Monday, December 31, 2007

Turkey Couscous Salad

  • 2/3 C water
  • 1/2 C uncooked couscous
  • 2-1/2 oz sliced deli turkey, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 C grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 C pitted ripe olives, halved
  • 1/3 C fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 2-1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 oz reduced-fat cheddar cheese, cut into cubes

1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil; stir in couscous. Cover and remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Fluff with a fork; cool.
2. Add the turkey, tomatoes and olives. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, parsley and vinegar. Pour over couscous mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.


Robyn's notes: I served his on a bed of spinach. He really liked it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Southwest Turkey Casserole

  • 2/3 C condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 1/4 C chopped onion
  • 1/4 C canned chopped green chilies
  • 3 corn tortillas (6 inches) cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 C cubed cooked turkey
  • 1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a small saucepan, combine the first six ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour half of the turkey mixture into a 3-cup baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with remaining turkey mixture and cheese.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.


Robyn's notes: I used flour tortillas, because I can't have the corn. This was not exciting, mostly just tasted like the chilies.
* 1 Star: Not Too Good. Neither of us liked this enough for me to bother making it again without complete overhaul

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lentil and Barley Vegetable Stew

  • 1/2 C uncooked lentils, sorted, rinsed
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled, cubed
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C uncooked quick-cooking barley
  • 1 (14.5oz) can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
  • dash pepper
  • 1/2 C frozen peas

1. In large saucepan, combine all ingredients except peas; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 18 to 22 minutes or until lentils, barley and vegetables are tender.
2. Add peas; cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until peas are tender.


Robyn's notes: I couldn't find quick-cooking barley, so I used regular barley and just started cooking it 45 minutes before I started the rest of the meal. As always, I used refrigerated, not canned, broth.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Roasted Potatoes and Artichokes

  • 8 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 C halved water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dash coarsely ground pepper

1. Place potatoes and artichokes in a shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper; stir to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 425°F for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring every 15 minutes.

Robyn's notes: this was ok, but the potatoes were a little too crunchy for my taste. I probably needed to bake them longer.

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Oregano Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3/4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3/4 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
1. Rub chicken with garlic; sprinkle with lemon-pepper and oregano. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in the oil for 5 minutes.
2. Transfer to a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400°F for 30-35 minutes or until juices run clear.

Robyn's notes: good, easy, not exciting. Served with Roasted Potatoes and Artichokes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Quinoa


Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous.

The protein content of quinoa is very high, and it is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. This means it takes less quinoa protein to meet one's needs than wheat protein. Quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. It is a good source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, and phosphorus, is gluten free and considered easy to digest. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous, it may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Quinoa Corn and Bean Salad

Quinoa and Corn
  • 1/2 C uncooked quinoa
  • 1 C water
  • 1/2 C frozen corn

Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp grated lime peel
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
Salad
  • 1 (7oz) can black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 lettuce leaves
1. In fine strainer, rinse quinoa with cold water, rubbing grains together with fingers; drain well. In saucepan, combine quinoa and 1 C water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or until tender, adding corn during last 2 minutes of cooking time. Place in strainer; rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well. Place in large serving bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in small nonmetal bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; blend well. Refrigerate.
3. Add beans, celery, tomato, cilantro and dressing to quinoa and corn; mix well. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors.
4. To serve, line individual plates or bowls with lettuce. Spoon salad onto lettuce. If desired, garnish with additional cilantro.

Robyn's notes: I left out step 4 entirely, as he doesn't eat lettuce. I also left out the lime peel because it's such a waste to buy a whole lime just for such a small amount of peel, since I always have lime juice on hand. He loved this, said it was one of the best salads he'd ever had. GF - doublecheck your black beans.

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Meaty Rigatoni Pizza Bake

  • 1 C uncooked rigatoni or large tube pasta
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey, ground beef, or bulk Italian sausage
  • 1-1/2 C spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can (4oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
  • 1/2 C shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 8 slices pepperoni

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, crumble meat into a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce and mushrooms. Drain pasta; add to meat mixture.
2. Transfer to a 1-qt baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with cheese and pepperoni. Cover and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

Robyn's notes: recipe originally called for bulk Italian sausage instead of ground turkey.  I used turkey the first time, and beef the second time I made it, and with the turkey when stirring in the mushrooms, I also stirred in cubed eggplant. This was really easy and he liked it.  The second time making it (photo above) I dished into two small baking dishes instead of one larger one.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lentils

Lentils are legumes, seeds of a plant, and they grow in pods that contain either one or two lentil seeds. They generally have a mild, earthy, somewhat nutty flavour. They cook relatively quickly, but before cooking, always rinse them and pick out stones and other debris. Unlike dried beans and peas, there's no need to soak them. Lentils cook more slowly if they're combined with salt or acidic ingredients, so add these last. Bigger or older lentils take longer to cook. Store dried lentils for up to a year in a cool, dry place.

Lentils are the vegetable with the highest level of protein, other than soybeans, and they were apparently selected by Health Magazine as one of the 5 healthiest foods. They are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, and the high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. They are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Studies show that eating high fiber foods such as lentils, helps prevent heart disease.

The legume also has significant amounts of folate, magnesium, and iron.

GF - Depending on the brand you purchase, the lentils may have been processed on the same equipment as wheat products. Lentils themselves are, of course, gluten-free, but check your packaging.

Lentil Soup for the Soul

  • 1/3 C chopped peeled parsnip
  • 1/3 C diced peeled potato
  • 1/4 C chopped green onions
  • 1/4 C chopped leek (white portion only)
  • 1/4 C chopped carrot
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 can (14.5oz) vegetable broth
  • 1 C canned no-salt-added whole tomatoes, cut up
  • 1/3 C dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1/4 C dry red wine or additional vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 C minced fresh cilantro

1. In a large saucepan, saute the parsnip, potato, onions, leek, carrot and celery in oil for 3 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, lentils, wine or additional broth, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
2. Just before serving, discard bay leaf; stir in cilantro.

Yield: 4 Cups

Robyn notes: the recipe looks more time-intensive than it is, because the ingredient list is long, but once you chop everything up it goes really quickly. He prefers that I not peel any vegetables, so I just wash them really well and chop them up. I couldn't find actual bay leaves at the grocery the other day, so I sprinkled a small amount of dried chopped bay leaves, since I wasn't sure how strongly it would change the flavour. I rarely use canned broth, I tend to use enough of both vegetable broth and chicken broth that I have the cardboard refrigerated containers on hand, and I just measure out the right amount. In this case, to get 14.5oz, it's a little more than 1 and 3/4 C. I also didn't bother to cut up the whole tomatoes, once the soup had been brought to a boil, I just pressed the spoon hard to the center of each tomato and they broke apart in the pot. I know there's a lot of notes for this one, but it was a simple recipe and went over very well. He really liked it, actually scarfed down two full servings real quick.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mexican Veggies

  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 C fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/2 C salsa

1. Place 1 inch of water in a small saucepan; add zucchini and corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until zucchini is almost tender. Drain. Stir in salsa; heat through.


Robyn's notes: fast, easy. I purposely undercooked it for his preference

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

  • 2/3 C condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 2/3 C sour cream
  • 2 C shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 4 flour tortillas (6 inches)

1. In a small bowl, combine soup and sour cream. Spread half over the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray.
2. Place 1/2 C chicken and 1 Tbsp cheese down the center of each tortilla; roll up and place in the baking dish. Top with remaining soup mixture; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until heated through.

Robyn's notes: served with Mexican Veggies. This went very quickly, and we liked it but if I make it again I'll add some type of flavoring to the chicken.

