January 2014

quick-chicken-with-white-wine-lemon

This chicken is as quick as this post is going to be. Sorry, but I’m lacking motivation in my personal life lately as my work life has been a bit exhausting. Don’t worry, my skin and my hair are suffering too.

This dinner came together so quickly I could hardly believe it. I bought 1 lb of chicken tenders from the store, browned them in a bit of olive oil and S&P in a large skillet, then removed them and added:

  • 1 cup white wine
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard (I like 2, John likes closer to 1)
  • 2 tablespoons Half & Half
  • Fresh dill (optional)

After the chicken is browned/cooked (about 5 minutes), deglaze the pan with wine. Let reduce by half. Squeeze in the lemon juice, then whisk in the mustard. Reduce the heat to low, and slowly mix in the half and half.  Serve the sauce over the chicken, and top with fresh dill.

Meatloaf

meatloaf

This is another meatloaf recipe (I have one from long ago), and I’m really only adding it to this blog because I want to remember what I put in the sauce, because we really liked it (that and the fact that I have no time write another new post right now – sorry!).  The recipe is really quite standard – ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs – I sauteed some onions to put in it, then added a dash of Worcestershire and ketchup.  Then I topped it with this sweet yet tangy sauce, and roasted it with some veggies.

We wanted to use lean beef so that we would eat it for leftovers on Monday (we used 93% lean), so it doesn’t stay quite as firm as it would when you use the standard 80/20 ground beef. Your call, but the flavor was great and it only crumbled a little bit – so worth the health advantages in my opinion.

Recipe

  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced and sauteed
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • Several dashes Worcestershire
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 2 spoonfuls of the sauce below

Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire

Preheat the oven to 350.  Saute the onions, then add in the chicken broth, Worcestershire, and ketchup.  Cook until the chicken broth is mostly absorbed.  In a bowl, mix the beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, S&P, and onion mixture.  In a separate bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients.  Spoon about two tablespoons of the sauce into the meat mixture.

Grease your baking dish, then transfer the meat to it and form into a loaf. Brush the sauce on top.  We chose to scatter some veggies drizzled with olive oil along the side to roast with it (must be cut into small pieces or they won’t get done).  Bake the meatloaf for about 1 hr 10 minutes.  Wait a few minutes before slicing.

slow-cooked-pork-chops-and-gravy

I imagine this photo will never make the cover of Bon Appetit.  Or this recipe.  My husband has been harassing me to make it for a while now. He saw it when someone posted it on facebook, and he has no idea where the recipe came from, but he knew it had pork chops, cream of chicken soup, and Ranch seasoning. And a crock pot.  Sounds like a recipe straight out of the Midwest.

I should say that I cringed when I first heard the ingredients (I think we’re supposed to be getting away from cooking with canned ‘cream of _____’ things, and the ranch dressing, and the crock pot)…but I didn’t. The truth is I love recipes like this (and you know what ‘like that’ means).  They are always good. ALWAYS. I will never turn my back on the midwest and casseroles and canned creamy soups and crock pots.  Although I do not have a crock pot. I use a covered pot in the oven instead.

As I said, I can’t site the source of this recipe, but I added extra soup for the gravy and some Worcestershire. So easy, and yes – delicious.

Recipe

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, at least 1-inch thick
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used healthy request!!)
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
  • Several dashed Worcestershire
  • Chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 300.  Place the pork chops in the pot of your choice (must have a cover). Mix the soup, ranch seasoning and Worcestershire in a bowl. Pour over the pork chops. Add a bit of chicken broth to cover the bottom of the pot and halfway up the first layer of pork chops (about 1/2 cup or so).  Cover, and place in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours. Pork should be very pork tender and the gravy should be nice and thick. SERVE THE GRAVY OVER POTATOES.  I had to tell my husband 5 times to try the gravy on his potato (rather than the cheese and sour cream he had), until I finally had to resort to expletives and a raised voice.  So good.

You could also make this in a crock pot, I would imagine on low for 5-6 hours.

Chewy Granola Bars

chewy-granola-bars

My husband eats a granola bar every day.  When I first met him they were cinnamon raisin, he now favors a peanut butter chocolate chip.  He challenged me to try to make them. I did. He tasted them.  He loved them.  He actually said ‘they’re almost too good to be true.’

