Thursday, February 28, 2008

Puffed Wheat Balls

I haven't tried this one yet but it came from one of the pamphlets from the Baltimore Gas & Electric company from my Grandmother. There's no date on it, but the others date from 1937 - 1949. This came from a pamphlet on "Menus & Recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas: A Wide Selection for ALL Tastes and Budgets".

Puffed Wheat Balls

1 package puffed wheat
1 cup light molasses
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp vinegar
1/3 c granulated sugar

Melt the butter in a saucepan, all the molasses and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then continue cooking until brittle when tested in cold water. Stir lightly toward the last of cooking to prevent burning; add the vinegar and mix lightly. Heat puffed wheat until very crisp, then pour the mixture over the wheat, stir until well blended and form into balls.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, once more not much of a plan. Our 10 year anniversary is on Thurs, and I still have no idea of what I'm going to cook. Hubby and I don't really feel like a hunk of red meat on our plate - we had prime rib as part of our dinner (It was just our immediate family at a local B&B in Stauton) and a Chocolate Orange Cheesecake as our wedding cake. I don't want a whole cheesecake around what with WW and all, even if it is in the freezer since there's just the 2 of us. I was asking hubby what he felt like, and he also doesn't really have any dish that he feels like he wants, I guess knowing that he could pretty much have anything he wanted, and knowing that it would be tasty gets kinda old? ;) Anyway after looking at each other and shrugging for a few minutes, he asked if there was any type of food that either of us could think of that summed up our ten years together? He came up with liver (my recent medical problems) and I came up with Ham ( know me...). So we're still kinda stuck at what to make. He's off this week, so we'll come up with something, probably on the day of. It also doesn't help that he's already got Keema Matar in the fridge that he likes, and I've got Sauerbraten in the fridge that I like, so really, we're happy. hahahaha! And: last week I lost 1.6 lbs, giving me a 15.6 lb loss so far for WW! Course this week I'm sure I won't be seeing much of one, and I'm ok with that. If I do, that's fine and if I don't, that's also ok. Between the Indian foods (which I did do well on just no idea how to even try to count it) and what we may have for our Anniversary Dinner (which deserves to be a true celebration) if I gain it won't be the end of the world.

Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup - Using some leftover chicken from a rotisserie chicken I picked up and since hubby gets his cap put on his tooth this morning
Tues: Leftover Roast Pork with wild rice pilaf
Wed: Leftover Pea Soup
Thurs: Our Anniversary
Fri: Possibly Homemade Pizza
Sat & Sunday: Wait and See what the week brings I have meals in the freezer I can use

To see more menu ideas visit I'm an Organizing Junkie

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Caramelized Cardamom Apples with Pistachio Cream (Sev Ka Murabba)

Caramelized Cardamom Apples with Pistachio Cream (Sev Ka Murabba)

An easy dessert that can be made with any sour, firm apples such as Granny Smiths. It may be served hot or warm.

1 cup heavy, whipping cream
2 Tbsp unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 medium-sized sour, firm apples
1/4 tsp finely ground cardamom seeds
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp blanched, slivered almonds
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts

Whip cream lightly in a bowl until it just holds its shape but is not stiff. Fold half the pistachios into the cream, cover and refrigerate.

Melt butter over low heat in a large, nonstick frying pan. Take pan off heat. Peel, core and slice apples thinly, dropping slices into the butter as you cut them. Fold them into the butter as you go so that they do not discolor. (You could, if you like, keep the frying pan over very low heat as you do this.) Add cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, sugar, almonds and walnuts. Cook on medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring gently. Then turn heat to high. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring very gently now and then, until apples have caramelized lightly.

Serve on individual plates with a dollop of the cream partially on and partially off the apples. Sprinkle remaining chopped pistachios over the cream.

