Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cheating (piglets in a blanket)

I've been cutting coupons lately, and sometimes there are little recipe dealies and whatnot using the brands they want you to buy. And! There was one for lil smokie pigs in a blanket, which had two whole ingredients: lil smokies and refridgerated crescent rolls.

Preheat to 375F, line a baking sheet in parchment or foil. Cut the crescent rolls into quarters and wrap messily around the lil smokies. Put on aforementioned lined baking sheet. Pop into the oven for 15 minutes, and serve with bbq sauce, or whatever else.
I think my favorite sauce for this is/will be thousand island - or mayo, dijon, ketchup, relish & tabasco mixed together. Woo.

Oh and as far as a football snack goes, this is cheap. Lil Reduced Fat Smokies were 2.00, and crescent rolls were $1.40. Not terrible

Friday, December 18, 2009

Smores on a Stick!

Totally stole this from gimme some oven via Maybe borrowed is the better word.

Anyway, after you made cookies but before you leave:
put a bunch of sticks into large marshmallows
crush a bunch of graham crackers into little pieces and put into a shallow bowl
melt a bunch of semi-sweet chocolate in another bowl

1. Dip marshmallow-on-a-stick into chocolate, using a spoon to help spread a thin layer of chocolate all over, including all around where the stick goes in.
2. Dip chocolate-covered-marshmallow-on-a-stick into the graham cracker crumbs, pressing in on each side to pick up biggish pieces, and a spoon to coat the top.
3. Place on parchment paper, or a serving type platter.
(optional)4. Refrigerate or put into treat baggies or both.
(non-optional)5. Enjoy!

Definitely a good crowd pleaser easy dessert. The sticks and the bags I have on hand, so those aren't counting towards the total costs. I think it'd be about $5ish. Used generic low-fat grahams (albertsons, <$2), generic marshmallows (albs, $1.50), and tollhouse semi-sweet chips (albs or vons $1.88 right now). Used about 1/6 the grahams, 1/2 the mallows and 1/2 the chips.

Anyway. Probably not the healtiest thing ever, but delicious!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bread! Con't

So! I love bread!

The recipe works. While I've read that the dough gets even better as it ages, I haven't experienced that yet. It does not last. Part of the problem there is that I can only make 2 loaves worth, for lack of space. Also, I've gone through nearly a 5lb bag of flour, and four packets of yeast. I need to get jar yeast like yesterday, because it is so much cheaper in the long run. Currently, I just toss in the whole packet of yeast even though it calls for slightly less. That way, I don't have to measure.

I still need to go peruse the book at the library. I'm thinking I'm going to do that on Thursday.

Anyway, I'm still all kinds of stoked on bread even if it is just about the most simplistic thing ever. I've started making it in an elongated loaf shape, because it slices better. Also, my hands are getting tougher again, because I'm in love with fresh from the oven bread. Woo!

Monday, December 7, 2009


SO! I tried the basic bread in the 5 minute artisan bread book. From this article (note: i'm linking to the printable version because its all on one page. just click cancel when the print screen comes up). I made a half batch because my only larger bowls are huge metal bowls that would take up way too much space in the fridge. The proportions are 6:3:3:13. 6 cups water to 3 tbsp yeast to 3 tbsp salt to 13 cups flour. Or as I did: 1.5 cups water, .75 tbsp salt, .75 tbsp yeast, 3.25 cups flour. Combine water (warmish like 100F, just a bit above body temp, I didn't measure), yeast & salt in a big coverable bowl. Add all the flour. Mix. I mostly combined with a spoon and then mixed the rest with my hands. Let it rise at room temperature, mostly covered, for 2+ hours, until its flattened or caving in. Then refridgerate. Yay. Its ready to use! I made 2 lbs of dough. I baked one of them today, and the other will either be a pizza or more bread or coffee rolls. The costs on this are probably around $.50 per loaf, including energy costs. Rough estimate, with a lot of cushion.

Anyway, its crusty and dense and I'm pretty stoked on it. I need to get the book from the library and see about the different variations and/or the other master recipes besides the basic boule. Like the olive oil one that apparently makes good foccacia. I would love to start making that.

So! I might start making my own bread! At least sometimes! Yayayayay. The dough keeps in the fridge for a week or two or more! I think it'd make a good French loaf styleish.

I also made cookies today. Betty Crocker pouch oatmeal cookies. Overly sweet, but not terrible for costing me a whole nickel, plus the additional ingredients (1 stick butter, 1 egg).

Dinner tonight!

Today's dinner is going to be amazing, if improperly timed.
First done is balsamic glazed brussels sprouts.
- Trim brussels sprouts, halve (depending on size), and soak in lemon water for however long, about a half hour.
- In a pan over med-high or so heat, combine butter and olive oil in not so scary proportions.
- When butter's melted, add brussels sprouts. Toss about until browned and awesome. Add some garlic and let it cook another minute or so.
- Up the heat. Add in some balsamic vinegar and chicken (or turkey!) stock. Toss about until tender and glazed. Enjoy.

Alternatively, set aside until cold because that's when the chicken's done.

Paprika & onion chicken
- Thinly slice a small onion. Add paprika til bright orange and salt & pepper. Add about a tbsp of butter for each chicken breast (i used two freakishly large ones). Toss with chicken. Add stock and put in the oven at like 425F until done. I should probably check on mine any minute now.

Lastly! I'm trying the basic bread recipe from the 5 minute artisan bread book! I made the dough up earlier, and there's a boule of it resting on the counter. If this works, it will be the best thing ever. Because its easy. And cheap. And we know how I like the cheap and easy. Its going into the oven after the chicken comes out.

So, its an ill-timed affair, which is more my speed than everything coming together all at once. Someday I'll learn.

Monday, November 30, 2009

christmas ideas

So! That time is upon us once again. I think I know what I'm going to do this year. Hot chocolate on a stick & homemade marshmallows. Woo! The first part has three ingredients and sounds delicious. The second is something I've wanted to make for a while. Anyway, this is going to be what most people get. Set it all up in a mug, and we're set. Probably wrap them in cello and put them in a bag. Anyway. I know I can get cute mugs at CVS for $1.50. Even packed in a self-styled white paper bag, they'll be adorable.

So that's my plan. I've decided with plenty of time to do it. It should be fairly inexpensive, and everything still sounds yummy. As a bonus, the hcoas(hotchocolateonastick) keeps at room temp for a year. So as soon as I get sticks and chocolate, I can make those up.

Also: this is a gift I would enjoy getting. So that makes it even better in my book. Yay.

Side note: this will be a million times easier than the big candy assortment I was thinking of before. Yay!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

So my tendency whilst cooking is to reference actual recipes for time&temp, but to kind of do my own thing the rest of the way.
I volunteered at the Mercato today, and got $20 to spend there for my troubles. I came home with eggs, mint, beets, a pearapple, squash and white cheddar. The squash is being made into soup! It tastes pretty good so far. Here's what I did:

2 x small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (~3/4")
1 x handful baby carrots, cut in half
1/4 onion, slivered
3 x cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbsp oil, drizzled
salt, pepper, & cinnamon to taste
chicken stock (like 3 cups? 4ish?)

1. Preheat the oven while you chop the veggies. Put the veggies in a pan (used 9x13 pyrex) drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper & cinnamon, and add ~1 cup chicken stock. Put pan in oven.
2. Stir every 20 minutes or so, add additional liquid if needed. I didn't need to. When everything's soft & mushy, move into a heavy bottomed pan. Add additional chicken stock and simmer for a while.
3. Blend. Thin with more chicken stock or water if need be.

