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Friday, May 28, 2010

Italian Meatloaf with Fresh Basil and Fontina

I found this recipe while looking for ideas to use up some of the ground beef we had stored in the freezer.  I wanted something fairly low points, and I don't think that 6 points for two slices of this is bad at all.  We really enjoyed it, it was a nice twist to traditional meatloaf because of the Italian flavorings.  It was pretty straightforward and easy and made for good leftovers the next day.  We served it with our standard meatloaf accompaniments, mashed potatoes and baby carrots.

Italian Meatloaf with Fresh Basil & Fontina
adapted from The Best of Cooking Light

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 slices)

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded cheese (provolone or fontina)
2 large egg whites
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground beef
Cooking spray
1/3 cup ketchup

  • Combine boiling water and tomatoes in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain tomatoes; finely chop.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Combine 1/2 cup ketchup, breadcrumbs, and the next 6 ingredients (breadcrumbs through beef) in a large bowl. Add tomatoes to meat mixture.
  • Shape meat mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 cup ketchup over meat loaf.
  • Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a thermometer registers 160°.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Cut into 12 slices.

Nutritional Information
WW Points: 6

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Beef Fajitas

I found this recipe while flipping through The Best of Cooking Light.  I knew we had some steak in the freezer and some peppers to use up.  This was easy and delicious.  It was great as a weeknight meal because you can prep and marinate everything the night before so it just needs to be cooked and assembled (and eaten!) that day.  I found the marinade really flavorful.  The original recipe was for beef and chicken, but we just used beef.  We had plenty leftover and used the leftover beef and veggies for quesadillas, or you could make them up into burritos too. 

Beef Fajitas  
adapted from The Best of Cooking Light

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 2 fajitas)


1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.25-ounce) can low-salt beef broth

1 (1-pound) flank steak
2 red bell peppers, each cut into 12 wedges
2 green bell peppers, each cut into 12 wedges
1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 16 wedges
Cooking spray
16 (6-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
1 cup bottled salsa
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh cilantro sprigs



  • To prepare marinade, combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.
  • To prepare fajitas, trim fat from steak. Score a diamond pattern on both sides of the steak. Combine 1 1/2 cups marinade and steak in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Combine remaining marinade, bell peppers, and onion in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
  • Prepare grill.
  • Remove steak from bag; discard marinade. Remove vegetables from bag; reserve marinade. Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan; set aside. Place steak and vegetables on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cook 8 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
  • Wrap tortillas tightly in foil; place tortilla packet on grill rack the last 2 minutes of grilling time. Bring reserved marinade to a boil. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Place the steak and vegetables on a serving platter; drizzle with reserved marinade.
  • Arrange about 1 ounce steak, 3 bell pepper wedges, and 1 onion wedge in a tortilla; top with 1 tablespoon salsa, about 1 teaspoon sour cream, and 1/2 tablespoon cilantro. Fold sides of tortilla over filling. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired. Serve immediately.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sausage, Cheese and Egg Breakfast Braid

I found this recipe while searching for breakfast recipes to use when were were expecting weekend house guests.  However, when I saw this recipe I knew it would be great for my own weekday breakfasts.  I usually take a breakfast sandwich made up of a whole grain english muffin, veggie or chicken sausage patty, and a slice of 2% pepper jack cheese.  First off, because it's only 3 points, and secondly because I can eat it in the car while on my morning commute.  I knew that when cooled and then sliced this would be easy to eat in the car as well.  I adapted it a bit, since I didn't have any jalapeno peppers and I used the sausage I had on hand; but, I think the original recipe would be great too and I'll definitely try it that way in the future.  I also used just a mexican blend of 2% shredded cheese since, again, it's what I had on hand, but any mix of cheeses would work as well. 

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Braid
Adapted from Cooking Light

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 ounces chicken sausage
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup shredded cheese
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Unroll dough onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; pat into a 15 x 10–inch rectangle.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sausage; cook 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in eggs; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until set. Remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese lengthwise down center of dough, leaving about a 2 1/2-inch border on each side. Spoon egg mixture evenly over cheese. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over egg mixture.
  • Make 2-inch-long diagonal cuts about 1 inch apart on both sides of dough to within 1/2 inch of filling using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Arrange strips over filling, alternating strips diagonally over filling. Press ends under to seal. Brush with egg white. 

  • Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut crosswise into slices.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pollo al Chilindron

Pollo al Chilindron is based on a stew from the Aragon region of Spain.  It is a slow cooking dish of chicken, peppers, onions and paprika.  The flavors were phenomenal.  We just had it with the fabada asturiana when we first made it.  But, we had the leftovers on top of mashed potatoes and, while I am sure this is far from traditional, it was delicious.  The creaminess of the mashed potatoes and the wonderful smoky flavors of the chicken and peppers blended together beautifully.  I loved this dish and I can't wait to make it again.  I also want to play around with it to work on a quicker, weeknight version that will deliver the same awesome flavors.  I'll definitely use boneless skinless chicken breasts and the same vegetables and spices, but probably in a separate sauce to be combined with the chicken at the end instead of stewing together the whole time as this did.  I'll let you know as soon as I have something worked out!

Pollo al Chilindron
Chicken with Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions and Spanish Ham
From Made in Spain

Serves 4

1/4 cup spanish extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 Tablespoon
4 chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks separated
salt to taste
2 cups diced spanish onions
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup diced jamon serrano
1/2 teaspoon sweet pimenton (spanish smoked paprika)
2 cups plain canned tomato sauce
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
2 cups water

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12 quart pot over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken pieces with salt.  Working in batches brown them on all sides.  Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.
  • Add 1/4 cup olive oil to the same pot and, when the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers.  Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly until the vegetables are dark golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon water if the onions start to burn.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.  Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the jamon and browned chicken pieces, as well as any juices that have collected, and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Stir in the pimenton, tomato sauce, rosemary, bay leaf and the water and simmer over low heat for 1 hour or until the meat starts to fall off the bone.  Season to taste with salt before serving.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fabada Asturiana

This was the side dish we chose to make from our Spanish cooking extravaganza.  Okay, so I just called it a Spanish cooking extravaganza in my head, we didn't actually refer to it that way, but that's definitely what it was.  :-)  This was very delicious, the beans cook up buttery and creamy and the accent of the pimenton is rich and flavorful.  We did have to use butter beans however, as fabes are not widely available in the US, and if they can be found ( they are fairly expensive ($16/pound).  After much googling about a suitable replacement, I decided on butter beans.  

The second change I made was not to use slab bacon, but to just slice up bacon and use that instead.  While it turned out okay, I think I would make one more change to this next time.  I'd probably pan fry the bacon to get it started, and then cook the onion, garlic and spices in a mixture of bacon fat and olive oil.  The bacon was delicious (as all bacon is) but, did not have the greatest texture after being boiled in the soup.  I think this would help it be even better.  

Fabada Asturiana
Asturian Bean Stew
From Made in Spain

Serves 4 to 6

1/2 pound dried butter beans
1/4 pound bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock
1 head garlic, papery outer skin removed
2 medium Spanish onions, 1 halved and 1 minced
1/4 cup Spanish extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)
pinch of saffron, crushed

  • The day before you plan to cook the stew, place the beans in a bowl and cover with cold water.  Soak the beans overnight at room temperature.  The next day, drain and rinse the beans.
  • Combine the drained beans and chicken stock in a large pot.  Remove 1 garlic clove from the head and set aside.  Add the bacon, the head of garlic and the halved onion.  Bring to a slow boil, skimming and foam that rises to the top.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  
  • Meanwhile in a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the minced onion and cook until it is translucent and begins to caramelize, about 15 minutes.  Peel and mince the reserved garlic clove and add it to the onion.  Cook for 2 more minutes, then stir in the pimenton and saffron.  Spoon the onion mixture into the large pot and stir well until combined.
  • Continue to cook the beans, uncovered, at a very low simmer for 2 hours.  Occasionally add a little cold water to slow the simmering and to keep the beans covered with liquid.  Do not stir the beans while they cook, this could cause them to break apart.  
  • Remove the pot from the heat, cover and set aside to cool for one hour.  Remove and discard the onion halves and head of garlic.  
  • Ladle the beans into soup bowls and serve.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Red Wine Sangria

This is the first of three recipes I will post from my April Cookbook of the Month - Made in Spain by Jose Andres.  Zach and I took a Saturday in April and made a day of recreating some of the fabulous dishes we've seen him make on the PBS Series.  It was a lot of fun for us both to cook together all day, and we can't wait to do it again.  Of course, the fun was amplified by the fact that we prepared this sangria the night before and drank it while we were cooking.  It was phenomenal.  We've eaten at Jaleo several times and this recipe lived up to the restaurant version.  I love the bits of apple, they add a nice crunch.  It's a great summer drink and we're looking forward to making it again!

Red Wine Sangria
from Made in Spain
Serves 4

1 bottle of fruity red wine, such as a Garnacha
5 Tablespoons Brandy
1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur
1/4 cup vodka
1 splash ruby port
1 orange, peeled and sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip of lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 splash of soda water

  • Combine the wine, brandy, orange liqueur, vodka, port, orange, apples, cinnamon stick and lemon zest in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Pour the mixture into a pitcher filled halfway with ice.  Add the orange juice and soda water.
  • Give a quick stir and serve, making sure each glass gets some ice and fruit.  

