Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sticky Pot, on purpose!

I have been going through my new cooking light cookbook trying new things as I go. Yesterday's adventure was Turkey Pot stickers. Very yummy, very simple. I'm still working on my dipping sauce.... but this one was good in a pinch :)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Turkey Pot Stickers
Serves 3-4

1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps or baby portabella slices
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup sliced carrot
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 cups chopped skinned cooked turkey
24 (4-inch) gyoza skins
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup water, divided

Sauce: this so not traditional, but so tasty....

1 TBS cocktail sauce
1 green onion, sliced
1/8 cup lime juice
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 scant TBS sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
fresh cracked pepper

To prepare sauce: whisk all ingredients together. Allow to sit 30 minutes to let flavors blend.

To prepare dumplings:

Place mushrooms, onions, carrot, ginger, and vinegar in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping sides. Combine mushroom mixture and egg whites in a large bowl; add turkey, stirring until combined.

Working with 1 gyoza skin at a time (cover remaining skins to keep from drying), spoon about 1 tablespoon turkey mixture into center of each skin. Moisten edges of skin with water. Fold in half, pinching edges together to seal. Place dumpling on a baking sheet (cover loosely with a towel to keep from drying). Repeat procedure with remaining skins and turkey mixture.

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange half of dumplings in pan; cover and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn dumplings; add 1/4 cup water. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Wipe pan dry with a paper towel. Repeat procedure with remaining vegetable oil, dumplings, and water. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Lovin'

Just an amusing side note, as I was putting in the title for this blog I automatically did this: Summerli. Can we say old habit!? The muscles in my hand just know "mmer" is followed by "li". I guess it will take some more practice to replace Zimmerli with Erickson. :)

Ok, moving on. I was at a local park the other day enjoying the sunshine when a smell caught my nose. You know, like in the old cartoons. Imagine the aroma wafting in, it turns into a hand and lures you in. You float, mouth watering, across the room to whatever the wonderful smell is, be it pie or pizza or whatever you fancy that day. That day the smell reminded me of a cold veggie pizza. Once it was in my brain, I had to make it.

You can use any of your favorite raw veggies, I just used what was in my fridge. Enjoy this light, cool summer pizza.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Veggie Pizza
Serves 4

1 (8 ounce) can reduced fat crescent roll dough
1/2 (8 ounce) package neufchatel cheese
1/2-3/4 cups reduced fat sour cream
1 tablespoon dried dill weed or 1 tsp fresh
1 package ranch dressing mix
Diced raw veggies of your choice: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, red onion, cherry tomatoes, green peppers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Unroll crescent roll dough and lay flat on a baking sheet (do not separate sections). Bake in preheated oven for 11 to 13 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.

While crust is baking, mix together cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in dill and dressing mix.

When crust is cool, spread cheese mixture evenly over top. Sprinkle with chopped veggies. Chill until cream cheese mixture is firm, about 20 minutes. Cut into 4 portions and serve. (Or for more manageable slices: cut into 8 equal pieces, then 2 pieces is a serving)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baby Chickens?

We had Cornish game hen for dinner the other night. My husband is spoiled:

I presented my husband with a beautiful plate: Half a Cornish game hen dressed with lemon slices, fresh herbs, and pan drippings served along side homemade mashed potatoes with chives and dill. And to add color, roasted Brussel sprouts tossed with pecans and diced Roma tomatoes. A great looking meal worthy a restaurant menu. What did Jon say in response to this? "Where did you get baby chickens and how'd you cut it in half?! Is it magic?!" Ah, well, it was tasty non the less. And yes, folks, he did tell me thank you and that the meal was wonderful. :)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Oven roasted hens with lemon and rosemary
Serves 2

1 Cornish game hen
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, sliced
1 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 sprig fresh rosemary, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Rub hen with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Lightly season hens with salt and pepper. Place 1/2 the lemon wedges and 1 sprig rosemary in cavity of hen. Arrange in a large, heavy roasting pan, and arrange garlic cloves around hens. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together chicken broth, wine, and remaining 1/2 tablespoons of oil; pour over hens.