Lately I've been buying whole chickens and either roasting them whole, or chopping them. And then making chicken stock! Yay! I love it.

NOTE: Had to add a whole lot of water while pureeing. Also, more salt and less pepper. The less pepper part is difficult, so don't put too much on to begin with. Also added a hint of ginger, and a splash of honey.

End: not the best I've had, but for once in my life, I've mastered the luscious texture that butternut squash soup needs.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ground beef

So I've been looking into some component cooking. Its basically prep done well before you cook, in large doses. Yesterday, Albertsons had 85/15 ground beef for 1.47/lb, so I bought 5.5lbs. Thats more ground beef than I've bought in the last year, because chicken's usually so much cheaper. Anyway, I figured I should attempt one of the component cooking ideas, so I did. I did two things -- straight cooked ground beef (slightly seasoned) and meatballs. I did 1.5lbs in meatballs, baked them, and separated them into 3 bags. They're freezing. The rest of it, I boiled. Weird shit, no? I used the last of the broth from the roast I made, some seasoned salt, and some fresh ground pepper in whatever amount of water covered the meat. I started that right before I started on the meatballs. It doesn't take too long at all, and now I have cooked ground beef in 1/2-1lb portions in my freezer. If I want to make tacos or shepard's pie, it'll take one less step. The only thing I'd change is to get a bigger chamois. I have a tiny tiny one, so it took forever to drain the meat. The liquid/fat (which pretty much all drains off) is cooling, waiting til I toss it in a jar and toss it. Anyway, this seems like it'd work well for the fattier ground beef. OH! The other plus is it crumbles pretty fine, which I can never seem to do. Great for tacos.

Anyway, now I have 4lbs of cooked ground beef in the freezer, and like 50 meatballs. Amazing.

Side note: i need to learn to make better meatballs. these tasted kinda like meatloaf. awesome.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This is a NYT recipe, gleaned from thewednesdaychef. Modified for miniloafpans.

256 g cake flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
12 oz dark molasses (not blackstrap, used 'robust')
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat water to boiling, add butter. In large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients. Butter and flour mini loaf pans. Add water/butter mixture to dry ingredients. Beat. Beat in beaten eggs. Beat in molasses. Divide among pans. I filled 5. Bake at least 30 minutes, until the fullest one tests done. Let cool. Serve with awesome homemade apple butter. Send to family with said applebutter and cheap honey.

Crockpot Apple Butter

WOO! It's fall! Apples are cheap. Barely less than 50cents/lb, but low enough to warrant buying 5 lbs of apples for apple butter.

5 lbs apples (note: that was 12 apples, i used 11 before the crockpot was full), peeled cored and thinly sliced
~ tsp cinnamon
~ 2 cups brown sugar
~ dash salt
~ dash nutmeg
~ dash cloves

Add apples and about a cup or so of water to a crockpot. Cook on high, stirring occasionally until you have to go to work (~4 hours). Get home, add salt and spices. Turn heat back to high, and remove lid. Add about a cup of sugar. Stir. Keep cooking. Taste and adjust. Add sugar if necessary. Keep cooking on high with the lid off until a spoon in the middle stays upright. Took a few hours. Put in jars and/or serve. Refridgerate and spread the joy. :D


Deal of the day:
4 12oz containers of SueBee honey
reg. 3.79 each
2.50ea on sale
+ $3 off when you buy $10 in certain products (honey inc)
+ $2 off (receipt survey)
+ $.50 off (buying yeast, printed up a $ off next order coup)
+ $1 off each container (on each bottle)
= $0.50.

Honey isn't a prepared food so it isnt taxable. So it was fifty cents for four 12 oz containers.

Those, homemade apple butter (~3.50 for the batch, excluding the jars which were a sunk cost anyway because i bought them like a year ago), and gingerbread (if it doesnt suck!) will be going out tomorrow!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Crockpot Love

So, I'm trying to cook more, so we don't do things like get pizza, or anything silly like that. Or subsist on pb&js. Here are two things that might make it into rotation.

Chicken "Cacciatore"
- 1 huge boneless skinless chicken breast, diced (about 12oz)
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 1/2 onion, slivered
- 3 cloves garlic
- Italian Herbs
- Fresh ground pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt, to taste, when finished.

Throw the onion slivers in the crockpot. Toss the diced tomatoes, garlic in. Add the chicken breast. Top with the herbs and peppers. Add the tomato sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs. Season to taste when done. Serve with breadsticks, garlic bread, pasta, etc. Made 3+ servings. Ate the leftovers for lunch today.

"Salsa Chicken"
- stolen off a message board:
- 1 huge chicken breast (see above), diced
- 1 jar salsa (roughly, i tossed in the remainder of one jar and a splash of another)
- 1 can corn, drained
- 1 can beans, drained (can be pinto or black bean)
Combine all, with the corn on the bottom, and the salsa on top. Cook on ow for 6-8 hour. Enjoy as is, with tortillas, or with tortilla chips. Its almost like a ridiculously easy chicken chili.

Its kind of weird, it seems like ground beef used to be the cheaper animal protein, but I regularly find chicken breast for like half the price. These are both very cheap, very easy, and while not the quickest in the world, the active prep time is pretty minimal. Especially if chicken's on sale and you process (dice!), separate, and freeze or fridge.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Swordfish and tomatoes

So everyone went up to a concert in LA today. I stayed home. So I got stuff to make dinner! I ended up with swordfish because it looked the best. Here's what I did

- some slices off a half onion
- 3 tiny inner cloves of garlic sliced
- 1 can tomatoes
- 1-9oz swordfish steak
- salt
- olive oil
- olives
- handful wild arugula

Heat the olive oil in a pan (or in my case, a wok). Add the onions. Cook a minute or two. Add the garlic. Cook a few more minutes. Remove to a plate. Salt the fish on both sides. Add the swordfish to the pan. Cook around four minutes. Flip. Cook another four minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, lift the fish to get tomatoes under. Add the onion and garlic back. Stir to distribute. When swordfish seems done, remove it to a plate. Add the sliced olives. Stir to distribute. Keep cooking til desired consistency. Add the arugula, stir to wilt. Serve with the swordfish.
NOTE: ate about half the piece of swordfish. will use the rest for chowder or something.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fairly Quick Zucchini

Been meaning to make this for a while. Its just a really simple way to eat a lot more zucchini.

Take a medium to small zucchini, cut the ends off. Take a vegetable peeler and peel off lengthwise layers of the zucc. Don't worry if some pieces break or are half or whatever, so long as they're roughly even in thickness.
Heat some olive oil in a small skillet. Add the zucchini, and toss to coat in oil. Season to taste. As pieces of zucchini get tender, remove them to a plate or bowl. When it's all done, grate up some parmesan and toss on tovep. Enjoy!

Grilled Marinated Veggies

Grilled veggies are great to have in the fridge. They are easy to bring out when you have people over, easy to snack on, and pretty healthy. Also, its quick to make up a bunch for the week.

Here's what I did the first time around:
veggies cut into 1/2" slices. (used 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 2 zucchinis, 1 carrot the first time around)
half olive oil / half balsamic vinegar. salt & pepper

In a shallow tray, lay the veggies out in flat layers, salting and peppering each layer lightly. Mix the olive oil and balsamic til emulsified. Pour over the veggies, stirring them around slightly to get everything touching it. Let sit for at least a half hour, preferably more. Stir around every so often to make sure things are getting the marinade.

