the food bitch

people call me a food bitch. not because of any gourmet tendencies (i go on a weekly fridge-sniff to see what needs to be thrown away), but due to my healthy lifestyle know-how and big mouth. i have a big mouth when it comes to food.

part healthy living, part recipe showcase, part food review - i do a little bit of everything.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

So, things are a little different

A little. But still tasty as all heck.

I went out to the stores this morning in the pouring rain, and all I wanted to do when I came home was cook a little and relax. I put some baked oatmeal in the oven, cooked up my rice for tonight, and set my chicken to marinate. Then I watched the Chronicles of Narnia, knitted, and took a little nap.

What a nice day, despite the rain.

Dinner tonight featured two completely unrated recipes from Cooking Light. It made me a little nervous, but I'm glad I took the risk because both dishes ended up being quite good. I marinated the chicken for a good 5 hours, and it came out nice and tender, with spicy and sweet flavors. It matched quite well with the papaya. The rice salad was a nice spin on beans and rice. The sweetness from the balsamic paired well with the chicken, I was tempted to lick the plate when I was done. But I didn't. I'm civilized sometimes.

Caribbean Chicken and Papaya Kebabs
Serves: 2
WW Points: 5 (1 point on Core, for the molasses)

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp salt
8 oz uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
1 medium papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into 1" chunks

Directions:
Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 1 to 8 hours. Remove chicken from bowl, reserving marinade.

Thread chicken and papaya alternately onto skewers. Prepare grill or broiler. Place kebabs on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray; cook 7 minutes on each side or until done, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.



I broiled these, as 1) it was raining like a you know what, still, and 2) I'm poor and don't own a grill of any sort (unless the Foreman counts). I'm pretty sure they would be even better on the grill.

Cuban Beans and Rice Salad
Serves: 3
WW Points: 4 (or Core!)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup diced avocado
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used brown basmati)
1/2 cup plum tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley
3/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:
Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl, and toss gently. Add rice, next 3 ingredients (rice through beans), and cilantro, if desired; toss well. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Samey?

Okay, I realize everything I've posted lately kind of looks the same. I'm motivated to cook something different next weekend. This was Saturday's dinner, posted a little late because I've been quite the busy Ellen.

Both of these dishes are Weight Watchers recipes, and both completely core. I had to modify the salad a little bit to make it so, but that doesn't detract one bit from the tastiness. Greek Eggplant and Turkey Casserole is a healthier spin on moussaka. No cream sauce here, the meat is cooked with a nicely spiced tomato sauce until thick. With a bigger pan to brown the eggplant, this would have come together much quicker, but even so I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to throw together. And that's important lately, I'm becoming impatient in my old age.

To round out the meal, I made a simple Greek Salad with chickpeas, artichoke hearts, olives and feta. No oil is used in the dressing, simply balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and spices.

Greek Eggplant and Turkey Casserole
Serves: 3
WW Points: 8 (or core!)

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4" thick slices
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz lean ground turkey
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried chives
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
14 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp canned tomato paste
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp soy parmesan

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat an 8" square baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Lay eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle tops with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let stand 20 minutes to draw moisture out.
3. Meanwhile, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook until browned, breaking up meat as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 3 minutes more. Add fresh parsley, dried herbs, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Cook 1 minute, until herbs and spices are fragrant.
4. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
5. Coat surface of same skillet with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. Wipe salt from eggplant slices with paper towel and add eggplant to hot skillet. Cook, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
6. Arrange half of eggplant slices in bottom of prepared baking pan, slightly overlapping pieces to cover entire surface of pan. Top eggplant with turkey mixture and then top turkey with 2 tbsp of grated topping. Top with remaining eggplant slices and remaining 1/4 cup of grated topping.
7. Bake until top is golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, slice into 3 pieces and serve.

Greek Salad
Serves: 3
WW Points: 3 (also core!)

