Friday, July 16, 2010

Lemon vinaigrette

I honestly detest most store-bought bottled salad dressings. I find them too sweet, too gloopy, and frankly, what the hell is fat-free salad dressing made of, anyway? I don't think that my salad needs guar gum, so a few years ago, I learned how to make salad dressings myself.

I hate to admit, but part of the decision stemmed from watching Rachael Ray do it on her 30 minute cooking show...before she got all weird and crazy, tipping people pennies to make her $40/day deadlines. But, I digress.

This salad dressing was so good, even my mom took note. Evidently it was just like a salad dressing she enjoyed at a small local cafe across the street from where she worked. It's very simple, and honestly, there is no recipe. But that's pretty normal for me!

Here is the basic premise for my lemon vinaigrette:

3 parts olive oil
1 part lemon juice (fresh!)
About a tsp of good dijon
S&P to taste

Pour these things in a large bowl, whisk or stir together until emulsified. The mustard helps with that. It isn't totally necessary, but I like the twang it adds.

Lemon = tang
Dijon = twang

Since I did this in a large bowl, next I throw in my spinach leaves, or whatever green I'm using, on top of the dressing. Tonight, I threw my chopped up tomatoes in first so they could really soak in the salt and tastiness (we all know how tomatoes love salt...and I love tomatoes and salt so this is perfect) and the spinach on top. I find it much easier to throw this all in a bowl and toss from underneath.

The number one rule here is DO NOT OVERDRESS OR UNDERDRESS YOUR SALAD. You want a light coating, but not dripping.

That's all I did tonight. I've done balsamic, red wine vinegar, and other citrus dressings this way. It's very simple, and very tasty. Once in awhile it will be a bit too sour for my taste, and I'll sprinkle in just a little honey or sugar to take the edge off, but not nearly as much as you'll find in your supermarket bottled brand.

Sorry no picture! I'm lazy. It's tasty, though! Tonight, I'm serving this spinach salad alongside some salmon croquettes and some crowder peas.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New year's eve

Well, hardly anyone came, but here's what I had on the menu:

Chicken wings (from a bag, nothing fancy)
Plain and herbed goat cheese with crackers, toasted baguette, and proscuitto
Veggies and ranch dip (1 cup light sour cream : 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix)
Fruit and cream cheese/whipped cream dip
Roasted Shrimp Cocktail (Ina Garten recipe)
Mini cheesecakes
Various wines and juices

Happy New Year, everyone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's been awhile!

So...I started another blog: Basically, I'm on a mission to lose the extra weight I've packed on in order to be able to wear all the clothes in my closet!

I think I will go ahead and post the recipes I make here, just for fun. I really let processed foods get in the way of things...not to mention, waaaaaaay too much alcohol! I do *heart* my wine. We all have our vices.

Tonight, it's just a simple lemon chicken, yellow rice (from a box) and zucchini and squash.

For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts
The juice and the halves of 1 and a half lemons
About 2 TBSP of olive oil
About 1/4 of a large onion, wedged
Garlic powder (didn't have the real deal)

Mix and marinade for awhile.

For the veg:
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash (I love this combo)
1 TBSP olive oil

Slice off ends. Cut in half crosswise, then cut each half into four long rectangles of squashy goodness. Toss with olive oil and seasonings.
To cook:
Either preheat your grill (so good on the grill) or a good, heavy cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When all is ready, start the chicken, pouring any marinade that maybe didn't get absorbed (there shouldn't be a lot) over the chicken. Beware the flames if you grill. Turn the chicken when it has a good sear on the downside. Add squash and zucchini to grill/pan. Let it get good and browned. Flip. When the chicken is done (I use the finger test) remove it, and serve the bird and veg over a nice pile of yellow or brown rice. Squirt with a little lemon. Eat. Enjoy the clean flavors :)

***I am actually using my husband's computer since mine is dead at the moment, so no pictures.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Kebob...kabob...oh heck, I can't spell it. It's meat on a stick.

