Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ah... what a lovely dinner time it will be this evening. I am attending an educators town hall meeting at Millersville Univeristy and the Gettysburg girls and I are reuniting at Fiorentino's before heading to the forum. My perfect kind of dinner... someone else cooks it! Sean and Avery are on their own tonight, so I suspect a date to McDonald's is in store for them. Now... the tough decisions... do I get the salad I usually order or splurge? Definitely will be splurging on a glass of Pinot :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On Wednesdays I take a Zumba class at 6:30 so we do some sort of pasta dish every Wednesday. Tonight is nothing fancy... plain noodles with EVOO and garlic for my DH and noodles with Prego for me. Gotta squeeze my Italian foods in some how... no matter how basic they may be!

Tonight will probably call for a glass of Pinot Grigio :) Zumba is a latin-inspired dance aerobic kind of work out and I know I look absolutely ridiculous doing it. But, last week I burned 500 calories in an hour. So it's awesome. A little liquid courage never hurt anybody, right?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I could eat chicken every night of the week, but my DH (dear husband) would tire of that very quickly. So, we've been adding pork products into our repitoire recently. Tonight's dinner features Glazed Ham Steaks with Sauteed Apples. I was afraid it would be "too much sweet, " but it actually wasn't. The marmalade on the ham really mellows out with cooking and the cinnamon in the apples balances the sugary sweetness. For three nights in a row my hubby has praised my cooking... and genuinely meant it!

Glazed Ham Steaks and Sauteed Apples
Ham Steaks (one for each person you are cooking for)
Mackay's Orange Marmalade with Champagne
2 Golden Delicious Apples (peeled and thinly sliced)
1/4 cup water (I think I forgot this last night!)
2 tsp canola or vegetable oil (I used Right Balance's soy, vegetable blend)
2 tbsp dark brown sugar (I used the Splenda mix)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place ham steaks in a baking dish and top with just a touch of water (enough so that the bottoms are in, but the tops aren't covered). Top each ham steak with 2 tbsp of marmalade (or as much as you would like) and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

2. While the ham steaks cook, start working on the apples. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add apple and remaining ingredients. Cook 8 minutes or until apple is tender and golden, stirring occassionally.

Using MyFitnessPal to track my calories this meal came in at 489 calories for the meal. That's 325 for the ham (thanks to the marmalade adding an extra 100 calories- so that can be skipped if needed) and 164 calories for 1 cup of apples.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday is dance night for my daughter, so typically this is a crock pot day or something easy. This afternoon when I got home from picking up my daughter at daycare I made my favorite soup. Here in central PA we have a great chain of restaurants called Isaac's. Amazing sandwiches and the best soup I have ever had- Pepperjack Tomato. I did a Google search for some recipes and found one I ended up modifying. Monday's tweaking of the recipe resulted in the best ever soup. It freezes really well so now we have another dinner ready to go in the freezer for another night. I also added a garlic crostini to tonight's meal and it was equally as amazing as the soup!

Pepperjack Tomato Soup
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes (I used one regular and 1 can of tomatoes with garlic and onion)
3 cans condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 can water
1.5 cups milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp paprika
4 oz cream cheese (softened block or Philly Cooking Cream Cheese)
2-4 oz pepperjack cheese (I grated it this time and it actually melted in the soup instead of being chunky)
Dash Tabasco sauce

1. In a large saucepan or I used my 10 qt. pot, saute onion in butter, until tender, add garlic. Stir in tomatoes, soup, water, milk, sugar, basil, and paprika. I do this over med-low heat.

2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cream cheese and pepperjack cheese. Serve immediately or reheat as needed.

Sorry- no servings or nutrition information.

Garlic Crostini

1 loaf of french bread
butter (I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray)
garlic salt

Slice bread into 1/2 inch slices. Spray each slice with butter spray. Top with garlic salt and toast in toaster oven until golden and crispy. Serve on the side with soup. I like to dip mine in the soup!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Okay- here we go. Day 1: Lemon-Rosemary Chicken and Fresh Spinach Rice

This was super simple, and super delicious. I found both of these recipes in a Weight Watchers recipe magazine that I paid way too much for while waiting to check out at the grocery store about a year ago. This is the first time I made anything out of this $10.99 magazine! And it was awesome... picky husband enjoyed it, even with the spinach mixed into the rice. On top of being picky with what he will eat, he also does not eat anything mixed together. I joke that he likes peanut butter and he likes jelly, but God forbid you give him a PBJ sandwich! I was proud of him for being willing to give it a try and much to his own amazement, he actually enjoyed it! Recipes below...

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken
1.5 pounds chicken breast tenders (I only used a pound)
1/2 tsp grated fresh lemon rind
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp EVOO
1 garlic clove, minced (I love garlic, so I used 4!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed

1. Heat a grill pan over med-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.

2. While chicken cooks, combine lemon rind and next 6 ingredients in a small bowl.

3. Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Pour lemon juice mixture over chicken; cover and let stand 4 minutes.

Yield 4 servings (approx. 3 tenders per serving) 220 calories/serving

Fresh Spinach Rice
1 package precooked whole-grain brown rice (I used Uncle Ben's... the 90 second microwave kind)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced (I, of course, used 4)
2 cups packed fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp salt

1. Microwave rice according to directions. Set aside and keep warm.

2. While the rice cooks, heat a large nonstick skillet over med heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender.

3. Place spinach in a medium bowl. Add cooked rice, onion mixture, and salt. Fluff with a fork until spinach wilts.

Yield 4 servings (3/4 cup) 130 calories/serving

From Weight Watchers 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes, 2010.

Mission: Dinner

I hate cooking dinner. For a long time, it's been the bane of my existence. A few years ago the laminator at school took over that role, but I continued to struggle with cooking dinner for my family of 2, that became a family 3 in 2008.

This year my teaching position was cut to part-time due to budgetary reasons and I knew our evenings of eating out were soon going to be something of the past. So, this school year, I am on a mission. That mission is to cook dinner 5 nights a week. Definitely at least 4 nights. Well, maybe just 3 is a good number to start at.

Today before heading to work I was trying to think about why cooking has been something I have hated for such a long time. If I am being honest though, I've only really been cooking for myself or my family for the last 10 years. But struggling with something 365 days a year for 10 years is a really long time! The first factor I identified was energy. After working with children in an elementary school all day long the only thing I wanted to do was take a nap once I got home. Now that I am only working part-time I've not struggled with the lack of energy this year as in the past. Another factor is my dear husband. Yes- I love him. I knew that he was a picky eater long before marriage became a discussion in our relationship. But I thought I could convert him. My mom is Italian so I grew up eating all that fantastic Italian food... lasagna, ziti, spaghetti with meat sauce, stuffed shells... mmm, stuffed shells. Can't remember the last time I had those. Ravioli. Anyway- he eats none of those great foods I grew up loving which means half of my cooking repatoire was kicked out the door once we moved in together! Now, I have a semi-picky 3 year old (well, on October 24th) who eats everything under the sun at her daycare center, but limits herself to chicken nuggets, yogurt, grapes, and mac & cheese at home.

So, follow my adventures as I try to capture my culinary domestic goddess-ness and attempt to save money as we wade through our lives on half my normal salary. Cheers!