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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Christmas was mellow, the days to follow were completely freaking insane, due to an out of town visitor.

So it's taken me a while to get things together and have the energy to sit down and compile the goodies I made.

First I'll start with my family, all sitting around the table. Note the brother in law with his bottle o' wine. He brought some good wine. The Amuse Bouche 2003 Merlot was particularly tasty, but it was gone before 2pm. Rumor has it he has another 25 bottles laying around. How soon until my birthday? Oh damn.


Aww, ain't they cute.

Christmas was very mellow and this made me very happy. My mother and I made duelling lasagnas, hers loaded with homemade sauce with sausage and beef and whole milk mozzarella, mine with a white sauce and loads of vegetables. I think mine looks better, dammit.

My lasagna was from Cooking Light, a Four Cheese Vegetable Lasagna.

Serves: 8
WW Points: 6

12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped frozen broccoli spears, slightly thawed
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrot
1 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded 2% mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

Cook lasagna noodles, omitting salt and fat. Drain; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add broccoli and next 4 ingredients (broccoli through garlic), and sauté 7 minutes. Set aside.

Place flour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Reserve 1/2 cup spinach mixture for top layer of casserole, and set aside.

Combine cottage cheese, mozzarella, and Swiss cheese; stir well. Spread 1/2 cup spinach mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles over spinach mixture in dish; top with half of cottage cheese mixture, half of broccoli mixture, and half of remaining spinach mixture. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread reserved 1/2 cup spinach mixture over noodles; sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with pepper, if desired.

Considering I was making this bleary eyed on Christmas morning, it didn't come out as a disaster. I've never had lasagna with cottage cheese in it, but heck, when mixed with the mozzarella and swiss, you could never tell. Well, I love cottage cheese anyway, but the people eating it couldn't tell.

I also made a simple salad with parboiled green and wax beans, cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh basil and made a mixed fresh vegetable platter on this beautiful crystal plate that my mother got for Christmas from a co-worker. It was rounded out with fresh Italian bread and butter, meatballs and sausage. And more wine.

I also made desserts. Not that many, as we had tons of chocolates from Commodore in Newburgh (the strawberries nearly killed me. I swooned), various cookies brought by the family, fresh fruit, and I don't even know what else.

But as a tribute to my favorite lady in the whole wide world, I made my Nannie's fruit loaf. This is our first Christmas without Nannie, and I may not be a person of many beliefs, but I think she sent a happy one to us. Perhaps it's because I made her fruit loaf.

I mean, okay, it's an All Bran recipe. All right, it's got no sugar in it. But I swear, it's good eating. I also found that my uncle has seriously reduced his sugar intake (and quit smoking and dropped 25 pounds, good for him!), so we dug in like crazy.

Nannie's Fruit Loaf
Serves: 12
WW Points: 2

1 cup All-Bran
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup skim milk
2 packets of Sweet 'N Low
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup raisins
2 apples, chopped

Stir all bran, egg and milk together, let sit for 5 - 10 minutes, or until cereal is softened. Mix sweet n low, flour and baking powder together. Sift into first mixture. Add raisins and chopped apple. Bake in loaf pan coated with cooking spray at 325 degrees for 45 - 60 minutes.

I cooked it for just about 50 minutes, and it was perfect. I know it sounds gross. I know.

I also made Maple Walnut Spice Cookies, also from Cooking Light. I read the reviews, and many people had a hard time getting the 30 cookies that the recipe said it made. I had exactly thiry cookies. Because I'm awesome.

Maple Walnut Spice Cookies
Serves: 30
WW Points: 2

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large egg

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon fat-free milk
2 teaspoons butter, softened

Remaining ingredient:
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cookies, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through cloves) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Place brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add 2 tablespoons syrup and egg; beat until well blended. Beating at low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined.

Spoon batter evenly into 30 mounds (about 1 tablespoon) 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Unfrosted. Kind of ho hum.

To prepare frosting, combine powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons syrup, milk, and 2 teaspoons butter, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Spread frosting evenly over cooled cookies. Working quickly, sprinkle cookies with nuts.

Frosted. Ho yum!

So like I said, Christmas was good. My family can be great when they want to be, and I got a good haul of kitchen goodies (everything except for a bigger kitchen!)


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