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Monday, October 25, 2010

Judy's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.

I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com, it's from a lady named Judy, and I've got to give her kudos for this one. It was DELICIOUS. Even Michael liked it. The only thing I would have done differently is probably add more pepper or some garlic salt. But either way, this one is going to be made again!!!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (makes 4 servings)
WW pts: 6 pts a serving

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup uncooked white rice
  • 8 cabbage leaves
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Bring a large, wide saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add cabbage leaves and cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until softened; drain.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, 1 cup cooked rice, onion, egg, salt and pepper, along with 2 tablespoons of tomato soup. Mix thoroughly.
Divide the beef mixture evenly among the cabbage leaves. Roll and secure them with toothpicks or string.
In a large skillet over medium heat, place the cabbage rolls and pour the remaining tomato soup over the top (I added a little bit of water too, and it made more sauce). Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring and basting with the liquid often.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My new chef.

I have to admit. When I imagined having kids, I always dreamed of them helping me bake, and cook. Letting them get covered in flour and letting them dig into a batch a fresh batch of cookies that they helped me make.

So today while we had my Homemade Pizza that I had shared the recipe a few months ago. But the difference was that when I went to start the dough, someone woke up from his nap early. So today he wanted to help me make the pizza dough.

So this is my new chef. He looks like a natural doesn't he.
He's really into kneading the dough.

Pretty good technique.

He picked up the spatula and was beating the dough with it. Think it helps?

And then he was done. Juice break!!

After all the days when my patience isn't in sync with him testing his boundaries (aka. being a pain in my butt). I'm still a lucky parent because he is a healthy smart boy!! And for that I'm thankful that no matter what we get to share these experiences with our kids!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Flounder for the first time.

I usually stick to Tilapia when thinking about fish. Because it's mild and not a real "fishy" fish, if you know what I mean. But I have been know to go out of my comfort zone and try something that I would not normally pick...

Tonight being one of those times. I found this recipe in a Low fat/ Low Cholesterol cookbook. It sounded kinda weird, but I thought what the heck... I'd give it a try 1 time.... ok, now maybe more. It was light and the sauce actually came together really nicely and tasted good. The only downside was that flounder is expensive... or at least it was at Publix this past week. OH well. just another thing I will have to watch for on sale.

Flounder with Mustard Sauce over Spinach (makes 4 servings)
WW pts: 3 pts.

4 Fish Fillets (sole or flounder) 4 ounces each
1/4 cup of fat free or light ranch dressing
3 tbsp fat free plain yogurt (I used Fat free sour cream)
1 1/2 Tbsp Plain mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
8 ounces spinach, fresh

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse fish and pat dry. Place in a 13 x 9 pan. In a small bowl, stir together the ranch, yogurt,mustard, pepper and garlic salt. Spoon evenly over the fish.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until the fish is flaky. I did it for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove stems from spinach. Rinse spinach thoroughly. Drain well. Heat non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Cook the spinach until wilted, a minute or two. Arrange spinach in a single layer. Top with baked fish.

We served it with some frozen green beans that I boiled and then sauteed in garlic and pepper.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chicken Wings and Fries.

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a couple days, but we have had leftover chili and then enjoyed my monthly night out to dinner. So there weren't any recipes to share. But tonight I have a good one!!!

One thing I love about cooking at home, is that we don't have to sacrifice any types of food, I can just make them healthier than most restaurants. Like Chicken Wings and Fries.... nothing fried, but it still has all the flavor that a restaurant would have, with like half the fat.

I bake my chicken wings and they are always crispy and delicious!! It is the perfect end to a week, and beginning of a fun weekend!!!

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings (makes 2 servings)
WW pts: 8 pts.

7 total wings (wing and drumette looking ones)
1/2 cup plain Vinegar
1/4 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 Frank's Wing Sauce
1 Tbsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you need to cut the wing and drumette apart. Place in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet. Place in the oven and let bake 2o minutes then flip and cook another 20 minutes. In a small saucepan combine remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce has reduced and is thicker. After both sides of the chicken have cooked, drizzle the wing sauce over the wings, or you can dump the wings into the sauce to mix. Then replace on the cookie sheet and let cook for another 15 minutes or until the sauce has baked onto the wings.

We served this with french fries, that I sliced into shoestring type strips then baked in the 400 degree oven along with the wings!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pot full of chili for 5.00.

I didn't plan so well with the weather in mind, seeing as next week it's supposed to be cool, and today it was in the 80's. But nevertheless, we did a pot of Turkey Chili. My mom used to make this with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, but since I didn't have leftover Turkey (yet) I used ground Turkey. This chili is so great because it's so cheap and it will be at least 2 dinners and 2 lunches for both Michael and I. The only downside to this recipe is the dried beans, but all you have to do is pour 1/2 lb of dried beans into a pot, cover with water and cover with lid and then let sit overnight.