From "Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking" by Madhur Jaffrey

My Trip to India (kinda)

Well, not really. It was through my Herbal Society's Gourmet Group meeting yesterday. Our Herbal Society has officially reached it's limit for membership (50 - I was one of the last if not the last one) so for the time being it is closed. The Gourmet group meets mostly every other month (the opposite months of the official meetings of the Herbal Society with breaks during the summer months for vacations). This was the first one that my mom was able to attend, and of course the first one that I was able to attend. And there was at least 22 people there! Needless to say I don't remember everything that was there, and I'm afraid that I forgot to take a pen and paper. But they should be sending out the recipes with the newsletter and I can forward them on if y'all would like. I found out that the host(ess ) gets to choose the menu for the meeting. I'm afraid that with a chance of such a large turnout that I won't be able to host a meeting at my house. :( I would love to, but we just don't have the houses that most of these people do. Hosting my Easter dinners with 11 people makes it quite tight here as it is. I can say that most of the time I'm not jealous of what people have and we don't - but in this case, I guess I am. Between seeing some of these people's gardens and their houses I do feel a bit of the green monster. Anyway.... after we ate we gathered around and discussed our recipe and gave out copies if we had them, and gave at least one copy to the newsletter Editor so that it can be put into the newsletter. Oh, and I got some good news. Not only is there a Whole Foods AND a Trader Joes coming to Richmond - BUT there's a Penzey's is coming too! It's going to be opening up on Cary St! (Down near Ukrop's they said, near Grace maybe? I don't know that area as well as I used to) YAY!!!!! And some bad news. Buffalo Springs Herb Farm is closing. :(

I took Keema Matar (ground beef and peas) one of John's favorites- and actually what I consider a quick and easy recipe for us. I doubled the recipe and used half ground beef and half fake meat actually to lower the points and cholesterol. No one noticed and everyone liked it - but it's something that I've made like that before because the curry flavor hides any "fake" taste really well. I gave my mom a recipe for rice pudding from "Extending The Table" (another book from the same people that do the More with Less cookbook) since I knew she liked rice pudding. Someone else did a rice pudding too. It was a different one, and both were good I hear (I didn't try either since I'm not a good judge of rice puddings. There were quite a few chicken dishes that were yogurt based with the only differences being either the type of nuts used or a different spice. It was quite interesting how different yet the same things were. Everything was different enough that nothing was exactly the same, and no-one really knew what anyone else was bringing. I was glad that my mom was excited to try the foods, I've been wanting her to try Indian food for a while, and this was her first try at it. It wasn't really spicy, I know that I toned mine down, and I'm sure a lot of other people did, with some even putting the peppers as add-ons for their dishes.

While we waited to start we dined on pecans brought in by the hostesses daughters (her birthday is today so they were up from Ft. Worth, TX not only to help out with the meeting but to celebrate her birthday). The pecans were wonderful! There were 3 different kinds, one was a rosemary kinda that had just a hint of sweet but was more savory, one was a praline and the other was a cinnamon sugar. I tried to sit as far away from them as possible. Someone also brought Chai tea. One of her friends' father was stationed in India and her friend was sent to boarding school there, and sent her a book on Chai tea when she talked to her. She and I were talking during dinner and she was asking me about the Hindu people (my mother had told everyone how much I like to cook and such) and how do they make chai without milk? I told her all about soymilk and almond milk and cashew milk. Everyone thought that I knew all about Indian food, since I had told the hostess what I was thinking about making (either Aloo Gobi, Keema Matar or a Tomato Soup) and I knew the actual Indian names, and I had to tell them that I know some about Indian food, but not that much. I was a bit uncomfortable about it, but I guess since I knew more about it than them, I guess it did seem like I was an "expert" . I'm not so sure I enjoyed that experience part of it. I got to explain about tamarind too.

I do not have a recipe yet for a dish that consisted of black-eyed peas and potatoes, with tomatoes that was quite good, and I can't wait to make that one- but then again, I like bean dishes. There were quite a few from Madhur Jaffrey, including one (I think that is where it came from) that I do have a recipe for that I will post next message. It was for Caramelized Cardamom Apples with Pistachio Cream. I was going to make the samosas from The Moosewood cookbook (the original one) but I'm glad I didn't since someone else brought that. There was a very good recipe that was chunks of pineapple with some red onions, cilantro and garam masala. I think that would be great over some grilled chicken, pork or fish during the summer! There was a Lentil soup (I didn't try it since my plate and hands were already full and my stomach was full by the time I finished my plate). Someone laughed that her recipe prep consisted of getting in her car and driving to the Indian grocery store - hitting aisle 4 with the freezer section and picking out a package of bread (paranthas) since that's what her Indian friend said she does for breads. :) There was a Mushroom Curry out of a book that I already own that I will have to make. I've looked at it a few times, so it's definitely going on the rotation at some point. (I'd post the recipe but I can't get to the book so it'll have to wait for the newsletter.) There was a lot of chicken dishes that I can't remember what they were - I remember one was "Green sauce" one was "korma" and I know there were 2 or 3 others but I don't remember the names. There was a Spicy Chicken also from Madhur Jaffrey where the person used wing drumettes that was very good. There were also a few bowls of rice with either cilantro or spices mixed in to serve with the chickens too.