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thai Tofu Sandwiches

  • half package extra firm tofu
  • 2 heaping Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
  • dash garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp sliced green onions
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • whole wheat pita
  • spinach leaves
  • sliced tomato

1. Drain tofu if necessary; gently press between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture.
2. In medium bowl, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic powder, and hot pepper sauce; mix well. Add tofu, bell pepper, onions and cilantro; stir with fork until well mixed and tofu is crumbly.
3. Stuff split pita pockets with spinach leaves, sliced tomato, and tofu mixture.

Robyn's notes: I used the remaining half of the package of tofu from last week. This went quickly and was quite easy, as well as being different from the tofu sandwich filling I served last week.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tofu

Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is a soft, cheese-like food made by curdling fresh hot soymilk with a coagulant. Traditionally, the curdling agent used to make tofu is nigari, a compound found in natural ocean water, or calcium sulfate, a naturally occurring mineral. Curds also can be produced by acidic foods like lemon juice or vinegar. The curds then are generally pressed into a solid block. Tofu is an excellent source of cholesterol-free protein, B-vitamins, and iron, is low in sodium, and is full of phytoestrogens, which may protect against some cancers and heart disease, bring relief from some of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, and protect against osteoporosis. Depending on the coagulant, tofu may be high in calcium and magnesium.

Tofu comes in several consistencies: soft, regular, firm, extra-firm. It is often sold in a small cardboard box found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store or in the Asian ingredients aisle. In all of my grocery stores, we have sections specifically for refrigerated soy products (such as tofurkey and "chik n nuggets"), and that's where tofu is located. The most common package sizes are 10.5oz, 12oz, and 14oz. If purchased already cold (the only way I've bought it), refrigerate until ready to use; otherwise, store in a cool, dark place. If you use only part of a package of tofu, store the rest in the refrigerator, covered with water, for 1 week.

Tofu can be used in smoothies, to add protein and to thicken them. The best tofu to use for smoothies is soft silken tofu, which is slightly more creamy than soft tofu.

Tamale Pie

  • 1/3 lb lean ground turkey
  • 3 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 3/4 C stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 2 flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • 2/3 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 Tbsp sliced ripe olives

1. In a small skillet, cook turkey and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
2. Place one tortilla in a 3-cup round baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with half of the meat mixture and cheese; repeat layers. Sprinkle with olives. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Robyn's notes: this was not exciting. It was fine, but neither of us was wild about it. Needs more chili powder maybe. I used extra onions because he was in the mood for more of them.

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Curried Tofu Salad Sandwiches

  • half package (10.5oz) firm or extra firm tofu
  • 2 Tbsp chopped celery
  • 1 Tbsp sliced green onions
  • 2 Tbsp low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp sweet honey mustard
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • dash turmeric
  • whole wheat pita breads
  • spinach leaves
  • 1 small tomato, sliced

1. Drain tofu if necessary; press between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place tofu in medium bowl; break up slightly with fork. Add celery and onions; mix well.
2. In medium bowl, combine yogurt, relish, mustard, curry powder and turmeric; blend well. Stir carefully into tofu mixture. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.
3. Fill pita breads with spinach leaves, tomato slices, and tofu mixture.

Robyn's notes: This was quite easy and I was pleasantly surprised at how much he liked it, as this was his first foray into tofu. I had it in the fridge for a couple hours and it got a little watery and turned very yellow, but neither of those things were a problem.

Ingredient Info: Turmeric is used in some recipes as a substitute for expensive saffron. It is commonly used in curries and to provide colour (bright yellow). The turmeric plant, by the way, is thought to have many medicinal properties in Ayurvedic medicine.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Fruity Snack Mix

Notes: check yield, this is intended to be eaten as a snack for multiple days.  Time-intensive recipe
  • 1 C peanut butter
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 C rolled oats
  • 1 (15.6oz) pkg cranberry quick bread and muffin mix
  • 1 (6oz) pkg dried fruit bits
  • 1/2 C shelled sunflower seeds

1. Heat oven to 250°F. In medium saucepan, combine peanut butter, honey, water and butter; mix well. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
2. In large bowl, combine oats and quick bread mix; mix well. Pour peanut butter mixture over oat mixture; mix well. Crumble and spread mixture in bottom of ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Mixture will be quite moist and crumbly.
3. Bake at 250°F for 1.5 to 1.75 hours or until deep golden brown and almost dry and crisp, stirring and breaking up pieces every 30 minutes.
4. Add fruit bits and sunflower seeds to oat mixture in oven; mix well. Turn oven off; leave pan in warm oven for 30 minutes.
5. Remove pan from oven. Stir mixture. Cool in pan 20 minutes or until completely cooled. (Mixture becomes crisp as it cools) Store in tightly covered container.

Yield 10 Cups

Robyn's notes: another snack mix for the road, this one mostly for him. Obviously this is a time-intensive recipe.

Microwave Mexi Snack Mix


Note: check yield, this is intended to be a snack eaten over multiple days.
  • 3 C bite-size baked cheese crackers (Cheez-its)
  • 2 C twisted butter-flavored pretzel sticks
  • 1 C salted peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix (from 1.25oz pkg)

1. In 2.5 quart microwave-safe bowl, combine crackers, pretzel sticks and peanuts. Drizzle with oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle with taco seasoning mix; toss to coat.
2. Microwave on High for 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Spread on waxed paper; cool 5 minutes before serving.

Yield 5-6 cups

Robyn's notes: easy, quick, some of the Cheez-its actually burned, but not many. We're going out of town for 4 days this weekend, and it's a road trip. Since I'm doing the driving (I like to drive, he generally doesn't), and I know that I'm one of those drivers who likes to snack, I'm bringing this for one of those snacks. I substituted Keebler Club Snack Sticks for pretzels because I can't eat pretzels. 

I made this a second time in July 2012, with some substitutions.  The box of Cheez-Its I had only had 2 Cups in it, so I used all of that, 1 Cup of salted peanuts, 1 Cup of Safeway Rice Pockets cereal (generic for Rice Chex), and since I'm not able to eat pretzels and couldn't find the Keebler Club Snack Sticks I used last time, I used 1 Cup of Keebler Club Minis Original flavour, each one broken in half.  Worked out fine (and is the photo above).  

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hopping John Risotto

  • 2 C water
  • 3 C shredded cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 C chopped onions
  • 1/3 C long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 C cooked black eyed peas

1. In a 2-quart saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Carefully add the cabbage, bring the water back to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, saving the liquid.
2. Place the oil in a microwave safe 8"x8" baking dish. Microwave on high power for 1 minute. Stir in the onions and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
3. Measure the reserved cabbage water. Stir 1 1/2 C of the water into the dish. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper flakes. Stir in the cabbage. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. Stir the mixture well and microwave on high for another 3 minutes.
4. Add the black-eyed peas and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the rice is just tender. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Robyn's notes: very important=if doubling this recipe, the times are all different (in other words, don't). The recipe lists the option of using bacon drippings instead of olive oil, but I don't just randomly keep bacon drippings in a jar and this was a vegetarian day anyway.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bachelor's Prize Chicken


  • 2 bone-in chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 C nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking pan with heavy foil. Remove the skin from the chicken.
2. In a small bowl, blend the yogurt, peanut butter and pepper until smooth. Dip the chicken in the mixture to coat evenly and arrange the pieces, rib side down, in a single layer on the prepared pan.
3. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken is richly browned and the juices are clear when the breast is pierced with a fork. Serve hot or cold.