Ingredients:
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup canned artichoke hearts, not packed in oil
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olives, chopped
1 tbsp parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups lettuce , shredded
3 medium plum tomato, sliced
3/4 cup sliced cucumber
3/4 oz fat free feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:
1. Combine 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, chickpeas, and next 5 ingredients in a bowl; toss well.
2. Combine lettuce, remaining lemon juice and vinegar in a bowl, and toss well.
3. Place 1 cup lettuce on each of 3 plates; top each salad with 1/2 cup bean mixture. Arrange tomatoes and cucumber around bean mixture. Sprinkle cheese evenly over salads.



So next week, something different!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

food blog love.

So, tonight's dinner was courtesy of one of my favorite food blogs, fat free vegan kitchen. One of my favorites, because it's actually full of things that I eat. Not just things to drool over. But I have been drooling over this one particular recipe for the past week, and decided to make it tonight.

Santa Fe Spaghetti Squash Casserole combined a whole bunch of my favorites. Black beans, spaghetti squash, a cornmeal crust - oh, this dish was oozing with deliciousness. To be honest, as much as I like spaghetti squash, it's not something I've ever prepared myself. They look like so much work. But the microwave method worked beautifully, and I see many more squashes in my future. I prepared the squash beforehand, and really once that and the little bit of chopping was done, this came together in a flash. I worried it would be too liquidy, as I'm really no good at rinsing and draining black beans (as a side note, I've found that Walmart brand black beans are far superior to Bush's), but I cooked the mixture down well enough, and once cut, the casserole held together extremely well (as my hastily taken picture shows - it looked really good and I was hungry! There's no time for composition!).

I suggest checking out FFVK. Healthy tastes good, there's no secret to it.

And for my Weight Watchers people, a huge 1/4 of the casserole is only 3 points, or completely, satisfyingly core!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

more core goodness!

Okay, so I'm in love with this whole core thing. I'm almost two weeks in, and I've gotten comments on how much healthier I look. I feel healthier, too. I'm putting emphasis on getting in my two dairy and two healthy oil servings a day, something I was definitely lacking.

Tonight for dinner, I made a recipe that I found on epicurious, polenta tamale pie. Needed some alterations to make it semi-tarian and core, but I think it would be great with ground turkey instead of the gimme lean. Next time I might even make my own polenta for it, but it's a super quick (you can even put it together the night before, cover, and refrigerate) and easy meal.



Polenta Tamale Pie
Serves: 4
WW Points: 5 (or core!)

Ingredients:
8oz. gimme lean ground beef style
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup thick salsa (I used hot, but go with your taste)
1 cup fat free refried beans
2/3 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 lb. roll polenta, sliced 1/3" thick (I used sun dried tomato flavor)
3 cups shredded fat free cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Crumble gimme lean into a medium saucepan coated with non-stick cooking spray over medium heat. Cook 1 - 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Add chili powder and cumin, cook 1 more minute. Add salsa, beans and broth. Simmer until mixture thickens, about 10 - 15 minutes. Stir in half of the cliantro, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spray 8x8" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Layer half of the polenta slices in dish. Top with sauce and half of the shredded cheese. Top with remaning polenta, cheese, and cilantro.
Bake uncovered, in preheated oven, 30 - 35 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is heated through and bubbling. If baking from refrigerated state, cook covered for 20 minutes, then uncover and cook 30 minutes longer.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

All things good for you!

So, if you've read through the majority of my (few and far between) posts, you'll realize that I'm on Weight Watchers. I'm at my goal weight, but of course it doesn't end there. I lost all of my weight doing the flex plan, where you count points for everything. But lately I've felt as if I've been spending more and more of those points on sugary, empty calorie treats. And all the sugar has left me feeling... kind of gross.

So, in an attempt to shake things up, I'm switching to the core plan. This is the one that people label as "low carb" and "oh my god, I couldn't trust myself to eat til satisfaction!"

Well, it's not low carb - included are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins.. you know, all those things that we should be eating.

