Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cheese Steak sammies

One of my favorite portion control tricks is to chop or shread meats and pile them to add volume and make them look "bigger"... Case in point - I took 5 oz of chuck steak and turned it into two mounded cheese steak sammies.. one for The Hub:
And the slightly less caloric version for me:
..and there was meat left over!!
BTW - my project this summer is to make some lighter versions of The Hub's faves (like the mack and cheese on his plate above) that are actually easy to throw together, so stay tuned!
To make these cheese steaks, I chopped the steak and tossed in Worcestershire Sauce and some black pepper; then tossed the meat in a hot skillet and shuffled until just cooked before adding some 2% cheese... couldn't be easier or faster. (I was also able to pass off leftover Mac and Cheese from lunch the day before as a fresh yummy side dish by adding a bit of liquid to refresh - avoiding picky eater pouting)

She freezes WHAT?

The Hub was evidently unaware that the majority of the eggs he eats nowadays are frozen.. I figured this was common knowledge since there are plastic containers filled with stacks of these little froze egg pucks (which I freeze in muffin tins and then pack in plastic containers with a piece of wax paper in between each one)... I load up during sales or when I find the grade B eggs at my King Soopers - duh - does he not know me AT ALL!?

Seriously, I will freeze anything once just to see if it works - and I refer to this website quite a bit as well (and others as well): About.com freezing

I freeze milk (and coconut milk) in 1/4 cup messurements so I can grab what I need for recipes:

Good deals on fruits and veggies result in stocking up and freezing as well - I currently have parcooked carrots, roasted sliced red and green peppers, cooked corn removed from the cob, strawberries, and jalepeno and adobo peppers, which I ALWAYS have in there- all frozen in ziplocks with the air squeezed out, and waiting for me to use their goodness.

Of course you are talking about the girl who used to freeze individual portions of Pizza Hut pizza when she lived alone... BTW - it worked perfectly.

Happy hording, people!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chicken Piccata Improvised

Recently I had a suggestion that I should make Chicken Piccata for The Hub as something different that he would enjoy -and I agreed whole-heartedly!

Actually, I kind of started craving it - but alas, there were no capers in my fridge or pantry cabinet.. :(

I needed something salty and pickle-ie tasting, like capers, so I improvised. Refering VERY loosely to the recipe provided by the suggester (because I don't want her horrifed looking at this and thinking "that is NOTHING like my piccata!") I used two b/s chicken breasts, which I seasoned lightly with lemon pepper and then pan sauteed (I skipped dredging out of laziness more than anything, I admit it) until done but still nice and juicy.
Then I removed those to a plate and tented with foil while I squeezed the juice of two lemons into the skillet and used it to deglaze the pan a bit. I followed that with one ounce of dirty martini mix (a big bottle of olive brine used to keep us drinkers in afternoon cocktails once the olive jar runs dry) and let the mixture reduce until it was a glaze.
I added the chicken back to the pan and turned to coat and make sure everything was good and hot, and it got served with steamed broccoli and carrots.

I have to say, it was good... it tasted "picatta-y"..

McGyver has nuthin' on me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp Salad

Shrimp was on sale for $3.99 an lb this week so I grabbed a pound for us.. I think we could have done with 1/2 lb - it was actually a LOT of shrimp for two people. (I had yummy leftovers the next day for lunch!)

Anyway, I actually prepared this a lot like my sweet and spicy chicken - using the same spices as a rub before cooking (I toned down the amount tho, sprinkling instead of rubbing it all over like I would with chicken so it wouldn't overwhelm the shrimp) and then cooking it in a hot skilet until just pink and opaque before removing it from the heat and finishing it with honey thined with a little apple cider vinagar. [
I tossed that to coat all the shrimp and let it sit while I mixed some spinach and romaine with carrots and green peppers and radicchio (which I watched The Hub pick out while wrinkling his nose) all together and then added a dressing made from:
a generous drizzle of red wine vinegar
a teaspoon of olive oil
1/8 teaspoon of yellow mustard
and a good sprinkle each of Garlic Powder, Salt, and Black Pepper

I heaped the shrimp on beds of the salad and it was ready to enjoy!

Great summer dinner!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stolen Moments - cooking quick and healthy for kids..

Or, in my case, for the very picky Hub!! I thought some of these were great ideas!
The zucchini and the mac and cheese look really promising!!
Check it out here

PS - what do you think of the pumpkin puree in the pizza recipe? Would that work or be gross?

Friday, May 15, 2009

You say potato..

The Hub and I are both potato fiends, there is no denying that - and I think the potato gets a bad rap, personally... The humble potato isn't just a dangerous carb bomb waiting to explode and leave you reaching for your stretchy pants - that is just not true at all!!
What can a potato offer? How about half your rec. daily Vitamin C intake? Loads of Potassium (take that, banana!) and fiber too? Yep - it is in there... (eat the skin please!)