Ground Turkey Chili (Makes 16 cups)
WW pts: 2 pts a cup

1 lb. Ground Turkey (sale) .99 cents
2- 28 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, drained (BIGI free) 1.28
2 packages store brand Chili seasoning .59 cents each
1/2 lb. Dried Red Beans 1.68 for whole bag
Onion, diced .75 cents
3 stalks, celery diced.
1/2 green pepper, diced, (sale- sliced and frozen) .25
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup mustard
1-28 ounce can filled with water

Brown ground meat if you need to, if you are using leftover Thanksgiving Turkey dice it up into chunks. Drain beans from water. Pour beans and Tomatoes into crockpot. Pour the remaining ingredients, stir to mix. You may need to add more water if it seems thick. The beans will soak up some more of the water, so you can always add extra and it won't be runny in the end. Then turn on for low for 8 hours and go to work or leave it be.

We always serve it with Original fritos and shredded cheddar cheese. And you can always add a little Louisiana hot sauce.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Homemade Rotisserie Chicken.

One thing I like is going to the store and being able to get a whole chicken, already cooked, ready to go. The downside, is I don't honestly know what all they put on it or in it. This recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated. There was an article on how to make the best Rotisserie chicken and to date, homemade has been hands down better than any store bought.

What's your favorite part of a chicken.... for most people, including me it's the skin, when it's crunchy... and that is why I love this recipe. It comes out of the oven and it's smells divine, the skin is crunchy and the meat is so juicy.

I can get 2 whole raw chickens at Sam's for 8-9 dollars, making the whole chicken 4-4.50. And usually we can split a chicken breast (portion wise on a whole chicken 1/2 a breast is a serving). So we get 2 dinners and some 2+ lunches, making it 50 cents - 1.00 for the meat. You can't get plain boneless chicken breast for that cheap... well sometimes, but not usually. If you don't have a Sam's card, look at Wal-mart or your grocery store for sales on the chickens.

We served this with a serving of instant mashed potato and steamed squash and zucchini. If you've never tried this, make some instant mashed potatoes and add a tbsp of dried ranch to it. It gives such a great flavor to the potatoes without add a ton of calories.

Rotisserie Chicken
WW pts: vary on what part of the chicken you eat.

1 Whole Thaw Chicken
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp Rosemary
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp Canola oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Place whole chicken with breast side up in a roasting pan or cake pan, in my picture you can see the breast, they will bulge out a little more than the dark meat. Leaving the skin attached, slide you hand to seperate the skin from the chicken breast to create a pocket. In a small bowl combine Butter, Rosemary, pepper, garlic salt cayenne pepper. Take 1/2 of the butter compound and place between 1 side of breast and the skin, on the outside of the skin use your fingers to spread the butter into a layer. Then repeat for other side. It doesn't have to be perfect you just want the flavor to cover the breast and keep it juicy. Take the canola oil and spread it on top of the skin. Rub it in gently with your hand. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in oven 20 minutes per pound. Usually around 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.

To check the chicken use a meat thermometer and when it reads 165-170 degrees it's done. Most thermometers say 180 it's done, but that usually means it's dried out. If you don't have a meat thermometer, you can cut the chicken and see if the juices run clear, if they do, then the chicken is done. If not leave and check 10-15 minutes later. When chicken is done, pull out of oven and let sit for 10 minutes. It will lock the juices into the meat, and it will also make it easier to cut.

The spices can be varied depending on your mood. Here are some of the alternatives we've used in the past:
Lemon pepper
Cumin & Cayenne (mexican flavor)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's Fall.

I have been trying to upgrade my computer which turned into me screwing a bunch of stuff up. I'm not meant to be on the Geek Squad, obviously. So it has taken me a few days to fix everything I screwed up and be able to get to my pictures... meaning I'm going to combine this 1 post into the 2 recipes that I wanted to share with you.

You know when you wake up one day and realize that it has gotten like 30 degrees cooler, and the leaves have started to pile up on the sidewalks. When you having to dig through your drawers for a sweater to put on b/c it's that cool out in the morning.... Well all that makes me want to bake. Warm hearty comforting meals and anything with chocolate....

One of the Fall meals that I remember my mom making for Thanksgiving, year after year was acorn squash with a butter and brown sugar. I haven't had this recipe since I was oooh maybe 14-15. So 10+ years later (yeah do the math, I'm still under 30), I saw them on sale and bought acorn squash. I was then surprised that Michael had never had acorn squash. EVER. All the years we have been together, and all the cooking his mom did growing up. So last night I inaugurated him into the acorn squash fan club.... It turned out just like I remember.