When ready to grill, turn your grill on high to med-high. Lay the veggies our in a single layer, until nice and done on each side. Put back in the marinade when done. I liked to cook vegetables with similar cooking times together Like onions with peppers, zucchini with carrots. Also, might be handy to use a nifty grill pan if you have one. Our grill is gas with odd grates that are filled in directly over the burner, so it made it really easy for the small veggies like carrots.

Anyway! Enjoy quick munching :D

Next time, I may use the giant squash from my parents' neighbor. And maybe eggplant. And red peppers were cheap so I have a few of those to use :D Oh and maybe chop a clove or two of garlic for the marinade.


I've got a few things to update, just been lazy for the most part. Or making the same things over and over (eggs, i'm lookin at you).
Anywho. Panzanella is a rustic bread sort of salad. Its almost a mix between like stuffing and pasta? I don't quite know how to describe it. But its delicious!

For one large serving or two small ones:
1 slice nearly stale, extra thick bread or rustic italian (so i used this cherry blossom bread from nijiya. probably would have worked better with a french or italian sort), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium to large tomato (from my parents' garden!), peeled and roughly chopped
1/8 of a medium onion, roughly chopped
1 huge or 2 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
olive oil
apple cider vinegar
handful of basil (parents' garden!)

1. In a decent sized skillet, toss in the bread cubes, drizzle with olive oil, season lightly with S+P, and toss about until browned. Alternatively could probably be done in the broiler or oven. Its basically making croutons :D Set aside when browned.
2. Add the onion to the same skillet, with a bit more olive oil if necessary. Wait til half translucent and add the garlic. When its all translucent, throw in the tomato and any juices that accumulated. Season to taste with S+P and ACV.
3. Remove from heat, toss in bread cubes and tear basil over the top. Serve!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pulled Pork & Posole

So! My dear sister got hominy instead of garbanzo beans by mistake a few weeks ago. I had never eating hominy, let alone know about anything to do with it. But searching yielded posole as an option! I decided to do my thing and make something with what was on hand that roughly followed the variety of recipes I found. But first, I wanted to get some pulled pork. For the posole.

Pulled pork
1 x quantity of pork shoulder. I had this in my freezer, half of a piece I picked up a while ago during a good meat sale.
1/4 onion, cut in half (keep the bottom intact, cut it in half, keeping both sides intact. makes it easier to fish out later)
~2/3 of a jalapeno (i'd cut the bottom of it off for gazpacho! so i just threw the rest in whole)
2 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
Salt, pepper, cumin

Throw everything in to a crockpot. Water level should be about 2/3 of the way up the side of the meat. I threw it in frozen, because I am awesome. Turn it on low, go to work, and totally forget its cooking.
When you get home at 4am, turn off the crockpot, and put the meat in the fridge.

The next day, remove the layer of fat from the top. Discard the vegetables (except the jalapeno!), save the liquid. Shred, being careful to remove all of the fat around the meat. Realize that you have a WHOLE LOT. Split it in half (and save the rest for pulled pork sandwiches! from my half a pork shoulder, i yielded 20oz of shredded pork- 10oz for sammiches, 10oz for posole), throw the meat you're using into a pot, and strain the liquid into the pan with the meat. Add the jalapeno.

Now for the posole!

~10 oz pulled pork
liquid from the pulled pork (and the jalapeno)
1 x 28 oz can hominy, drained and rinsed
1 x 28 oz can whole tomatoes
Cumin to taste
(optional, but it was in the fridge) ~1/4-1/2 cup salsa verde

Combine all in the pan, put it in the fridge. Go to work again, come home. Cook til the hominy's tender.

Some cotija would be amazing on top. Also, a lot of sites recommend things like radishes, cabbage, avocado, as toppings to have on hand. As well as tostada shells.

But I don't have any of that right now, its all good.

Ideas for next time:
In a bigger pan, could probably double the amount of tomatoes for the quantity of hominy and pork. Would have to tinker. Also would like to add some chipotle peppers in adobo. Sounds delish.

Might become a staple, as it's cheap, tasty and balanced.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Larabar knock off

Larabars have an umlat and are made with raw nuts, raw/dried fruit, and some spices.
They're excellent for snacks and whatnot, provided you keep yourself to a little bit. They're pretty filling AND help you eat more fruit and nuts! Anyway. Modified from someone else's recipe to tone down the date flavor. This makes about 9 1-oz mini bars, or about 4 full larabar sized bars.

1/2 cup (3.55 oz) almonds
2/3 cup (2.80 oz) dried cranberries
2 medjool dates, fresh & pitted (~1.50 oz)
3 mini boxes of raisins (1.50 oz)
Few dashes cinnamon

You will neeeeed a food processor for this. I suppose you could chop everything finely and grind it into a paste... but that's a whole lot of effort.
Anyway. Put the cranberries, dates, and raisins into the food processor. Pulse til everything's combined and finely minced. Just about when it starts forming a few dried fruit/glue-like balls. Put those into a mixing bowl. Add the nuts to the food processor, pulse to chop. You want almond pieces on the smaller side, but not ground completely like flour. Add to the dried fruits. Add some cinnamon, and mix! With your hands. Its messy. Form into 1 oz pieces

Servings 9
nutrition 124 cal, 6 g fat, 17 g carbs, 14 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quick and Easy Gazpacho

I think I'm going to attempt to keep gazpacho around for the summer. This version is quick, easy, fairly inexpensive, etc etc. And healthy. It is tomato juice based, with two eggs and a dollop of olive oil included. No bread. I think I could eat this with every meal no problem. And its quite filling and definitely versatile. Oh! And a poached egg makes it all creamy and even better for a quick meal.

I portioned this out, and it lasts decently long. Anyway, here goes!

1 quart tomato juice (store brands would be fine, as would just about any combination of tomato sauce & water, tomato puree & water, and tomato paste & water)
1/4 - 1/2 red onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 small cucumber or 1/2 large one, ~1/4" dice
1 bell pepper, ~1/4' dice
handful of jalapeno stuffed olives, minced
2 hard boiled eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Finely mince / grate / process in a food processor, the red onion and garlic. Combine with the tomato juice.
2. Separate the eggs. Combine the yolks and olive oil into a paste. Mix into the tomato juice.
3. Finely dice all of the vegetables and the egg white. Add to the juice.
4. Stir, season to taste, enjoy!

Makes about 6x ~8oz portion.

Nutrition: 89 calories, 4.2g fat, 10.9g carbs, 7.7g sugar, 1.5g fiber, 3.7g protein
Vitamins: A 30%, C 95%, Calcium 4%, Iron 7%

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore - bastardized

So I've gained about 5 lbs since my dear lovey sister moved down. That, on top of the 5 lbs through the holidays, means I'm really not happy with where I am right now. Granted, I'm still sub-135, but not quite fitting into clothes is not where I'd like to be.

So! I decided now is as good of a time as any to attempt a gluten-free, dairy-free trial run. The fact that I'll be eating more whole vegetables, no bread/pasta and no candy should help me get back to where I ought to be without going crazy about dieting. An all around healthier situation should probably make me feel better too. Possibly make my body feel alive sometime before 10am even?

