Friday, January 11, 2008

Guilt-Free Fish Tacos

boneless fish fillets, cut in small pieces
egg bath (equal parts eggbeaters and lowfat or nonfat milk)
breading (equal parts bread crumbs and corn flake crumbs)
corn tortillas
grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
shredded cabbage
Pico de Gallo (below)
White Chipotle Sauce (below)

Preheat oven to 400˚. Spray a metal baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Dip fillets in egg bath, then in breading, and place on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Serve in warmed corn tortillas with cheese, cabbage, Pico de Gallo, and Creamy Chipotle Sauce.

Pico de Gallo

1 medium tomato, diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh jalapeno
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro

Creamy Chipotle Sauce
This is very similar to the sauce from Rubio's Baja Grill

2 tablespoons lowfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder

Mix all ingredients. Serve on fish tacos.

Bo Luc Lac Spaghetti

8 oz. spaghetti (I use Dreamfields since it's low-carb)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. sirloin, cut in 1/2" pieces
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed or put through press
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 large bell pepper (any color), coarsely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup pimentos, diced (small jar)

While spagetti cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with soy sauce, and add to pan along with garlic. Cook very quickly (only about 2 minutes) and remove from pan. Add onion and bell pepper, and saute until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add wine and pimentos, and cook another 2 minutes. Drain spaghetti, and add to vegetables along with meat mixture. Heat through.

We ate this last night with Parmesan, since that's what I do with the Steak & Veggie Spaghetti, but it's not critical. What was really good, however, was that we sprinkled crushed red pepper on it. At the restaurant, I add green hot sauce to my Bo Luc Lac, but the red pepper was just as tasty.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Rodeo Beans

(my alterations are in italics)

1 lb. ground beef 3/4 lb.
½ lb. bacon , cut in 1" pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped (about 2" long)
1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz. can pork and beans
1 15 oz. can butter beans, drained
½ cup brown sugar 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
½ cup white sugar 1/4 cup Splenda granular
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ cup ketchup
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef, bacon, and onion. Pour off grease and add jalapeño, beans, sugar, vinegar, mustard, and ketchup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake in a medium-sized covered casserole for 40 minutes, or for 4 hours on Low in a slow cooker. Serves 4. (Well, Don ate 2 bowls, I ate 1, and there's 1 left over.)

Sweetnicks' "Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sausages"

from Cate of Sweetnicks

1 lb sweet Italian sausage (about 5 links)
1 6 oz. can tomato sauce
1 24 oz. jar marinara sauce, (I used Newman's Own)
⅓ cup chopped bell pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup red wine
Place sausage in skillet. Cover with water. Simmer 10 minutes. Drain. Combine remaining ingredients in slow cooker. Add sausage. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve in buns or cut sausage into bite-sized pieces and serve over cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese. Also tastes great in a toasted roll with melted cheese.

Take-Along Breakfast Pockets

1/2 pound bulk breakfast sausage (Jimmy Dean!)
1 teaspoon mustard
8 eggs
2 8-count cans Grands refrigerated biscuits (I used the Whole Wheat ones)
approx. 2 cups grated cheddar or jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375˚. In a large skillet, crumble the breakfast sausage and cook until brown over medium-high heat. Stir in mustard. Add eggs, reserving part of one egg white for egg bath. Mix with meat and scramble until eggs are done.

Open biscuits, and place one on a sheet of waxed paper. Place another sheet of waxed paper on top, and flatten it with a rolling pin.

It should be 5-6" in diameter.

Divide mixture in skillet into 16 portions (it's easier than you think - divide it in half, then divide the halves in half, and so on until you have 16 portions that are about 2 tablespoons each.) Place one portion on flattened biscuit, and top with a couple tablespoons of grated cheese.
Fold over and crimp edges with a fork to seal.

Using a pastry brush, spread a little of the reserved egg white across the top of each pocket.
Place pan in oven and bake approximately 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Two of these are perfect for breakfast, and they will freeze well in zip top freezer bags. Once thawed, they can be eaten at room temperature or zapped in the microwave.

You can vary the fillings of these:

For breakfast, try using
- bacon
- mushrooms
- Swiss instead of cheddar
- spinach
- artichokes
- green chilies
- diced ham
- hash brown potatoes

Tabby uses these for lunch and dinner, and has filled them with:
- sloppy joe mix
- pizza sauce and pepperoni
- taco meat

You could also try:
- refried beans and cheese
- baked beans and cut-up hot dogs
- chicken and vegetables with a little condensed cream of chicken soup
- shredded beef or pork or chicken with barbecue sauce

Any other ideas? I bet there are some great ones Tabby and I haven't thought of. Let me know!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Treats

1/4 cup butter
1 cup chocolate-flavored peanut butter
40 large marshmallows
5 cups crisped rice cereal

Butter a 13 x 9" baking pan. In a large stockpot, melt the butter, peanut butter, and marshmallows over very low heat until all the marshmallows are melted. Stir in rice cereal and stir to mix. Quickly pour out into baking sheet, and flatten using your hands, which you dampen often with water (to help press them down and to cool them down). These will be ready to cut and eat within 15 minutes.

Fantail Potatoes

4 medium potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 Tablespoon melted butter
4 Tablespoon grated Cheddar cheese
1 ½ Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
2-3 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Peel potatoes if the skin is tough; otherwise, just scrub and rinse them. Cut potatoes into thin slices but not all the way through. Use a handle of a spoon to prevent knife from cutting all the way through. Put potatoes in a baking dish. Fan them slightly. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with herbs. Bake potatoes at 425F for about 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake potatoes for another 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned, cheeses are melted, and potatoes are soft inside. Check with a fork.

