/200C oven on a wire rack on a baking pan until cooked, about 20-30 minutes, turning the oven to broil for the last few minutes to ensure that the bacon is crispy.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 382, Fat 18.4g (Saturated 6.2g, Trans 0g), Cholesterol 148mg, Sodium 457mg, Carbs 1g (Fiber 0, Sugars 0), Protein 49.8g

Skillet Mexican Zucchini

For awhile, D and I have been looking for healthy Mexican side dishes.  We seem to get into a rut of Mexican Red Rice and/or Refried Beans.  Nothing wrong with either of these foods, but we've been trying to incorporate more flavorful vegetable dishes.  So we found this one, and decided to try it.

Knowing that I don't like warm tomatoes (except on pizza), D added the tomatoes at the end, so they weren't cooked.  I liked this better than D; I also poured more lime juice on mine.

Add a Mexican Blend or other spice to flavor it up.

We had with Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Chicken.

Skillet Mexican Zucchini

Photo by ALB

Adapted from Skinny Taste

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb zucchini, diced
1 large tomato, cored, seeded and diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp minced pickled jalapeño
1/2 cup crumbled queso blanco (or queso fresco, cotija or feta) (used Habanero Jack)
fresh lime juice, to taste (used 1 TBSP)
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
(add cumin and chile pepper)

Cook the garlic in oil in a large skillet over medium heat 1 minute, stirring until sizzling. Add zucchini and cook stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes or until slightly softened. Add tgreen
 onion and cook about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and add tomato, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and spices to taste and top with queso blanco. Serve hot (or cold).

Yield: 4 Servings, Serving Size: 1/4th of the recipe
Calories: 102; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: g; Cholesterol: 17mg; Sodium: 211mg; Carbohydrates: 8g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 5g

Pork Tinga (Tinga de Pueco)

I found this recipe the week after I got my blood pressure results back, they were high, so I decided to go on a "REALLY HEALTHY EATING" kick.  Of course, how the hell am I going to eat this.
Well, we also had 1.5 pounds of pork shoulder in the freezer, D wasn't going on a healthy eating kick and well, sometimes you just have to say F-it.

The result of this was a tangy pork stew that was delicious.  Of course it was; it's from Homesick Texan.  D had on corn tortillas, and I had on a wheat wrap.  So he had tacos and I had a burrito.  We definitely would have again.

Pork Tinga (Tinga de Pueco)

Photo by ALB
From Homesick Texan

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (used 1 TBSP)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 chipotle chile peppers in adobo
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from its casing
1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Warm corn tortillas, for serving (used both corn and wheat)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced, for serving
Cotija cheese, for serving (used Jack Cheese)
1 lime cut into wedges, for serving
Added Reduced Fat Sour Cream

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and while occasionally stirring, cook until fragrant and softened, about 4 minutes. Scrape the onion and garlic into a blender and add the tomatoes, chipotle chiles, oregano, and thyme. Blend until smooth.

Meanwhile, wipe out the Dutch oven and then add the remaining oil and the chorizo removed from its casing. On medium heat, while occasionally stirring cook for 10 minutes or until the meat has darkened.

Turn off the heat and add to the Dutch oven the pork shoulder, bay leaf, salt, chipotle tomato salsa from the blender, and water. Gently stir to combine everything, cover the pot, and then bake for 2- 2 1/2 hours or until the sauce has reduced and the pork is fork tender and can be easily shredded.

If you prefer, instead of using the oven you can place the chipotle tomato salsa, cooked chorizo, and pork in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Once the pork is tender, with two forks, shred the pork and then stir in the chopped cilantro and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm with corn tortillas with more cilantro, avocado, Cotija cheese, and lime wedges, on the side.

Yield: 8 servings (Homesick Texan indicated 4-6 servings, we got 8)