Friday, February 29, 2008

Turkey Soup

So to be honest with you, I printed out this recipe b/c I thought I could use some of my leftover turkey from the turkey breast I roasted. Um, yeah, not so much. This called for ground turkey. But this worked for me b/c I had about a pound of ground turkey leftover from something I made earlier in the week but forgot to take pictures of. (Sorry!)

Every few weeks I realize how much money I have spent at the grocery store and how much food has gone bad in our house, or will be going bad and I sit down and go through what recipes I have made, what I have left & what I am going to do with it so that I don't go to the store. I plan every meal: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack & dinner. I don't take into account that we may not be home, that we may go out to eat, that we may skip a snack, that maybe we just don't want fish for dinner. So there is at least 3 meals that I haven't made by the time the week is over.

Last night I said to the hubs, is it ok if I just make soup & salad for dinner? I really need to use this stuff up! He said ok, after I bribed him with a delicious dinner that I have planned for this evening.
Onto the food...

Turkey Soup Provencal
Cooking Light
1 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence, crushed
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, undrained
4 cups chopped fresh spinach

Cook turkey in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble.
Add herbes de Provence, beans, broth, and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in spinach; simmer 5 minutes.

**My notes: Talk about easy peasy. I didn't have herbs de Provence, so I put in some rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram & basil. I also only had plain canned tomatoes, so when I cooked the turkey I added some chopped red onion & a few minced garlic closves. And I added a can of tomato sauce, it looked awfully thick even before I added the spinach. I let it simmer for at least a half hour before I added the spinach. And this was really really good. DH even said it was good and he is not a fan of soup.

Grilled Sesame Salmon

I am a total PW today! I have been super busy & haven't had time to update my blog in awhile. I pulled down all my pics from my camera so I figured I should spend some time today posting. See I didn't stop cooking or anything, I just stopped blogging. BAD!

Since my last SB recipe was so great (see the chicken capri) I actually started reading their emails! Crazy thing when you do that you get more recipes! They had one for a grilled sesame salmon I thought I would try out. Talk about wow! The combination of the flavors was amazing. It was Asian meets Thai. From the picture on the website you wouldn't think it had a sauce, but it did.

Grilled Sesame Salmon
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon salt, plus additional to taste
4 tablespoons rice vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons tahini or smooth, natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, divided
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
4 salmon fillets (about 5 ounces each)
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
6 cups baby arugula or salad greens
Place cucumbers in strainer set in sink; toss with 1 tablespoon salt. Press kitchen towel on cucumbers; drain at least 1 hour or up to 3.
To make sauce, combine 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, soy sauce, tahini, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon water in blender; puree until combined.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Season both sides of salmon with salt. Place skin side down on grill; cook 3 minutes, or until skin shrinks and separates from flesh. Flip; cook 4 minutes, until done.
Toss cucumbers with remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon oil, and sliced onions. Refrigerate until serving.
Divide arugula equally among four plates. Top each serving with salmon, then cucumbers. Drizzle sauce over servings.

**My Notes, bc I always have some don't I? I halved this recipe since I was only making 2 salmon. I also only let my salted cucumbers sit out while I prepped and cooked, so maybe a half hour. Hubs doesn't like arugula so I served this on a bed of Chinese vegetables. The next time I make it, I will serve it with arugula. I think the bitter of the arugula would have paired nicely with the smoothness of the PB sauce & the sour of the cucs. Also, hubs LOVED the cucumbers w/the salmon & the sauce. It was a surprisingly good combo.

Frittata, tata, ta

My hubs loves to say frittata. He thinks its a great word. But doesn't understand why its called a frittata & not a souffle or why there is a thing called a Spanish tortilla, when its the same thing as a frittata, and what do the Spanish call a flour tortilla then? You know the kind you use to make a burrito. So I did some wiki research and here is what it says

"Spanish tortilla española is a characteristic thick omelette stuffed with fried potatoes and fine cut onion, and fried using olive oil. "
"Frittata is a kind of open-faced Italian omelette that can contain cheese, vegetables, or even leftover pasta. Frittata are cooked slowly. Except for the cooking fat, all ingredients are fully mixed with the eggs before cooking starts. "
Oh, ok I understand now. (um not really, one has potatoes & is fried, one is baked?)