Anyway. This recipe was adapted quite a bit from a old diet cookbook I picked up at the used bookstore downtown a while back. It has daily menus for about a year of 600 calorie days. Damn, right? Anyway, it says itself that no one should really go to those extremes unless on Dr's orders, and how the fat lil old lady it was originally designed for was sedentary and seeing her Dr once a week and all that. And that its easy to scale. Either with additions (particularly at breakfast where it has a list of items to add and the calories they'd add) or simple multiplication (you want 1200 per day? eat 2 servings!). That's all besides the point though. There are quite a few recipes in there that I'm probably going to modify. They tend to be heavy handed with vegetables, moderate on meat, and nearly nil on grains.
So! Here's the bastardized version of chicken cacciatore:

1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 lb chicken thighs (note, i removed fat first. they were boneless and skinless to begin with)
2 big cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 large red onion, diced
1 28 oz can tomatoes (diced here, cause its what i had)
4 oz tomato paste
3/4 cup chicken broth (using better than bouillon which has whey but has no gluten containing ingredients that i could discern confirmed gluten free)
1 tsp olive oil
7 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced (from an 8oz package that my sister ate about an ounce or so of)
'italian herbs'

1. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a non-reactive heavy pan large enough to hold everything. I used a wok. Attempt to brown the thighs (please note that i'm terrible at this. however, all the bits that stuck to the bottom ended up helping the sauce a lot). S&P as you go. Set aside
2. Toss the onion into the pan, stir about until they start to lose the red color. Toss in the garlic. Cook a minute or two.
3. Add about half a cup of the chicken broth. Use a whisk to get the good browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
4. Return the thighs, add the tomatoes, paste and herbs. Simmer for about an hour or so? Stirring occasionally.
5. In a small pan, heat the additional 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and a dash of salt. Cook through, then add to the sauce. Stir in. Simmer a bit longer.
6. Remove from heat.

Since I used 7 chicken thighs, I separated it into seven servings. Each got 1 thigh, then I added spoonfuls of sauce roughly evenly around until it was gone. I ate it on its own, but would be good over zucchini cut into long strips and blanched, spaghetti squash, rice, etc. Or pasta, if that suits you. :D

Nutrition facts per serving:
257 cal, 11g fat, 8g carbs, 4g sugar, 2g fiber, 29g protein

Today, I ate a serving with a over easy egg on top and it was pretty good. I shredded the thigh before putting the egg in. Its also a pretty cheap meal what with finding things on sale and chicken thighs being pretty cheap.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Revisited Garlic with Chicken

Second time around, still a great dish. I actually let my chicken pieces brown, which is a miracle in itself. I always play with food and flip it too soon and whatnot.
Anyway, some modifications this time around. Here's what went on:

- 1 5 lb chicken, cut into 6 pieces (leg+thigh, breast, wings. i got lazy before i separated the leg+thighs)
- 70ish cloves garlic (the rest of the container), little end sliced off and slightly smushed with the broadside of a knife
- ~1/4 cup olive oil
- dry white wine (i'd say about 1.5 cups or so)
- sprigs thyme

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Heat the olive oil in a good sized pan to medium-med high. I use the wok. Its lovely.
2. Salt and pepper the chicken decently well. Blot dry with papertowels. Brown pieces in olive oil, do not crowd pan. In the wok, 1 at a time is best. Put the browned pieces in a large casserole.
3. After the chicken's browned, turn heat slightly down and add in the garlic. Toss occasionally until golden. Drain off some oil, then put the rest and the garlic into the casserole.
4. Deglaze the wok with the white wine. I used a South African sauvignon blanc. It was rather flat for drinking, but worked alright. Add that to the casserole. If the chicken is less than half covered, pour in a bit more wine. Cover with foil. Bake until done, about an hour-hour and a half.
5. Let set for a bit, then enjoy! :D If you're feeling ambitious, you can return the liquid to the wok and reduce by half. But I was hungry. :D

Made this with the previous potatoes, and some frozen broccoli/cauliflower blend tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper that was baked. That got a bit overdone, but I liked it enough to finish it.

Modified Pommes de Terre Boulangere

Potatoes of the bakery! I had dinner planned tonight, and wanted to do a potato side dish beyond mashed potatoes. I thought about scalloped potatoes or a gratin, but realized I should be a bit healthier. This sounded easy and like it could work out amazingly! I wanted a bit of the creaminess of scalloped potatoes, so I subbed a cup of milk for some of the chicken broth. Also topped with a bit of parmesan cheese. For the hell of it.

Here goes:
4-5 small potatoes, peeled and diced THIN. I do not have a mandoline, so I just sliced very thinly and discarded the end, when I felt I might be in danger of losing fingertips
1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 tsp chicken base (better than bouillon. use however much bouillon/base it takes to make 2 cups!)
2 cloves, sliced (not minced or crushed. sliced means you can use more, subtly)
couple sprigs thyme (using them in chicken also) or whatever herbs you have on hand
couple grinds pepper

1. Preheat oven to somewhere between 325 and 400F (i started at 325 with the chicken and increased when that was done). Combine all in a saucepan Liquids should just cover potatoes. Cook until potatoes are just tender. Depends on your thickness and potato type.
2. Put potatoes into a oven safe casserole with a slotted spoon. Pour liquid in until just covered. Sprinkle with a bit of parmesan.
3. Pop in the oven uncovered for a while. Like 40 minutes? Til browned a bit and bubbly. Let rest for about 15 minutes and then slice and serve.

Should make about 6 servings.

Definitely can fill the void of scalloped potatoes.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Scallops with Pasta!

So I had some scallops I had to use (trader joe's frozen. i thawed the last 4oz yesterday, but didn't end up making dinner. so today). I knew I wanted something nice and simple flavors and whatnot. And the ingredients I had on hand.

Anyway, I decided to pan sear the scallops with a good dusting of salt and fresh ground pepper. Then I pan roasted some thick cut tomato slices in the same pan. Then I made a garlic spiked white sauce in the same pan.

Here's the ingredients and what I did!

- 4 oz scallops, thawed. about three large ones
- 1 roma tomato, sliced about 1/2 inch thick. i had cut two, but one was devoured before it hit the pan. and matthew stole one of the slices.
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 tsp or so finely chopped rosemary (from my nearly depleted freezer stash)
- 1 tbsp olive oil (does anyone ever measure that? it was probably closer to two)
- 2 oz angel hair pasta (penne would have been better. something sturdier to hold up to the sauce)
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour (heaping spoon)
- 1 cup milk (i have no idea how much i actually used)

1. Heat a pot of salted water for the pasta to boiling.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When nice and hot, toss in the salt and peppered scallops. Cook for a few minutes, to sear it nicely. Turn. Cook the other side. It should not be too firm. A little squishy is great. :D Remove from the pan.
3. Salt and pepper the tomato slices, toss on the rosemary. Put it in the same pan. Cook a couple minutes per side. Cook the pasta around now. Remove the tomatoes and set aside.
4. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the butter. When its melted, add the garlic. Cook a couple minutes until translucent. Add the flour, stir.
5. Cook a minute or two. Add the milk. Whisk vigorously. Taste for seasoning. When its nice and thick, toss in the pasta to coat.
6. Place pasta in bowl. Top with tomatoes. Top with scallops. Enjoy. :D

Pros: easy good white sauce! garlic flavor was not overpowering! tomatoes disintegrated into sauce nicely! that combo would work well alone or with chicken.

Cons: scallops were a tad cold. skin on tomatoes had to be peeled off and eating first. but would not have cooked well with skin off. basil may have been better than rosemary.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is based on Alton Brown's recipe. And on what I had on hand. Note, his recipe only said it yielded a 'batch', so I doubled it. And made waaaay too much. Oh well. Easily halved.

