Category Archives: Cooking

Tomato and Asparagus “Carbonara”

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Tomato and Asparagus “Carbonara” was definitely a winner from Cooking Light.

It wasn’t really a carbonara since it really only used one egg to make the sauce so I guess that’s why the carbonara is in quotation marks.  Regardless, it was very tasty!

You saute the asparagus, garlic and tomatoes in a skillet.DSC_0207

In a separate bowl you mix together pecorino romano cheese, a large egg, and salt & pepper.  When the pasta is done cooking you mix it all together and POOF! you have a delicious meal that doesn’t taste diet but it’s only 335 calories per serving (9 Weight Watchers Points Plus).

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Bad bad blogger

I’ve been a bad blogger.  I’ve made some pretty fine suppers but I’ve not been taking pictures.

For instance, I made Yakisoba for supper tonight and it was delicious.  I used a recipe that I found on the Just One Cookbook blog (you can find it here).  If you love Japanese food but aren’t sure where to start, Nami Chen, who grew up in Japan, has shared many of her family’s recipes.  I wish I’d taken a picture of our meal.  It looked wonderful and tasted even better.

Lots of little bits of news to share, though:

  • I have an update on my foot.  I’m still in the boot/air cast until May 11th and there are several small fractures, but no Lysfranc fracture so no need for surgery.
  • This past week, Jody and I had dinner with my “brother”, Bubba, when he came into town for a short work visit.  Years ago I met him online and he was pretty shy about sharing his real name, so I just started calling him Bubba.  We met on a Pogo.com (a game site) and before long were we convincing people we were brother and sister.  Somewhere along the line we convinced each other and now over a decade later, I still call him my brother and he calls me Sis.   I still call him Bubba even though I know his real name now.  It’s payback for initially thinking I was an axe murderer.
  • Jody and I will be starting a summer bowling league in June.  It’s been about 20 years since we’ve bowled regularly and, easily, more than a decade since the last time I actually bowled at all.  I’m really looking forward to that.
  • Got the garden planted.  We’ll be trying to grow tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, potatoes, carrots, green onions and herbs.  DSC_0188
  • I’ve been sewing a bit and I’m looking forward to summer actually arriving and STAYING.

And that’s about all the news that’s fit to print.


Mongolian Meat and Caraway Packets

Mongolian Meat and Caraway Packets from Andrea Nguyen’s book Asian Dumplings:  Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas and More

This was a really good meal.  It was a bit labor intensive since I made everything from scratch but it was well worth it.

First up was making the dumpling dough.  DSC_0108It was an easy to whip up dough of just flour and water.

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Then I used my tortilla press to make 4 inch rounds out of the dough.  Some were more attractive than others.  And some you wouldn’t have wanted to take home to meet your mother.

DSC_0111They say that as you get more practice your dumplings will look better.  I can only hope. They were far from attractive this time around.

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But who can resist falling in love with something that is deep fried? It was the first time I’ve ever deep fried in my wok.  The high sides kept things from splattering all over the place.

DSC_0115I’m a lousy food blogger, though.  I completely forgot to take any pictures of the finished dumplings as they were plated.  Luckily, I had this one last one left over.  Imagine if you will, twelve of these golden brown dumplings waiting patiently to be divided into servings.

I served the dumplings with a side of rice and a spicy tomato dipping sauce.

The meal got a thumbs up from both me and the husband.


Cooking Light Diet Continues

I’ve had pretty good luck with the Cooking Light Diet.  For the most part, the recipes are easy to make and actually quite tasty.  Tonight was no exception.  I made Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Supper.  What could be easier than an almost one skillet meal?  I say almost because you do have to boil some red potatoes prior to putting them in the skillet.  Other than that it’s only the one skillet.  Reading the reviews on the website, most of the reviews were about the sauce being thin, which it was, and the sauce being a bit bland.  I can’t really argue with either one of those points but both are very easy to rectify.

One thing I did differently from the very start was that I chose to use broccoli instead of green beans.  As many of you know, I hate green beans with such a passion that I swear they are Satan’s second favorite vegetable — the first being Brussels sprouts.

Here is my mise en place:

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While the potatoes boiled, I browned the chicken on the stove top and then moved to the skillet to the oven to continue cooking.  (As you may be able to tell I used chicken breasts instead of the boneless skinless chicken thighs the recipe called for.  As a result, the chicken did over cook a bit and next time I would definitely use the chicken thighs.)

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Next up I sautéed the mushrooms and potatoes together to get a nice browning on both.

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Finally, it was time to marry everything in the skillet on the stove top.  Lemons, potatoes, mushrooms, chicken, chicken broth, and a slurry of milk and flour simmered for about 10 minutes and then it was time to eat.

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If you don’t like a lot of lemon, you may want to cut back on the amount of lemon they tell you to put in the sauce.  We actually like a good tart lemon flavor.  Similarly if you prefer a spicy sauce, I bet this recipe would take well to an addition of red pepper flakes.  I will probably do that next time since we do tend to like our foods spicy.

All in all, it was a very good start.  I do think I would prefer a thicker sauce and I would probably add the red pepper flakes.

I definitely would rate this recipe as Good and with a couple of tweaks I think it could get a rating of Excellent.


Walnut Crusted Oven-Fried Chicken

I went way outside my comfort zone today for supper.  I made Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken for supper.   It’s a recipe from the November 2010 issue of Cooking Light Magazine and it just happened to come up as the choice for tonight’s supper on the Cooking Light Diet.

