Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Party Planning

I live smack dab in the middle of Virginia (what is known as Central Virginia). I am not sure if I am blessed or cursed with the fact that we are also a great state for wine making. Where I am located is also pretty much smack dab like the Napa Valley of Virginia in essence. As a matter of fact, a winery is technically one road up from me. It's actually easier for me to walk than to drive to it - luckily it's topographically illogical to do that (not to mention WW-wise illogical to do that too).

The Virginia Renaissance Fair has moved closer (it's now in the same county we live in) and Jennifer and I were hoping to go to that for the first time with our hubbies. But with our current finances, we decided to hold off for now. Instead we're going to get together, probably play the Wii, and I'm going to do something I've wanted to do for awhile - a Tapas party. When Jennifer and I first started to learn about wine together, we went to a Wine Festival in Powahatan that showcased a bunch of state wineries. We fell in love with a sangria that ended up being made by the winery right up the street from me (see why I say cursed?).

I am searching my WW stuff for recipes. I really wish there was an easier way to search my WW magazines. Just in case anyone else is going to search for them - here's a few I found in what I own, including a few that I thought sounded good. Not all are what I'm going to make either. The WW site does have two that come up when you put Tapas in the search bar, but that's it. [all typos mine *wink*] This is just a quick check of a few I knew would have something.

WWM June 2004: Flavors of Spain
Shrimp in Garlic Sauce p 164
Sauteed Clams and Chorizo p 165
Dining Tapas Style additions: [not recipes]
assorted olives
cubes of good quality lean smoked ham
cubes of Spanish semi-soft cheese, such as manchego
roasted peppers drizzled w/ sherry vinegar
warm crusty bread

WWM M/J 2004 Tapas for Two:
Garlic Shrimp p 101
Pipirrana (Pepper, Tomato, and Cucumber Salsa) p 132
Marinated Mushrooms p 133

WWM Nov/Dec 2006 p 136
Chorizo-Stuffed Mushrooms

WWM M/J 2001 A Little Taste of Spain p 99-103
Spicy Red Peppers p 99
White Bean Salad p 100
Seville Artichoke Salad p 100
Shrimp in Garlic Sauce p 101
Spanish Roasted Potato Salad p 101
Figs Wrapped in Ham p 102
Spanish Potato Tortilla p 102
Cerveza-Marinated Chicken Skewers p 103
Minute Tapas Ideas:
Thin slices of jamon serrano, prosciutto, or high quality deli ham wrapped around precut chunks of ripe melon and held together with a toothpick
Roasted red peppers (from the deli or a jar)
Bean salad: one (15 oz) can cannellini (white kidney) beans, tossed with one can drained, olive-oil packed solid white tuna
Marinated mushrooms (from deli or jar)
Grape tomatoes, halved and drizzled with low-fat vinaigrette
Canned smoked oysters or mussels
Stuffed green olives (try anchovy- or tuna-stuffed, available at Latino and gourmet grocery stores).

WWM Mar/Apr 2002
Romesco (Red Pepper) Dip p 109

WWM July/Aug 2003
White Gazpacho with Green Grapes p 82

WW Simply Delicious Cookbook
Spicy Garlic Shrimp p 26
Savory Potato and Ham Chunks p 27
Hogazas with Sausage and Peppers p 29
Chunky Balsamic Mushrooms p 30

Monday, May 11, 2009

Technical Difficulties, please standby - in a darkend room ;)

I am afraid that this will be a short post, the combination of the weather, pollen and my hormones have given me a horrible migraine today. I will post my menu and weekend doings tomorrow I hope. This rainy weather has really been killing me when it comes to my migraines.

I am really glad that I planned ahead and we're having Sauerbraten tonight though. I threw it in to marinate while we were gone for the weekend and threw it into the CP while I was gone to get my permanent crown later this afternoon.

I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day weekend.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Hubby's Off

Yes, hubby is on vacation this week. We aren't going anywhere and from the weather report, most of its going to be rainy. Great vacation for him, huh? Actually it is, just not for me. He's more of a homebody so he'll love it.