Robyn's notes: I only had boneless skinless chicken breasts in the house, so I substituted them. Very simple to make, served with rice and green peas. Made this again June 13, 2011. Used boneless, skinless chicken breasts again, and should have pounded them out a little bit.
*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Polish Cabbage & Mushrooms in Yogurt

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1/4 C finely chopped onions
  • 1 C finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 4 C shredded cabbage
  • 2/3 C water
  • 1/2 C low-fat plain yogurt

1. Melt the butter in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Stir in the mushrooms, garlic, dill, salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and cook the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to release their juices and look oily.
2. Add the cabbage and water, raise the heat to high and bring quickly to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the cabbage, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is just tender. If there is water remaining in the pan, remove the cover, raise the heat to high and cook the cabbage, stirring constantly, until most of the water has evaporated.
3. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Serve hot.


Robyn's notes: served over biscuits. I actually chose this recipe because I had a lot of plain organic yogurt left over from previous recipes, and if we can get through 3 more containers of it before January 31, 2008, I can get him a free subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Enchilada Stuffed Shells

  • 8 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 can (5oz) enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 C fat-free refried beans
  • 1/2 C shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a nonstick skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in enchilada sauce and seasonings; set aside.
2. Place a rounded teaspoonful of refried beans in each pasta shell, then fill with turkey mixture. Place in a baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Cover and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Robyn's notes: I made this dish in two halves. For my half, I used bean dip instead of refried beans (I can't have whole beans). For his half, I used chunky salsa instead of enchilada sauce. It was ok, not exciting.


** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mixed Salad with Avocado Dressing

Avocado Dressing
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1/2 C fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 C minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dill weed
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Serve over salad. Store in the refrigerator.
Yield 2 Cups

Mixed Salad
  • baby spinach
  • sliced cucumber
  • cherry tomatoes
  • chopped hard-boiled egg
  • dried cranberries
  • chow mein noodles
  • sliced mushrooms
1. Combine salad ingredients, toss with dressing.

Robyn's notes: I used the blender instead of the food processor to mix the dressing. It was very easy and fast. The salad, of course, can be any salad ingredients you wish, this was just an example of what I used today. He liked it a lot.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pita Pizzas

  • 1/4 lb ground turkey
  • 2 whole pita breads
  • 1 can (8oz) fat-free refried beans
  • 1/2 C chunky salsa
  • 1/3 C shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 3 Tbsp fat-free sour cream
  • 1 green onion, sliced

1. In a nonstick skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink, drain. Place pitas on a baking sheet. Spread with refried beans; top with turkey, salsa and cheese.
2. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and onions.
 
Robyn's notes: this was really easy. It was listed in a cookbook for easy cooking for diabetics. Neither of us is diabetic, but it's good to watch sugar levels and fats and all the rest, so I like to look at the exchanges sometimes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Brunswick Stew

  • 2 C water
  • 2 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C diced fully cooked ham
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) whole tomatoes, cut up
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/3 C cream-style corn
  • 1/3 C frozen lima beans
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 drops hot sauce
  • dash pepper
  • dash cayenne pepper

1. In a large saucepan, combine the water, chicken, onion, and ham. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Remove chicken; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Cut meat into bite-size pieces; return to the pan.
3. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally.


Robyn's notes: lots of notes on this one. We don't generally eat grocery store ham, so I left that out entirely (both of us have experienced raising hogs, so we know how much better it tastes). I used a 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes instead of cutting up the whole tomatoes, because I knew I'd be short on time. I didn't peel the potatoes because he prefers the skins left on. I didn't have hot sauce, so I left that out. Oh and I used boneless skinless chicken thighs and just simmered a little shorter. It was good but if I make it again I'll use chicken broth instead of water.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Brighton Beach Eggplant

  • 12 oz eggplant
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet red pepper
  • 1 medium ripe tomato
  • 2 cloves unpeeled garlic
  • 2 Tbsp seedless raisins
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • ground red pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant and onion with the oil. Arrange the eggplant and onion, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Add the sweet pepper, tomato and garlic.
2. Roast the vegetables on the top shelf of the oven for 30 minutes, or until they are tender. Transfer them to a chopping board to cool. Scrape out the pulp from the eggplant and discard the skin. Remove the skin from the tomato and pepper. Coarsely chop all the vegetables and place them in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Peel the garlic and put it through a garlic press; add it to the chopped vegetables. Stir in the raisins, cilantro, turmeric, salt and ground pepper. Mix well.
4. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight to blend the flavors. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Robyn's notes: I served this stuffed in pita pockets. Didn't have any turmeric in the house, so I just left that out. Looked kinda gross (basically a mush of a bunch of stuff), but he liked it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Black Eyed Pea Salad

  • 1 C frozen black eyed peas
  • 1 C fresh or frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 4 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

1. Cook peas according to package directions; drain. In a salad bowl, combine the peas, corn and onion.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, oil, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Serve warm or chilled.


Robyn's notes: I added tomato quarters to this just before serving, and he was really glad. Very easy, but cooking the peas takes some time.

Turkey Tetrazzini

  • 2 oz uncooked spaghetti, broken in half
  • 1 C cubed cooked turkey breast
  • 2/3 C condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 C chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp diced pimientos
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp salt, optional
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Stir in the turkey, soup, cheese, onion, pimientos, Worcestershire sauce and salt if desired.
2. Transfer to a 1-qt baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.


Robyn's notes: I substituted whole wheat linguine for the spaghetti. This went quickly and both of us liked it. Served with Black Eyed Pea Salad.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Corn and Lima Bean Tossed Salad

  • 1/3 C frozen baby lima beans
  • 1 C water
  • 1/2 C frozen corn
  • 1 C chopped lettuce
  • 1/4 C roasted sweet red peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

1. In a small saucepan, bring lima beans and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add corn; simmer 4-5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Drain and cool.
2. In a small bowl, combine the lettuce, red peppers, onion and bean mixture. Refrigerate until chilled.
3. Just before serving, combine the lime juice, oil, parsley, salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.

Robyn's notes: I substituted baby spinach for the lettuce, because lettuce has basically no nutritional value, just roughage, and therefore he doesn't really want to eat it.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Easy Burrito Roll-Ups

Note: This is a slow-cooker recipe, requires a full day.  My mom emailed me this recipe.  The yield is more than 2, but I don't know what it is officially. I halved it and we had at least one full serving left over.  I am providing the halved version. More notes follow the recipe.
  • 1/2 of a 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (or a 7oz can if you can find one)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (from 7oz can)
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 C 'thick n chunky style' salsa
  • 6 flour tortillas (10inch)
Toppings:
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 1 C shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 C sliced ripe olives
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
Optional (see notes below):
  • chopped tomatoes
  • guacamole
1. In a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, layer beans, chicken thighs, garlic, chiles, cumin and salsa.
2. Cover; cook on Low setting 7 to 8 hours.
3. About 15 minutes before serving, heat oven to 350°F. Wrap tortillas in foil; heat in oven about 15 minutes or until warm. Meanwhile, place all topping ingredients in individual serving dishes.
4. Remove chicken from slow cooker; place on large plate. With fork or potato masher, mash beans slightly to thicken sauce. Shred chicken with 2 forks; return to slow cooker and mix with bean mixture to moisten.
5. Have guests place warm tortilla on serving plate, spoon about 1/2 C chicken mixture onto tortilla; top with desired toppings. Fold side of tortilla over filling.

