Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Date Night--April 24, 2013

I've been a little lax with my posting.  I am truly and deeply sorry.  Last week we were in the city and there was not really a "date night."  The week before, I just ran out of time.  I know that's no excuse.

But I'm back now and ready to share my dinner plans.

Shrimp and crab cocktail  (WW pp+--3)

I'll have whiskey and diet coke.  I'm not sure what I'll  make for Josh.  Maybe a Manhattan, maybe a gimlet.  Maybe I'll read some of his books.  Maybe I'll let him tell me what he'd like.  (WW pp+--4)

Grilled Thai Beef Salad (WW pp+--4)
Grilled Thai Beef Salad
Weight Watchers Recipe
TurnAround Program Book, from Weight Watchers Publishing Group
4.5 Stars
Ratings (19) Rate it
4PointsPlus Value
Prep time: 16 min
Cook time: 8 min
Other time: 0 min
Serves: 4
Thai salads often call for sugar to balance the acidity in their dressings. We use the natural sweetness of carrots to mellow the lime juice and soy sauce.



  • Spray a grill rack with canola oil nonstick spray; prepare the grill.
  • Lightly spray the steak with canola oil nonstick spray and sprinkle with the salt. Grill the steak 5 inches from the heat until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the steak registers 145°F for medium-rare, 3–4 minutes on each side. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes. Slice thinly on an angle across the grain.
  • Meanwhile, put 1⁄4 cup of the carrots, the soy sauce, water, lime juice, ginger, and chile in a mini–food processor; process until the carrots and chile are very finely minced. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup carrots, the steak, lettuce, cucumber, bell pepper, mint, and onion; mix well. Yields 2 cups per serving.

I think I'll make extra salad dressing an marinade the steak for a few hours.  And, since it is getting warmer (marginally) I may actually grill the steak.  How novel.

Since this is a salad, there will be no veggie side dish.

Yoghurt, Berry, Granola Parfait  (WW pp+--6)  This is kind of a recipe of my own creation.  It began with this Emily Bites recipe:

Granola Cups with Yoghurt

Granola Cups with Yogurt
Source: adapted from Mommie CooksIngredients: 2 cups old-fashioned oats ½ cup wheat germ ¼ cup sliced almonds ¼ cup dried cranberries 2 T light butter ¼ cup honey ¼ cup molasses 2 T brown sugar 1 t cinnamon ½ t ground ginger ¼ t ground cloves ¼ t salt 1 t vanilla extract 2 ¼ cups fat free vanilla yogurt (I used Dannon light & fit) assorted berries for topping
Directions: 1.    In a large bowl combine the oats, wheat germ, almonds and cranberries and stir until thoroughly mixed and set aside. 2.    In a small skillet, combine the butter, honey, molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt and bring over medium heat. Stir and heat until ingredients are combined. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir to combine. 3.    Pour the molasses mixture into the bowl with the oats and stir until the oats are completely coated. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes. 4.    Preheat the oven to 325. Lightly mist 12 cups in a muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide the granola mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Using your fingers, press the granola down into each cup and up the sides to from a cup. The mixture will be sticky so every few cups I rinsed my fingers in cold water to keep them from getting too sticky. 5.    Bake the granola cups for 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the granola to cool completely before removing the cups from the muffin tin. The cups will firm while cooling. Once they are cooled, spoon in the filling of your choice. I filled mine with 3 tablespoons of fat free vanilla yogurt each and then topped them with berries.
Yields 12 cups.Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4 per cup *with 3 T fat free vanilla yogurt* (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on Nutrition per serving from 170 calories, 31 g carbs, 3 g fat, 5 g protein, 3 g fiber
Weight Watchers Points Plus:  4 per cup *without yogurt* (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on Nutrition Information per serving from 150 calories, 27 g carbs, 3 g fat, 3 g protein, 3 g fiber

We found the cups were a little awkward to eat.  But if I crush a cup (perfect portion control!) and layer it with a carton of Yoplait 100 Greek Yoghurt and berries, I get a nice breakfast treat, or for tonight, I a tasty dessert.

Probably I'll have coffee with Amaretto in it as well.  (WW pp+--4)

So this is my Date Night plan.  What's your dinner plan?

happy cooking

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Night dinner with Grandma

I haven't really forgotten about this secondary posting.  The time has just gotten away from me.

There have been some new challenges in feeding Grandma.  She keeps saying she doesn't like meat.  Of any sort.  That presents all sorts of problems as my husband, her grandson, who eats dinner with us  MUST have meat.  Of all sorts.

Now she will eat meatloaf.  I guess the more thoroughly the meat is "pre-chewed"  the better she likes it. I've developed quite a meatloaf recipe collection.

Tonight's, however, is a new one.  It's a chicken parm meatloaf.  In muffin tins.  Like big meatballs.  Chicken Parm meatballs.  With cheese and tomato sauce.  Here's the recipe:

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf
Source: adapted from What’s Cookin’ Chicago?