Well, I haven't been here in forever! I thought maybe it was time to try this again. I've made some awesome recipes in the last year and have definitely furthered my culinary skills, so it's time to share!

Yesterday, my husband and I (re)committed ourselves to healthier eating and regular gym time. It's sad when the clothes I bought just months ago are already tight and ill-fitting. Quite sad, indeed. So, here we go!

My healthy eating is probably different from others--I believe in whole foods as much as possible, and not using "fake" ingredients, i.e. Splenda or other artificial sweeteners, margarine, etc. I also eat beef. My cholesterol is fine, so I take the risk! I'm too much of an old-fashioned Oklahoma girl to not eat a steak now and then.

Tonight's steak is a nice petite sirloin, marinated and grilled, served with grilled veggies and yummy, healthy brown rice. I like to marinade the meat for awhile, if I can, to make sure it's very tender. I also like to cook it fairly high to insure a good caramelized crust on the steak.

Lime-cumin-garlic steak kabobs with zucchini and red onion over brown rice:

  • Enough sirloin steak to feed 2 people plus leftovers, cubed

    juice from 3 limes

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 tsp (to taste) of cumin

  • 1 TBSP olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix marinade ingredients together and pour over meat in a container. Marinade for 1 hour or longer, if possible.

2 zucchini, sliced

1 red onion, wedged

Salt, pepper, and olive oil to coat

Now, here's the part I have a problem with--I have no grill!!! So, I improvise. I have a big electric skillet, and for the most part, my long kabob skewers fit on it. So I will only show you the finished product, because yeah, it's not so pretty for the cooking for me.

I like to keep my meat and veg skewers separate. In the meantime, boil up enough brown rice for two people.

Basically, you just cook to medium-rare, and until the veggies are crisp-tender, with some good browning. Optional: If you want to make extra marinade, you certainly can and reduce it down to make a yummy sauce!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Gyros my way

I'm not the most adventurous with food, but there is a great Greek/Mediterranean place here in OKC called Zorba's. I don't particularly care for lamb, but I do enjoy the chicken "gyro" that they make there. You can have it with fries or tabbouleh, another middle eastern/mediterranean delicacy I enjoy from time to time. I haven't been there since, oh, last fall. We had planned to go at lunch one day, but there weren't any parking spaces anywhere near it!

We ended up going to an awful hamburger place. Good fries, but my god, my husband's burger disgusted had three kinds of meat...and I'm a meat girl!

So I got the bright idea to make my own chicken gyro/pita thing. I'm still trying to figure out what to call it. The sauce was very tasty, and the whole thing was SO incredibly good for you!

This is what I did, feel free to mess with it. It certainly isn't patented!

For the cucumber-lemon-yogurt sauce

1 cup plain yogurt (I used full fat, it's not that bad)
Strain the yogurt in this fashion (by all means, if you can get Greek yogurt, go for it, but I can't for the life of me find it!): Put a strainer over a bowl where the strainer doesn't hit bottom, about 1 inch difference. Place a paper towel (or cheesecloth) in the strainer, spoon the yogurt in, and top with another paper towel. Refrigerate for awhile. The liquid should drain out of the bottom and you will be left with a nice, thick concoction!
1/2 peeled and seeded cucumber, diced
Juice of 1 half lemon
About a tsp minced garlic
S&P to taste
1 TBS fresh parsley

Whiz all this up in a small food processor/chopper and you're good to go!

We made two gyros all together.

2 flat pita breads (the kind I found had plant sterols and were only 60 cals each and had 5 grams of fiber...feel free to use something else :) )
1 chicken breast
1 tomato, seeded, cored, and chopped
1 roasted red pepper (I just used one from a jar)
2 green lettuce leaves (or your preference)
2 TBS chopped red onion

I roasted the chicken breast at 400°F until done, about 25 minutes or so. I just seasoned with S&P. Warm the pita bread in the toaster oven or regular oven, or microwave if you must.

Assemble: Pita bread on plate, spoon about 1TBS or so of the sauce on 1 half. Top with onion, tomato, peppers, and some chopped roasted chicken. On the other half, spread a little more sauce, and place the leaf. Fold over and fasten with a toothpick.