I was pretty full, even though I had taken pretty tiny little bits by that time, and I mean basically tablespoonfuls of stuff. I went back for a few more things. I got a bit of the above mentioned Caramelized Apples, and boy was I glad I did! I tried a bit of a Carrot Slaw with cashews that was good. She placed the chili on the side so those who wanted it could add it if they wanted it. There was a purple banana "Cheese" dessert. There was a funny story with that one. It came from an old cookbook they had forgotten they had. She said it was written funny, and must have been translated and by someone not well versed in English to translate. Anyway, the dessert recipes were all pretty involved so she chose this one because it was easy. It called for bananas, cream of wheat (and I can't remember what else, but not much else). It calls to mash 11 bananas so she decides to do it in her food processor. "I didn't think how much room 11 mashed bananas would take up in my Cuisinart!" and then, "It called for me to place the bananas and the cream of wheat in a double boiler so I did. I had to cook it for 3 hours. Well after about an hour I had to change double boilers because it got REALLY big and it turned purple!" (I do remember there was no acid in the recipe to keep the bananas from turning). It was very tasty, almost like a banana bread. She said it was listed as something good to feed to the sick or babies. All this was offered with coffee flavored with cardamom.

Next one (In June - there is a break because we have participate in a plant sale during April) I will definitely take a notebook with me so I can take notes! And mom has said that she is interested in trying more Indian foods. The only problem is that my stepdad isn't much into spicy foods- sometimes even black pepper is too much for him. So we'll have to kinda work around that.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Recipe Reviews

Dinner last night was wonderful, unfortunately, I can't post the recipe because we were taste testing the recipe. Once it's posted (or printed) I will post a link for it here though. It was the Pork Loin recipe, and it will defiantly be going into our rotation, hubby ate 3 servings. I forgot to ask him what his numerical rating of it was though. You rub the loin with some spices and roast it. And it has a Romesco sauce made from roasted red peppers and almonds (like normal Romesco sauce) but without the olive oil so it's not as bad for you Weight Watchers-wise.

Dinner tonight is the chicken breast recipe that I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do with it. I figured out WHAT. :) I went to Tom Leonard's yesterday. I don't know if anyone that reads this is near Stew Leonard's, but this is his son (I think it is). Tom got married and they moved down here to be with her parents. I love this place and it's been a while since I've been there, mainly because it's kinda like a Target for me, except with food. It's not like it's got all gourmet stuff, it's just that it's got such nice vegetables and their brand stuff! I have to keep telling myself there's only two of us, and only one of us eats leftovers for lunch (Hubby only eats leftovers on the weekends). They also make fresh mozzarella (from cows milk, but it's still yummy!) that is my downfall! Hubby actually asked when he came home and found out where I've been if there was any mozzarella left. I have been known to eat a whole mozzarella ball by myself. :( I actually saved the mozzarella and that's what gave me the idea for tonight's dinner: Chicken Parmigiana. I flattened chicken breasted, dipped in a mix of breadcrumbs mixed with a bit of Parmesan cheese. Pan sauteed for a bit and put into a pan with a can of blended Italian-style diced tomatoes and topped with a slice of that fresh mozzarella cheese. I'm just waiting for hubby to get home now so I can pop it in the oven and warm it up for about 25 minutes to to melt the cheese and make everything even nummier!

