Thursday, September 24, 2009

SLW's Lemon Chicken (Low Cal and High Flavor)

Oh, I envy those skinny cooks who never have to diet!

This is my recipe for a low-cal, salt free chicken dish.

Oven 375 degrees

Fresh Lemon - sliced and cut in half
Frozen chicken tenders ( or boneless breasts - just cook a little longer)
Garlic powder ( I like McCormick's with the parsley in it for color)

Place FROZEN Chicken Tenders on a baking sheet with sides.
Shake a healthy amount of Garlic POWDER over the chicken - top with a lemon slice and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, when it is no longer pink inside.

I make enough of these to last me a few days - package them in snack size zip lock bags and toss them in the refrig or freezer to grab on the go.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Steaming Broccoli & Califlower

I know most people don't need this information. I am including it here for my sons' benefit -

Steaming: To steam, bring one inch of water to boil in the bottom of a pan. Place a colander or a collapsible steaming basket in the pan. Then put the vegetables in the colander or steamer and cover tightly. Reduce heat to medium-low, but make sure it is high enough to keep the water bubbling.

A whole cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds) will take about 20 minutes to steam. Cauliflower or broccoli flowerettes will take 6 to 10 minutes. Broccoli stalks will take 8 to 15 minutes.

Sausage & Spinach Soup

Sausage & Spinach Soup
Serves 10
Cooking Techniques = Saute & Simmer

2 – 2 ½ pounds Italian sausage – I prefer mild or sometimes called sweet
1 large yellow onion or 2 medium onions
4 large carrots
5 cloves garlic
3 quarts of home made chicken stock or your favorite low salt commercial brand
30 oz. of fresh tomatoes, diced although I prefer to use canned tomatoes this time of year
30 oz. of cooked beans - cannellini, great northern, black, pinto or a combination. - For this recipe, I suggest using canned beans. Really shortens the prep time down.
1 large bag of washed spinach about 14 oz. – if you prefer to buy a bunch of spinach, be sure to thoroughly wash and dry it to remove any dirt or small stones. And avoid any bunches with yellowed leaves. I now like to use the triple washed spinach. Still tastes fresh and really shortens the prep time…a must when trying to get a meal out in a hurry.
3 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped or 1 tablespoon dried
1-cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
12 oz bag of Conchiglie pasta also called shell pasta – go with the medium sized
Salt and Pepper to taste – of course

I like to have the ingredients prepped before I start. You need to remove the sausage from the sausage casings. Peel and chop the onion, carrots and garlic. This is a soup with a lot of texture so you don’t have to chop it too fine. Really depends on your own preferences.
If you are using dried beans, you won’t be making this soup until tomorrow. You really want to soak dried beans overnight and then cook them. If you are using canned beans, open them up and rinse them off in a colander.
If you are using fresh spinach, wash and dry it in a salad spinner and remove any tough stems.
Grate the cheese and chop the fresh basil and put on a pot of water to cook the pasta.
Cooking the Pasta
Cook the pasta separately and add it to the soup just before serving. There are pluses and minuses doing it this way.
The negative is the pasta doesn’t get to cook and absorb all the wonderful flavors from the rest of the ingredients. The plus is the pasta doesn’t absorb all the liquid and leave you with a pot of overcooked pasta with very little broth. This is especially important if you make extra and plan to serve it as leftovers the next day.
Start with the sausage. Heat a large soup or stockpot over medium high heat and brown the sausage until it is cooked through. Using a wooden spoon, break up any large chunks of sausage. This should take about 10 minutes.
At the same time you are cooking the sausage, start heating up the water for pasta. The trick is to have the pasta cooked and ready to go just as the soup is ready to serve. Depending on your stove and where you live the water takes 5 to 10 minutes to boil and then another 8 to 10 minutes to cook the pasta al dente.
(In Italian the phrase means "to the tooth" and is a term used to describe the correct degree of doneness when cooking pasta. The food should have a slight resistance when biting into it, but should not be soft or overdone or have a hard center.)
A lot of fat will come from the sausage so I like to pour off most of it before adding the onions, carrots and garlic. Be sure to stir this combination while it is cooking so the ingredients don’t burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for five minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes, beans and dried basil if you are not using fresh. Otherwise, wait until the end to add the fresh basil.
Simmer the soup for another 10 minutes and then add the spinach and fresh basil. Cook for about a minute until the spinach wilts. Take a spoonful of soup and taste for seasoning. Be sure to let the soup cool in the spoon before you taste otherwise it will be too hot for your taste buds to figure out what it needs. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon some pasta into your serving bowls, ladle in some soup and top with the grated Parmesan cheese. I like to serve some extra cheese in a separate bowl on the side for those who want more.
Serve with some French or Italian bread and you have yourself an incredible meal.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sesame-Wasabi-Cherry Mix

8 servings

2 cups sesame sticks
11/2 cups walnuts
1/2 cups wasabi peas
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Combine all ingredients in a large airtight container or zip-top plastic bag, mixing well. Store in an airtight container.

Makes a beautiful mix for the holidays - great combination

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oven Roasted Green Beans

Oven Roasted Green Beans


6 servings

* 1 1/2 pounds green beans
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

(Optional - minced garlic and/or sliced onion)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Trim the ends of the green beans and add to a large bowl.