Pork Chops with Tangy Cherry Sauce

1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup apple juice, divided
2 boneless pork chops
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a small saucepan, bring cherries and 3 tablespoons of the juice to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook pork in butter and oil 3-4 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, bring the vinegar and remaining juice to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in cherry mixture; heat through. Return pork to pan; turn to coat.

Cherry-Pistachio Bark

This recipe makes a lot, so it can be easily halved.

3 8-oz bars semi-sweet/bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli's)
1 12-oz. bag milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 8-oz. bag dried Montmorency cherries
1 cup chopped pistachio meats, divided
In a bowl over simmering water, melt chocolates together with vanilla. Add cherries and 2/3 cup of the pistachios. Spread mixture on waxed paper, using an offset spatula to make it of uniform thickness. Sprinkle with remaining pistachios. Place in refrigerator or freezer till it hardens (takes only about 10 minutes). Break into small pieces.

Delilah's Peanut Brittle

Make this in a microwave!
Times are for a 1200-watt microwave. Add 1 minute to each segment for 800-watt ovens.

1/3 cup white corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon butter
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

Spray a baking sheet with butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray (or use regular butter). In a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine corn syrup and sugar. Microwave on HIGH 3 minutes. Add peanuts and microwave on HIGH 2 minutes. Add butter and vanilla, and microwave on HIGH 1 minute. Stir in baking soda, and quickly pour out on greased baking sheet. Spread it out if it looks thick. (It'll look like you ruined it at first, but it regains its rounded shape as it cools.) Once it's hard, after about 5 minutes, break into small pieces.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cottage Cheese and Egg Breakfast Muffins with Mushrooms, Bacon, and Green Onions

from Kalyn's Kitchen

1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/3 cup cottage cheese (I used low-fat)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup almond meal (this is less than in Kalyn's recipe)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons water
8 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup real bacon bits (I buy the large bags from Costco)
2 green onions, thinly sliced (include green part)

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a medium skillet, sauté mushrooms until tender. Remove from heat.

In mixing bowl, combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, white whole wheat flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, water, and beaten egg. Mix well. Gently mix in mushrooms, bacon and green onion, until well distributed in batter.

Spray 18 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 25 -30 minutes, until muffins are firm and lightly browned. Serve hot or room temperature.

These will keep well a few days in the refrigerator, or you can freeze them and thaw in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for no more than 30 seconds, or they'll get tough.

A Pair of Quiches (Mushroom, Asparagus with Ham)

A Pair of Quiches
Mushroom, Asparagus with Ham

2 frozen pie crusts in foil tins, thawed
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
1 12-oz. can asparagus pieces, drained
1/2 cup chopped ham (I used some luncheon meat ham and diced it, but any kind of ham will do)
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I didn't have any this time, so I doubled the Cheddar)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg

In a medium skillet, sauté the bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms in butter until tender. Spread evenly in bottom of one of the pie shells. Put the asparagus, ham, and Swiss cheese in the other pie shell. With a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add eggs and half-and-half. Stir in grated cheeses, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture into dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. If you're going to eat one right away, let it stand 10 minutes before cutting.

For freezing: Let cool to room temperature. Cover with foil and freeze. The night before you want to eat it, move it to your refrigerator to thaw. Then reheat at 350˚ for about 15 minutes.

Freezer Stash Meatballs

3 lbs. lean ground beef
1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs
3 eggs
6 tablespoons minced onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 400.

In a large bowl, mix beef, crumbs, eggs, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Shape into 11/2-inch meatballs. (A miniature ice cream scoop makes fast work of shaping.)

Arrange in two 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pans. Bake in preheated oven until meat is browned, with no trace of pink and juices run clear, 10 to 13 minutes.

Drain, let cool to room temperature, divide into fourths and freeze each portion in vapor-moisture proof containers. (I use my FoodSaver). Each portion serves 2.

Spicy Orange-Glazed Pork Chops

2 boneless pork chops, cut 3/4 to 1" thick
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoon orange marmalade
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Sprinkle chops lightly with salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Heat oil in a heavy skillet; brown pork chops on both sides. Combine remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour over chops. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10-15 minutes. Liquid will form a glaze. Turn chops to coat, and remove them to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to mixture, followed by cornstarch and water mixture. Cook, stirring, until mixture thickens. Serve sauce over pork and cooked rice. Serves 2.

Sausage-Egg Breakfast Muffins

1 5-count roll flaky biscuits (they have to be the flaky ones)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 oz. (about 1/3 of a 1-pound roll) pork breakfast sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375˚. Separate layers of flaky biscuits and place them in pairs in 6 muffin tins sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Since there are 5 biscuits and 6 tins, you'll need to "borrow" some layers from the others to make up the 6th one. When you put them in the tins, stand them on end, bottoms touching, and press to form cups. Sprinkle the bottoms of the cups with half of the cheese. In a skillet, saute onion and sausage together, breaking up sausage as it cooks. Stir in mustard. Break eggs into sausage, and continue to cook and mix until eggs are done. Divide mixture into muffin cups and top with the remaining cheese. Bake in preheated oven 17 minutes or until bread is golden and cheese is melted. Makes 6.