Thursday, February 16, 2012

May your breakfast quesadilla runneth over...

Last night, around 7:45 p.m., I got a craving for quesadillas.  A serious craving.  The kind where you immediately call a friend to drive you to Margaritas and you have those delicious shrimp quesadillas and a Corona Light.

And then I woke up with that craving again this morning.  I haven't made Mexican food in our house lately, so I can only imagine that this is my palate telling me-it's time!!!  What resulted was superb: a HUGE, low calorie breakfast quesadilla.

What you need:
a 100 calorie tortilla (I used La Tortilla Factory brand)
3 TBSP liquid egg whites (or actual egg whites, although that will change the NI)
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup thinly sliced spanish onion
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes (drained)
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (I like Sargento brand)

To make:
1.  Spray a small skillet with cooking spray.  Saute mushrooms & onions over medium heat until to your desired firmness.  Drain off any excess liquid.
2.  Return skillet to stove.  Pour egg whites over mushrooms & onions & saute until egg whites are cooked through.
3.  On one half of your tortilla, spread the mushroom/onion/egg white mixture, topped by the diced tomatoes (cooking this with the mushroom & onion adds too much liquid), followed by the cheese.  Fold tortilla in half.
4.  Lightly mist a large skillet with cooking spray over medium heat.  Cook the tortilla until lightly browned & crispy, 2-4 minutes per side.  Cut into 4 wedges & enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Make Your Own: Turkey Stock

Sunday night a friend invited us over for a big turkey dinner.  It was delicious-and I got to take home the turkey carcass!

I love making my own stock, because it makes me feel very, very thrifty and the flavor that it adds to dishes is really incomparable.  This recipe is my own-and you can individualize it even further to suit your family's tastes or to coincide with what you had on hand.  For this recipe, you will need a very large stockpot.

Start by giving a rough chop to the veggies you'll use to flavor your stock.  I used carrots, celery, potatoes, and a large quartered onion.  The larger you make the pieces, the easier they will be to separate out later.

Put all your turkey scraps into a stockpot along with the veggies.  Sprinkle generously with salt & pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon each dried ground sage and dried thyme.  Add 3 quarts (12 cups) water.

Bring this to a full boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Turn down the heat to medium-low, and continue to simmer for 3 hours.  This is what mine looked like after 3 hours:

Taste for flavor after 3 hours, adding more seasoning as necessary.  Continue to simmer until the stock reaches your desired level of concentration.  I prefer my stock very strong, so that when I cook with it I have to add water.  I feel like this allows me to control the flavor more-a stronger and weaker turkey flavor depending on the dish.

After stock has reached the desired strength, let cool to room temperature.  Strain to remove large pieces of vegetables and turkey scraps.  Refrigerate overnight, and then skim the top layer of fat off the next day.  Because I rarely use the stock within the next few days, I freeze it in jumbo muffin tins:

After the stock freezes, I pop the individual pieces into a large ziploc bag, and defrost as needed.  Enjoy!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This is sheer comfort food.

I know some of you may wrinkle your nose at just the words "Tuna Noodle Casserole" but I promise this recipe will change your mind about this age-old, classic dish.  Even the most picky eaters will love!  This is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
(8 servings at 9 PointsPlus each)

-12 oz whole wheat egg noodles
-1 T olive oil
-1/2 yellow onion, chopped
-6 carrots, peeled and chopped
-2 T all purpose flour
-2 3/4 cups skim milk
-1/2 cup (4 oz) 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
-2 T Dijon mustard
-salt & pepper to taste
-1 cup frozen peas, thawed
-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, divided
-1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
-2 (5 ounce) cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked
-cooking spray

1.  Preheat broiler & then cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt & fat.  Drain.
2.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion & carrot; cook 6 minutes or until carrot is almost tender, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with flour & cook one minutes, stirring constantly.
3.  Gradually stir in milk; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until slightly thick.  Stir in cream cheese, mustard, salt and pepper.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
4.  Remove pan from heat.  Stir in noodles, peas, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and tuna.  Spoon mixture into a shallow broiler-safe 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and breadcrumbs.  Broil 3 minutes or until golden.  Let stand 5 mintues before serving.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chicken & Tortellini Soup