I'm still going through my grandmother's cookbooks. Its slow going, only because I'm also reading some books from the library (Yarn Harlot's books and a book on the Yellow Fever [aka Dengue Fever] in Philadelphia in 1793.) I also picked up Michael Chiarello's "At Home with Michale Chiarello" while I was at the Library too. I opened it up and had to giggle a bit when he said, "In the past, I could never understand why the home cook was nervous about throwing a dinner party. It was always easy for me. Whenever I entertained, I would write a menu and hand it off to a sous-chef, who would pull together the ingredients and prep them. The the restaurant staff would help me load up my car, and I'd take along a cook or two for the evening who wanted to cook with me. Throw the party, sit down with my guests, and enjoy the last glass of red wine - it was as simple as that. Meanwhile, my apprentices cleaned the kitchen and loaded the car with all the dirty plates, glasses, pots, pans, and linens. It worked out beautifully for me. I was always in bed by eleven." ... I think this is the big problem with a lot of professional chef cookbooks. They really don't do a lot of home cooking - or what they do actually do isn't the same home cooking that most people do. Heck, I don't even think that what I do is what most people do. I know that a lot of people my age don't cook most of their meals anymore, most people my age go out to eat most nights. Anyway, I have gotten home and breezed through the cookbook quickly, and while it's not too bad, I still think a lot of it is still a bit more than most people are going to want to do, but that being said, I do know people that will want entertain as he does. I will be the first to admit I am more of a laid-back type of entertaining person. I don't really do a lot of decorating and such when I entertain. I probably should actually pay more attention to plating, or heck, even do more plating instead of serving from the cooking pots. ;) Anyway, all that to say, there's a few recipes in there that interest me, and I'll have to make note of them (Onions roasted on a bed of salt).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Menu Plan for this week

Ok, this is a loose plan since I'm not sure exactly WHEN we'll be eating the dishes, just WHAT we'll be eating this week. Recipes for Salmon and Sauerbraten posted below. Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie ( ) for more Menu Ideas!

Tonight (Monday) was Miso-Glazed Salmon - Hubby and I love this!

For the rest of the week:
Polenta with Shrimp (Not sure how I'll fix the shrimp yet, we'll play it by ear)
Sauerbraten (using an already cooked piece of beef in the freezer)
Roasted Herb Pork Lion (This will be soon since it's thawing in the fridge as I type)
Chicken Breasts (I'll decide how on the day of)
Split Pea Soup (This will be later on in the week so I can give some to my mom when she comes this weekend so we can go to a Herb Society Meeting on Saturday together- and some will go to FIL and MIL too. Yes, I'll be making a lot.)

Miso-Glazed Salmon

A sweet-salty miso, brown sugar, and soy sauce glaze caramelizes in about 10 minutes as it cooks atop this rich, meaty salmon.

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons miso (soybean paste)
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Arrange fish in a shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon miso mixture evenly over fish.

Broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting twice with miso mixture. Sprinkle with chives.

Yield: 4 servings

CALORIES 297 (33% from fat); FAT 10.9g (sat 2.5g,mono 4.7g,poly 2.8g); PROTEIN 32.4g; CHOLESTEROL 80mg; CALCIUM 29mg; SODIUM 742mg; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15.7g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2002

* Exported from MasterCook *

Round Steak Sauerbraten (9 pts)

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Beef Crockpot

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 1/2 lbs round steak -- cubed
vegetable cooking spray
3 beef bouillon cubes
2 c water
1 onion -- minced
1/4 c vinegar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
pepper -- as desired
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
6 to 8 ginger snaps

Brown meat in fat. Add bouillon and water. Bring to boil. Stir in
remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Thicken with ginger
snap cookies.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 412 Calories; 22g Fat (48.8%
calories from fat); 34g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 101mg
Cholesterol; 922mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 4 1/2 Lean Meat;
1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES : Can do in pressure cooker or in crockpot. If do in there,
leave roast whole.
Serve with dumplings, noodles, rice, potatoes, etc.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Some recipes from last week.

I wasn't totally up to snuff for this week, so I didn't blog much, sorry.

I ended up not making garlic shrimp, instead I made Salt-And-Pepper Shrimp for Valentines Day. But first I'm going to post the Crepes recipe I used for Breakfast. I actually woke up in time to make breakfast for hubby. Normally it's not a problem for me to wake up in time, but this week it was. When my liver acts up, one of the problems it causes is that it makes me really tired. Anyway - This recipes is from a cookbook I grew up with in my mom's house, the "McCalls Cookbook" a big yellow cookbook I think from the magazine. Mom wouldn't give me hers but I was lucky enough to find one of my own in a used bookstore. I tried this recipe years ago on a whim and it's actually the only recipe I've ever used to make crepes. And I've never used a crepe pan to make it, just a small 8" nonstick skillet. We ate them with some lemon juice and Confectioners' Sugar that day and I had the leftovers filled with some Splenda sweetened ricotta and sliced fruit later (hubby did the lemon juice and sugar)

Sunday-Morning Crepes (2 pts per crepe)
Makes 12 crepes

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs,beaten
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp butter or margarine

Sift flour with sugar, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.