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sour Cream Coffeecake Muffins

I found this recipe while searching the Cooking Light website.  My mom and grandparents were coming for a weekend visit and I wanted something quick and easy for breakfast.  I knew I could make these ahead of time and have them ready to go in the mornings.  We had them with chicken sausage and scrambled eggs.  I forgot about the glaze I was going to make to put on them fresh that morning, and everyone had started eating already when I remembered.  They said they were fine without it.  I used almonds instead of pecans, since I'm not a fan of pecans but I do love almonds.  They were moist and delicious, a great start to a morning of sightseeing!

Sour Cream Coffeecake Muffins
adapted from Cooking Light
Yield: 18 servings (serving size: 1 muffin)

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar 
1/4  cup  butter, softened 
2 eggs 
1  cup  reduced-fat sour cream 
2  tablespoons  water 
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract 
1 3/4  cups  all-purpose flour 
 1  teaspoon  baking powder 
1/2  teaspoon  baking soda 
1/2  teaspoon  salt 
Cooking spray 


  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Combine first 3 ingredients; set aside.
  • Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add eggs; beat 3 minutes. Beat in sour cream, water, and vanilla.
  • Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture; add sour cream mixture. Stir just until combined.
  • Place 3 tablespoons brown sugar mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Sprinkle surface of batter with remaining brown sugar mixture. Gently fold batter 4 times.
  • Place 18 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon batter into prepared cups. Sprinkle batter evenly with reserved brown sugar mixture. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies: Barefoot Bloggers

This was the second Barefoot Bloggers selection for April.  I made these a little late in the month since I knew I had a work meeting to attend on the 29th.  I wanted to take them with me, since I A) didn't want too many cookies around the house and 2) I'm not particularly fond of raspberries or coconut.  I know, I know, I haven't liked the base ingredients of either of the Barefoot recipes this month, which was kind of a letdown, but kind of good, since Zach and I are still following the Weight Watchers program.  Zach actually made the dough for these while I was finishing up school work one night, then we did the assembling and such together before baking.  They were pretty simple to make and turned out looking pretty impressive!  They won rave reviews at my meeting and were gobbled up quickly.  I halved the recipe since in my experience Ina's recipes always make way more cookies than they say they will.  It was the perfect amount for my meeting, about 18-20. 

Edit:  I found a picture!  A bad one, but it's still a picture!

Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies: Barefoot Bloggers

The first selection of April for Barefoot Bloggers was Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies.  I'll admit I was a little disappointed since I do not like raisins or pecans.  I thought about doing a chocolate chip version with the oatmeal cookie base; but, when I showed the recipe to Zach he seemed pretty excited about them.  So, I decided to make them as is, and just not eat any.  We had my mom and grandparents coming into town for a weekend visit, so I made them then so Zach wasn't stuck with a ton of cookies to eat either.  I did eat some of the dough as I was making them and it was very good.  I did find that the recipe made a crazy amount of cookies though.  I only have one cookie scoop, so maybe it's on the small side, but the recipe said 30-35 and I got over 50.  I sent some home with my mom and grandparents, and even took some to my sister's store for her to share with co-workers.  I have learned to half all of Ina's dessert recipes in the future!  Unfortunately, making these as my mom and grandparents walked in the door, I never got a picture, but here is the link...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Goulash Burgers

I found this recipe in my file of recipes I've cut out of magazines and newspapers.  We had some ground turkey and were in the mood for burgers so off I went to search my files!  This one stood out to me because of the smoked paprika.  It was delicious!  A great way to add lots of flavor to a dish.  I modified the recipe a bit, leaving out the dill (we don't like it) and some of the toppings.  So, it's not necessarily a goulash burger anymore, but it was very good!  I also scaled down the amount of sauce.  It originally called for a whole cup of sour cream.  Even using half a cup we had a ton leftover that we used as a dip for cucumbers, but I find that in general Rachael Ray recipes tend to make large amounts of food, this was no exception. 

Goulash Burgers
4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 15 minutes

  •    1½ pounds ground chicken
  •    3 scallions, finely chopped
  •    Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
  •    2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (2/3 palmful)
  •    Salt and freshly ground pepper
  •    2 jarred roasted red peppers, patted dry
  •    1/2 cup sour cream 
  •    1 small shallot, finely chopped
  •    4 individual brioche or eggy rolls, split


   1. Place the ground chicken in a bowl with the scallions, parsley and paprika; season with salt and pepper. Combine the mixture with a fork and form into four 1-inch-thick patties.
   2. Grill burgers, 6 minutes on each side.
   3. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Place the red peppers, sour cream and shallot in a food processor. Process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a small dish.
   4. Spread the rolls with the red pepper sauce. Assemble burgers.