YES!! I love when something is such a success. And so practical.  We’re practically a sustainable household now that we don’t need store bought granola bars.

I made two variations: cinnamon raisin and peanut butter with a butterscotch drizzle.  If I had to pick which one was better I say the peanut butter, because I love peanut butter and I love butterscotch (you could easily switch up with chocolate). Plus, they turned out a little softer and less chewy than the cinnamon raisin.  The cinnamon raisin are delicious if you love cinnamon and raisin.  They are a bit firmer and perhaps less dessert-tasting than the PB.


Recipe: Peanut Butter with Butterscotch Drizzle

  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats (oatmeal)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey crunch wheat germ (or toasted)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use natural, I don’t think)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350.  Toss the oatmeal with the canola oil, and toast on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in the oven.  Pour into a bowl, and add the wheat germ (you can find this in the cereal aisle).  Reduce the oven to 300 degrees.  In a saucepan, melt the butter; whisk in the honey, peanut butter, brown sugar, and salt. Bring to a very low boil, remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Stir the sauce into the toasted oats.

Line an 8×8 or 9×9 inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.  Press the granola into the dish, and bake at 300 for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool completely.

To make the glaze, melt the chips over low heat in a double boiler with the butter and corn syrup, and whisk until it comes together (it doesn’t look like it’s going to but it does).   It doesn’t melt very easy and is a little sticky once it does, but if you can drizzle (I just used the whisk I was stirring with), I promise you it dries perfectly. Doesn’t smear, doesn’t stick, it’s just a perfect consistency.  Drizzle it over the bars and let cool. Cut into rectangle or squares.

Recipe: Cinnamon Raisin
Simply reduce the oats to 2 cups, replace the 1/3 cup peanut butter with another cup of honey.  Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon into the oat/wheat germ mixture, along with 1/2 cup raisins. Omit the glaze.

Then you can wrap them up for mobility purposes:

 

**Note:  I recently made a vegan version of this recipe, where I replaced the 1/4 cup butter with 3 tablespoons of canola oil, and oil for butter in the glaze. They turned out almost the same!

Beer Bread

beer-bread

This recipe may not necessarily fit in with your 2014 weight loss goals, but let me tell you it most definitely fits in with all your other goals. Want to have more fun? Fits. Want to become more popular? Fits. Want to eat more carbs? Drink more beer? Fits. Fits.

My mom used to make beer bread, and I loved it. Her recipe called for self-rising flour, but I didn’t have any. So I added baking powder, and it turned out just scrumptious.  Next time I might add some sharp cheddar cheese to the top, just to stick with the Wisconsin theme.

Recipe

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can beer
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Sea salt (optional)

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and beer together in a bowl.  Pour into a greased 5×8 bread pan.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes; brush with melted butter and bake for 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve warm.

roasted-salmon-with-creamy-avocado-slaw
Aaaaaaand, making up for two weeks of binge eating begins. Salmon, avocado, vegetables, oh and a touch of sour cream. Just a touch. We recently ate at a restaurant that served a creamy avocado slaw, and we loved it so much we asked the waiter how it was prepared.  “Uh, all I know is that it’s a totally natural process.”
What?? How else would it be prepared?  Genetic engineering? Chemical fusion? I feel like I should report him to someone.
Anyway, we recreated it home which turned out to be quite easy. And totally natural.

Recipe

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Blackened seasoning or S&P (I used a delicious Montreal Steak Seasoning)
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 cups green and purple cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely julienned
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced sweet onion

The slaw is best made 2 hours in advance, to let the veggies and sauce marinate (but not a day ahead – the avocado browns a little).  In a food processor, blend the avocados, sour cream, lime juice, jalapeno, honey, white wine vinegar, and red pepper. Blend until smooth.  Mix enough of the sauce into a bowl with the cabbage, red bell pepper, and onions just to coat.  You will have about 1/3 to 1/2 cup sauce left over, so you can serve that as a side with the salmon.

Preheat the oven to 400.  Brush the salmon with olive oil, then season.  Roast for about 10-12 minutes.  Serve with avocado cream and slaw on the side.

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