Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Turkey and Lentil Meatballs

Nothing says cold-weather cooking like "balls n sauce"!

I like to bake these until the they start to form almost a crispy crust on the outside, then finish them in a large pan with sauce.

Very low-calorie, they work out to be about 1 point each on Weight Watchers. It seems like a lot of work just for meatballs, but if you cook the mushrooms while the lentils simmer and assemble the rest of the ingredients while the they cool, then it doesn't take that long.

3 whole bay leaves
1 whole clove garlic, gently smashed
1 1/2 dry lentils, rinsed and picked through
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup mushrooms, finely diced
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 eggs
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 pound ground turkey, extra-lean

Add the lentils and spices to a medium-sized saucepan and add water until they cover the lentils by an inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove garlic clove and bay leaves, let cool, then mash with a potato masher.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a smaller saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, sweat for several minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and sautee over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until very soft. Let cool.

In a large bowl, assemble your meatballs! Combine lentils, mushrooms and all remaining ingredients and mix well with gloved hands. Form into approximately 30 meatballs. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

These freeze really well, too, just let them cool at room temperature for at least an hour before sealing in an air-tight baggie.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Southern Tomato Pie

{photo above is pre-cooked}.

1 refrigerated pie crust
1 cup mayo
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup sliced scallions
8 to 10 medium plum tomatoes or roma tomatoes

heat oven to 350, place one oven rack on the very bottom shelf of oven.

line a 9 inch pie pan with the crust and crimp the edges with a fork. prick bottom and sides of dough with a fork.

bake 10 to 12 minutes until crust looks slightly puffed and dry.

meanwhile in a bowl mix mayo, 1 1/4 cups of cheese and the black pepper.

sprinkle bottom of partially baked crust with 1/2 cup of the remaining cheese.
top with a layer of tomatoes.
sprinkle with scallions.
spoon some of the mayo mixture on next in dollops, you don't need to spread it, just drop it in clumps.
do another layer of the above tomatoes, scallions, and mayo mixture.
(recipe calls for several layers. we only did 2).

sprinkle top with cheese.

bake 30 to 35 minutes until the crust is golden and juices are bubbling.
cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.

(good with a side salad).

Pumpkin Oatmeal

I'm pretty excited to try this tonight. You cook it on low heat in the crock pot overnight!

-1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
-1/2 tsp kosher salt
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 c honey
-1 1/2 c steel-cut oats
-3 c raw pumpkin, cut into cubes (use sugar or pie pumpkin)
-6 c water

Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Enjoy!


I re-made this last night (11/1) using an additional 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and I shredded the pumpkin with a food processor instead of cutting it into cubes. MUCH BETTER this way!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Flatbread Pizzas

Easy to make, easy on the diet! One of the reasons that my posting has slowed way down is because I joined Weight Watchers about 4 weeks ago. 12 pounds down and I'm convinced the plan works. Of course, this means I will have to say goodbye to about 90% of the recipes on my blog (sigh)...

Hopefully, this means I'll be gathering up, testing and sharing lots of healthy alternatives!

Flatbread Pizza

-Several small or medium tomatoes, sliced thick and seeded (I used 6 small heirloom)
-3 small zucchini, sliced thick
-5 or 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thick
-2 tbs olive oil
-Pinch of salt and pepper
-2 cups sliced mushrooms
-1 tbs butter or butter alternative
-Pinch of salt and pepper
-4 large pieces of flatbread (I used Flat-Out Light)
-1 cup fresh basil leaves
-1/2 cup low-fat or fat-free mozzarella

Toss together the tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into an oven-safe baking dish, and roast at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Set aside.

(Mushrooms optional!) In a medium sautee pan, combine the butter, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Sautee for 5-10 minutes, until soft, add to tomatoes.

Lower heat in oven to 400 degrees, pre-heat pizza stone for 10 minutes. Add the flatbreads and heat for an additional 5 minutes.

Assemble your pizzas! Load up with the veggies, top with basil leaves and cheese. Add grated parmesan if you feel like it.

Bake on the pizza stone for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Enjoy!