3 cups frozen chopped spinach (i use the loose bags because I like the convenience. boxed would have to be thawed and squeezed dry)
1 box frozen artichoke hearts, diced small
3 jarred artichoke hearts, diced small
1 clove garlic, minced (would double next time)
12 oz reduced fat cream cheese (aka neufchatel)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup shredded parmesan
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt

Cook frozen artichoke hearts (before dicing) in a small amount of water until tender. Drain. Dice.
Microwave cream cheese with garlic, adding in a cup of spinach at a time and stirring between heatings.
Combine mayo, sour cream, parmesan, artichokes, red pepper flakes and salt. When cream cheese/garlic/spinach mixture is thoroughly warm and melty, combine with sour cream-mayo mixture.
Realize you made a whole lot, and put about half into a bowl. Microwave another 30 seconds or so, to meld everything together.

Can be topped with additional parmesan and baked, if desired. I didn't want to turn the oven on.

In addition to being a great dip, can be used as a pasta sauce, if thinned with milk. Or on baked potatoes. :D

Nutrition: I dont want to scare you! :D

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Penne with Spinach Cream

Tried once a while ago, cannot remember details, but it still sounds delicious. Posting to remind myself.

Penne with Spinach Cream

2 tbsp unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic
14 oz fresh spinach (or frozen. i usually have frozen.)
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg (yeah i dont have that..)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 lb penne (cook according to package directions)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 cups parmesan, grated

Cook garlic and spinach in butter. Squeeze dry, and reduce the resulting liquid by half. Return spinach to the pan. Add cream. Reduce by half. Pulse in a food processor (or likely, for me, use chopped frozen spinach and mince garlic to begin with). Adjust seasonings with s&p, nutmeg, lemon juice. Toss with hot pasta, oil, and parmesan.

Banana bread

There will be a few updates today, as I found one of my note pads with a few recipes. I'd like to not lose them, so I'm going to put them in now! This recipe is from an older recipe book, with slight adaptations. It is a family favourite (and everyone else who's had it favourite too).

Banana bread

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 medium bananas, mushed
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour milk (usually achieved by a bit of vinegar and then milk to make up a full cup. let sit at least 5 minutes)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan.
Blend dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, beat well. Add bananas, beat a little. Add dry ingredients alternately with the sour milk, roughly in thirds.
Pour into loaf pan. Bake for about an hour, until it tests done.

It is amazing.


I love brownies. They're one of those desserts that can still taste alright if they're made low-fat, low-fun (a la No Pudge mix), but are only in their full glory if done right. I like my brownies on the fudge side, with a crackly top. Only achieved with plentiful butter.

Here's a recipe I haven't had issues with (scaled to a 8x8 pan):

1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour

Place rack in lower third of the oven, preheat to 350F.
Line pan with parchment paper.
In the top of a double boiler, combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until heated to nearly 'untouchableness'.
Set aside until only warm.
Add eggs and vanilla, stir vigorously. Add flour and stir until combined. Beat for about 40 strokes.
Spread in pan. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Nutrition; Do you really want to know?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Garlic-Mustard-Rosemary Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Dinner tonight was great. Pork tenderloins were on sale at Ralphs, so I grabbed a 1lber.

Marinade ingredients:
1/2 shallot, minced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced fine
Handful rosemary, minced fine (dipped into my frozen herb supply)
3 tbsp white wine (used a 'california table white')
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey mustard (can easily do 3 tbsp of one kind, but i wanted a hint of the honey taste in there)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 dash worchestershire sauce

Combine all, taste, realize it would make a good salad dressing (if thinned with more olive oil). Set in a glass bowl or a large ziploc bag.
Meanwhile, in another part of the kitchen, clean up the tenderloin. Remove the silverskin and any excess fat. I dont really like this part. But, its a necessity!
Put the now-pretty tenderloin into the marinade. Refrigerate and smush around every couple hours. I marinaded it for over 8 hours.

Heat up the grill! I used about medium high heat. Throw it on there. Flip it over every so often, preferably on the four different sides for a few minutes each. I only managed three sides and when I sliced it up, it wasn't done. The temperature reading was probably from the wrong place. :/ Oh well, a few minutes per side on the stove top and it was great!

Will update with the rice pilaf stuff that went with it. Also, roasted broccoli. Would have been excellent if I'd had fresh broc instead of frozen, but whatever. Good flavors.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Mediterranean" Rice Salad

This is the second time I've made this! It was great the first time, and kept well for nearly a week (probably would last a week, but it was gone by then!). The amount of veggies is pretty variable, I chop up about what looks right.

So here goes:

1 cup Texmati rice blend (with red rice, wild rice, and texmati rice)
112 g cucumber (half a large one), diced
24 g green onions (the good part of three), diced
17 g calamata olives, chopped
59 g red onion, small dice
160 g garbanzo beans (oh i use the canned. the rest will be combined with asaigio, lemon juice, olive oil, minced rosemary and salt)
277 g grape tomatoes, quartered (a pint less 1-2 for munching)
2 tbsp olive oil (right now i've got some cold pressed organic that is herbal and delish)
1 tbsp lemon juice
S&P to taste

1. Cook the rice! Spread out on a plate and throw into the fridge to let chill. Chop up veggies in the meantime.
2. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper together. I'd start with about 1/4 tsp salt and a few grounds of pepper.
3. Throw veggies (besides tomatoes) and garbanzo beans into a bowl. Add in the rice. Toss (used my hands). Add the dressing, toss. Add the tomatoes, toss gently.
4. Package into single servings!

Yield: 6 servings

Per Serving: 175 calories, 7.8g fat, 24.5g carbs, 1g sugar, 3.7g fiber, 3.8g protein

I would like to have this with an additional protein, such as chicken breast or tuna fish, for lunch just about every day. Its filling and delicious, and like I said, keeps well. It is also good both cold and room temperature, and should not spoil between leaving for work and eating for lunch. Would also be great topped with a bit of feta, or with that mixed in.

Anyway. More experimentations / recipes to come. I bought some Dreamfields pasta today, and would like to give that a go. Its supposed to have a very low GI, and still taste/feel/etc like regular pasta. Will definitely report any adverse side effects.

Haven't been eating as well as I'd like to lately, what with pizza and whatnot. Dreamfields still has gluten, so even if its good, I'm going to be avoiding it soon. Will be planning another start date soon, but I'd like to be more prepared this time. Its difficult to do when all you've got on hand is pasta because you didn't go shopping and won't throw away perfectly good food to start a whim of a diet. The dairy part's been a little bit easier. The coffee part... I've been sticking to one or no cups a day. Oh and wine. Uhmmm I tried the Black Box Cab the other day. It should last me a little while. I dont know that I'll want to give up wine entirely, so I dont know that I need to try life with out it. Gluten's a little bit like that, but there are so many gluten free products now a days, and there will only be more as more people are coming down with Celiac and other gluten intolerant syndromes. My problem with them right now is the lack of pronouncable ingredients (ok my issues with saying quinoa is that i pronounced it wrong for like 6 mo before i learned better). Eventually, the health food sector will get in on stuff and utilize gluten free sources for replacements.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For the next two weeks (at least)

I'm going to go dairy-free, gluten-free, and refined-sugar-free. And wine-free. :/ But I still have vodka!

I do have my reasons. I've been feeling like shit for a while, and I'd like to reclaim some of that amazing energy I felt while doing the elimination thing. I know I have problems with dairy (oh but cheese and butter!). I know I have craving issues with sugar. And many people are sensitive to gluten, even without realizing it. I'm kinda sad that I never got to fully realize my sensitivities with the elimination diet. I did find out that pineapple can make my lips get all miniblistery then though. Loads of fun.

I'm also going to try to give up caffeine. Wish me luck on that one. I'm going to limit myself to one cup of regular coffee per day, at most, if I need it.


What AM I going to eat?