Call this a come-back post.  It's been months since I've updated this blog, and after popular demand (or by request of Laurie & Lisa, you choose) I've decided to stop being lazy and start blogging my recipes again.  Only this time, everything is going to be bigger and badder.  I'm putting a little more effort into how I present recipes on my blog, and cleaning it all up a bit.  I originally found this recipe on the Becoming Betty blog, via Pinterest.  Her recipe seemed perfect as written, but I modified it according to what I had on hand and the effort I was willing to put in with measuring out amounts of veggies.  The result was a hearty soup that made SO much that I'm freezing over 5 servings.  A small family could easily halve this recipe.

Chicken Tortellini Soup
(10 servings of 1 & 3/4 cup; 8 PointsPlus/serving)

-2 T light-tasting olive oil
-2 medium onions chopped in your food processor
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-7 stalks of celery, chopped in your food processor
-7 carrots, peeled and sliced into small rounds
-1 T italian seasoning
-1 dried bay leaf
-3 quarts (12 cups) fat free chicken broth
-20 oz package Buitoni mixed cheese fresh tortellini
-3 large chicken breasts, cooked & diced to bite sized pieces (I cooked mine for 20 min in boiling water)
-2 chicken bullion cubes
-salt & pepper, parmesan cheese to taste

1.  Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf.  Cook and stir constantly for 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened slightly.  If you cut your carrots thicker, like me, then this will take a little longer.
2.  Pour in the chicken broth and add the bullion.  Bring the liquid to a boil.
3.  Add the tortellini and simmer for 5 minutes until al dente.  Fold in the cooked chicken and simmer for 2 more minutes.
4.  Season with salt & pepper; serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chickpea Cakes with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

This is an amazing vegetarian meal from my favorite cookbook: America's Test Kitchen, Best Simple Recipes.

Chickpea Cakes with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1 cucumber, peeled, halved, lengthwise, seeded, and shredded
salt & pepper
1 1/4 c 2 percent Greek yogurt
6 scallions, sliced thin
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 large eggs
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 (16 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 medium shallot, minced
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Process bread in food processor to coarse crumbs. Spread crumbs on rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, toss cucumber and 1/2 tsp salt together in colander and let drain for 15 minutes. Stir drained cucumbers, 3/4 c yogurt, 2 tbsp scallions, and 1 tbsp cilantro together in bowl. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.

2. Whisk eggs, 2 tbsp oil, garam masala, cayenne, and 1/4 tsp salt together in bowl. Place beans in large bowl and mash with potato masher until mostly smooth. Stir in bread crumbs, egg mixture, shallot, and remaining yogurt, scallions, and cilantro. Form bean mixture into six 1-inch-thick patties.

3. Heat addition 1 tbsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half o the patties and cook until well browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and tent loosely with foil. Repeat with remaining oil and patties. Serve with cucumber-yogurt sauce and lime wedges.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Penne with Imitation Crab and Sherry Cream Sauce

I don't know that many people love imitation crabmeat, but in this house, we prefer it!  This recipe is an original.

2 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 C minced onion
2 TBSP tomato paste
1/4 TSP red pepper flakes
1/2 C dry sherry
1 C skim milk
1 TBSP cornstarch (or flour)
2 TSP grated lemon zest
1 TBSP lemon juice from one lemon
1 box Ronzoni SmartTaste penne (14.5 oz)
1 LB imitation crabmeat, flaked
1/4 C finely chopped chives

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot.  Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add onions and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add tomato paste and pepper flakes and cook until slighly darkened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in sherry and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.  In bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch until smooth, then add to skillet with sherry.  Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Off heat, add lemon juice and season with salt & pepper.

Add 1 TBSP salt and penne to boiling water and cook until al dente.  Reserve 1/2 C cooking water, drain pasta, and return to pot.  Add sauce, crabmeat, lemon zest, and chives and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cajun Stuffed Peppers

Tonight's recipe is Cajun Stuffed Peppers.  It's the second time I'm making them, and I can assure you that they're fantastic.  I hated stuffed peppers growing up, but these have so much flavor that it's impossible not to fall in love with them.  This is another recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen, Best Simple Recipes.  From their original recipe, I have modified it to lessen the fat content..