Combine eggs and milk; beat with rotary beater, until well mixed. [I use my hand mixer.] Pour into dry ingredients; beat until smooth.

Preheat oven to 300 F.

For each pancake, melt 1/2 teaspoon butter in 8-inch skillet.

Pour in 1/4 cup batter, rotating pan quickly to spread batter completely over bottom of pan.

Cook over high heat 1 minute; turn; cook 1 minute longer. Fold into quarters. Keep hot in oven while cooking remaining pancakes.

For dinner I decided to do Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp. I had already decided to do shrimp, just not what kind. I decided to wait on doing the garlic, and I might do a tapas type garlic shrimp for our anniversary (on Feb 28th - our 10th!) and do a Tapas style meal. This recipe isn't a Chinese style S&P shrimp. It was very good. I served it with a roasted garlic bread that I get at the POG (Plain Ole Grocery - one of my other lists calls it that) that has whole cloves of garlic in it that we love). It was very easy to make - which was good since I fell asleep before hubby came home and he had to wake me up so I could make dinner. :( Instead of preheating the oven - I just broiled the shrimp. Just make sure to watch it closely- don't overcook it!

Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp
Makes 4 Serving
From: Weight Watchers Take 5: 150 Five-ingredient Recipes
This simple technique of cooking the shrimp in their shells adds flavor and helps keep the shrimp moist. It also makes this an interesting and ideal party food to offer at your next buffet. Serve with prepared cocktail sauce, if desired.

1 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Adjust the racks to divide the oven into thirds; preheat the oven to 450 F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray; set aside.

With a sharp pairing knife or small scissors, cut through the back of each shrimp just deeply enough to expose the vein; remove the vein, leaving the shell intact.

Combine the shrimp, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast on the top oven rack until just opaque in the center 5-7 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes before serving.

Per serving (about 7 shrimp): 133 cal, 5 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 202 mg chol, 1,072 mg sod, 0 g carb, 0 g fib, 22 g prot, 42 mg calc, POINTS: 3

TIP: Kosher salt is preferred by many gourmet cooks because it has a softer flavor than table salt and its coarse grains better adhere to meat, poultry, and fish. Leftovers? Peel and halve the cooked shrimp, then toss with some reduced-fat mayonnaise mixed with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some chopped red onion, celery, and fennel. Serve on multigrain bread or over Boston lettuce leaves.

I tried a new recipe for pizza dough. It's the same points as my other one - the bialy one that is posted here ( ) and we like both. This one makes enough for 2 12" pizzas, and is a bit easier for my breadmachine/mixer/food processor to handle. I made the whole wheat version. If you want extra-chewy dough, use bread flour which is higher in gluten and if you want extra crispy use the semolina one.

Basic Pizza Dough
Makes 2 (12 inch) pizza crusts (6 servings each)
From Weight Watchers Pizza,Pizza: 150 deliciously dazzling ways to make everyone's favorite pie

This dough makes enough for two pizzas, so you can freeze half the dough for another day. If you freeze it, thaw it in the refrigerator over night or on the counter for 1 1/2 hours. Unlike other bread dough, pizza dough only needs to rise only once. After rising, simply punch it down, then let it rest for 15 minutes before rolling or stretching to the desired shape. If you like you can let the dough rest in a floured zip-close freezer bag in the refrigerator overnight. You'll find it easiest to roll out or stretch bread dough when it's at room temperature.

1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Combine the water and sugar in a 2-cup measuring just. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oil.

Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. With the machine running, scrape the yeast mixture through the feed tube; pulse until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. If necessary, turn the dough onto a lightly flour surface and knead briefly until smooth and elastic.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray; put the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, then cut in half. Refrigerate or freeze in floured zip-close [I have better luck with a bit of oil in the bag instead of flour- about a tsp and spread around the bag] freezer bags at this point or use as directed in the recipe.

Per serving (1/12 of dough): 174 cal, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 292 mg sod, 34 g carb, 1 g fib, 5 g prot, 7 mg calc, POINTS: 3

TIP: if mixing by hand: To make bread by hand, combine the water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl; set aside until foamy. Stir in the oil, flour and salt until the dough starts to gather around the spoon. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface; knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Cornmeal Pizza Dough: Pizzas with a Mexican influence are terrific made on a cornmeal crust. Substitute 1 cup cornmeal for 1 cup of the all-purpose flour.