Here's the planned dinners for this week with the recipes to follow. For more menu ideas visit I'm an Organizing Junkie: http://orgjunkie.com/2009/05/mpm-may-4th-my-top-10-list-for-selecting-recipes.html

Monday: Au Gratin Potatoes (From Weight Watchers)
Tuesday: Braised Chicken with Chickpeas and Tomatoes (from Cooking Light)
Wednesday: Herbed Baked Tilapia, Lemony Rice Pilaf and Steamed Broccoli (from MomAdvice: http://www.momadvice.com/aldi/index.php/main-dishes/herb-baked-tilapia/ )
Thursday: Southern Slowcoooked Chicken & Grits with greens (From Weight Watchers)
Friday: Homemade Pizza

Au Gratin Potatoes
Our cheesy potato dish is the perfect crowd pleaser—rich enough for your spouse and kids, yet light enough to keep your waistline slim.
POINTS® Value: 3
Servings: 8

1 spray cooking spray
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups fat-free skim milk
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 2-quart covered baking dish with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour; add milk slowly, stirring. Add potatoes and stir to mix. Bring to a boil. Stir in 3/4 cup of cheese, salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and level out surface. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. Cover and bake until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes more.

Change oven temperature to broil. Sprinkle remaining cheese over potatoes. Broil 6 inches from the heating element until the cheese is golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Braised Chicken with Chickpeas and Tomatoes
Total cost: $9.33/Cost per serving: $1.17. This dish uses dark meat chicken parts, which are cheaper and more flavorful than breast meat. Purchase leg quarters, if available, and split them into drumstick and thigh portions before cooking to save even more.
Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 chicken leg or thigh and 3/4 cup bean mixture)
1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
4 cups water
1 cup thinly sliced onion (about 1), divided
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 chicken drumsticks, skinned (about 1 1/4 pounds)
4 chicken thighs, skinned (about 1 3/4 pounds)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 cups chopped plum tomato (about 5)
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges (optional)

Sort and wash chickpeas; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above chickpeas; cover and let stand 8 hours. Drain chickpeas.

Place 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, 4 cups water, 1/2 cup onion, garlic, and bay leaf in pan; bring to a boil. (Reserve leftover chickpeas for another use.) Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until beans are just tender. Drain chickpea mixture in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Set chickpea mixture aside.

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken in flour. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan.

Add remaining 1/2 cup onion to pan. Sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add vinegar, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates.

Add 2 cups tomato, Chicken Stock, and reserved cooking liquid to pan. Add chickpea mixture, and bring to a boil. Place chicken on top of chickpeas, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes or until chicken is done and chickpeas are tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

CALORIES 261 (34% from fat); FAT 9.8g (sat 2.4g,mono 3.9g,poly 2.3g); IRON 2.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 82mg; CALCIUM 36mg; CARBOHYDRATE 14.8g; SODIUM 244mg; PROTEIN 27.7g; FIBER 3.2g

Herb Baked Tilapia (or “Fish with Sprinkles”)

4 (4 to 6 ounce) tilapia fillets
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I prefer the Italian breadcrumbs & I skip the dried seasonings)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place tilapia on nonstick foil. In a small bowl, combine cheese and mayonnaise. Spread evenly over fish. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.Sprinkle over fish. Coat fish lightly with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.

Serve with steamed broccoli and rice.

Lemony Rice Pilaf
Courtesy of Recipezaar
This reheats very well so you can make a double batch for another night, if you like!

1 teaspoon vegetable oil, preferably canola oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 grated lemon, rind of
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
fresh ground pepper

In a heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in rice, then stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; let simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley; taste and add pepper if you wish.

Southern Slow Cooker Chicken and Grits

POINTS® Value: 5
Servings: 4
Works with Simply Filling
Like cooking short-cuts? Cut back on prep time and add a spicy, smoked flavor to this recipe by using one (14.5-ounce) can of drained, diced, roasted tomatoes with chiles in place of the fresh tomatoes. This dish will be soupy so serve in bowls.

1 3/4 cups fat-free chicken broth
6 tbsp uncooked corn grits
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (do not touch seeds with bare hands)
1 medium sweet red pepper, or yellow pepper, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

Place broth in a 3- to 5-quart slow cooker. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly, to avoid lumps; set slow cooker aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, jalapeno and red pepper; sauté, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add vegetables to slow cooker. Place tomatoes, cumin, salt and black pepper in slow cooker; stir to mix. Add chicken thighs; cover and cook at medium setting for 5 to 6 hours. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.