Here is my Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato Fritatta, courtesy of Epicurious!(which came from Self Magazine who get it from Golden Door Chef Dean Rucker)
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
1 cup packed fresh spinach, chopped
4 whole eggs
4 egg whites
8 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
1/2 cup grated Asiago
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 425°F. Coat 4 small baking dishes with cooking spray. Set aside. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook shallot until soft but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Lightly whisk eggs and egg whites in a bowl. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, basil, spinach mixture, salt and pepper. Spoon into baking dishes; bake until firm in the center, 12 to 14 minutes.

Now for mine, I just cooked it in my skillet b/c I let it brown up on the stove prior to putting it in the oven. I also used dried basil & didn't measure the S&P. Oh and I use egg beaters. 1 1/2 cups to be exact. My sun-dried tomatoes were in a jar packed in oil, so I placed the tomatoes on a paper towel lined plate & dabbed the extra oil off of them before I chopped them up.

I really enjoy making frittatas because we eat egg beaters every morning. I hate getting up earlier to make some scrambled eggs for us, so I cook the frittata the night before & we have breakfast for the next 2 days.


My friend Nems over at Cast Sugar tagged me. I must say, I am quite impressed with her mad baking skillz-so check her out! She makes some of the coolest things.

"5 Things" Meme Rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their Blogs.

I honestly have no idea if I have been tagged before, but if I have, surely I am interesting enough to be tagged again right????

#1. I never had a middle name until I was 16. When I was born my parents couldn't agree on a middle name. My mom wanted Marie, her middle name & my grandma's middle name, my dad wanted Ann. So they just left my middle name blank. This worked in my favor as my parents could never yell at me with my full name, like they did to my brothers- "Michael Patrick!" "Joseph Aaron!" No I was just "JULIE!" As I was growing up I just started making up middle names. Angel was popular for awhile, Stacey was a good one. Even when I had one picked out and my parents would want to yell at me, "Julie Angel!" I would turn around and say "THATS NOT MY MIDDLE NAME!" Finally at 16 we went to the Social Security office and I became Julie Nicole.

#2. My mom read Charlotte's Web to me when I was little. I cried for two weeks straight at the end. I still won't read it or see any of the movies.

#3. I was diagnosed with ITP when I was 10 yrs old. Its a treatable blood disorder where I didnt produce enough platlets. My veins would "leak" and I would bruise easily. If i got cut, I would bleed out. I was hospitalized for a week and put on steriods to build me up. It also widened me out-boy did I get fat! Anyway, b/c I would bruise easily, my brothers, both older, couldn't hit me, punch me, sit on me or put me in the deep freezer. So they created a "hit list" and made tally marks on it every time they wanted to hit me. Their idea was that when I got better they would be able to pummle me. Do you feel the love? I also thought I would be a hematologist after this experience.

#4. I think my parents had some thing with a 7 year cycle. I was born in Chicago, lived there until I was 7, we moved to KC until I was 14 when we moved back to Chicago. We lived there until I was in college(about 21) when they moved back to KC. They broke that 7 year itch and have been in KC for 10 years.

#5. My mom and I sound exactly alike on the phone. This worked to my advantage when I would call into school sick or call my friends parents pretending to be "Julie's Mom". But it didnt work to my advantage when my friends or boyfriends would call and she would answer the phone, they would just start talking away until she said "This is her mom!" They caught on & finally started asking for me no matter who they thought answered the phone.

So now I have to tag 5 peeps. But I know the meme has been floating around the blogosphere for awhile so its going to be hard to find some new people, so I am not tagging just yet...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What is it you say? Thanksgiving was this past weekend?