And potatoes really aren't the calorie-cow people assume (How many people remember their moms doing baked potato diets when they were younger? Funny how perceptions change, eh?)

So when we do have baked potatoes, I like to make them the star of the show and do a toppings bar so everyone can have what best suits their needs and wants.
Last night was my "famous" baked potatoes ole - with Mexican themed topping selections and lean ground turkey spiced with cayenne, garlic, and cumin on top of the 'taters. The Hub went for light sour cream, shredded cheddar, and jalapenos on top of his turkey-covered potato; while I chose lots of spicy salsa and a measured tablespoon of light sour cream as well..
Mmmmmm... I love you potato...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poll -Good or Gross?

Researching "healthy alternatives" to some of my biggest junk foodie weakenesses, I came across this recipe from Hungry Girl for "fries" and my first thought was "Yum!"

But let's get real - do you actually think it would work and turn out "french frie-y" - or would it be like roasted squash? What might make the difference?
Is it worth a try, or should I just drive on - What do you think?

Use what you have entertaining!

My fabulous friend MG came over for a little HH at Home last night, and I mixed up some martinis (duh - that is like second nature now - VICTORY, I have succeeded in making the cocktail hour come alive again!) and decided to skip the store and use what I had at home to make some munchies to accompany our drinkys..
Apples have been on sale for a song all over the place lately (hello Target and your free apple opportunities) so I cut up an apple, half of a giant cucumber, some sharp cheddar (2% even, what a healthy snack!) and grabbed some tortilla chips... I piled it all around a container of Spinach Artichoke dip that I had in the freezer and TAAAAH DAAAAA! - Quick, healthy, yummy, and affordable!!

It was perfect... I would have set it outside for some quality patio time, but alas, the wind was a whippin' like crazy right then!! Oh well - you can't control the weather, right?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sneaky Veggies + healthy family

The Hub doesn't really "do" veggies... not the ones that are really good for you anyway. So I have to sneak things in sometimes. For instance, you can obviously see the zucchini here on my plate (above) from last night's spaghetti. HOWEVER, The Hub would never eat that - but what he doesn't know is that all of those flecks of green in the sauce are not basil, most are actually the finely chopped fresh spinach I tossed into the sauce along with browned lean ground turkey, a bit of basil, and some crushed red pepper. HA HA, Take that Mr. Picky Eater Man!!
Just toss the spinach in OFF of the heat and right before serving, otherwise it starts to give up a lot of water and can make the sauce too watery.
(Incidentally, mine with the zucchini was DELICIOUS, and adding veggies cuts down on the amount of actual pasta I am eating...)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad

Nothing fancy here, kids - this is just old faithful b/s chicken breast that I seasoned with olive oil and Herbs De Provence and grilled on my beloved Patio Caddie. I used a light ceasar bottled dressing, and tossed iceburg lettuce, jullianned carrots, and slices of roasted peppers that I defrosted from my freezer to pump up the nutrition... and a bit of parmasan cheese for salty goodness, of course! It may be simple, but I love, love, LOVE grilled chicken... it is so flavorful and yummy!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cinco De Mayo! Shredded Beef Tacos

I cooked a big chuck roast in the crock pot all day on Tuesday (with a bit of beef broth, some minced garlic, some thyme and some pepper) , and I reserved most of it for a traditional Pot Roast and roasted veggies meal later on in the week - but I shredded up a bit of it, mixed in a sprinkle of cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, and diced jalapeno and used that to top some corn tortillas I had baked until crispy. Each got a dusting of shredded cheddar and then got a toasting from the broiler. I cut them in half for easier eating and served with our favorite tex-mex toppings. Ole! (And hooray for dishes that do double duty!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

knocking off Steuben's (again)

Sunday was The Hub's birthday... I wanted to do something really special, so I made my "famous" (ok, just with my husband) knockoff version of Steuben's Skirt Steak. (I made it once before, here.. I made mine with flat-iron steak again, because I really do love that cut of beef, and because King Soopers had some really great looking ones when I went to pick my steaks.. in addition to a skirt steak, a flank would also work well for this (think any cut you would use for fajitas).
This time I maranaded it in lime juice, garlic powder, some adobo sauce, and a touch of red wine vinagar for about an hour before I cooked it. I cooked it on the indoor grill for 13 minutes and rested it for 5 in tightly wrapped tin foil before setting it on top of a pile of crispy shoestring fries and adding a generous pat of my chimmichuri compound butter, (this time with garlic, cumin, red pepper, and dried cilantro) to the top of the steak.. (OK, for the birthday boy I cheated and put a pat UNDER the meat as well, because his favorite thing at Steuben's is how the butter melts down on to the fries under his steak).
I served it all with a glass of white wine in a tumbler for me, and a couple ponies of the "Champagne of Beers" for him - just to up the Steuben's vibe a bit. He loved it and got one of his favorite restaurant meals on a shoestring (french fry, that is) budget!