Per serving: (1/12 of the dough): 178 cal, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg chol. 292 mg sod, 35 g carb, 2 g fib, 5 g prot, 5 mg calc, POINTS: 3

Semolina Pizza Dough: Using part semolina flour makes a crispier-crusted pizza. If you can't find semolina flour, use farina cereal. Substitute 1 1/2 cups semolina flour for 1 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour.

Per serving (1/12 of the dough): 192 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 292 mg sod, 38 g carb, 2 g fib, 6 g prot, 8 mg calc, POINTS 4

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Whole-wheat flour makes a higher-fiber, more nutritious crust. Substitute 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour for 1 1/4 cups of the all-purpose flour.

Per serving (1/12 of the dough): 177 cal, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 292 mg sod, 34 g carb, 3 g fib, 6 g pro, 5 mg calc, POINTS 3

And because I don't think I've posted my sauce before. This is a mixture of some sauces I've made before. It's mostly a mixture of a Cooking Light Marinara sauce for the freezer and one on the web that is supposed to be like Papa John's Sauce. I call it Chez JJ's Sauce now. :) This makes a little more than enough sauce for 2 pizzas depending on how much sauce you like on your pizzas. We like about 1/2 cup of sauce per 12" pizza.

Chez JJ Sauce

15 oz crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed fennel [gives a bit of a sausage-like flavor]
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until thickened. Let cool. You can freeze. You can also double/triple as needed.

To make a pizza:

Preheat oven to 450. Roll dough into a 12" circle. Prick with a fork and place onto oven stone. Par-bake for 4 minutes. If you don't have a stone, place on pan and par-bake on bottom rack of oven instead. Remove from oven - and if it has bubbled up a bit, I usually press down with a towel or my pizza peel and let cool a bit before topping on a wire rack. For each pizza top with 1/2 cup of sauce (if not using homemade I will just use jarred spaghetti sauce), 3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese (or 3 oz Italian cheese blend) and then with 17 turkey pepperoni slices and any other toppings (thin sliced onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc). Don't put a whole lot of toppings on because too many will make the pizza soggy. The sprinkle about 2 Tbsp of shredded Parmesan on top. Bake for about 9 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to brown and the edges are browning (it's going to be 12-15 minutes total including the par-baking). Take out and let cool for about 3-5 minutes so the cheese won't slide off when you go to cut it. Eat and enjoy. It's going to be about 5 points per slice depending on if you add any more pointy things to the pizza when you top it. Now, if you eat two pieces, it's not 10 points for both, it's going to be 11, just to warn you, and it's going to be 16.5 points for 3. So watch what how many you eat. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Menu Plans for this Week

I must admit there's not much planned. I'm not sure what's going on with hubby being sick so most of it is flying by the seat of my pants. I'm also not sure what he's going to feel like eating. I'm doing Weight Watchers too, so most of these stuff are now being made healthy (whole wheat pasta and smaller amounts of butter/oil and fats) And the pizza...smaller serving sizes. *sigh*

He says he does feel like eating enchiladas tonight though.

Tonight (Monday): Chicken enchiladas (from the freezer)
Tuesday: Chili Mac (using leftover chili)
Wednesday: Potato Leek Soup (Made it today since I needed to use up the leeks my mom gave me from her garden weeks ago)
Thurs: Garlic Shrimp if hubby feels up to it (shrimp were BOGO at the store)
Fri: Homemade Pizza

Check out for more Menu Plan Monday ideas.

Sick Hubby

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
Hubby has actually called in sick. Something I think he's only done once or twice for as long as I've been married to him, so you know he's not feeling well at all! He's always telling me how often Miko and I sleep alike, and now I have proof that Percy and he sleep alike too. Poor thing! He's actually asked for canned chicken noodle soup for lunch too, even though I told him I'd make it homemade for him.

I am doing a 14 days of Valentines for him (ie- 1 Hershey's kiss on the 1st, 4 Honeybuns on the 4th day, 6 Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the 6th, a massage on the 10th [10 fingers]) and was tempted to actually buy 10 cans of Chicken Noodle soup for him the other day, but didn't think I could find room for all of them, not to mention they weren't on sale either. Today I've left 11 little post-it's all around the house telling him little reasons why I love him. I got the idea for the 14 days from Carrie ( on a WW board I like to read (and I participate in occasionally). She does it much better than I do.