I still had 1/2 the chicken breast left over! The chicken wasn't really the star of this meal--the freshness of all the wonderful veggies and the tangy sauce were!

Served with a side of nicely roasted red potatoes instead of the usual fries to keep it healthy.

I had enough sauce left and chicken left over to make my lunch for tomorrow.

Here is the final product:


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chicken with 15 cloves--a new take on an old classic. Plus, chocolate chip cookies!

So since there are only two of us I rarely make a whole chicken...we never seem to eat the whole thing and it's just wasteful. However, three bone-in skin-on chicken breasts is just enough for dinner and a yummy lunch!

I decided that tonight should be "date night" because we are going out for drinks after this yummy dinner and then to see Knocked Up. We haven't been to a movie since we saw Apocolypto back in December or January. Wow. This is why I decided to make the cookies--it's a special dinner, so it deserves a dessert!

***This is a knock-off of Ina's Chicken and 40 cloves

Here's the plan:
3 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts
1 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil

Melt butter and oil together in a dutch oven, sprinkle chicken breasts with S&P to taste, and brown in the butter-oil mixture. Remove to plate and set aside.

15 cloves of garlic (1 head for me)
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
1-2 TBS cognac (I'm not using it but the original uses it) I used a little chicken stock.

Blanche the cloves, skin and all, in the water for 60 seconds. Remove from boiling water and "shock" in an ice bath. The skins should slip off pretty easily (I needed the aid of a paring knife).
Brown the garlic on all sides in the chickeny-oil. Add the wine (and cognac if using) to the pan. Bring to a simmer and deglaze the pan.

Add the chicken pieces back to the mixture and sprinkle with thyme (fresh is best, they didn't have it today so I used parsley). Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until chicken is done.

Using 2TBS flour and 1/3-1/2 cup of the wine sauce, make a little thickening paste for the sauce. Stir back in to the mixture. Add 2 TBS of heavy cream (I am using 2% milk...I never have cream and refuse to buy it for only 2-3 TBS) and stir in.

Let it set for a few minutes, and while you wait enjoy a glass of that nice white wine!

Served with roasted asparagus. Nothing fancy. Just toss with plenty of olive oil, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and roast at 400°F for about 10 minutes or until it is to your desired doneness.

Here is the finished product on the plate:

Now for the chocolate chip cookies! This is the recipe off the back of the Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chip bag. Very fancy.

2 1/4 cups AP flour (I used unbleached)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (oops, forgot this!)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed (I only had dark brown, cest la vie!)
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup optional chopped walnuts or pecans (I opted out)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir flour with baking soda and salt, set aside. In large mixer bowl, beat butter with both sugars at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture (I split it into thirds). Stir in chocolate chips (and nuts). Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

And here they are:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cooking Light done my way--Buttery-Parmesan Chicken

An adaptation of "Buttery Herbed Chicken" from my fast suppers Cooking Light cookbook. Served with roasted parmesan potatoes and vegetable medley.

2 chicken breasts, pounded thinner, seasoned with S&P
1 TBS olive oil

Sear chicken breasts in olive oil until mostly done. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Melt 2TBS butter in the same skillet, and slowly stir in chicken broth. Loosen up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add in herbs of your choice--mine today was just regular dried italian seasoning--and about 1/4 cup fresh-grated rmeggiano-reggiano cheese.

Add chicken breasts back into pan to re-heat and cook fully through.

Here is the finished product:

And here is the whole plate of food:

Here is the roasted potato recipe:

2 red potatoes (1 per person was plenty for us!) cut up
1 clove garlic, minced
About 2 tsp olive oil
onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste
A sprinkling of paprika for color

Roasted these at 425°F in the toaster/convection oven and they were perfectly tender. Sprinkled a little fresh grated parm left over from the sauce. Quite tasty! I never make potatoes.
Served with quartered cherry tomatoes and a veggie medley.

Sorry for the blurry pictures--next time I'll get out the D-SLR for better quality!