Friday, June 29, 2007


Sushi! I didn't have a lunch planned for today so I stopped by the grocery store where they make fresh sushi each week day. Today it was a woman making it, but it's usually some dude. Sushi is a great low-point option for dining out. DBF and I go to this great little place in Gahanna. I usually order the endamame and the sushi sampler, and he gets something Chinese. Well, last time he ordered Pad Thai, which is Thai. This place has a little of everything and better than your average chinese takeout. It's in a little strip mall and it's very unassuming, but sometimes, the best places are like that.

Anyhow, today I opted for a sampler and I picked up an instant miso soup packet, which by the way is only 35 calories per packet. Yay! I heart sushi and miso soup. It just brightens an otherwise crappy day.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

On weightloss: I double-track my points/calories

Although I primarily follow the WW plan (counting points as opposed to calories), I sometimes like to know how I'm doing calorically. Am I getting enough fat, fiber, etc? All of those are things that WW's points can't tell you.

To answer those questions, I use a free nutrition analyzing Web site, Sparkpeople. Today, for example (shown above), I am over calories recommended for weight loss, but have the correct breakdown of fat, carbs and protein. Go me! Except, maybe I have too much food planned. Or need to find things with fewer calories. Either way. It's good info to have.

Sorry I don't have food pictures to share. The pork picadillo smells wonderful, tastes even better, but unfortunately looks pretty narsty.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My new favorite orzo

I found an even better way to enjoy orzo. As if I needed better tasting carbs, right? Forget my original lemon orzo from Everyday Food. This tops that. It was creamy, flavorful, and dare I say addicting and, of course, topped with one of my favorite kind of seafood — scallops. Although I think this is the third night I've cooked from it, this Seared Scallops with Lemon Orzo is also from Cooking Light. Can you tell it's my favorite magazine to cook from? Plus, you just can't beat dinner on the table within 20 minutes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I hate chickpeas but...

I'll eat falafel. Who knows why. Maybe because once you're done adding breadcrumbs and spices, it no longer tastes like chickpeas, which I generally despise. Shown here are the Falafel-Stuffed Pitas from Cooking Light. I'm sure I've made this before, but I don't remember them being so difficult to work with. They taste good, but are a pain in the ass to form into patties. Not to mention the mess. Ugh. So much clean up because of my falafel-y fingers. I think next time I'll try different recipe. I like that they're not fried, but I feel like there has to be something less messy. In the background is a salad w/ mixed olives, feta, and red wine vinaigrette over mixed greens.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunday brunch can be point-friendly

I love Sunday brunch. It's easily one of my favorite meals of the week and time for me to make a pot of freshly ground and brewed coffee, sip on a glass of OJ, and stir up something. It always makes the house smell fantastic. This week was blueberry pancakes from Cooking Light, which I topped with bananas, fresh blueberries, and real maple syrup. No reduced-calorie pancake syrup for me. Blech.

I remember waking up to the smell of pancakes, bacon, and coffee when I was growing up. Occasionally, but not often, my parents would start a big breakfast around 9 a.m. I figure this was a sneaky way to get my sister and I out of bed, as we both knew that if we didn't get up right away, it would be gone before we could even have a bite. My dad's stomach is a bottomless pit, and he could probably put away a 3/4 a batch of pancakes and multiple strips of bacon.

Maybe the occasion was too rare in our household, because now that I've moved out, I've made it a big production of breakfast, which is to be eaten only while watching the King Thompson/Coldwell Banker Sunday Home Show. Don't ask me why, but real estate infomercials are a perfect accompaniment. Plus, when else can you play, "guess the price of that house?" or openly make fun of people's tacky decorating tastes?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Garlic bread that may change your life

Last night's dinner was Linguine with Arugula and Ricotta Pesto and garlic bread on the side. I LOVED the garlic bread. The pesto was good, but I underseasoned it. Also, I might consider cutting the amount of parsley next time. Make no mistake, neither of these are point friendly. But the garlic bread may change your life. And, maybe it's not so damaging if you have a small slice. But it's hard to keep it just to that!

Arugula and Ricotta Pesto
3 medium cloves garlic , unpeeled
1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup arugula (packed)
1 cup fresh parsley leaves (packed)
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Toast garlic in small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until softened and spotty brown, about 8 minutes; when cool, remove and discard skins. While garlic cools, toast nuts in skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.

Place arugula and parsley in heavy-duty, quart-sized, zipper-lock plastic bag; bruise all leaves with meat pounder.

In workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process garlic, nuts, arugula, parsley, and oil until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down sides of bowl. Transfer mixture to small bowl and stir in cheeses; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Food porn!

Is it just me, or is this raspberry sorbet food porn at it's best? I've heard of so many people who received an ice cream maker for their wedding and never use it. That's such a shame, because such tasty things can come from it. Like this sorbet. It's so easy even the cooking impaired can do it. No real cooking involved.

All it is, is a 10 oz. container of frozen raspberries in sugar, thawed, and pureed in a food processor with a little lemon juice and a splash of vanilla extract. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and freeze in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

For a special dessert I garnished with Reddi-Whip and some chocolate shavings. YUM.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Asian-style chicken thighs

When I get a chance to catch Healthy Appetite on the Food Network, I try to watch. Most of her recipes are fairly good and easy to prepare. Plus, she includes nutritional information for every one of her recipes. While I don't mind tweaking the oil, butter, cheese, etc. in a recipe, it's nice to find recipes (outside of Cooking Light) that are delicious and need no calorie cutting. In fact, her hot chocolate recipe, which I posted about in January, is one of my favorites. I usually do a variation that doesn't involve the ginger that her original recipe calls for. It's good with the ginger, but I rarely have it on hand.

Last night I made a couple of recipes from her homemade takeout episode. Teriyaki Chicken Thighs and Soba Noodle-Vegetable Salad. I will note that I cheated and used a whole wheat blend pasta instead of Soba. The grocery store was out. I noticed them at the health food store and almost picked them up, but thought, "Nah, I'll just get them at Meijer. They'll probably be cheaper." But ever since the store remodeled, certain ethnic food items disappeared, specifically the Goya spice blend I use in my red beans and rice.

Anyhow, both the chicken and the noodle salad were good, and the noodle salad got even better overnight in the fridge. I believe the dinner is 9 pts. per serving. Which isn't bad. I consider that a reasonable dinner. As far as being homemade takeout—not so much. There's just something about cheap Chinese takeout that you can't recreate at home.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pizza cravings...

A month ago, I had a pizza craving. And last night I *finally* gave into it. I made my favorite summertime pizza, the Garden Tomato and Basil Pesto Pizza from Cooking Light. Of course, this takes a lot of shortcuts with a premade crust and jarred pesto. Last night I took the short cuts, but in the height of summer, I do make my own fresh pesto. By the way, that's a whole wheat Boboli crust. I didn't burn it that much, I swear. Which leads me to my inability to make a crust. I can't seem to make a crust that's not soggy in the center and hard and burnt on the edges. And don't get me started on how dumb I am with a rolling pin. Maybe I should take lessons from my dad, who grew up working in my grandpa's pizza shop.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A non-traditional Pad Thai

It's hard to tell from that photo what the heck that is, but it's Shrimp Pad Thai. Or at least a non-traditional version of it anyhow. I was really excited to find snow peas and cilantro at the farmer's market this week. It was like I was meant to make this dish. It was this cute old lady selling them. How could I not partake? On the side are Trader Joe's shrimp goyas. I wanted the vegetable kind, but they were out.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Roast chicken — the simple Sunday meal

It may not look like anything special, but the meal was really good. The chicken was just OK. The skin was really good (I sneaked a bite), but for my purposes, I never eat the skin. If you like the skin, then, this is a good recipe. The skin was full of flavor. The meat, eh, not so much. Kind of bland. The sides were excellent. I think I ate more than my share of those carrots, and although the orzo wasn't fancy, it was very good. The lemon gave it a very clean flavor. I'm not very good at describing my food, I suppose.

Paprika Roast Chicken
1 tbsp paprika
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 boiler/fryer chicken (3.5 to 4 pounds) giblets and liver discarded, and patted dry
1 tbsp oil

Preheat oven to 475°. In a small bowl, mix paprika, 2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Season chicken cavity with about 1/4 paprika mixture.

Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Using kitchen twine, tie legs together, tuck wings under. Rub chicken with oil; sprinkle all over with remaining parika mixture.

Roast until very dark 15-20 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil; continue roasting until instant-read thermometer insterted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°, about 30 minutes. Transfer to platter, and cover loosely with foil, let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

Lemony Orzo
1 lemon
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon of oil
2 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced

Using a vegetable peeler, peel half the lemon (avoiding the bitter white pith), thinly slice the peel. Squeeze 2 tbsp juice; set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, add orzo and lemon peel. Cook until orzo is al dente, according to package instructions, drain, and return to pot.

Add lemon juice, oil, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.

