Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
His name is Deacon, but he responds only to Sir. As in "Excuse me, Sir...would you like to go outside now?" or "If it's not too much trouble, Sir, I'd love to have my seat on the couch back."
He doesn't seem overly concerned...he tends to leave the worrying to his mama!
Friday, February 20, 2009
So here's how you make California Caviar. You take 8 oz of your favorite Italian dressing, 6 oz crumbed feta cheese, 1 medium tomato (seeded and chopped), 1 small can of chopped green chile's, and 1 small can of chopped black olives. Mix it all together and throw in some cilantro to taste and then just let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It is great served with corn chips and until last night, that's the only way I'd ever had it.
But then I had a brainstorm. We're getting to the end of the week, need to make a trip to the grocery store, and generally by this time in the week the dinner supplies are running a little low. What I did have on hand was some chicken and a little bit of the California Caviar I had set aside. So here's where I got really smart.
Monday, February 16, 2009
And there was another first this weekend. For the first time ever I actually tried a recipe out of the Food & Wine magazine I've been receiving for the past several months. I got some crazy good discount on the magazine but overall have found the recipes way too complicated in terms of ingredients and actual work. But this one for Chicken with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Cheesy Grits didn't seem too difficult...and honestly, you throw cheese grits into any recipe and I pretty much have to make it.
The chicken and tomatoes were super easy to make and were really tasty. The chicken stayed really moist and I loved how hands off the whole meal was...until it was time to make the au jus. Still not complicated, but I think I used almost every dish and utensil in my kitchen before we finally sat down to eat. Another annoying thing about Food & Wine...this was deemed a Week Night Deluxe dinner...week night?! Who has roughly 2 hours to prep and roast a chicken on a week night?! Finding the time on a Sunday afternoon was pushing it!
8 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large rosemary sprigs
One 3 1/2-pound chicken
2 white onions, cut into wedges
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the tomatoes cut side down and scatter the rosemary around; bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until very soft and starting to brown. Let cool, then discard the skins.
2. Meanwhile, in a roasting pan, rub the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the onion wedges around the chicken, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken and onions in the upper third of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
3. Increase the oven temperature to 450°. Add the wine to the pan and roast the chicken for about 20 minutes longer, until the onions are well browned and the chicken is golden and the cavity juices run clear. Pour the cavity juices into the pan. Transfer the chicken and onions to a platter; let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.
4. Set the roasting pan over moderately high heat and add 4 of the tomato halves and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer, scraping up any browned bits and mashing the tomatoes, until reduced by one-third. Strain the jus into a saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Carve the chicken and serve with the tomatoes, onions, tomato jus and Creamy Cheese Grits.
If this recipe piques your interest, use these cheese grits instead of the recipe included in Food & Wine...I haven't found any that beat these yet!
Friday, February 13, 2009
This Pink Lemonade Cocktail from Southern Living is sooooo good! It's really refreshing and is definitely one of my go-to drink recipes for spring and summer entertaining. Though truth be told, I made some of these for a get together for the AFC Championship this year in January. Don't judge me. It's Florida, anything goes around here.
I'm not a beer drinker by any means....in fact, this is the only way I'll actually drink beer. So don't let that dissuade you from trying these if you aren't typically a beer fan either!
Monday, February 9, 2009
This Spinach Dip was my latest trial from Hungry Girl's cookbook and as I'm finding with all her recipes, it did not disappoint!
Hungry Girl's Rockin Restaurant Spinach Dip
4 oz. Lifetime Fat Free Monterey Jack Cheese (or another fat-free white hard cheese, like Muenster or Mozzarella)
4 tbsp. fat-free sour cream
10 tsp. Kraft Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. shallots, chopped finely
6 tbsp. fat-free mayo
1 oz. light soy milk
1 – 10 oz. pkg. chopped spinach, thawed and drained
4 oz. water chestnuts, chopped
1. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt your Monterey Jack over a low flame.
2. In a separate pan, saute garlic and shallots with some nonstick cooking spray.
3. Add soy milk to melted cheese, stirring continuously.
4. Next, add mayo, sour cream and parmesan into your cheese mixture, still stirring over low heat. Add your sauteed garlic and shallots, as well as water chestnuts. Add your well-drained, chopped spinach and mix thoroughly.
5. Spoon your dip into a medium-sized casserole dish and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Voila! Your spinach-y masterpiece is complete. You may add salt and/or pepper if desired. Serves 6-8. (1/8 of the dip is 1 point)
I followed the recipe pretty closely...I did use regular skim milk instead of light soy because it's what I had at home. I also used a reduced fat cheese instead of a fat free...and it was closer to 6oz than 4oz. I found these Kraft blended cheese blocks (I think the one I used was swiss, monterey jack...and something else I can't remember) and it worked perfectly! So while my final version wasn't quite as skinny as Hungry Girl's it was still a very delicious, guilt-free snack.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
That's what I was going for when I threw this steak salad together last night anyway. Had to use the Foreman Grill since it was something ridiculously cold here in Florida yesterday evening. But it turned out really well (I'm really looking forward to my lunch break and the leftovers).
Grilled Sirloin Salad
(Source: Cooking Light, June 2003)
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound lean boneless sirloin steak, trimmed
8 cups spring-blend salad greens
1 1/2 cups red bell pepper strips
1 cup vertically sliced red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1. Combine first 7 ingredients; rub over both sides of steak. Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Add steak; cook 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cut the steak across grain into thin slices.
2. While steak cooks, combine salad greens and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Top with steak.
Nutritional Information: Calories: 278 (28% from fat) Fat: 8.7g (sat 2.7g,mono 3.7g,poly 1g) Protein: 30.4g Carbohydrate: 22g Fiber: 6.1g Cholesterol: 76mg Iron: 6.1mg Sodium: 530mg Calcium: 106mg (Just 5 little Weight Watchers points per serving)
I left out the lemon juice just because I forgot to add it...didn't miss it though. I also did throw in some grape tomatoes and thought those were an excellent addition to the salad. Overall very flavorful, very quick and easy, and definitely makes me ready for summertime!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Still trying to eat lighter and leaner is a bit of a challenge when there is yummy Super Bowl snack food on the table. But this Hungry Girl Ate-Layer Dip was actually really tasty! My sister put this recipe together in what seemed like no time. The butternut squash layer is a bit unusual...tastes fine but the texture is a bit odd...I don't see any reason why you couldn't use fat free refried beans instead.