1 ½ lbs raw ground chicken breast (if you have trouble finding ground chicken that is breast meat only, do what I do and throw the same weight of boneless, skinless chicken breasts into the food processor and run until ground)
1 large egg
1 egg whites
6 T dried breadcrumbs
¾ t dried basil
¾ t dried thyme
¾ t oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ a small onion, chopped small or grated
¾ t salt
1/3 t black pepper
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
¾ cup pasta sauce
¾ cup 2% reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
Optional: dried parsley, oregano or basil for garnish

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
2.    In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, egg whites, breadcrumbs, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and lightly mix together. Do not over handle.
3.    Form the meat mixture evenly into the 12 cups of your prepared muffin tin. Spread the pasta sauce evenly over the tops of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Top each muffin with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese and then return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish if desired.

Yields 12 muffins. WW P+:  4 per muffin or 7 P+ for 2 muffins (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on
Nutrition Information per muffin from 147 calories, 6 g carbs, 5 g fat, 18 g protein, 0 g fiber

The other key thing about Grandma is the she loves cake.  Coffee cake, spice cake, pretty much any kind of cake makes her happy.  This is the cake I'm making.  I add more spices so it actually tastes more like a spice cake and the sour cream keeps it very moist.

Applesauce-Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Applesauce Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Weight Watchers Recipe



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray.
  • Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Stir together sour cream, oil and applesauce in a small bowl. Stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture just to mix. (Do not beat.)
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Allow cake to cool to warm or room temperature before slicing into 16 pieces. 
That's what's cooking in my kitchen; how 'bout yours?  Whatever it is...

happy cooking

Friday, April 5, 2013

Date Night--April 5, 2013

Ooh La La.  I do love Paris in the Springtime.

Yes, tonight we are going "French" for date night.

"How?", you ask. I'll tell you.

We shall begin with Cocktails (that does always seem to be a good place to begin, doesn't it?).  I will be making a little drink called Chanticleer (french for rooster).  It's a combination of Gin, dry (french) vermouth, and an orange liquer (grand marnier).  It's shaken and served up in a cocktail glass.

Our cocktails will be accompanied by shrimp cocktail.  Not really sure if there is anything "french" about that, but we love it.

Dinner is Chicken Cordon Bleu.  Now I know you are wondering how I could possibly pull this off in a figure flattering way.  Weight Wathcers provided me with the following recipe:

Rolled Chicken Cordon Bleu



  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
  • Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thickness; remove plastic wrap. Arrange 1 slice of ham and 1 slice of cheese on each chicken breast.
  • Starting from shorter end of chicken, roll up breast into a tight pinwheel. Tuck in ends. Secure with toothpicks.
  • Place flour, honey mustard and bread crumbs in 3 separate shallow bowls. Add chicken to flour; turn to coat. Transfer chicken to honey mustard; turn to coat. Place chicken in bread crumbs; turn to coat.
  • Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Bake until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Remove toothpicks and serve.
 The main dish will be accompanied by Dijon Roasted New Potatoes.  Here's the recipe: Dijon-Roasted New Potatoes.  Here's the recipe:  

Dijon-Roasted New Potatoes

Dijon Roasted New Potatoes



  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a 9- X 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together mustard, oil, paprika, salt, thyme and pepper; add potatoes and stir to coat.
  • Transfer potatoes to prepared baking dish and roast 15 minutes; stir and roast until tender on inside, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Yields about 1 1/4 cups per serving.
I'll also be making Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Gremolata.  YUM!

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Gremolata



  • Heat a large pot of water to a simmer. Place green beans in a steamer and steam over simmering water until tender, about 5 minutes. Run steamed green beans under cold running water for 30 seconds to stop cooking; set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add shallots and cook, stirring often (and adding a little water to prevent sticking if necessary), until golden and tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, to make gremolata, combine parsley, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl.
  • Add green beans to skillet; toss over medium heat until heated through. Season with salt and pepper; toss to mix and coat.
  • Place green beans in a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with gremolata. Yields about 3/4 cup of green beans and 1 teaspoon of gremolata per serving.
There is a French Chardonnay chilling as I type.  This will be a lovely addition to the meal.

For dessert, I have strawberries macerating in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.  There's a scant 1/8 tsp of freshly ground black pepper in the mix too.  Oh, I guess I'll give you that recipe as well.
 balsamic strawberries
balsamic strawberries



  • Combine strawberries, sugar, vinegar and pepper in a bowl. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, stirring at least once.
  • Serve in 4 small glasses or bowls and top each with 2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired. 
I may accompany desset with a pour of Armagnac.  Doesn't that sound french and fancy.  It's really just brandy.  But I have been squirreling away points today so that I can eat and drink to my heart's content this evening.  It has been quite a week.

That's what will be on my table tonight.  How about yours?

happy cooking