Robyn's notes: I can't eat black beans, so in order to be sure I could eat this, I didn't mash the beans at all. He still liked it, and it meant I could eat it just fine. The "Optional" items are things that he suggested might be good toppings to go with. I didn't heat the tortillas in the oven, and since they're easy to heat in the microwave, that's probably what I'd do next time. This was easy, and it was good.  On December 17th, 2007, I made this again, at full-size, as my contribution to our Office Holiday Potluck.  It was well-received and was easy to take, as I did step 1 before leaving the house, then plugged the slow-cooker in when I arrived.  We were having our potluck around 2pm and I start work at 7am, so the timing was just right.  

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hong Kong Primavera w/ Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 3oz vermicelli or thin spaghetti
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C water
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2/3 C coarsely grated carrots
  • 1/4 C frozen green peas
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 C thinly sliced napa (Chinese) cabbage

1. Cook the vermicelli or spaghetti according to the directions on the package but without salt. Drain and toss with the green onions; keep warm.
2. While the pasta cooks, combine the water, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar in a blender container. Cover and process until smooth. Add the pepper flakes and set aside.
3. Place the oil in a heavy, 10" nonstick skillet; stir in the carrots, peas, ginger and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until the cabbage is wilted. Add to the pasta and toss well. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.

Robyn's notes: I used red wine vinegar, chunky peanut butter, and whole wheat fettucine because that's what I had in the house. I didn't have any red pepper flakes, so I sprinkled in some ground cayenne pepper. I didn't use the blender because I didn't want to wash it, so I whisked/stirred with a fork.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chipotle Apple Chicken Breasts

  • 2 bacon strips, diced
  • 1 small tart apple, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tsp olice oil
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

1. In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 1 tsp drippings. In the drippings, saute apple until tender. Add the onion, applesauce, chipotle peppers and bacon; saute 2 minutes longer.
2. Cut a pocket in each chicken breast half; stuff with apple mixture. In a small skillet, brown chicken in oil on both sides. Transfer to an ungreased 8-in square baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 425°F for 12-15 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.
3. Meanwhile, add the flour, apple juice, salt and pepper to the skillet; stir to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken.


Robyn's notes: He really liked this, but I thought it didn't have much flavor. It might be that I stuffed the two breast halves differently or that I didn't give myself enough sauce. I used turkey bacon and I served it over enriched brown rice.

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Black Bean Pesto

  • 1/2 C homemade or bottled salsa
  • 2-3 fresh cilantro springs (optional)
  • 3/4 C canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1. Place the salsa, then the cilantro and then the beans in a blender. Process on medium-high speed until the pesto is smooth; stop the motor as necessary to scrape down the sides of the container.
2. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator for an hour to blend the flavors.


Robyn's notes: I used bottled salsa and dried cilantro. Served as a dipping sauce for broccoli.

Fettucine with Spinach and Feta

  • 8 C spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 green onion
  • 2/3 C crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
  • pepper to taste
  • 4oz fettucine

1. Pick over and stem the spinach, discarding any withered or yellow leaves. Wash the spinach well in several changes of water until no trace of sand or dirt is left behind. Drain the spinach in a colander and set aside.
2. Thinly slice the green onion, including the tender green part, and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the feta, oil, lemon juice, dill and pepper.
3. Cook the fettucine according to the directions on the package but without salt. For the last 30 seconds of cooking, stir the spinach into the water with the fettucine and push it under the water to wilt it. Drain.
4. Add the fettucine and spinach to the bowl and toss with the cheese mixture. Serve the pasta hot or at room temperature.


Robyn's notes: I used whole wheat linguine instead of fettucine. Served with Black Bean Pesto and broccoli.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Zucchini Panned with Red Peppers

  • 1/2 small sweet red pepper
  • 1 pound zucchini
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 C finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

1. Cut the red pepper into strips about 1/2" wide, stack the strips and cut them across the make 1/2" squares.
2. Trim the ends from the zucchini and cut into thin rounds.
3. Add the oil to a heavy 8" nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Stir in the peppers and onions; cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not brown. Stir in the garlic, zucchini, basil, salt and pepper.
4. Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the zucchini is just tender.


Robyn's notes: I used yellow sweet pepper, because it's what I had in the house. He thought it was really good and ate it very quickly.

Flavorful Chicken

  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

1. In a shallow bowl, combine butter and soy sauce; dip chicken on both sides. Place in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and paprika.
2. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170°F.

Robyn's notes: This was surprisingly tasty for such a simple dish. I served it with Zucchini Panned with Red Peppers. He and I both really liked this.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Friday, November 2, 2007

Country Style Cucumbers

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 4 red onion slices
  • 2 Tbsp rice or white-wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ground red pepper to taste

1. If the cucumber is waxed, peel it; otherwise leave the skin intact. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon and slice the cucumber into 1/4" crescents. Place the slices in a small mixing bowl.
2. Separate the onion slices into rings and add them to the bowl.
3. In a measuring cup, stir together the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and red pepper. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and onions.
4. Let the salad stand for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before servings, or cover and chill overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.
 
Robyn's notes: I used red-wine vinegar because it's what I have in the house.

Turkey Florentine

  • 8 oz boneless turkey breast cutlets (1/4" thick)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 4 tsp minced onions
  • 1/4 C apple juice
  • 8 C spinach, loosely packed
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)

1. Dry the turkey pieces with a paper towel, then sprinkle them with the salt and pepper.
2. Place a heavy, 10" nonstick skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in the butter and add the turkey. Cook, turning as necessary, for 3 minutes, or until the turkey is browned and firm to the touch, with no trace of pink in the center. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
3. To the skillet, add the onions, apple juice and spinach. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 1 minute, or until the spinach is barely wilted. Sprinkle with the nutmeg (if using). Place the spinach on a serving plate, top with the turkey and serve.

Robyn's notes: this went fast to cook. Looks pretty and fancy when done, but definitely needs a side dish. I served with couscous for me, and Country-Style Cucumbers for him.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Peanut Ginger Pasta

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 tsp minced fresh gingerroot
  • 1 1/4 tsp grated lime peel
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 4 oz uncooked whole wheat linguine
  • 1 C chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1/2 medium sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh basil

1. In a blender, combine the first 10 ingredients; cover and process until blended. Set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, cook linguine according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 5 minutes. Cook until tender; drain.
3. In a large bowl, combine the carrot, red pepper, onion and basil. Add linguine, broccoli and lime juice mixture; toss to coat.


Robyn's notes: if I make this again, I won't use the blender to combine the first ingredients. I could whisk them together just as easily (although it would definitely take longer) and wouldn't have to wash the damned blender afterwards. Plus, I lost a lot of the mixture because I wasn't able to get it out of the blender all that well. The ginger was strong, especially for my taste. He liked this and ate most of mine as well as his own.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Curry Powder

Many items in the spice aisle of the grocery store are a single spice or herb, dried, chopped or ground, etc. Curry powder, however, is not a single spice or herb. When purchasing curry powder, different brands will have different amounts of the spices, and sometimes other spices added.

Most curry powders usually include coriander, turmeric, cumin, and fenugreek in their blends. Additional ingredients such as ginger, garlic, fennel seed, cinnamon, clove, mustard seed, green cardamom, black cardamom, mace, nutmeg, red pepper, long pepper and black pepper may also be added.

The curry powder I have on hand contains coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, bay leaves, celery seed, nutmeg, cloves, onion, red pepper, and ginger.

GF - because curry powder is not a single spice, there is a slight possibility of gluten in some brands. The McCormick company is very dependable on this subject and does not hide wheat on their labels (if it's there, it'll say "wheat", not "natural flavours"). At the time of this writing, McCormick curry powder is gluten-free, as are most others.