(I estimated about 6 points per pizza, if you keep count)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pumpkin Butter Spice Cake

I would share a photograph, but we've managed to eat half of it already.

The secret ingredient is something that Ina would approve of...Williams-Sonoma Organic Pumpkin Butter, left in my pantry for at least a year and a half. Martha would NOT approve, since I didn't make the pumpkin butter myself. Or, you know, slap around my staff for not making it right.

This is the perfect experimental recipe - as long as you don't mess around with the key cake-making ingredients (butter, eggs, sugar, baking soda and powder, flour, salt), you can really play with the flavor and texture. Keeping the proportions the same, try other flavors of fruit butters, different spices mix up the sour cream and yogurt, maybe sub in some applesauce...have fun with it!

-1/2 c butter, room temperature
-1 c sugar
-2 eggs, room temperature
-1 jar (8 oz) apple butter
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 c sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
-2 c flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/2 tsp allspice
-1/2 tsp salt

With your mixer on medium-high speed, whip together the butter and sugar for 5 minutes. Turn speed down to low and add the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Add the pumpkin butter, vanilla and sour cream (or yogurt), mix for another 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, sift the next 7 ingredients together (flour through salt). Add to wet mixture, a little at a time, until just mixed.

Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Crab stuffed mushrooms

This is beyond tasty! Ryan and I had a similar dish as an appetizer a few weeks back, and I just had to try and make it for myself. It still needs some tweaking - the dish we ordered at the restaurant had more of a sauce thing going on.

-1 large package of mushrooms
-2 shallots, finely diced
-1/2 c butter, divided
-12 oz lump crab meat
-3 tbs fresh lime juice
-1/4 c fresh parsley, finely chopped
-1/4 c mayonnaise
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 c bread crumbs, divided
-1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

Clean and de-stem the mushrooms, saving the steams. Finely dice the stems and sautee in a small pan with 1/4 c butter and the shallot.

In a large bowl, combine the crab meat and the next 5 ingredients, through breadcrumbs (use 1/4 c in the mix). Add the onion mixture, stir well.

Spoon the crab mixture into the mushroom caps and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Combine the remaining 1/4 c breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, sprinkle over the mushrooms. Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 c melted butter. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Polynesian Salad With Ramen

1 small to medium head of cabbage, chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
{set aside}

2-3 Tablespoons of butter
2 packages of crushed Ramen noodles (set aside seasoning pkg. buy the oriental ramen)
1 package of thinly sliced almonds
2 to 4 Tablespoons sesame seeds
saute these ingredients until golden brown. can burn quickly, watch carefully.

3/4 c veg oil
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c vinegar
2 T soy sauce
2 seasoning packages from the ramen noodles
let come to a boil. turn down and boil 1 to 2 minutes. let cool a bit.

mix all ingredients together right before serving.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Texas Sheet Cake

Click here for recipe. We add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry cake mixture. The cake is best served warm. It will melt in your mouth!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brownies with cream cheese - blackberry filling

This is a decadent dessert that is actually lower in fat and calories, thanks to cutting back on ingredients like butter and eggs. The result is a cakey brownie that has pockets of sweet-tart preserves and swirls of creamy goodness. It's easily doubled, which I recommend if you are making this for a crowd.

Feel free to substitute other kinds of preserves instead of the blackberry - honestly, it was was just what I happened to have in the pantry.

3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c sugar
1/4 c butter, melted
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 egg whites

Sift together the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. (Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder). Set aside.

In your mixer, combine the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes (Sugar, butter, water, vanilla extract, egg and egg whites).

With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing only until everything is incorporated. Pour 2/3 of the batter into an 8 or 9" baking dish that is greased and floured. Set aside the rest.


1/3 c sugar
8 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white (you can add the yolk to the brownies if you don't want to waste it)

In your stand mixer, whisk the above ingredients together on med-high speed for 5 minutes.