I’m not a nut lover and I was really quite sure that I would end up having to scrape all the walnuts off the chicken in order to eat it.  I didn’t have to do that.  It was really quite tasty.

I did put the walnuts that I bought already chopped, into my spice grinder (aka coffee grinder that I use solely for spices and the like) and chopped them up pretty finely.

I served the chicken with Buttered Carrots and Sauteed Broccoli Rabe.  I’m NOT a fan of broccoli rabe I found out today.  I’d never tried it so in the spirit of opening up to new things, I made the chicken with walnuts and the broccoli rabe.

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Two Weeks of Nutrisystem….

As I mentioned in my last post, I need to lose weight and I wanted to give Nutrisystem a try.  Since Walmart sells 5 day kits, I bought two of them….one was “regular” and the other was categorized “diabetic.”   After I bought them, I then decided to google them and see what the consensus was.  Not being able to find any recent reviews, I embarked on this taste test.

I was going to try each one and give you a run down on each meal, but that seemed a bit presumptuous.  Not even my husband cares about my opinion that much.

So overall the food wasn’t bad.  I wouldn’t consider it good, but if I didn’t enjoy cooking or I were a bad cook, I wouldn’t think twice about staying on the Nutrisystem diet.  But the truth is that I think I”m a pretty good cook and so does my husband and I felt pretty bad feeding him microwave meals just because I was doing a diet with prepared meals.

On the two weeks  I was on the diet, I lost about 5 pounds.  For the most part I didn’t feel hungry, but honestly, if I never see another clementine or another string cheese stick it will be too soon.

I don’t tend to eat breakfast or dessert so my husband was the recipient of those items.  He wasn’t fond of the Oreo-type cookies, but everything else he seemed to like.  I LOVED the chicken pot pie and the home-style chicken.  Most everything else was ok.  The cheese tortellini met an early death.  That was NOT good.

I’m glad I tried it and if you’re considering Nutrisystem it may be in your best interest to go to Walmart and get a 5 day kit and give it a try.  Some of the meals are good; some not so much.

Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can live off of “normal” portion sizes, I’m eager to continue on my weight loss journey.  I know I need something less restrictive than Nutrisystem but I also know that figuring the points for Weight Watchers isn’t quite for me.

I’m a fan of Cooking Light Magazine and have tried many of their meals and haven’t gotten a bad one yet.  They just happen to have a new Cooking Light Diet.  They come up with 7 days of meals (breakfast, lunch, supper and a snack) and you do the shopping and cooking.

I did the first supper of that diet tonight.  It was a Southwestern Salsa Burger.  It consisted of 90% lean ground beef, ground chipotle pepper, pepper jack cheese, and salsa.  It was really yummy.  It didn’t taste like “diet” food but the entire burger — including the bun — was only 328 calories.  What gave it away as diet food was that it was served with a salad instead of french fries.  Still at the end of the meal I was full and satisfied.  I felt naughty.


Cream of Chicken & Vegetable Soup for Two

You may have noticed that I have a very high regard for America’s Test Kitchen’s recipes.  I found some that weren’t my favorite, but they were still good.  Another magazine that I find usually has very good recipes is Cuisine at Home.  I don’t cook as many of their recipes as I do ATK, but similarly, I’ve never found anything of theirs that is bad.

This past week at the grocery store I saw Cuisine Tonight: Thinner Dinners for Two.  Basically it is a collection of 84 recipes that are sized for two people and are lower in calories than “regular” versions.  Absolutely perfect for us!

So I decided to try their Cream of Chicken and Vegetable Soup.  What was interesting, I thought, about this recipe is that it called for smoked paprika.  The smoked paprika gave it a really nice taste that you wouldn’t necessarily equate with a vegetable soup.

Also with the soup I made homemade rolls to make turkey burgers out of.  That’s a different blog post, though.  The picture I have included with this blog post is from the magazine.  We all should know by now that I’m terrible at remembering to take pictures before I devour my meal.

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Cream of Chicken and Vegetable Soup

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast about 8 ounces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup each diced onion, carrot and celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon each minced fresh garlic, kosher salt, smoked paprika, and black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon each dried dill weed and dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup frozen broccoli florets, quartered

Simmer the chicken breast in 1 cup of water in a 2 1/2 to 3 quart pot for about 15 minutes or until the chicken breast is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the broth and put it on a plate to cool.  When the chicken is cool enough to touch, shred it with two forks..

In the same water that you boiled the chicken, add the broth, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, salt, paprika, pepper, dill, and thyme over high heat.  Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium low heat for 15 minutes.  Once you turn the heat to a simmer, add back in the chicken that you have now shredded.

In a measuring cup whisk the cornstarch into the milk.  Stir the milk/cornstarch mixture into the soup.  Add the frozen broccoli and simmer for about 10 more minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand for about five minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.

According to the magazine this makes approximately 3 cups of soup which is two servings.  However, since we had a sandwich with it we opted to have only one cup of soup each so for us it made three servings.

As written, assuming two servings, each serving is 287 cal, 7 g total fat, 77 mg cholesterol, 711 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 3 g fiber, and 32 g protein

I would definitely make this recipe again.  I might use a little bit more cornstarch next time just to make it a little thicker.  I did use 1% milk instead of 2% milk but I don’t think that made much of a difference in the thickness of the broth.  All in all it was a very good soup.

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