+ 'long life cocktail' stolen from fat flush plan (cranwater or pomawater, and 1 tsp psyllium husks)
+ lemon juice in water
+ oatmeal sweetened with truvia, with cinnamon and raisins
+ 2 eggs scrambled with 1 tsp olive oil and about 1 cup of vegetables

+ grain salad made with gluten free grain (rice blend right now. i wanted quinoa though. damn you understocked grocery stores!), lots of veggies, additional protein (be it tuna, garbanzo beans, chicken), and a light dressing of olive oil and balsamic, cider vinegar or lemon juice) I'm going to post recipes later
+ salad or raw or grilled veggies

+ 1 svg lean protein
+ 1 svg greens cooked with olive oil and garlic and a splash of lemon juice
+ 1 svg healthy vibrant starch (generally sweet potatoes or squash with occasional corn)

SNACKS (2-3 per day)
+ fruit!
+ nuts!
+ raw/grilled veggies!
+ hummus
+ airpopped popcorn
+ whatever else like leftovers I have around.

+ 4 oz cranberry + 28 oz water OR 2 oz pomegranate + 30 oz water throughout the day
+ water!
+ non caffeinated teas
+ max 1 glass oj per day
and last but definitely not least
+ vodka soda + lemon for when i'm feeling saucy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Baby artichokes

SO! I missed the Farmer's Market again! I lose at this. Especially because last week, I stopped by (i guess i like the suncoast farm in Lomboc, CA's artichokes) and picked up two massive artichokes. I prepped both and steamed one the first night, and steamed the other the next morning. I quartered the big one and took out the choke, and left it in the fridge with some faux-aioli. The other one, my sister ended up halving. Anyway, great snack to have on hand. And at 8$ for roughly 8 servings... Not bad at all. Plus, artichokes take time to eat, so then I'm not eating anything else...

Anyway! I missed it this week. Thought about going to the Hillcrest market Sunday, but was too lazy.

So I picked up some baby artichokes at Ralphs.

Now, the way you're 'supposed' to prep baby artichokes leaves the whole thing edible. I LIKE the fact that I have to work for my artichoke-y goodness. So I prep them more like a regular artichoke. Cut off the base (with regular ones, trim and steam the stem. soooo good), trim the lower, smaller leaves, and trim a bit off of the top of each. Put them in acidulated water (water with lemon juice :P) while you prep the rest.

Steam in a single layer until the leaves are tender, and you can poke a knife in easily. If you need to do a second batch, leave the water boiling and switch around.

Enjoy as you would a regular artichoke, but don't worry about cleaning the choke! Once you get to the totally tender leaves, eat all of it. :D

SO! The cool thing about the babies is that there is a way to prep them so they're entirely edible. This morning, I decided eggs with artichoke, garlic, and onion sounded amazing. I set aside the tough leaves of two artichokes, trimmed a bit more of the top, eighth-ed them, and set them aside. Sliced a clove of garlic. Chopped a bit of onion.
In olive oil, saute onions, add garlic, add artichoke. Add a bit of butter, add eggs beaten with milk. Cook til just set. Add a bit of parmesan. Top with a bit of tabasco, and eat. :D

Ugly as sin, but so delicious.

NOW: If I'd been thinking, I'd have added some chopped red pepper too.

Anyway. Delicious. I ate the tougher leaves later, and they were still great.

Dinner was some great red meat and a glass of red wine. :D Yum.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Not Food Related...

Here's Chaz's Mom's site: If people read this, it would boost her site's rankings. And if they clicked on it. I'm going to click on it.

Chicken Cacciatore

So! I decided I wanted chicken cacciatore tonight. Matthew's going to movies with boys, so I decided to eat mushrooms. He thinks they taste like dirt. And wont eat them.

I love them.

Anyway. Last time I made chicken cacciatore, I was living on Bonita. And didn't think I had a corkscrew. So I beat the hell out of the cork and had to filter it out of my wine. Also, I got a half bottle of wine because I didn't drink white wine. I was silly. I drink just about every wine.

So here's what I'm doing today:
8 oz cremini mushrooms, thin sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1/2 onion, slivered
Salt and pepper

28 oz can tomatoes with basil (trader joe's brand)
1 lb chicken breast, skin on & bone-in
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (or so. i count to 4 or 5. cause my 6 oz pour is about counting to 6. so there is my logic)

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the first five ingredients together. Put in the oven for about 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. (SIDE NOTE: I had to turn the temp down because the bits of onion sticking up were browning a bit too much)
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, brown the chicken breast. Remove to a plate. Toss in your roasted mushrooms and whatnot. Cook another minute or two.
3. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Reduce it down a lot. Add the tomatoes and return the chicken to the pan. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through. If it starts to dry out, feel free to add some chicken broth. If its too soupy at the end, turn the heat up and reduce it and/or add some tomato paste. Oh, feel free to add some italian seasonings and whatnot.

I used the Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc for this. Woo Two buck Chuck. The tomatoes were 1.50, the mushrooms were 1.69, and everything else is pretty much negligible because I keep it on hand. And use it. Oh, and chicken was like $1 cause I bought on sale and froze. I'm amazing. Also making like 1/2 lb of pasta - so another 50 cents. Cheap meal that I'll have leftovers for. Love it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Garlic with Chicken

So! I felt like a chicken & wine dish tonight. I loosely based it on the recipe here: Garlic Chicken at Simply Recipes. I modified based on what I had because its silly and stupid to go out and buy a bunch of things for a recipe when you've got similar ones already. I dont know how it is yet, because its still on the stove top.

- 2 chicken breasts, bone-in & skin-on
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- all of the garlic in my little container that wasnt sprouting or rooting (about 30 cloves)
- rosemary (minced. i have frozen rosemary in my freezer and i mince it as needed)
- 1/2 bottle chardonnay (i walked up the hill and bought a cheap bottle. its not terrible but then again i dont like the whites so much. though tastes might be changing)
- s&p

1. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in the olive oil in a pan large enough to hold everything. Brown all sides and remove to a plate.
2. Add the garlic to the pan. Cook for about four minutes, stirring frequently, until golden.
3. Add rosemary and wine. Bring to a boil and add chicken. Cover. Simmer until chicken is done. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
(4.) Here's where I decided I was hungry, and took the chicken out. I cut it off of the bones and into bite sized pieces. Then I put it back into the pan and waited til it was done. Added a bit of water and a bit more wine.
5. Serve with whatever you feel like. I'm using egg noodles tonight.

Nutrition: no idea yet.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Decided to make some lasagna today. Not too sure how it's gonna turn out besides tomatoey and cheesey.

Here's what I did, before I forget:

1 lb turkey sausage ('italian', bulk would be preferable, but i just removed casings)
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced and separated
1 15 oz can whole tomatoes, juice removed and diced
1 26 oz can 'spaghetti sauce' (i was lazy and do not have spices)
1/2 lb lasagna noodles
8 oz shredded mutz
12 oz cottage cheese
1 egg
pinches 'italian seasoning'
1 tsp olive oil
12 oz spinach (i use frozen :X)

1. Set a huge pot of salted water to boil.
2. Brown the sausage in a pan. Drain fat off. Mince sausage (my preference. i can never get meat to break up well enough!). In same pan, add onions. Cook 2 min, then add 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook 2 min. Add sausage back to pan. Add tomatoes. Add tomato sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer. Add lasagna noodles to the pot. Cook for however long the box says.
3. In a small skillet, heat olive oil. Add 1 clove minced garlic. Cook 1 min, add spinach. Add bit of salt. Cook at least until all is defrosted.
4. Combine egg, mutz, cottage cheese and italian seasoning. Salt and pepper.
5. Drain the noodles and lay out, so they dont stick.
6. Assemble;
1 cup sauce
1 layer noodles
1/2 cheese mixture
1 layer noodles
1/2 remaining sauce
all spinach
remaining cheese
1 layer noodles
remaining sauce
handful of extra mozzarella

7. Bake in the oven at some temperature for some amount of time. I havent gotten to that yet -- its in the fridge. I did all the prep this morning, so yeah. It'll be with a small romaine salad and a greek/feta vinaigrette for dinner tonight.