Dollop the cream cheese filling on top of the brownie batter. Swirl through with a knife. Then dollop the remainder of the brownie batter on top of the cream cheese, and spoon on several teaspoons of the blackberry (or whatever you have) preserves. Swirl again with a knife, then bake at 350 for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely before cutting.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

French Onion Soup

You will need:

-4 tbs butter
-1 tsp salt
-4 onions, thinly sliced
-48 oz chicken stock
-16 oz beef stock
-1/2 c red wine
-1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
-2 tbs parsley
-1 tbs thyme
-1 bay leaf
-Day-old baguette
-Slices of Gruyere or Swiss cheese

In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook the butter, salt and onions over medum heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring often. When the onions have reduced and begin to caramelize, add the stock, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Bind the herbs together with twine and add to the pot. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. When the soup is done, remove the herbs.

While the soup cooks, preheat the broiler. Slice the bread into 1 1/2" slices, place on a baking sheet. Broil on one side for 45 seconds, flip and broil the other side for about 30 seconds.

Pour the soup into oven-safe bowls and top with the baguette slices. Add a few slices of the cheese and place back into the oven. Broil for about 1 minute, or until cheese bubbles. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pork medallions with tangy cherry-pomegranate sauce

This is a surprisingly low-calorie and low-fat dish to make, especially if you trim the pork tenderloin beforehand. The sauce is rich and tangy, and the cherries add little pops of sweetness.
(Shown here with my usual couscous dish - minus the shallot, plus some ground saffron and curry.)

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into one-inch thick medallions
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 pomegranate juice (I used POM)
-1/3 c dried sweet cherries
-1/4 c dry red wine (MM: Never cook with something you wouldn't drink!)
-1/4 c balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp cornstarch
-1 tsp water
-1 tbsp butter
Sprinkle both sides of the medallions with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a deep frying or stir-fry pan over med-high heat. Add the pork and cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan, keep warm.
Add the next four ingredients (through balsamic vinegar) to the pan to deglaze, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil for two minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, then add to the pan. Bring the sauce back to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for another minute. Kill the heat and add the butter, stirring until it melts.
Add the pork back to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce. Serve each medallion with a spoonful of sauce, making sure to include those yummy cherries!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Scallops in a garlicky white wine sauce

(Otherwise known as scallops scampi-esque)

My house reeks of garlic and it's totally worth it!

-1 pound pasta
-4 tbsp room-temperature butter
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 small shallot, minced
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/2 c white wine
-1 c chicken stock
-1 pound bay scallops
-2-3 teaspoons of fresh or dried parsley (fresh is best!)

Cook the pasta VERY al dente according to the directions on the box.

In a deep sauté pan, melt the butter over med-high heat. Add the garlic, shallot, salt and pepper, and cook until translucent. Pour in the stock and wine, and bring to a boil. Add the scallops, reduce the heat to medium, let the sauce come back to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove the scallops from the pan with a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan with the sauce and cook for several minutes. Kill the heat, toss the scallops back into the mixture with the parsley. Serve with a little bit of grated parmesan.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Experimental recipe: pot roast (a la Emily)

I'm not going to give you directions on how long to cook this in the oven, because mine was pretty pink in the center...do what works for you.

-3 lb roast, tied
-2 tbsp olive oil
-Salt and pepper
-1 medium yellow onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-1 c celery, chopped
-1 c carrots, chopped
-1 can Campbell's French Onion soup
-1 1/4 c dry red wine, separated
-1 tsp parsley
-1/2 tsp thyme
-1/2 tsp paprika
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-2 pounds potatoes, diced
-2 tbsp ultra-refined flour (such as Wondra)

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over med-high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the roast, sear on all sides until browned. Remove roast, set aside.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onion and garlic to the pan, sautee until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, cook another 5 minutes. Add the soup mix, 1 cup of the wine and spices, stir well.

Put the roast back into the Dutch oven and bake at 325, uncovered, for one hour. Turn the roast once and add the potatoes, then cook until desired level of doneness.

Remove the roast from the pan, cover in foil and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside the veg, then strain the liquid in the pan into a gravy separator. Put the Dutch oven back on the stovetop over medium heat, and add the remainder of the red wine to deglaze the bottom. Add the separated liquid and bring to a low simmer. Whisk in the flour and stir for about 3-5 minutes. Serve with the roast.