4 red bell peppers, halved (stem left intact), cored, and seeded
4 tsp olive oil
8 ounces extra lean ground beef
4 ounes Andouille sausage, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 8.8 ounce package Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain Ready Rice
1 tbsp hot sauce
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salt & pepper

Adjust oven race to upper-middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat broiler. Microwave peppers until just tender, 3 to 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp oil in large skillet on medium-high heat until just smoking. Add beef, sausage, and onion and cook until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in rice and hot sauce and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in half the cheese and season with salt & pepper.

Pat peppers dry with paper towes and season with salt and pepper. Carefully brush preheated baking sheet with remaining oil. Place peppers, cut side down, on baking sheet and broil until spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Flip peppers and fill with beef mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Broil until cheese is spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Super-Easy Curry

My friend Lisa LOVES curry, and talking about curries with her the other day made my tastebuds demand a curry for dinner-soon!  So tonight, I took the base of a WholeFoodsMarket recipe, and I'm making it my own.  I'm using pork because it's what I have on hand, but the pork can easily be substituted for chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or even thinly sliced sirloin steak. 

Key Ingredients:

1 pork tenderloin, approximately 1 lb
1-2 TBSP curry powder
2 TBSP canola oil
2/3 C light coconut milk
1 C chicken broth
3 C assorted fresh veggies (I used the asian mix from Trader Joe's)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rub tenderloin with 1/2 TBSP of curry powder mixed with 1 TBSP of oil.  Heat remaining TBSP of oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat.  Add pork and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes.  Transfer skillet to oven and bake under thermometer inserted into pork registers 155 degrees, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let pork rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan coated with cooking spray, sautee veggies until crisp-tender.  Add desired amount of curry powder to vegetables with a small amount of coconut milk until smooth.  Add remaining coconut milk and broth.  Simmer about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.  Pour warm sauce with veggies over thin slices of pork on each plate and serve.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Eggs in Purgatory

This is one of my all-time favorite breakfast recipes-I could eat it for lunch & dinner too!  We generally have ours over toasted english muffins or Ezekiel bread instead of tortillas, and omit the avocado.  I also scale back the cilantrao a little bit.  This comes from WholeFoodsMarket.

1 tablespoon canola oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño pepper
1 Anaheim or small green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
Red chile powder to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth
4 to 6 cage-free eggs
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 lime, cut into wedges
Hot sauce to taste
4 corn tortillas, warmed

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, salt, chile powder, garlic powder and cilantro; simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in lime juice and vinegar.

Carefully purée sauce in blender, in batches if necessary, then return to pan. Add enough broth to thin out the sauce, then bring to a simmer. Crack eggs into sauce, leaving space between each egg. Cover and poach eggs until egg whites are opaque and yolks are light yellow, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to plates and serve topped with avocado and cheese. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges and serve with hot sauce and tortillas on the side.

Friday, March 4, 2011


This recipe is straight out of the new Weight Watchers Points Plus cookbook-but you'd NEVER know it.  My favorite way to serve this is alongside a plate of cut-up fruit, so that the man & I can pick and choose how to eat them.  He likes bananas, I like strawberries.  These are so easy, and be prepared so many different ways.  Sorry I have no original picture; we ate these too fast!


1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 TSP ground nutmeg
1/4 TSP salt
1 C fat-free milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1.  Whisk together flour, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl.  Beat together milk and eggs in small bowl.  Whisk milk mixture into flour mixture until smooth.  Let stand 15 minutes.

2.  Spray 8-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat until drop of water sizzles in pan.  Re-stir batter; pour scant 1/4 cupful of batter into skillet, tilting pan to coat bottom completely.  Cook until top is set and underside is golden brown, about 1& 1/2 minutes.

3.  With spatula, loosen edge of crepe and turn over.  Cook until second side is lightly browned, about 25 seconds.  Slide crepe onto plate.  Repeat with remaining batter, lightly spraying skillet before adding more batter, making a total of 8 crepes.