Well in my house it was! I was desperate for something other than chicken & fish. I had a whole turkey breast in my deep freeze and pulled it out on Thursday night to defrost. I knew I would have all day on Sunday to bake it since the hubs and the IL's were going to be working on our basement (yeah for a fourth bedroom!) So about 11am I started seasoning the turkey breast with a roman rub I recieved from Viansa. I let this "marinate" for about 30-45 minutes then popped it in the oven for about 6 hours at 300. I didnt set a timer, just used my handy dandy meat thermometer and carried on with my day.
I served this with some mashed potatoes (made with skim milk of course), green beans and some stuffing. Used a little gravy and voila, its thanksgiving for 2 in February. All of this was diet friendly minus the stuffing. The turkey was amazing, so moist & great flavor.

Now I have tons of turkey leftover so be prepared for some turkey recipes to appear :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cookies did you say??

When I do my daily Google Reader reading, I get very jealous of everyone & their baking. I love to bake, however, I also love to eat what I bake. That combination there is what has put me on a diet. But baking is so relaxing and fun. So I spent a good part of yesterday looking for what I call "diet friendly sweets". In reality, no sweet is deit friendly, but hey I'll try to get as close as I can.
It was a coworker's birthday and I figured what better reason to bake and not keep the temptation at home.
I settled on CL's Cocoa Fudge Cookies. Mostly because I had all the items on hand & at 75 calories a cookie-I figured I could have a few without feeling totally guilty.

1 cup all-purpose flour --> I used 1/2 cup of flour & a 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt --> non-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, soda, and salt; set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

These were perfect! The recipe says they would be crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and sure enough they were! I didnt have low fat yogurt at home, only non-fat, so I think thats why they are not as sweet as I expected. I sprinkled them with some powdered sugar to give it some color.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

And I Am Back!

The hubs & I went on a long weekend vacation to wine country. So the week of that was spent eating whatever we had in the house and not going to the grocery store. So nothing was blog worthy (grilled chicken & steamed broccoli).
Last night was full on dinner time! It was nice to be back in the kitchen-relaxing and cooking things-I am happy to be cooking again. And since we blew the diet while on vacation, it was time to get strict and stick to our approved foods. I receive a gazillion emails about food related stuff, one that is a weekly recipe from South Beach Diet. Our diet follows a lot of what SB does, so almost all those meals we can eat. So I bookmarked the "Chicken Capri" recipe. Sounded good, a little like breadless chicken parmesan, but I am open.

This was delicious & filling! I served it with a garden salad and we were stuffed. It was fairly simple to make. I love when I can put dinner in the oven and clean up my mess while it cooks. This was also ideal because the hubs was at Home Depot. When he goes to the Depot, you never know when he will get home. I get pretty cranky if I have dinner ready & it sits out for 20 minutes while I wait for him to get home. So this was a win/win night for us.

Chicken Capri
South Beach Diet
Serves 4

1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp garlic powder
A little EVOO
1 cup crushed tomatoes
4 slices 2% Mozz Cheese

In food processor, combine the ricotta, oregano, S&P. Pulse to blend.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Sprinkle the chicken with garlic powder. Drizzle the EVOO in large saucepan and bring to med-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned. The insides do not have to be done.
Place the chicken in a 9x11 baking dish. Top with ricotta cheese mixture, then tomatoes, then a slice of cheese.

Cook in the oven for about 20 mins or until the chicken is no longer pink.

**My notes- I rarely measure spices, I am fairly certain I used more oregano & garlic.
I only had shredded 2% cheese, not a big deal, I just sprinkled it over the chicken. I didnt have "crushed" tomatoes, so I just drained a can of diced tomatoes & pulsed it a few times in the food processor. I wanted my chicken to remain moist and not dried out. Since I was certain it would be in the oven for longer than 20 minutes, I covered it with foil.

Look at that cheesy goodness!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chinese New Year

I had my first planned dinner party on Saturday. Now I have had people over for dinner before, but I wouldnt call it a dinner party per se. It was usually like, oh I am making dinner-wanna come over? We had this date on the calendar for awhile, but I was having a really tough time coming up with a theme. I was thinking- winter warming? gourmet? But nothing seemed to pull together, it felt like a mish mash of recipes I had used before. So when I received a Food Network email saying "Recipes to Celebrate the Chinese New Year" I thought-thats what I am going with. I think I got this email on Monday :)
Needless to say, I spent some time gathering ideas, recipes, and the menu. I think it came together wonderfully.
Up first was sushi-ok I know this is really Japanese, but I wanted to make it! I had never made sushi and needed a reason. I wasn't about to do the serious raw fish with my guests, so I did california rolls & philadelphia rolls. YUM! Success!! First, I bought nori and sushi rice at a local chinese market. Second, I finally used my Cuisnart Rice Cooker. Let me tell you, that thing is amazing! I completely suck at making rice so this is a godsend.