Yesterday wasn't much fun. Not because hubby and I weren't feeling well but because of the weather. It wasn't even that cold yesterday. We had high winds, and we ended up losing power for quite a few hours. Found out later, once it came back, that there was a pretty big fire because of it (the power lines falling on the dry trees and such) and people actually being evacuated. And it didn't just happen in my county but other counties in Richmond too!

Needless to say, not much got done yesterday. Although I did get the ceiling fans cleaned. That way I didn't have dust snakes when they started up again.

Today not much else will get done. It's another day of not feeling so great, but that's ok. I'll get done what I can. Dinner tonight is pulled from the freezer, it's enchiladas. All I have to do is put it together, I froze everything separately (takes up less room that way). If hubby doesn't feel like eating it, I'll still fix it, and he can have soup. That way it's still made and it won't go bad since it's thawed. I get to play nurse today.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Why yes, I am still alive.

Sorry for being quiet this week. I've had some medical problem, liver related. I hope to be back to normal posting although hubby is starting to come down with what I'm afraid looks to be the flu. :( We'll see what happens. You might just get a recipe for chicken noodle soup. Anyone know how to build an autoclave?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Recipe Review: Caldo Tlalpeno

YUM! Hubby gives it an 8, but with this note: "I would give it a 9, but I don't really have a spot to hit at this moment thanks to the dental work this morning." Poor dear. This soup worked out perfectly for this. I was going to make quesadillas to go with it as noted in the directions, but after making it, it looked like it would definitely be enough for both of us with just a few tortilla chips, and I was right. Hubby didn't eat lunch (we got back from the dentist about lunch time), and we both went to bed after taking our respective pain meds (him: Ibuprofen, me something a lot stronger). I didn't make it totally as directed, I had some already cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer already, so I skipped that part and just pureed the garlic with the chipotle in the broth and warmed everything through when I cooked the instant brown rice (which I was surprised I actually did have in the pantry). The chipotle made the broth smell heavenly as it was cooking, and it was just spicy enough as it was cooking. As for the pepper with the onion, I'm not sure what I used, since it was one of the ones that I grew this summer on my back porch that I had just thrown into the freezer. This would definitely be a good dinner for when you've got a cold and are all stopped up too! AND I think it would be good with some white beans or pinto beans instead of chicken meat too. I froze the other chipotle peppers in individual sandwich baggies and then put them inside a larger gallon ziploc bag for later use.

From Eating Well Magazine
Caldo Tlalpeño

NUTRITION PROFILE: Low Calorie | High Fiber | Low Sodium | Low Cholesterol | Low Sat Fat | Heart Healthy | Healthy Weight

Although there are many variations of this Mexican chicken soup, spicy chipotle chiles are always part of the broth. Make it a meal: Serve with a Mexican beer and cheese quesadillas.

Makes 4 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes

6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 poblano or Anaheim chile pepper, chopped
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (see Shopping Tip)
1 cup instant brown rice
4 radishes, sliced
1 small avocado, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, quartered

1. Bring broth, water, garlic and chicken to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, skimming any foam that rises to the top, until the garlic is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Transfer the garlic with a slotted spoon to a blender and the chicken to a clean cutting board.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and poblano (or Anaheim) chile and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add to the broth.
3. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and chipotle pepper to the blender and process until smooth (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Pour the mixture back into the broth in the pan. Stir in rice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the rice is tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Shred the chicken and divide among 4 bowls. Ladle the broth over the chicken and top with equal portions of radish, avocado and cilantro. Serve with a wedge of lime.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 318 calories; 13 g fat (2 g sat, 7 g mono); 39 mg cholesterol; 31 g carbohydrate; 22 g protein; 6 g fiber; 264 mg sodium; 517 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (60% daily value), Selenium (16% dv).
1 1/2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat

TIP: Shopping Tip: Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they’ll keep 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

My Menu Plans for Next Week

Ok, I must admit I don't have much planned out, a lot of it will be eating leftovers, depending on how I'm feeling. I'm having a lot of liver pains, which not only make me feel bad, but also make me tired, but when I take the pain pills, also make me even more tired. So, since I've been taking them this weekend, I'm glad I can even focus! Luckily I started working on this a bit early.