Continue roasting about 25 minutes longer, or until hens are golden brown and juices run clear. Baste with pan juices every 10 minutes.

Transfer hen to a platter, pouring any cavity juices into the roasting pan. Tent hen with aluminum foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices and garlic cloves to a medium saucepan and boil until liquids reduce to a sauce consistency, about 6 minutes.

Cut hens in half lengthwise* with kitchen shears and arrange on plates. Spoon sauce and garlic around hens. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and reserved lemon slices.

* Cut through the breast and back bone so each serving has 1 leg, 1 wing, and 1/2 the breast

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Move over Dinty Moore!

That's right, move on over canned, commerical stew. This girl's got a hearty homemade beef stew that satisfies even the hungriest man.

Another taste of home from my momma, with a twist or two of my own.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Beef Stew
Serves 4

1 pound stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
3 carrots, sliced on the bias
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 TBS cooking tapioca (also known as pearl tapioca, NOT sweetened or instant)
1 lb baby red skin fingerling potatoes, diced
1 rib celery
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large casserole that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake, covered for 2 hours. Remove bay leaf.

Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving

Spicy Success

Well folks, I have been working on my lifestyle change now for 5 months to the day. As of this morning, I am officially over halfway to my recommended weight for my height. In fact, I have lost 24.5 pounds by eating right and walking. No pills, no shakes, no crash diets or cutting carbs. Nope, this has been made possible by hard work, determination, and a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I stumbled onto a website called back in March when I had finally reached my breaking point. It is a website with meal plans, exercise plans, support groups, certified nutritionist and physicians advice, best of all, it's 100% free. No fees or service plans, no driving to weigh-ins, no counting points, basically no pressure. My favorite thing about the site is it empowers the user to make life long changes. The website makes it clear this is not a quick fix, changing your life takes time and dedication. But, eventually it becomes second nature.

Another facet of the website is a user submitted recipe collection. It's like one big recipe swap, but it's all healthy food. Today's recipe is one I found in one of my Cooking Light cookbooks. I have shared it on the website and gotten wonderful feedback. Taste and enjoy!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Huevos Rancheros
Serves 4

· 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
· ½ can diced green chilies
· 1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
· 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
· 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
· 1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed ,partially mash and heat through
· 4 large eggs
· 4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
· 4 oz feta cheese

Combine the tomatoes, chilies, and enchilada sauce in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and lime juice. Set aside.

Heat tortilla in a dry pan until slightly golden.

Lightly fry eggs in a pan sprayed with cooking spray. We like ours over easy.

Spread about 1/3 cup beans over each tortilla; top each tortilla with 1 egg. Spoon 1/4 of the sauce around each egg; sprinkle each serving with 1 oz of feta.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A taste of comfort

My mom used to make pot pies. I am not getting into a competition with anyone, ahem, KATE....but they are possibly the best pot pies I have ever had the joy of tasting.

I think so much of that comes simply with the comfort and warm fuzzy memories I have with and of my Mom. She is a great cook, she keep us feed with delicious food every night of the week. It was a secret that it was actually good for us.

My brother, unfortunately missed out on so many of her yummy creations as he had already moved out on his own. Adam, you must try this one!

I make these pot pies when I need a touch of love and an embrace from my Momma. Until I go to Georgia to visit her and my dad, these will have to do. :)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Mary's Chicken Pot Pies
Serves 3

1 frozen pie crust dough, thawed
1/2 cup diced onion
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cups potatoes, 1/2" dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
dash of Italian seasoning
2 cups chicken stock
2 medium carrots, 1/4" dice*
1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed*
6 oz chicken breast, diced
cornstarch and water to thicken

* May sub 2 cups mixed veggies or 2 cups veggies of your choosing

Preheat oven to 425.