Curried Chicken and Bulgur Salad

  • 1/4 C medium-grain bulgur
  • 1/2 C water
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp mango chutney
  • 2 Tbsp nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/2 C cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 Tbsp currants or seedless raisins
  • 1/2 C canned mandarin orange segments, drained

1. In a small saucepan, combine the bulgur, water, and salt; bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender and the water is absorbed. Fluff the bulgur with a fork and turn it into a mixing bowl to cool.
2. If there are large pieces of mango in the chutney, dice them; then place the chutney in a medium bowl with the yogurt and curry powder. Mix well with a table fork. Add the bulgur and toss everything until the bulgur grains are well-coated.
3. Cut the green onions, including the tender green parts, into fine slices. Add the green onions, chicken, currants or raisins and oranges to the bulgur mixture and toss again. If desired, cover the bowl and chill the salad for 30 minutes or overnight to blend the flavors.


Robyn's notes: He didn't get to eat much of this, because he ate too much at the work Halloween party, but he tasted it and really liked it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chili Non Carne

Note: Long cooking time. Plan ahead, will need over 90 minutes total.

  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 C chopped onions
  • 6 Tbsp chopped celery
  • 6 Tbsp diced carrots
  • 1/4 C chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 C canned tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 C water
  • 3/4 C canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp bulgur
  • salt to taste
1. Place the oil in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Add the onions, celery, carrots and peppers. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not brown. Stir in the garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the tomatoes (with juice) and water; bring the chili to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
3. Add the beans and bulgur. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the bulgur is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Add salt to taste. Serve hot.
 
Robyn's notes: yeah, yeah, I know, lots of bulgur recipes recently, haha! It bulks up the chili and adds nice flavor. When I made old-fashioned chicken macaroni salad, I chopped up more green pepper than I needed, and kept the extra in a sealed container in the fridge, knowing that I'd need some for this recipe.  He really, really liked this a lot.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Turkey Medallions Seared in Thai Butter

  • 1/4 C lime juice
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 8oz boneless turkey breast cutlets (1/4" thick)
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tsp butter
  • 6 thinly cut lime slices
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, ginger and sugar until the sugar dissolves; set aside.
2. Dry the turkey pieces with a paper towel and sprinkle them with the salt.
3. Place a heavy 8" or 10" nonstick skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in the butter. Quickly add the turkey. Cook for 3 minutes, turning as necessary, until the turkey is firm to the touch and browned on both sides, with no trace of pink in the thickest part.
4. Transfer the turkey to a warm serving plate. Pour the lime juice mixture into the skillet and cook for 30 seconds, or until it becomes syrupy and is reduced by half. Pour over the turkey. Garnish with the lime slices and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Old-Fashioned Chicken Macaroni Salad

  • 2/3 C uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/3 C frozen corn
  • 1 C cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/4 C sliced celery
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

1. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. Cook corn according to package directions, drain and cool.
2. In a serving bowl, combine the macaroni, corn, chicken, celery, egg, green pepper and onion. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.


Robyn's notes: I chopped up extra green pepper for use in another recipe later, and I always make more hard-cooked eggs than I need. I used safflower mayonnaise for health reasons.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

About Bulgur

Bulgur is parboiled broken pieces of whole wheat. Middle Eastern cooks have developed a unique way of processing their wheat, which makes this grain cook quickly and retain essential nutrients. Whole kernels of wheat are steamed or parboiled and then cracked into small pieces. This process softens the wheat without removing the fiber-rich bran or the nutrient-rich germ.

Bulgur has a pleasantly mild, nutty flavor. The mild flavor goes well with stir-fries and curries. It is the chief ingredient in Middle Eastern tabbouleh (tabouli) and kibbeh. It's higher nutritional value makes it a good substitute for rice or couscous.

Look for bulgur at health food stores, Middle Eastern groceries and some supermarkets. Check the package or bin; fine-grain and medium-grain bulgur cook quickly, while coarse-grain bulgur must be cooked for a long time. Cracked wheat is not a good substitute.


Downsized Tabbouleh

Note: Yield is 1 serving, don't forget to double for 2!
  • 1/3 C medium-grain bulgur
  • 1/2 C water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 C finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/2 green onion
  • 1/2 medium tomato, cubed
  • 1/4 C cubed cucumbers
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese

1. In a small saucepan, combine the bulgur, water and salt; bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender and the water is absorbed. Fluff the bulgur with a fork and turn it into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes.
2. Add the lemon juice, oil, parsley, mint and garlic. Toss well.
3. Cut the green onion, including the tender green part, into thin slices. Add the tomatoes, green onions and cucumbers to the bulgur and toss well.
4. Cover the tabbouleh and chill for several hours or overnight to blend the flavors. Serve sprinkled with the feta.

Yield: 1 serving

Robyn's notes: He thought this was 'awesome'. It was really easy and quick to make. There were too many ingredients that I'm not able to eat for me to try it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Moroccan Chicken Stew

Notes: Slow-cooker recipe, allow enough time! Serves 6

  • 2 turnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 ¼ C)
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 1 C fresh baby carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Tbsp chicken-flavor instant bouillon and seasoning
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 ½ C water
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small zucchini (abt 4oz), cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow squash (abt 4 oz), cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 (10 oz) pkg uncooked couscous

1. In 3 ½ to 4 quart slow cooker, combine turnips, onion and carrots.In small bowl, combine instant bouillon, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; mix well. Sprinkle over vegetables.
2. Top vegetables with chicken thighs. Pour 1 ½ C water and lemon juice over chicken.
3. Cover; cook on LOW setting for 8 to 10 hours.
4. During last 30 minutes of cooking, gently stir in zucchini, squash and beans. Meanwhile, during last 5 minutes of cooking, prepare couscous as directed on package.
5. To serve, spoon couscous into serving bowls; top with stew.

6 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 420; Calories from Fat 100; Total Fat 11g; Saturated Fat 3g; Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 850mg; Total Carbohydrate 54g; Dietary Fiber 8g; Sugars 5g; Protein 27g

Dietary Exchanges: 3 ½ Starch, 1 Vegetable, 2 Lean Meat, ½ Fat OR 3 ½ Carbohydrate, 1 Vegetable, 2 Lean Meat, ½ Fat

Robyn's notes: The prep is fairly fast, though. He and I both really liked this. It can look nicely upscale, too, impressive for guests.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chicken Stew


  • 2 to 2.5 C chopped cooked chicken (about 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1 can (14oz) whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 large potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 pound okra, sliced
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 of a 14oz can cream-style corn (or a 7oz can if possible)
  • 1/4 C ketchup
  • 1/4 C barbecue sauce

1. Combine chicken, tomatoes with juice, potatoes, okra and onion in slow cooker. Cover; cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours or until potatoes are tender.
2. Add corn, ketchup and barbecue sauce. Cover; cook on HIGH 30 minutes.


Robyn's notes: easy, prep is quick

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chewy Energy Bars


  • 2 C whole wheat flakes cereal (Wheaties)
  • 2 C crisp rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
  • 1 C quick-cooking rolled oats
  • ½ C toasted wheat germ
  • ½ C shelled sunflower seeds (optional)
  • ½ C raisins
  • 1 C peanut butter (chunky ok)
  • ¾ C corn syrup
  • ½ C chocolate chips, if desired

1. Spray 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine cereals, oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and raisins; mix well.
2. In medium saucepan, combine peanut butter and corn syrup; mix well. Cook over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is smooth and melted, stirring constantly with wire whisk.
3. Pour hot mixture over cereal mixture; mix well. Quickly stir in chocolate chips. Spoon into sprayed pan; press firmly. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until cool. Cut into bars.

approx 18 bars

Robyn's notes: Once the mixture has cooled, I cut it into bars and wrap each of them separately in plastic cling wrap, then return them to the fridge for storage. To toast the wheat germ, spread it across a cookie sheet in a thin layer and bake at 350°F for about 5 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before using in recipe. This is one of my favourite of the lunch bar recipes to make, because it's so quick and simple.