Toss with the extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Roast, stirring once halfway through, until lightly caramelized and crisp tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Skinny Cook's Cinnamon Rice Pudding

You'll want to visit her web site -

Coconut milk to mine for creaminess, but the core flavor of this
pudding is vanilla. Even people who aren’t coconut fans still dig in.
Serves 4

3 cups non-fat, skim milk
1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup short grain white rice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large saucepan bring the milk, coconut milk, and cinnamon to a near
boil. Stir in the rice and cover. Reduce the heat and simmer, 45 minutes to
an hour, stirring often until the rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed.
Stir in the sugar and vanilla and serve warm or cool completely before
refrigerating in an air-tight container for up to one week.

Wine Pairings
Gewürztraminer, Prosecco

Roasted Chicken with Lemon & Thyme

Use the left-over lemon rinds and a handful of herbs to stuff your
chicken. The meat will capture the aroma of fresh herbs without all the
extra work of chopping herbs for basting.
Serves 3-4
2 trans-fat free, margarine
3 Lemons, juiced, rinds reserved for stuffing
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cloves of garlic, smashed with palm of your hand
small handful of thyme
1 roasting chicken, about 3 1/2 pound, rinsed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 450º F.

In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the margarine, with lemon juice and one sprig of thyme.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt inside chicken then stuff with lemon rinds,
garlic, and a handful of fresh thyme. Tie the chicken legs shut with
kitchen string.

Place the chicken on a rack in a large roasting pan, breast side up. Baste
with margarine mixture then sprinkle generously with salt. Continue to
baste throughout cooking.

After 40 minutes, turn chicken over and cook an additional 30 minutes. For the last 10 minutes of cooking, turn over to crisp the breast skin, total cooking time about 1 1/4 hours - 170° F on a thermometer.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil
and let rest for 10 minutes before carving so that the juices can

Snow Peas with Orange Zest and Garlic

Just be sure not to overcook the snow peas.
Serves 4

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon trans-fat free margarine
1 medium orange, zested
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Non-stick cooking spray
1 pound fresh snow peas

Combine the garlic, margarine, orange zest, salt, and pepper in a small
bowl. With the back of a metal teaspoon mash the margarine until the garlic
and zest are well combined. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Coat with a
thin layer of cooking spray. Add the snow peas and margarine at once.
Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until the margarine coats the peas and
they begin to turn a shade darker green. Transfer to a medium bowl and
serve immediately.

Fabulous Spinach Quiche

I love this recipe for Spinach Quiche; you can use the basic custard filling and add just about any cooked vegetable or meat to make your own specialty.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

* 1 9" pie shell, unbaked
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 Tbsp. flour
* 1/2 cup half and half
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* dash white pepper
* 4 eggs, beaten
* 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
* 9 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and very well drained
* 1/2 cup shredded Havarti cheese
* 1/2 cup shredded Colby cheese
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare pie crust and set aside. In heavy skillet, melt butter and add onion. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes until onion is tender. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-4 minutes until bubbly. Then add half and half; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In large bowl, combine sour cream, salt, pepper, eggs, and nutmeg and beat well to combine. Stir in onion mixture. Make sure spinach is very well drained (press it between layers of paper towels) and fold into mixture. Add havarti and colby cheeses.

Pour into pie crust and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake the spinach quiche at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes until filling is puffy and set. Serves 6

Beer Cheese & Popcorn Soup

This wonderful recipe for Beer Cheese Soup can be kept warm in a 3-1/2 to 4 quart crockpot if you stir it frequently. Top with cheese flavored popcorn, tiny goldfish or other cheesy crackers, or croutons.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

* 1 cup minced celery
* 1 cup minced carrots
* 1 onion, minced
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/3 cup flour
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/4 tsp. pepper
* 2 cups half and half
* 10 oz. bottle beer (non alcoholic works just fine)
* 10 oz. can condensed chicken broth
* 3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
* white cheese popcorn

In heavy stockpot, saute celery, carrots, and onion in butter until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add flour and cook with a wire whisk, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles, 4-5 minutes. Add half and half, beer, and chicken broth. Cook and stir until thickened, about 10 minutes. Then add cheese, salt and pepper and cook until soup is blended and cheese is melted. Serves 6

Santa Fe Chicken Soup

This rich chicken soup is full of the flavors of the Southwest.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

* 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained
* 1 (4 ounce) can green chilies, drained
* 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1 (16 ounce) can corn, drained
* 3 cups chicken broth

Cut chicken breasts into 1" pieces. In heavy skillet, saute chicken and onion in olive oil until onionis crisp-tender. Add remaining ingredients, stir to blend, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool soup in refrigerator or ice water bath. Pour soup into rigid containers; seal, label, and freeze.

To thaw and reheat, thaw soup overnight in refrigerator, then reheat in heavy saucepan until bubbly. To reheat from frozen, place frozen soup in top of double boiler; heat over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until soup is hot. Transfer to saucepan and heat until bubbly. Serves 4

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Isabel's Rum Lemonade - (Great Stuff)

1 can concentrated frozen lemonade
4 cans cold water
1/2 cup sugar
8 shots white rum
1/2 lemon sliced thin
ice cubes

Mix all together and serve... delish! It's addicting!