Spray individual casseroles with cooking spray. Divide pie crust into 3 balls and roll out to casserole width. Set aside.

Saute chicken, onion, garlic, and celery until chicken is no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients except cornstarch and water. Simmer 15 minutes.

Remove bay leaf. Thicken with a cornstarch/water slurry. Thicken until sauce becomes a thin gravy consistency.

Divide into casseroles. Top with crust. Cut a slit in crust to allow steam to vent.

Bake 20 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mushroom Love

I love mushrooms. Sauteed, fresh, canned, it doesn't matter as long it's edible. Tonight I stumbled across a recipe on for chicken mushroom hash.

Here's my thought process on this one: " Hmmm potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and chicken. There was no way this could go wrong. Add to that, what?! this is HEALTHY?! Only 325 calories for a heaping plate? OK, I'm in. " And yes, I added the calculations again to be sure because I didn't belive the amount of food I was eating was only 325 cal. Sure enough, it was.

And you know, I couldn't finish my one serving it was so big! No deprivation for this girl.

Well, folks, it was fantastic. A definite keeper in my little red book. (I keep all my healthy and amazingly flavorful food in a red leather bound book)

So here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Chicken Mushroom Hash
Serves 2*

1 lb. potatoes, diced (2 medium)
1/4 lb mushrooms, quartered
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
10 1/2 oz. chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 1/2Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 c. light sour cream
1/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
fresh parsley

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat about 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned.

Add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, and the Italian seasoning. Saute until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the mixture from the pan.

Heat the remaining oil over moderately high heat. Add the diced potatoes and let cook, without stirring, for 6 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir the potatoes, and cook until well browned and fully cooked through.

Stir in the chicken and mushrooms, the sour cream, and the parsley. Cook until just heated through. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

*The recipe makes 2 servings, but could easily feed 3, maybe even 4 comfortably. Also note, the original author served this with a fried egg and no cheese. I substituted dry thyme with Italian seasoning.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Steak Samich

Yesterday I made some of my turkey noodle soup with leftover rotissere chicken. It was wonderful, just the thing Jon needed. He's trying to pass a kidney stone and so he needs to keep his fluids up.

To round out the meal I decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches. This sparked debate among my parents: cheese toasties vs grilled cheese sandwiches. Here's my ruling on the name: if you are sick or not feeling well it's a cheese toasty. If you are healthy and life is good, it's a grilled cheese sammy. What's your thought?

On to other business, we had grilled steak and arugula sandwiches last night. Unfortunately, Jon vetoed the Gorgonzola sauce for the night so I had to come up with a substitution. I made a garlic mayo sauce instead. It was wonderful!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Steak and Arugula Sammies
Serves 2

6 oz steak
4 oz french bread
1/4 cup arugula
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 TBS I can't Believe its not butter
2 TBS light miracle whip
1 tsp chopped, fresh parsley
onion and garlic powder

Prepare sandwich components:

Liberally sprinkle fresh cracked pepper over steak. Sprinkle lightly with onion and garlic powders. Grill over medium high heat until medium rare (pink in the middle, not red). Allow to rest under some foil to keep warm. Once meat has rested, cut into thin, wide strips. Keep warm.

Saute onion in melted butter until tender and caramelized.

Mix miracle whip, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley together in a small bowl. You may add a dash of hot sauce to this if you like a little kick.

To assemble:

Slice bread in half lengthwise. Spread mayo on top and bottom pieces of bread. Layer with arugula, then onions, sliced meat, end by replacing top piece of bread. Cut into 2 even pieces.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Garden Alert

Just an update on my garden. All is very well in veggie land :)

Tonight I got to pick my first crop of baby arugula! It is very tender and yummy.

We will be enjoying this batch on some steak and arugula sandwiches with a Gorgonzola sauce. Also, we will be having some wilted slightly in a vegetarian pasta dish with beans, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
A lot more to come!
Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!