Acorn Squash (makes 4 servings)
WW pts. per serving: 3 pts.

2 Acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed (like you would a pumpkin-leaving the fleshy part)
4 tbsp light butter/margarine
4 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a sheet pan, place the acorn squash with cut side down. Bake for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, remove from oven, turn over and place 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp brown sugar in each 1/2. If the acorn squash seem to slide around on the sheet pan, I take a square of Foil and make a little ring to sent the squash in. Works everytime. Then bake for another 30 minutes.

Really good leftover too!!

The second recipe is a woops on my part. I took out some bison, thinking it was going to be flank steak type. It turned out to be ground bison. So our Bison fajita salad, turned into ground bison taco salad. Still good!!! You can use ground beef for this if you want.

Bison Taco Salad (makes 4 servings)
WW pts: varies, depending on cheese and meat

Ground Meat, browned
1/4 Olive oil
1/4 Vinegar
1 Tbsp Cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp pepper
3 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Chili powder
1 Tbsp Oregano (mexican if you can find it)
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
1/2 diced onion
1/2 diced red pepper or yellow

Mix all the Oil, vinegar, peppers, cumin, chili powder, oregano and lime juice in a bowl and stir with a fork to mix. Saute the onion and pepper in 1 tbsp olive oil. Then add back the ground meat. To warm, add the mixture of seasonings and let it cook down. Adjust the seasoning to your taste if you want to add other stuff.

Cut lettuce, then top with meat and veggies, and cheese and salsa.

I usually make a dressing to go on it. 1 cup salsa, 1/2 cup fat free sour cream. This dressing also makes a great dip for tortilla chips.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Salmon Burgers.

I know I make most everything from scratch and I like it that way. But a few weeks ago my WW leader Vicki told us about a Salmon Burger that she bought at Kroger individually wrapped and made it. She said it was pretty delicious and at 1.99 each it was still cheaper than if I were to have to buy all the ingredients to make a Salmon burger... So for tonight's gourmet meal.... I put 2 Salmon burgers in the oven while I made Sweet potato fries. The burger didn't have a strong Salmon taste, but let a little lemon-y aftertaste, which was good. It is definitely something that I will buy again. I put ours in the oven b/c I wanted them Crispy, but the package said you could microwave or pan fry it. Then just topped the bun with Lettuce and tomato. Simple and really good.

Each Burger is 4 pts. which is better than some Turkey burgers.

Here is the recipe that I have posted previously for the Sweet Potato Fries. The points vary on how big a potato, but I usually get a large one and count it as 3-4 pts.

Sweet Potato Fries
1 Sweet Potato per person
garlic salt (optional)

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. With a sharp knife, slice the sweet potatoes into thin slices. Spray a cookie sheet (If they are bigger potatoes, I have to use 2 sheets) with PAM. Spread the sweet potato slices in 1 layer across the cookie sheet, Spray the tops of the sweet potato with another bit of PAM. Sprinkle with Pepper (and salt if you want).
Bake for 20 minutes, flip the potatoes over and you can bake for another 20 minutes, or put the broiler on low and broil them. If you choose to broil them, watch them closely, because they will crisp up pretty quick on you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan I've missed you.

It's been at least 2 weeks since we have had this recipe... So HELLO what goes on sale at Kroger this week. Eggplants for a dollar a piece, which they are usually at least 3 dollars a piece. So I gladly added it to our weekly menu. I did make the mistake of grabbing Hot Jalapeno's instead of medium... so our sauce was a little spicier, but still!!

Eggplant Parmesan (makes 6-8 servings)
WW pts: 7 pts per serving or 8 if you eat with 1/2 a serving of Whole wheat spaghetti noodles

2 Large eggplant
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese
Olive oil
1 cup diced onion (1 md onion worked fine)
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 diced jalapenos
1/2 cup chopped basil
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Cut Eggplant into 12-14 slices (1/2 inch thick). In a large saute pan, heat enough oil to cover the bottom to brown the eggplant. In a shallow dish mix flour, rosemary and pepper with a fork, then dredge eggplant in seasoned flour. Shaking off excess flour. Saute 4-5 slices at a time, until golden brown on each side. After cooking all the eggplant in same fashion, dump the oil, and add new oil (1 tsp olive oil). Add onion, garlic and jalapeno. Saute a few minutes, then add the tomato sauce that you've been cooking into this pan. Season with pepper and salt if you need to, I didn't need any salt.

In a 9x13 pan place eggplant and spoon even amounts of the sauce over the eggplant, and then generously sprinkle parmesan cheese and bake until the cheese is completely melted.

I used less parmesan and added some fat free Mozzarella.