Nutrition facts: none


The only thing that would have made this salad better would be cheese. And maybe a smaller portion size.

-2/3 small head romaine, sliced ~1/2-3/4 inch thick
-1 tomato, diced i used a large tomato that was going bad and cut off the bad parts.
-1/4 medium red onion, sliced
-1/2 cup garbanzo beans (i put the rest in a container with lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan and to mix it a bit, a pinch of smoked sea salt)
-1 can tuna, packed in olive oil
-2 tsp lemon juice
-S&P to taste

Toss everything in a bowl, serve.
I love tuna in olive oil. It makes this salad filling and rich, without using salad dressing. Also, I know what's in it (not 'vegetable oil' or 'vegetable broth', both of which can have soy). And its yummy. Bonus: it was 1.50$/can last time I bought groceries.
Nutrition: will update this later, when I'm not too lazy to grab the can of tuna. Under 400cal for a huge salad though.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tuna Sandwiches

This is how I like my tuna sandwiches. Its not that unique at all, but I dont care. I made it today, and I figure, if I dont post here about the simple things, I wont be posting a whole lot.

So here it goes:

1/4 small apple, diced small (less than 1/4", give the rest of the apple to the boyfriend for safe keeping)
1/2 stalk celery, diced small (eat the rest.)
1/8 white onion, diced small (i just cut a few half rings off the half onion i had in the fridge...)
1 can tuna (5oz)
~2 tbsp mayo
~1 tsp sweet relish
black pepper

Combine all. Add a bit of lemon juice if its too thick. Spread on whole grain bread, top with tomato slices and a couple pieces of lettuce. Or, if you dont feel like slicing a tomato and washing lettuce, just put on bread. Or, hell, just use celery stalks. I dont care.
Should serve 2.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


My mom kinda suggested (Hi Mom!) that I tell my sister about this, but I figured I'd post it.

Its basically a carmelized onion, lentil and rice pilaf. People seem to have their own variations of it, and its pretty much one of those comfort whatever-works-for-you kind of dishes... I do believe that it has a basis in Lebanese food, but well...

This is how I like it:

2 tsp olive oil, split
1/2 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
30 g rice, uncooked (about 1/6 cup. i've been using basmati rice. i probably will use this until its gone and then maybe use brown rice. its healthier, after all. also, the texture might hold up better. cooking time will be longer though)
35 g lentils, uncooked (about 1/4 cup. i think mine are brown lentils?)
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4-1/2 tsp cumin (entirely optional. as evidenced by the fact that i dont have any and dont use it right now. but i like it. i just never think of spices when i go shopping)
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat in a small skillet. Add the onions, toss to coat. Turn the heat down to medium-low / low. Add a few good pinches of salt. Stir occasionally through out the rest of the process.
2. Heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat in small sauce pan. Add the rice, toss to coat. Cook rice, stirring constantly, until grains turn opaque and some brown a bit. This makes it taste better. Remove the rice to a bowl or plate, and set aside.
3. Add the lentils to the saucepan. Stir to coat with the oil that remained in the pan. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until there are some browned spots on the lentils. Add water to cover + about an inch or so. Add the cumin at this point, if you're using it. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the rice to the lentils. Add a few healthy pinches of salt. If more water is needed, add it. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft, and the rice is done, adding more water if needed. If the lentils and rice are done, and there's excess liquid in the pan, turn up the heat to reduce it. Stir nearly constantly if you do this. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. If you feel like it, slightly mash the lentils and rice. I like it this way.
6. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add half of the carmelized onions, and the lemon juice to taste. Salt and pepper again, if need be.
7. Serve with the remaining carmelized onions on top! Enjoy!

This is definitely one of the cheapest, filling meals that I could eat pretty much any time. If you're feeling ambitious, it keeps pretty well. It eats well at room temperature, or even chilled, so its pretty ideal for lunches. Also, you can easily make up a bunch of carmelized onions before hand and freeze or refrigerate them; it doesn't touch the texture or flavor. Add a salad or a vegetable (or a bunch of grilled veggies...mmmm) for a more complete meal.

Nutrition: Cal=342, Fat=9.7g, SatFat=1.4g, Carbs=52.4g, Fiber=12.1g, Sugar=3.6g, Protein=12.0g

Bonus: Vitamin C= 27%, Iron=25%

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quiche with Asparagus

Today's quiche is using up that asparagus I got at the farmer's market! Its a monterey jack cheese, bacon and onion quiche with chopped asparagus and whole pieces laid on the top.

:D So good. I gotta get it in the oven so I dont eat all the asparagus.

This turned out to be a great success! I like having serving size differentiators on top of quiche... I'm a million times more likely to just grab one serving rather than 1.5 or two at a time. I think i should do that from now on. Also, the fresh taste of the oh so in season asparagus was amazing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pasta in a tomato-ricotta sauce

Dinner tonight was a quick, easy pasta. With some garlic bread (from that baguette!). Garlic bread still needs to be perfected, so I'm not going to go into it. We had garlic croutons. Oh well!

For 3 servings of the pasta:
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cans whole tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 2-3 tbsp ricotta (i used part skim. just adds richness and creaminess without tooo many calories or too much in the way of cost)
- 6oz whole wheat pasta
- fresh grated parmesan to serve

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
2. Add the carrot, celery, and onion (this is also known as a mirepoix). Sprinkle with some salt. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook another few minutes.
3. Add 1 can of tomatoes with juices. Add the other can of tomatoes, and set the juices from that aside. Break up tomatoes with a spoon. (sometimes, i dice the tomatoes beforehand. depends on my mood and how much i'm willing to put into it)
4. Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it thickens. Another idea is to add a spoonful or two of tomato paste, but I like to let everything simmer. Also, I dont always have tomato paste on hand. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I had to add some more red pepper here.
5. When sauce is almost thick enough to enjoy, put the pasta in the (should be boiling) water. Cook for however long, until its al dente. If sauce gets too thick during this time, add some of the reserved juice from the tomatoes.
6. When pasta is done, add directly to the sauce with a slotted spoon. Add about a half cup of the pasta water also. Stirrrrr. When the sauce starts to coat the pasta well, add the ricotta. Stir to evenly distribute. Salt and pepper to taste again.
7. Serve! (optional: top with fresh grated parmesan)

Nutrition per serving: Cal=336, Fat=12.3g, SatFat=2.1g, Carbs=57.1g, Fiber=9.9g, Sugar=8.8g, Protein=11.5g


I stopped by the Little Italy Farmer's Market today!
Picked up two artichokes, 1 bunch of asparagus, and 1 baguette. Ate 1/3 of the baguette with olive oil and balsamic when I got home. Yummy.

For the artichoke:
1. Trim 1/2" off the top. Trim the stalk down a lot. Pick off the tough outer leaves. Trim 1/4" off the rest of the leaves (the pokey part). Rinse thoroughly.
2. Fill a pot with 1-2" of water. Squeeze some lemon juice in there (or open the bottle and pour some in... i cheat). Bring it to a boil.
3. Toss in the artichoke in a steamer basket or just in there. Cover. Set a timer for 25 minutes. At that point, check the base for tenderness with a knife. It should go in smoothly. If it doesnt, check again in 5 minutes. Repeat til tender.
4. Drain, turn artichoke upside down to drain. Optional: let cool some more.

