Sunday, December 23, 2007

Party of 4

My mom and her friend came over, so I wanted to make a dish that was easy and would feed all of us. I've grown so accustomed to cooking for 2 I actually had to dig deep for this one. I decided on baked ziti and paired the pasta dish with garlic twists. I substituted turkey products for beef products because I prefer them. The outcome was fantastic!

Baked Ziti
1 lb. Dry Ziti Pasta
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic
1/2 pound ground, extra lean turkey
1/2 pound lean italian turkey sausage (removed from casing)
1.5 jar spaghetti sauce (26 ounce)
1/2 pack (approximately 6 slices) light provolone cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 package mozzerella cheese (I used 3/4 package and it was more than enough)

Preheat oven to 350F. Greast a 9x13 baking dish. Boil pasta for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain. Meanwhile, heat heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until tender, stir in rosemary and garlic, transfer to small bowl. Place ground turkey and sausage in the skilet and cook over medium heat until browned. Stir in onion mixture and spaghetti sauce. Season with salt and reduce to low, simmer for 10 minutes. In medium sized bowl, combine the sour cream and cottage cheese. In the prepared dish, layer 1/2 of the cooked pasta, provolone cheese (lay out each piece in a row to cover pasta), sour cream mixture, 1/2 of meat sauce mixture. Then layer remaining pasta, remaining meat sauce, and top with mozzerella cheese. If desired, top with 2 tbs. of parmesan cheese. (I did not do this). Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Garlic Twists
I cheated on this and used refrigerated breadstick dough, but this can definitely be created from scratch.

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped basil (I used Italian seasoning instead)
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese (I used canned)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 11oz can refrigerated breadstick dough

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine first 4 ingredients and microwave to melt butter (don't overcook or you will end up with a mess). Separate breadsticks and dip dough into mixture. Twist breadsticks and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Happy Hannukkah!

Jeff and I decided to celebrate Hanukkah with some authentic Hanukkah treats that agree with our waistline. =) Rather than fry the latkes (traditional potato pancakes) we baked them. They were served with homemade apple sauce and fat free sour cream. Although I recognized that fried foods are during traditionally consumed during Hanukkah (the holiday involves the celebration of the miracle of the oil of the eternal flame in the Temple of ancient Israel lasting eight nights when only expected to last one), we omitted the oil to be more health conscious.
Oven Baked Latkes
1 lb. Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 small sweet onion
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 425F. Prepare baking sheet with nonstick spray. Wash and dry potatoes, no need to peel. Grate onions and potatoes using coarse grater. Press mixture in colander to remove all water, continue until water is removed. Transfer to large bowl and stir in egg. In small bowl, mix together baking powder, salt and flour. Stir in mixture to large bowl. Drop latke mixture in 2-3 tbsp measures, forming 2-3 inch pancakes that are 1/4 inch thick on baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then turn over and bake an additional 10 minutes. Latkes should be done when gold on both sides so add a minute or two to cooking time if necessary. Yield: approx 16 latkes.

10 Minute Apple Sauce
3 Golden Delicious Apples (peeled, cored and quartered)
3 Fiji Apples (peeled, cored and quartered)
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
2 tbs brandy or cognac
2 tbs butter (I used 1/2 tbs)
2 tbs honey

In a sealable microwave safe container, combine all ingredients. Close lid, leaving one corner open to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes. Using a hand blender, blend to desired consistency. Serve hot or chill for later use. Note: For some reason, my applesauce came out somewhat watery, so I just removed the excess liquid and it was great.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

You guessed it....more chicken!

I promise this blog will contain more than just chicken recipes. As a reformed vegetarian, I have been slow to incorporate more than chicken and fish in our diet. But I'm trying, I really am! I still don't eat red meat, but I know how to cook it. You must know how to cook it when you live with a meat and potatoes man! Anyway, here's my latest creation. I had only 20 minutes to cook, so this is what I came up with:

Chicken Marsala
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt object
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper object
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup presliced mushrooms object
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each piece to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour, turning to coat; shake off excess flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add mushrooms, wine, broth, and juice to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup. Return chicken to pan, turning to coat well. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with parsley.
Nutritional Information (Cooking Light magazine)
CALORIES 241(21% from fat); FAT 5.6g (sat 1g,mono 3g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 40.7g; CHOLESTEROL 99mg; CALCIUM 26mg; SODIUM 308mg; FIBER 0.5g; IRON 1.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 4.9g

Recreating Turkey Day....

My neat freak husband decided to clean up EVERYTHING after our party of 8 enjoyed this year's Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, that meant he missed out on much of dessert as the others (who had consumed over 6 bottles of wine between them, not to make excuses!) dug in early and without warning. Poor Jeff was left with only a small piece of his favorite T-day dessert--Toll House Cookie Pie. He begged me to make another, and I agreed. Of course, two days later I made the critical mistake of telling him the nutritional contents of this pie, which made Jeff slow from his standard "2 slice a day" rule. If you want healthy, this isn't the pie for you. If you want amazingly delish, the surprisingly easy recipe is as follows:

Toll House Cookie Pie

1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell *
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup (6 oz.) Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts (It's supposed to be 1 cup, but we have always found that to be too much)
Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

PREHEAT oven to 325° F. BEAT eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie shell. BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with whipped cream.

NOTE: You can freeze this pie and it still serves up well!

Chicken done Chinese!

Teriyaki Chicken and Fried Rice
Long time, no blog update! Jeff and I debated whether or not to buy a new computer on Black Friday. Ultimately, we decided we didn't really need a laptop, even though ours seemed to be having some minor issues, so we passed on BF sales and stayed in bed. Next day, what do you know, the computer breaks! All of my recipes, pictures, favorite websites, work documents, LOST! We are working on recovering everything, but in the meantime, I haven't had a method to publish my creations, and for that I apologize. =)
I've been making this particular recipe for years, with some variation over time. This concoction seemed to be Jeff's favorite! I added a side of fried brown rice to complete the meal.
1 cup soy sauce
1tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 pound green onion, chopped (I omitted)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame seed
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon white wine
1 teaspoon oil

In a bowl combine grated ginger root, finely chopped green onions, honey, sesame seed, brown sugar, sesame oil, crushed garlic cloves, and oil. Mix well; let stand for 30 minutes. When cooking, you may want to add cornstarch to thicken. Wait until just prior to plating as mixture will thicken somewhat as it cooks.

I pan fried the chicken for several minutes on each side until browned. I then added the sauce and cooked for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Again, for additional thickening, add cornstarch.

Fried Brown Rice
This was just ok. I prefer to use season packets for fried rice and always have in the past, so when I tried it without the standard seasonings, Jeff wasn't as satisfied with the outcome, nor was I!

1/4 cup olive oil (I only used 2 tbs. to save the calories!)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (I used 1/2 an onion because Jeff isn't a huge onion fan)
1 clove large garlic, crushed
1 lime, juiced
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
mixed vegis (corn, carrots, green beans, etc)
Heat oil in wok or skillet. Add onions and garlic. Saute until just golden. Add desired amount of mixed vegis. Add lime juice. Increase heat to high. Add rice. Stir frequently to coat rice with oil. Cook until rice is golden. Add parsley.