It wasnt too hard. Once the rice was finished, I made the vinegar you mix into it to keep it sticky and fresh. I dont have the recipe on hand, but I want to say it was a little rice vinegar and some sugar. Just fold in, do not stir and let cool to room temp before you start on your rolls.
Next, you get some plastic wrap and place it over your bamboo mat-yes I already had one- then place your nori sheet on that. Add some rice and spread it out over the nori. Then add you mix-ins. So for my california roll I added crabmeat & avocado. For phildelphia I added cream cheese, smoked salmon and cucumber. Just make sure you cut everything into sticks, they lay better in the sushi.

Then roll them up & slice with a sharp sharp knife. I even picked up some pickled ginger & wasabi. These were great and I will make them again.

I also made pot stickers & vegetable dumplings. Dumplings or "jiaozi" symbolize wealth and prosperity.
Then we had lettuce wraps and my version of Kona Island Rice. Lettuce or "sang choi," symbolizes prosperity because its name sounds like the word meaning "to bring about wealth and riches."

Island Rice
I need to mess with this recipe a bit more, it wasn't quite sweet enough. I also didnt take a picture :(
3 cups prepared sushi rice, cooled
1/2- 3/4 cup pineapple chunks with a little juice
about 1 cup smoked or Andouille Sausage
salad shrimp
2-3 eggs
Soy Sauce
In a pan, heat the oil so it "dances" across the pan. Add the rice and fry for a few minutes. Move the rice to the side and add the eggs, let them sizzle up and fry. Add the rest of the ingrediants and mix well. Add soy until it tastes good to you.

For the "main" meal I made beef and broccoli and Spicy Orange Chicken Noodles. Chinese noodles symbolize longevity. Leave them whole — an old superstition says it is bad luck to cut them. There wasnt really a recipe for beef and broccoli. Just some sirloin steaks, sliced thinly, stir-fried, then I added pre-mised soy sauce and cornstarch. Then I added the fresh broccoli florets and let it steam for awhile to get the broccoli a little soft.

I attempted to make fortune cookies, but that was a bit ambitious. Dont let the recipe fool you! Its freakin' hard! So I bought those.

And finally using our "twinkie cookbook" (yes Twinkie lovers, there is a cookbook and everything it is made with a twinkie) I made twinkie sushi. Its so easy, just get a green fruit rollup, a twinkie and some swedish fish. Wrap the twinkie with the fruit roll-up, slice them into 1" slices and top with swedish fish.

Here is the table all ready to go:

I made place cards with everyone's names in Chinese and we had a handout of which Chinese sign we were and what 2008 had in store for us.

It was a great time! Can't wait to throw the next one!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Shrimp in Tarragon Sauce

I saw this last week over at Meg's and realized its diet friendly. I am always on the search for new recipes that fit inot the diet and let me tell you, its hard to find in my blogosphere! Don't get me wrong, I love looking at the pictures of the chocolate cakes, the king cakes, the cookies. In fact, I typically salivate at my desk just viewing this eye candy-its the food porn addiction. But I have my special word doc that is called "post diet recipes" of all the baked goodies I wish to make. So sometime this summer you will see lemon meringue pie and BCCC grace the pages of my blog. Until then...

This was a nice quick meal. We didnt get home until close to 7:45 last night and I hadn't set anything out to defrost, so shrimp it was. I could have sworn we planted tarragon in our garden last summer, but I couldn't find any dried stuff. Thankfully I had some store bought tarragon so I used that instead.

This made enough for 4 meals, last night we had it with brown rice, for lunch we had it with whole wheat thin spaghetti. Very delicious!