Check out for more great menus!

Monday: Hubby has his dentist appointment and possible root canal. Caldo Tlalpeno - from the current Eating Well Magazine:
Tues: It's Shrove Tues (Fat Tues) so it's going to be Pancake Night (how easy is that!)
Wednesday: Green Chicken Enchiladas (already in the freezer, just need to thaw and put together)
Thurs:Chinese New Year - steamed dumplings: Frozen from the Chinese Grocery Store - we buy a big bag of these (it's like $8) and they feed us for many, many meals).
Friday: Leftovers or homemade pizza whichever I feel like (pizza makings are in the freezer)
Sat & Sunday: usually also leftovers, but sometimes I cook. I'll know more when Thurs rolls around, usually my day for errands when I'm in town.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Tasty Dinner Tonight

Dinner tonight was very much a no thought deal. I had a small loaf of pumpernickel leftover from last weekend (I had froze it). I sliced it in half and filled with some Thousand Island Dressing, pressed sauerkraut (so it wasn't as wet), sliced deli Pastrami (as in packaged Hillshire Farm on sale) and Kraft 2% Milk Swiss slices. Closed it up, wrapped in Reynolds nonstick foil and popped it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. I served it with the following salad out of the current Eating Well Magazine. I left out the caraway (I don't like them, although I like the taste if they are ground and did top with a bit of gorgonzola). I doubled the amount, but didn't add the lettuce, that way I can keep it in the fridge (the vinegar should keep the apple from going brown). Hubby gave it an 8. Oh! I also didn't have a shallot (I don't often keep them on hand) so I used a green onion and added a bit of powdered garlic.

I've got chicken legs marinating in some Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy, a bit of cider vinegar and Texas Pete for Baked Buffalo Chicken Legs and I'll make some chili tomorrow too. One or the other will be for lunch and one will be during the game, not sure which will be which. Doesn't really matter in the long run since we don't really watch the game. ;)

Creamy Chopped Cauliflower Salad

Makes 6 servings, about 1 cup each

5 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups chopped cauliflower florets (about ½ large head)
2 cups chopped heart of romaine
1 tart-sweet red apple, chopped

Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, caraway seeds (if using) and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add cauliflower, romaine and apple; toss to coat.

Per serving: 54 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 128 mg sodium; 257 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (53% daily value), Vitamin A (22% dv), Folate (15% dv).
1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat

Friday, February 01, 2008

Toasted Sesame Strips

Gayle over at wanted some thrifty snack ideas. While we don't make many snacks around here, usually going for the fruits, or leftovers, and occasionally popcorn, cereals or cheeses. I have been sometimes known to make some.

This is one is one I used to make as a kid. First off I should mention that my parents were born and grew up in Baltimore, MD. I was born there also, but pretty much grew up in Va. Why do I mention this? Because one of my favorite trips, was when we visited the Inner Harbor. We used to stop by the McCormick's place they had there and take the tour, EVERY time. I would beg to go every time. They no longer have that place there, but I still remember it and the teashop we'd always get tea at. I have a little cookbooklet from them, "Kids' Cookery: A Learn to Cook Book for Children". No date is on it, and I used it quite a bit when I first started to cook. And this is one treat my sister and I made quite a lot when we got home from school in the toaster oven. We also liked to have it instead of garlic bread too. And that was all to say that's why the instructions seem so simplistic too. As we got older we wouldn't bother cutting off the crusts, unless we wanted it fancy. And even got to the point were we would just spread softened butter and sprinkle on the garlic powder, but you use less butter/garlic powder if you go the melted route instead. :) You can just toast the slices whole instead of baking too. And a cheap place to get sesame seeds, the Asian grocery stores! Big bags for what you'd pay for a small jar. Same thing for poppy seeds, especially if you have an Indian Grocery store for those.

Toasted Sesame Strips

You will need:
Measuring spoons
A saucepan
a knife
a pastry brush
a baking sheet
2 Tbsp butter
1/8 tsp garlic powder
4 slices of bread
1/ 1/2 tsp sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Have an adult turn the oven on to 425 F.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic powder to the butter.

Cut the crusts off the bread slices

Use a pastry brush to brush the butter and garlic powder mixture on each slice of bread

Sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds on top of each slice of bread

Cut each slice of bread into 3 strips

Place the strips on a baking sheet

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Makes 12 strips, 3 per serving.