Anyway, I made my first consciously core meal tonight. And it was delicious. Chunks of chicken, chickpeas, brown basmati rice. Oh mama, I feel better already.



Mediterranean Chicken and Brown Rice Salad
Serves: 3
WW Points: 7 or CORE!

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup uncooked brown basmati rice
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped plum tomatoes
8oz. cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp chopped olives
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove, mined

Directions:
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and saute for 3 minutes, until soft. Add brown basmati, and saute 1 minute. Add water and chicken broth, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Spoon rice mixture into a large bowl, fluff with fork. Add remaining ingredients, toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate.

It was a nice, sweet, springtime like salad. Even though it barely hit 30F today, I'm still ready for spring. I served it on a bed of lettuce with some cucumber, but I'm thinking this would also go well with a bowl of tomato basil soup.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Impossibly easy?

Okay, I admit it. I've never even heard of an "impossibly easy pie" before about a month ago. I've never even bought Bisquick. My mother never used it, and this sort of casserole was strangely missing in my youth. Which kind of makes me sad, because this was tasty, easy dinner.

I was enticed by the claims of "ooh! it magically bakes it's own crust!"

And it does. I didn't keep a close watch on the oven, so there might have been some magic involved, but I was busy with other things at the time. But there is a crust, I can assure you that.

For a short on time dinner (I was pretty short on time on Saturday night, after a day of planning my trip to NYC for next weekend, and futzing about all day, dinner didn't even get started until after 8), I'll have to keep this kind of pie in mind.

I lightened up a recipie I found on the Betty Crocker website. But go ahead and use the full fat versions if you're so inclined.

Impossibly Easy Southwestern Pie
Serves: 6
WW Points: 3

1 1/2 cups canned yellow corn, drained (about 1 can)
8 scallions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 can)
1 1/2 oz. Cabot 75% light cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Heartsmart Bisquick
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup salsa (I used Santa Barbara Habanero & Lime)

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a 9" round or square baking pan with cooking spray. Layer corn, onions, and beans in pan. Sprinkle with cheese.
Stir Bisquick, milk, salsa and egg substitute until blended. Pour into pan.
Bake 35 - 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with additional salsa.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Mmm.. Spicy

So, I haven't been posting my foods all that much lately. Mostly because I've been lazy. I cook every night, as processed/frozen foods never satisfy me, but at the same time, nothing I've made has been very spectacular.

I had great hopes for a chicken with mango sauce dish that I made last weekend, but it turned out pretty bad. Well, not bad, just a little on the bland side and not too pretty looking.

I tried my hand at chicken again this weekend, as I had some in my freezer that was looking like it should be used. And I was in the mood for a good stir fry. Chinese food isn't something that I go out for very much, mostly because I never know what to order. Well, I usually order chicken and broccoli, or tofu and broccoli.. something and broccoli.

So that's what I made, chicken and broccoli.

Everything about this is simple and quick, but it ended up looking and tasting great. I wasn't in the mood for rice, so I had it over wheat pasta. Throwing some toasted almond slices on top would probably be pretty nice, too.



Chicken Stir-Fry with Broccoli, Honey, and Orange
Serves: 2
WW Points: 4

Ingredients:
8oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 medium onion, sliced
8 oz broccoli florets
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp grated orange peel
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp House of Tsang Szechuan Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce (or any kind of stir fry sauce)

Directions:
Toss chicken with cornstarch to coat. Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray. Add chicken and onions, cook 5 minutes, until chicken is lightly browned. Meanwhile, steam broccoli (or do what I did - buy one of those microsteam bags of florets). Add stir fry sauce, water, honey, orange peel and crushed red pepper flakes to skillet. Bring to boil. Stir in broccoli, and serve over pasta or rice.

And that's that! If you're sensitive to spicy foods, you might want to stick with a non-spicy stir fry sauce, but I thought that it was a great contrast to the honey.

Overall, it was a nice substitute for greasy, fatty Chinese takeout.