Roasted Carrots and Shallots
2 lbs of carrots, cut into 3-inch lengths, thick pieces halved lengthwise
12 ounces shallots (about 10) peeled and halved lengthwise.
2 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 c. fresh parsley 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450°. On a large rimmed backing sheet, toss carrots, shallot and oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, 30-35 minutes, tossing once half way through. Add parsley and lemon juice; toss to combine.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


This has to be simplest dinner ever. Seriously. It's just cooked chicken, red onion, a can of green chiles, two jars of salsa, and some tortilla chips with melted monterey jack. Garnished with sour cream and cilantro. It's pretty good for how simple it is. Definitely get unsalted chips. I didn't, and it's really, really salty. And it might be a good idea to get a decent salsa, instead of the $1 a jar generic that I bought.

Chicken Chaquiles
2 tsp canola oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion, divided
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
3 cups purchased medium-hot salsa with chipotles and garlic (from about two 16-ounce jars)
4 cups unsalted tortilla chips
1 cup shredded monterey jack
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Low fat sour cream

Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet. Add 11/4 cups onion; sauté until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and chiles; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in salsa; simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chips. Sprinkle with cheese. Place skillet in oven; bake just until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup onion and cilantro; top with sour cream and serve.

Friday, June 8, 2007

A winter meal in the middle of summer

A couple of months ago, I had DBF buy lamb shanks for the purpose of braising them in my dutch oven. I got it for christmas, and aside from a couple of soups, I really have yet to break it in. I thought a nice braise would be a perfect way to test out that cast-iron beauty. Keep in mind, it was still 30° outside. DBF was supposed to add the ingredients to the pot, toss it in the oven, and do homework until I got home to finish up the meal. But he got wrapped up in his homework and forgot to even come over to my apartment. He didn't show up until I got home, and at 8 p.m., it was too late to start a braise.

So, the shanks have sat in my freezer for at least 3 months and were starting to look freezer burn-y. We had a cool snap of 70° weather, so I put it all in my slow cooker and used the recipe for Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic and Rosemary. DBF really liked it, but I thought it was just OK. I've never had lamb, so maybe it was just because shanks are a very fatty meat. Or, maybe because we were eating wintery comfort food in June. Who knows.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Little rabbit turds

That's what we used to call Fiber One when my gram would eat it every single day for breakfast. It does kinda look like little turds. And I certainly never thought I would be eating such a thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's good, but it's doable. And mixed in with the cottage cheese and jam, it's actually fairly easy to ignore the fact that I'm eating bran cereal. You also have to love that 1/2 cup is 0 pts. Plus, it sticks with me for several hours. That's what I call a decent breakfast.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Another one for the make-again file

Overall, I have to say I haven't been all that impressed with Everyday Food. It all looks good, but most the recipes are just OK. Nothing spectacular. Up until last night, all I liked from the magazine was the Giant Sugar Cookies.

But I found another I liked. Glazed pork with mango salsa. All it is is a bone-in pork chop with about a tablespoon of adobo sauce spread on it and sprinkled with about 1 tsp of brown sugar. Then you broil until the thickest part of the chop is 155°, about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, you dice a mango, 1/2 a small red onion, mince a jalapeno (taking out the seeds and ribs first!) and then mix that together with some lime juice and s&p. The mango salsa isn't shown by the way.

I served it with baby arugula and cucumbers tossed with a dressing made of evoo, red wine vinegar, s&p, honey and cardamom. It was from the same issue as the pork chops. All in all, it's pretty good!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Perfect potatoes on the Silpat

I'm not sure why I didn't think of it sooner, but the Silpat makes perfect roasted potatoes. Usually, no matter how much oil I use, the potatoes always stick to the pan and leave a horrendous mess. Last night I suggested we try using my Silpat (which I use religiously for cookies.. such as the giant, and I mean GIANT sugar cookies I also made last night). It was the greatest idea ever. As you can see, they are perfectly browned, but not burnt, and no potato mess to clean up. Yay!

The potatoes were red skinned potatoes tossed with evoo and s&p, then roasted at 400° for 40 minutes. Then, they are tossed with minced garlic and roasted for 5 more minutes. As a finished touch, tossed with an herb vinaigrette. The recipe is called Roasted Potatoes with Herb Vinaigrette. Go figure.

The steak was a flank steak that was butterflied and filled with thawed frozen spinach mixed with asiago cheese, balsamic vinagar, red pepper flakes, capers, and s&p. You roll it up, tie it with kitchen twine (toothpicks not recommended. Oops.) and then broiled for 8-10 minutes. When done, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. The recipe was just OK. I find flank steak tough and stringy.