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Nutrition Information: Calories 250; Calories from Fat: 100; Total Fat 11g; Saturated Fat 3g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 150mg; Total Carbohydrate 30g; Dietary Fiber 3g; Sugars 11g; Protein 7g;
Dietary Exchanges: 1 Starch, 1 Fruit, ½ High-Fat Meat, 1 ½ Fat OR 2 Carbohydrate, ½ High-Fat Meat, 1 ½ Fat

Black and White Salad

  • 1 C canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 C freshly cooked corn or thawed frozen corn
  • 1/4 C diced sweet red or green peppers
  • 2 Tbsp finely diced red onions
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • salt to taste
  • ground red pepper (cayenne) to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the beans, corn, sweet peppers and onions.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, cumin, paprika, salt and ground red pepper until smooth. Gradually whisk in the oil. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss the salad well. Cover the bowl and chill for at least 1 hour to blend the flavors.

Robyn's notes: I intended to add cubes of avocado and tomato just before tossing the salad, but totally forgot. That would make it more of an entree, more fiber, heartier. As shown above, he really enjoyed it, and ate it quick.  I made it again October 23, 2007, and remembered the tomato, but my avocado wasn't ripe.  He enjoyed it even more with the tomato added.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Stir-Fry of Chicken and Salad Bar Fixings

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 4 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4-6 C sliced fresh vegetables (see notes, below)


1. Cut the chicken into strips about 1 1/2" x 1/2".
2. In a measuring cup, stir together the broth, soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar; set aside.
3. Place a heavy, 10" nonstick skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and swirl the pan to coat it evenly. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
4. Push the chicken to the side of the skillet and add the ginger, garlic and vegetables. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the broth mixture. Cover the pan and cook, stirring every 30 seconds, for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Robyn's notes: I used broccoli, cauliflower, sliced red onion, diced red pepper, sliced mushrooms, chopped celery, sliced carrot strips.  Served over sticky rice for me and Basmati/Wild rice for him (he prefers enriched rice over white rice always, while I'm not able to eat other than white rice). It was really quick to cook and quite good.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Rapid Ratatouille

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 medium sweet red or green pepper
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 C fresh or canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

1. Cut the onion into 1/4" slices. Dice the red or green pepper. Cut the zucchini into 1/4" slices. Set the vegetables aside.
2. Place the oil in a heavy 8 or 10" nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions and peppers; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender but not brown.
3. Stir in the garlic, then the zucchini, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture quickly to a boil; reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook the vegetables for 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is just tender.
4. Remove the cover and rapidly cook down the mixture until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.

Robyn's notes: I used canned organic diced tomatoes to save time, and served over a small amount of fettucine (fettucine, obviously, not GF).

Friday, October 5, 2007

Parmesan Glazed Chicken

  • 2 chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp dry white wine or sherry (or substitute chicken broth)

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking pan with heavy foil.
2. Arrange the breasts in a single layer on the baking pan. Sprinkle them with the salt and pepper.
3. In a small bowl, make a paste of the Parmesan or Romano and broth, spread it evenly over the tops of the chicken.
4. Bake the breasts on the top shelf of the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken is glazed and browned and the juices are clear when the breast is pierced with a fork. Serve hot or cold.

Robyn's notes: easy but not exciting. I served with brown enriched rice for him and 4cheese rice for me, plus a Greek salad on the side for him.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Vegetarian Chili

Yield is 6-8 either make for a crowd or freeze portions
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 large celery stalks
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp corn oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 (15oz) can ready-cut tomatoes
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C uncooked rice
  • 1 C water
  • 1 (28oz) can red kidney beans
1. Peel the onion and chop it into 1-inch pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Wash the celery stalks, trim and discard the ends and cut the stalks into 1/2-inch slices. Set aside.
2. Peel the carrots, trim and discard the ends and cut the rest into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.
3. Remove and discard the cauliflower leaves by cutting across the base of the cauliflower, being careful not to cut into the white buds. Cut out and discard most of the core. Break the remaining cauliflower into 5 or 6 sections. Cut the large ones into 2 or 3 bite-size pieces and leave the small ones whole. Set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and celery and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, basil, cumin, salt and black pepper.
5. Add the carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes and their liquid, tomato sauce, rice and water. Drain the kidney beans, discarding their liquid. Add the beans to the pot and mix thoroughly.
6. When the mixture begins to bubble, turn down the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is soft. Taste before serving. It will look like a vegetable stew. Serve immediately.

Robyn's notes: faster and easier than it looks, he really liked it

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tuna Salad Monterey

  • 2 Tbsp nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp mustard dressing (see notes, below)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3.25 oz canned water-packed tuna
  • 1/2 C diced celery
  • 1/4 C diced cucumbers
  • 1/4 C diced sweet red peppers
  • 1 Tbsp finely diced red onions
  • 3 Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered (optional)
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mustard dressing and lemon juice.
2. Drain the tuna and add it to the bowl. Stir in the celery, cucumbers, peppers, onions and olives (if using). Serve immediately.

Robyn's notes: if you don't have mustard dressing (I didn't), substitute equal parts nonfat plain yogurt and prepared Dijon mustard.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mediterranean Vegetable Soup

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 C water
  • 1 (15oz) can ready-cut tomatoes
  • 10 strands uncooked spaghetti
  • 1/4 C fresh or frozen (not thawed) peas
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • dash salt
  • 1 large egg
  • grated parmesan cheese

1. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Heat the oil in a medium-size pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften. While it is cooking, peel the potato and cut it into 1/2 inch cubes.
2. Add the potato to the pot and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The potato will begin to soften, and the onion will be very soft. While the potato is cooking, wash the zucchini, trim and discard the ends and thinly slice.
3. When the onion/potato mixture has cooked for 10 minutes, add the zucchini, water and all but 4 chunks of the tomatoes, leaving these pieces and the juice in the can for use later in the recipe.
4. Break the spaghetti into 2 inch pieces, add to the pot and stir. Return the soup to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook for another 5 minutes.
5. While the peas are heating, peel and finely chop the garlic and add to the tomato chunks and juice in the can. Add the basil, black pepper, salt and egg to the can, beat thoroughly and set aside.
6. When the soup has finished cooking, add 3 Tbsp of hot soup to the can containing the tomato mixture and stir. Add the can contents to the soup. Heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly, just until the soup thickens. Remove from the heat, ladle into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Robyn's notes: I had tomato soup today, but he really liked this. He doesn't like his potatoes peeled, so I left the skin on when I cut it up.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chicken Couscous with Vegetables

I spent a day in the Emergency Room this week, with him alternating between sitting next to the bed holding my hand and draping himself across the top of the gurney with a protective arm around me while he tried to get some sleep. So some meals that were planned for this week got scratched, and this meal got turned into something really simple.
  • 1 package Near East Parmesan couscous
  • 1 package diced cooked chicken
  • 1/4 C frozen peas
  • 1/4 C frozen corn
Robyn's notes: instead of proper instructions, just notes for this one, because I rarely make my parmesan couscous "as directed on package". Couscous is the one and only food item I can always eat, no matter how sick I am, but standing over a stove or doing more than one step of preparation when I've just gotten out of the hospital just won't work. So, long ago I discovered that I can do it an easier way. I can only say that this works with Near East brand Parmesan couscous. When I'm making any other kind or brand, I follow the instructions.