For the faux-aioli:
1. Spoon some mayo into a bowl. Add enough lemon juice to thin it. Add a teaspoon or so of jarred pesto. Stir. Chill.
2. Do this when you put the water on to boil, so it has time for the flavors to meld in the fridge.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuna Casserole

On a comfort food, leftovers to reheat kind of kick.

Tonight was tuna casserole. Well, is tuna casserole. Its in the oven right now. Pretty straight forward, with a bechamel instead of like canned cream of shit.

Went like this this time:
1/4 cup butter (i like to keep salted around)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 white onion, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups milk (nonfat today)
1 cup frozen peas
1 carrot, diced
6 oz egg noodles
2 cans tuna fish (today, i added the liquid in one of the cans but drained the other)
Salt & pepper to taste

1 slice whole wheat bread
1 tbsp butter

1. Set a pot of salted water to boil. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a pan of some size. Mine's an Ikea (what?!) rectangle thing. I'll measure it later for you. Smaller than a 9x13.
2. In another pan, throw in the half stick of butter over medium-low heat. Add onions. Sweat for a few minutes, until translucent. Add garlic. Cook another minute or two. Whisk in flour. Cook for a few minutes, until bubbly but not any darker (this is a pale roux). Add milk, whisking all the lumps out. I generally add half at a time. This is your bechamel! Continue stirring every so often, and cooking. It should thicken up a bit.
3. Your salted water should be boiling. Throw in your carrots and egg noodles. Cook for around 5 minutes, until the noodles are on the raw-er side of done.
4. Add your peas and tuna to the bechamel. Stir gently, so as not to break up the tuna toooo much. Alternatively, you can wait to put the tuna in til later, but I dont.
5. Put your slice of bread in the food processor. Pulse until you've got fine breadcrumbs. Add the tbsp of butter. Pulse until you've got breadcrumbs combined with butter.
6. Drain the noodles/carrots. Return to pot (because this is your big pot and you dont want to dirty up more dishes! Add your bechamel to it. If you didn't add your tuna yet, add it now. Mix. Salt and pepper to taste. Probably more than you'd think you needed. Pour into your greased pan. Top with breadcrumbs.
7. Bake at 350F for like 25-35 minutes, until browned.

Eat over a period of a few days. Should be 4-6 servings or so.

For 4 servings: Cal=483, Fat=23g, SatFat=11g, Carbs=34g, Fiber=4g, Sugar=10g, Protein=34g

*EDIT* Total cost ~ $4.54

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pot Roast

I love love love pot roast in the slow cooker.

My basic recipe goes a little like this, but it changes all the time!

3-4 lb beef (like my dad, i prefer the 7 bone chuck. bones are great)
1 onion (or more or less, slice decently thinly)
2-3 carrots (sliced thinly)
2-3 potatoes (diced on the bigger side)
optional: wine, spices

So! Heat your oil in a skillet big enough to hold your meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Coat with flour, and brown for a few minutes on each side. This is the only chance for it to brown. Put your onions and veggies in the crockpot. Put your browned meat on top. Add about 1/2 cup of liquid (today it was half wine and half water - i used 2$chuck, so we'll see how it works out!). Put it on low and leave it for at least 6 hours. Preferably more.

When the meat's just about done (tender and falling apart), remove it to a cutting board and tent with foil. Reserve the veggies, and pour the remaining liquid into a sauce pan. Reduce for 10-15 minutes, thicken if need be for a great gravy. Slice the meat, and serve!

This can be the ultimate one pot meal. I mean, veggies and potatoes and meat... What else do you need? For leftovers (there ought to be leftovers), cube remaining meat and store with the veggies and gravy. It will heat up into a divine stew. If you dont have leftover veggies, just add more while you're heating and it'll make you simmer everything for a while. Which can only help the potroast.

Alternatively, you can do what I did today. About 10 hours in (i started with a frozen roast. just up the cooking time), I took out most of the liquid and all of the veggies (i added them late!). I put this to boil, and returned the meat to the crockpot. Should be awesome. I'm also serving it over mashed potatoes, simply because my groceries hadn't come in yet, and I didnt have potatoes til later.

So! Easy peasy. This roast is costing me about 4$ total, because meat was on sale (and the original piece was huge! I hacked it in half and froze one. this is that one). Carrots, potatoes, and onion are all cheap, so it works splendidly.

No nutrition facts, because it varies so much by how much you eat.. just like everything else. But for this, its so easy to eat just a lil more or a lil less.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Basic Quiche

My parents re-introduced me to quiche a few months back, after my brother requested quiche for his birthday. We're an odd family. :D They brought my boyfriend and me a housewarming quiche (lucky for me, it had shrimp in it so i got to eat it all!). Anyway, I realized how amazing, filling and fairly cheap quiche is, so I had to steal my dad's recipe.

Its loosely based on this recipe: Country Quiche. We adjust for a deep dish pie shell, generally store bought and frozen.

So basically:
  • 1 9" deep dish pie shell, unbaked (prick all over with a fork)
  • 6 eggs
  • Splash of cream, half and half or milk
  • 1 small onion, diced fine
  • 1/4 lb bacon, diced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 oz cheese
  • 1-2 cups veggies (whatever's on hand, whatever might be about to go bad)
  • (optional) 1 4 oz. can green chilies, drained
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a small to medium skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon. If you like, drain off some of the fat (into a small container that you keep in the fridge. bacon grease is heavenly). I generally don't. Add the onion and cook til translucent. Add any vegetable that might benefit from cooking, such as spinach, mushrooms, etc. Some vegetables do better with blanching. If you've got those, blanch away, drain well, and blot dry. Cool bacon combination, and any vegetables you're using.

Combine eggs, milk and flour. Beat well. Season to taste, and add cheese. Add cooled bacon mixture and any vegetables. Stir well. Pour into pricked pie shell and bake for around 45 minutes, until quiche is set and top is lightly brown.

At this point, I cool it to room temperature, and put it in the fridge. I love cold quiche with a salad and cup of soup. So so good.

Today's combination will be:
bacon, onion, spinach, colby jack, chilies and 1/4 of a chopped tomato for a little bit of color.

Introduction to Me

Hello out there!

I decided it was time to have the recipes I tend to use regularly in one consolidated place. I'll attempt to keep it current, with trials and tribulations, with nutrition data, and with a limited budget in mind. I plan to document my successes and my failures, as well as my standard 'i'm hungry what's in the pantry' type meals.

I'm going to make an attempt at organization, but I can only really be as organized as my mind lets me... And believe me, that's not a whole lot.

Let me start by listing some of my favourite areas of food:
-meat (all sorts, and i'll try just about anything)
-pasta (benefits; cheap and easy and relatively healthy in moderation)
-new flavor combinations
-just about everything

Updates that are soon to happen include quiche (i always forget the proportions i like to use!), some orzo recipes, and a dessert or two. A lot of what I cook is culled from a variety of blogs out there, but I tend to make adjustments based on what I've got and what I like. So I plan on linking to them, and adding in what I changed and how it turned out. Would like to also update recipes based on other adjustments I've made, so when I feel like lasagna, I'll be reminded of how I love spinach mixed in with the cheese mix and whatnot.

SO! This blog is more for my personal reference. If it helps anyone else, that's pretty cool too.