In 2quart microwave safe dish with lid, combine couscous, contents of seasoning package, 2 tsp butter, and 1 1/4 C water. Add chicken. Cover, microwave on high for 6 minutes. Let stand for 2-3 minutes, fluff with a fork. For this recipe, since it was going to be reheated after sitting in a fridge for a couple hours, I added the frozen peas and corn to the prepared couscous and chicken, covered, and placed in the fridge.

I didn't have veggies in mine, and he and I love couscous with or without chicken. He thought it was kinda blah with the veggies, though.



** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Baked Potato Soup w/ Broccoli & Cheddar

  • 1 baked russet potato
  • 1 1/2 C low-fat milk
  • 1 C chopped broccoli, cooked or frozen
  • 1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut the potatoes into chunks and combine them with the milk in a blender. Process the mixture until smooth. Add the broccoli and process, pulsing the motor on and off, until the broccoli is coarsely pureed. You should still be able to see tiny broccoli buds.
2. Transfer the mixture to a heavy 2quart saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the soup from the heat, then stir in the Cheddar, salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Robyn's notes: this looked really nasty because it was kept in fridge overnight and reheated. So it had turned a murky purplish black colour across the top. But once stirred up that was no longer visible and he said it was really good, "make again" good. So I guess it must've been! For myself, I made Potato and Cheddar Soup, see August 16th entry, although this time I left out the onion. Only 3 stars because I have to make a whole separate version for myself, which is time-consuming.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Monday, September 24, 2007

Smoked Turkey & Fruit Salad

  • 2 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1/4 C nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp prepared mustard
  • 1/4 tsp dried tarragon (optional)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 C diced smoked or roast turkey breast
  • 1/2 C diced celery
  • 1 C seedless red or green grapes
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Place the almonds in a microwave safe custard cup or small bowl. Microwave on high power for 1 minute, stir, then cook for another minute on high. Set the almonds aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mustard, tarragon (if using) and pepper. Add the turkey, celery, grapes, and parsley; toss well. Sprinkle with the almonds.
3. Cover the salad and chill for several hours to blend the flavors.

Robyn's notes: I didn't use tarragon or parsley, and since I'm not fond of the taste of mustard I got French's honey flavoured mustard. Not honey-mustard, but a slightly better taste just for me. For the turkey, I went to the grocery deli counter and asked for a thick cut of turkey. The girl asked how thick, I said approx 1/4 inch, and she took care of the rest. He really liked this one, and it was fast.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Zesty Turkey Tomato Soup

  • 1/4 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 C Mexican diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 C uncooked whole wheat spiral pasta
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped jalapeno pepper, optional
  • shredded cheddar cheese, optional

1. In a large saucepan, cook the turkey, zucchini and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
2. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, pasta, basil, cumin, pepper and jalapeno if desired. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 13-15 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Garnish with cheese if desired.

Robyn's notes: I left the jalapeno pepper out because he and I are both of the opinion that too much spice in foods is just a way of covering up bad cooking. This was really spicy even without the pepper, so we were both glad I didn't use it. I used farfalle (bowtie) pasta because it was what I had in the house. There wasn't much liquid in the soup, but it was good anyway. And the liquid was the spiciest part.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lazy Lasagna

  • 1 C spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 C cottage cheese
  • 3/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 C cooked wide noodles
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1. Warm spaghetti sauce; stir in cottage cheese and mozzarella. Fold in the noodles. Pour into two greased 2-cup casserole dishes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
2. Bake, uncovered, at 375°F for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Robyn's notes: sooo easy! I used lasagna noodles broken in half before cooking them.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ravioli with 3 Sauces

  • refrigerated spinach and cheese ravioli
  • 1 C marinara sauce
  • 1 C alfredo sauce
  • 1 C pesto sauce

1. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain, cover to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, heat marinara and alfredo sauces separately.
3. Serve pasta with three sauces (2 warm, 1 cold) on the side.

Robyn's notes: we had a busy week, he threw his back out, etc. So this is a simple way to make an attractive dish that looks more intricate than it is. Plus it uses up sauces that I had in the house already.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Monterey Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 4 tsp barbecue sauce
  • 2 cooked bacon strips (see notes below)
  • 1/4 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 C chopped tomato
  • 1 tsp minced chives (if desired)
1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Transfer to a baking sheet.
2. Top each with barbecue sauce, bacon and cheese. Broil 3-4 inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with tomato and chives.

Robyn's notes: for some reason, I'm not skilled at bacon in strips. So I used diced cooked bacon, and it worked fine. I didn't use chives, because it was just one more item to purchase that I wouldn't use in another recipe later. I served this with Mashed Potatoes.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Peel potato and chop into 1/2 inch pieces (see notes below). Place in large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes can be broken up with a fork.
2. Drain, return to saucepan, and shake over low heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Mash in remaining ingredients, leaving some potato chunks if desired.

Robyn's notes: he likes potato skin in his mashed potatoes, I can't have the skins, so I sometimes make two versions, peeling half the potato for mine and leaving the other half unpeeled for his. I make this regularly, and make it sized up a lot for large family get-togethers during the holidays (using 10-12 potatoes).

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Spinach Pasta Salad

  • 1 1/2 C uncooked farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 1 small tomato, cut into quarters
  • 1/4 C basil pesto
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2 C bite-size pieces spinach leaves
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced (1/2 C)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jar (6-7oz) quartered artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed

1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water; drain.
2. Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, place tomato, pesto, salt and pepper. Cover; process 30 seconds.
3. Toss pasta, pesto mixture and remaining ingredients.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Asparagus Chicken Stir-Fry

  • 1/2 C cut fresh asparagus (1 inch pieces)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted cashews
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 C hot cooked rice

1. Place the asparagus in a steamer basket; place in a saucepan over 1 in of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 5-7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and keep warm.
2. In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp cornstarch and egg white until smooth; add chicken and toss to coat. In a large nonstick skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken in oil for 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink.
3. Place the remaining cornstarch in a small bowl, stir in the broth, soy sauce and sugar until smooth. Gradually add to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in the cashews, onions and asparagus. Serve over rice.

Robyn's notes: I didn't have cashews in the house (and besides, I'm not able to have them), so I substituted peanuts. He loves cashews, so I'd prefer to use them, but it was totally fine with peanuts instead. This went very quickly and was easy.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mushroom Chicken with Rice


Most families know this dish, easy easy...
  • 2/3 C condensed cream of mushroom soup (from a 10.75 oz can)
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/3 C uncooked regular long-grain white rice
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1. Mix soup, water, rice, paprika, and black pepper in shallow baking dish. Top with chicken. Sprinkle with additional paprika and pepper.
2. Cover and bake at 375°F for 28-33 min. or until juices are clear and chicken shows no pink in the center.

Robyn's notes: This will never be the most exciting dish you eat in a given week (at least, it really shouldn't be), but it is a good way to deal with the second half of a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (see "Using Up Ingredients" at the top of the blog).  This is a reduction of an old Campbell's recipe, and it works perfectly well for my somewhat lazy nights.  When I made this June 23, 2012, my chicken hadn't completely thawed, so it needed a full 33 minutes.  The real problem with this dish is that the rice tends to cook unevenly.  Some of the rice that's been fully covered in sauce will cook through to perfect tenderness, some will have a bit of a bite to it, some will be mushy.  I don't know if Campbell's ever found a solution for that, but since I only make this when I'm not feeling great and need something simple and edible, I'm not willing to put a lot of effort into resolving it myself.  As Campbell's COM soup contains wheat flour, this is not a G-F recipe.  


*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Nutritional Information: Calories 312, Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 75mg, Sodium 583mg, Carbohydrates 33g, Fiber 1g, Protein 30g

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cheddar Artichoke Red Onion Pizza

  • 1 tsp butter or margarine
  • 1 small red onion, sliced (1 C)
  • small pre-baked pizza crust (see notes below)
  • 1/4 C marinated artichoke hearts (from 6oz jar) drained, sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sliced drained roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
  • 1/2 C shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese

1. Heat oven to 400°F. In 8-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender.
2. Spread onion over pizza crust. Top with artichokes, roasted peppers and cheese.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges to serve.

Robyn's notes: since I can't have most of the ingredients, I was making a second small pizza for myself. I wasn't able to find small pre-baked crusts, so I got Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough, and after rolling it out, cut it into two rectangles. Follow directions on the container, prebaking first, then applying toppings and baking further. I had a "mexican pizza", bean dip spread on the crust, topped with red enchilada sauce and mexican cheese blend.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Salsa Rice Enchiladas

  • 1 1/2 C chunky style salsa
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 C uncooked instant rice
  • 1 can (7 or 8oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 can (5oz) whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, undrained
  • 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • additional salsa, if desired

1. In 10-inch skillet, heat 1 1/2 C salsa and the chili powder to boiling. Stir in rice. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in beans, corn and cheese.
2. Spoon about 1/2 C rice mixture onto center of each tortilla. Fold up bottom of each tortilla; fold over sides. Secure with toothpick if necessary. Serve with salsa if desired.

Robyn's notes: I can't have salsa, black beans, or corn, so I made the above for him and for myself I stuffed my tortillas with rice, enchilada sauce, and cheese.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Homemade Mac n Cheese

  • 4oz whole wheat elbow noodles (1 C)
  • 1 C frozen broccoli
  • 1 C low-fat milk, divided
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 C shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook noodles for 4 minutes. Add frozen broccoli and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and broccoli are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.
2. Meanwhile, heat 3/4 C milk in another large saucepan over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining 1/4 C milk, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk. Return to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in cheddar, parmesan and mustard until the cheeses are melted.
3. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the cheese sauce. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, over medium-low, until heated through, about 1 minute.


Robyn's notes: I used frozen peas because it's what I had in the house, whole wheat flour, and regular black pepper. It came out fine with those changes.  Since I can't eat peas, I just picked them out of my serving, but it still tasted quite a bit of the missing peas, since they'd cooked in it.  I made the recipe again in early October 2007, in two separate dishes, using broccoli in his (he liked it) and no veggies in mine (I liked it).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pasta Skillet Dinner



  • 1 C uncooked ziti (penne or rigatoni ok)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey
  • 7oz spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 2oz (1/2 C) shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook ziti to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain; cover to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in large skillet, brown ground turkey over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked. Drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and water. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 5 minutes.
3. Add cooked ziti; mix well. In small bowl, combine sour cream and cheese; mix well. Spoon over ziti mixture. Cover; cook over low heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated.


Nutritional Information: Calories 630; Calories from Fat 300; Total Fat 33g; Saturated Fat 16g; Cholesterol 115mg; Sodium 670mg; Total Carbohydrate 47g; Dietary Fiber 4g; Sugars 3g; Protein 36g

Robyn's notes: I found this recipe to be fast and easy. The end result was good but not exciting, which may have been partly because it was reheated in the microwave for our lunch at work. I made this again June 11, 2011, and it was better than it had been when reheated. *** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tortellini Toss Salad

  • 6oz (1 1/4 C) frozen uncooked tortellini
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 C sliced green onions
  • 1 (6oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained cut up
  • 1/4 C purchased creamy Italian dressing

1. Cook tortellini as directed on package. Drain; rinse with cold water until cool.
2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onions and artichoke hearts. Add cooked tortellini and dressing; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.


Nutritional Information: Calories 430; Total Fat 20g; Saturated Fat 5g; Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 630mg; Total Carbohydrate 47g; Dietary Fiber 5g; Sugars 9g; Protein 15g

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Robyn's Taco Cups


  • 1/2 pound ground turkey (originally ground beef)
  • 1 C taco sauce, divided
  • 3 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 2 biscuits from Pillsbury Grands! frozen biscuits
  • 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray individual ovenproof casserole cups with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In large skillet, cook ground turkey over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in 1/3 C taco sauce and set aside, covering to keep warm.
3. Spoon cornmeal into each casserole cup. Place 1 biscuit into each cup; firmly press in bottom and up sides.
4. Divide meat mixture evenly into dough-lined cups. Top each with cheese.
5. Arrange cups on baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 12-14 minutes or until biscuit is golden. Let cool 3 minutes. Carefully remove from casserole cups.
6. While baking, heat remaining taco sauce in small saucepan. Serve sauce with individual taco cups.

Robyn's notes: I wrote this recipe when I was 19, so it's not the most sophisticated, but it's still good

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Spaghetti and Spicy Rice Balls

  • 1 pkg (8oz) uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 C cooked white rice
  • 1/4 C quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (1/4 C)
  • 2 Tbsp unseasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1/4 C wheat germ
  • 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 C tomato pasta sauce
  • finely shredded parmesan cheese, if desired
1. Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.
2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix rice, oats, onion, bread crumbs, milk, basil, oregano, red pepper, and egg. Shape mixture into 10 balls; roll in wheat germ to coat.
3. In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add rice balls; cook about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until light golden brown.
4. Heat pasta sauce until hot. Serve sauce and rice balls over spaghetti; sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.

Yield: 3 servings

Robyn's notes: this dish was ok, but not exciting for either of us. For me, it just wasn't worth the trouble that it took to make. When a recipe calls for "unseasoned dry bread crumbs", I often end up using "Italian bread crumbs" because I always have them in the house, and it rarely makes even the slightest difference.

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Friday, August 17, 2007

Greek-Style Ravioli

  • 12 frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1/3 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 C canned diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic
  • 1 C fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 C sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/4 C crumbled feta cheese

1. Cook ravioli according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
3. Drain ravioli. Add the ravioli, spinach, and olives to the meat mixture; heat through. Sprinkle with feta cheese.


Robyn's notes: when a recipe calls for frozen cheese ravioli, I often substitute tortellini, or tortelloni. Whatever type of filled pasta I use, I also often get a mix of spinach and cheese filled. This recipe is quite easy.

Nutritional Information: Calories 352; Fat 15g; Saturated Fat 6g; Cholesterol 75mg; Sodium 1,091mg; Carbohydrate 29g; Fiber 3g; Protein 27g

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Potato and Cheddar Soup


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 (8.5oz) pkg vegetable broth + same amount water
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • dash black pepper

1. Melt the butter in a medium-size pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften. Add the flour and stir constantly until it is fully absorbed. Add the broth and water and turn up the heat to high.
2. While the soup is coming to a boil, peel the potato and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Add to the pot. It will take the soup a few minutes to return to a boil. When it does, turn down the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft enough to be mashed.
3. Turn the heat off, and mash some of the potatoes into the broth. The rest can remain in cubes to vary the soup's texture.
4. With the heat still off, add the cheddar cheese and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Season with black pepper and serve.


Robyn's notes: made this a second and third time without the onion, worked out very well. Not terribly exciting, but a good potato soup option for me, since I'm not allowed celery or onion. The third time I made it I sprinkled crumbled bacon on top, which makes it (obviously) not vegetarian but which added a nice flavour.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often