Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Date Night--Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Where to begin, 

I guess the beginning is as good a place as any, but the middle, the main course, really deserves that prime spot as it is driving the rest of the meal.  So buckle up...this is gonna be a twisty-turny ride through dinner at the Saxes.

Main Course

Really, do I need to say anything else?

I don't think I do, but I'll share the recipe anyway.

Garlic Lover's Roast Beef Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes Servings: will vary • Size: 3 oz cooked • Old Points: 4 • WW Points+: 4 pts Calories: 175 • Fat: 8 g • Protein: 24 g • Carb: 0 g • Fiber: 0 g Sugar: 0 g  Sodium: 32 mg (without salt) • Cholest: 50 mg


  • 2-3 lb roast or eye round, all fat trimmed off
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
  • olive oil spray (I used my misto)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp dried chopped rosemary
  • meat thermometer


Remove the roast from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to reach room temperature. Trim all the fat off the meat. Using a sharp knife, pierce meat about 1/2-inch deep and insert slivers of garlic in each hole, pushing all the way in. Lightly spray the meat with olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper and rosemary. Place the thermometer all the way into the center of the meat.

 Preheat oven to 350°. When the oven reaches 350°, place the roast in a roasting pan and put in the oven.
Roast until the thermometer reads 130° for rare, 140° for medium rare, 150° for medium, and 155-160° for well done. Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest 10-20 minutes before you cut it so that the juices distributed evenly. I personally remove my roast beef from the oven when it is 135° for medium rare. The temperature will rise an additional 5 degrees as it sits.

Now this lump of beefy-garlicky heaven will be accompanied by smashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

So, to back up to the beginning.  A classic meal such as this one must begin with an equally classic appetizer.  How does Shrimp Cocktail sound?  Sounds pretty good to us.  And cocktails?  I'll be enjoying either a Pimms Cup or Whiskey and Soday.  And Josh?  Well, he'll either have a Manhattan or a Gibson. (I know he'll +1 this post, maybe he'll actually read it this time and call his cocktail.)

Dessert?  Well, dessert will be baked nectarines (thanks for the idea CJ!).  I didn't have any peaches, so I'll be using their less fuzzy cousins.


Brown Sugar Baked Peaches Source:  Adapted from In Him We Live and Move and Have Our Being

Per serving:
1 fresh peach
1 tsp. unsalted butter, divided
2 to 4 tsp. brown sugar, divided
Sprinkling of ground cinnamon, to taste

1.  Halve peaches and remove pit.  Place in baking dish, skin side down.

2.  Place 1/2 teaspoon butter in the hollow of each peach, top each peach half with 1 or 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

3.  Bake at 375 degrees until peaches are tender, about 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Sounds and looks yummy, doesn't it? 

This concludes this week's installment of Date Night.  Next week, due to the travel plans of the blog's author, Date Night will not be on Wednesday.  Check on Friday, but she's not making any promises.

happy cooking

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday night dinner with the in-laws

So it's that time of the week again.  What to cook, what to cook?

How about Chicken Francese?

Chicken Francese 

 Chicken Francese


  • 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 8 thin fillets
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp light butter
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay chicken breasts side by side on a large cutting board, and cover with plastic wrap. Use a mallet to flatten and thin chicken until they are about ¼” thick.
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place into a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-fat cooking spray or an olive oil mister.
  3. Spread butter evenly over all the chicken cutlets.
  4. Pour wine, broth, and lemon juice all over the chicken, and then top with the capers.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the chicken.
  6. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Diet tags: Low calorie, Reduced fat, Reduced carbohydrate, High protein
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: Italian
Entire recipe makes 4 servings
Serving size is 2 chicken cutlets
Each serving = 5 Points +
PER SERVING: 236 calories; 5g fat; 3g carbohydrates; 35g protein; 0g fiber

With a side of lemon oregano roasted potatoes?

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Oregano and Lemon



  • Preheat oven to 375°F. In a 13- X 9-inch baking pan, toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil until coated. Sprinkle with lemon juice, oregano, salt, garlic and pepper; toss to coat.
  • Roast 30 minutes; remove from oven and stir. Roast until light golden in spots and tender, about 15 minutes more.
  • Transfer potatoes to a serving bowl and toss with lemon zest and remaining 1 teaspoon oil; serve with lemon wedges and garnished with mint, if desired. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.
Because I'm a stickler for green vegetables with dinner, I'll also be bringing broccoli.  Probably steamed with some lemon in the water.
And for dessert?  How about the lemon squares from date night?  
 Really, did you think I'd mess with such a good theme?

That's whats cooking in my kitchen.  How about yours?

happy cooking

Friday, June 7, 2013

Date Nigth--June 7, 2013

It certainly does seem like this week's Date Night has been a loooong time coming.  But here it is, and slowly but surely I'm getting it ready.

Cocktail Hour--
I will be having a whiskey and soda (4 pts).  I will be making something gin-ny for Josh.  Probably a Gibson. 

We will be enjoying "Everything Pretzel Crisps" from the snack factory (I think) with a smear of Rondele light cheese spread. (3-5 pts, dependent on how many I eat)

Main Course--
The best flank steak ever.  A full serving is 6 pts--I'll probably only eat a half portion. (3 pts)

Smashed potatoes (3 pts)

Broccoli prepared in an aluminum foil package on the grill while the steak is cooking. (0 pts)

Ahh dessert.  I made Lemon Bars.  With about 3 T of zest.  Ooh the lemony.  I have some blueberries with which I think I may top them.

Lemon Bars Recipe – 3 Point Value

Lemon Bar Recipes

- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tbsp packed light brown sugar
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350°F.
To make crust, mix flour and light brown sugar using a food processor until fully incorporated. Toss butter into flour mixture and pulse to combine using short bursts of power until butter is cut into tiny pea-sized pieces and dough appears lumpy. Sprinkle crust mixture onto an ungreased 13 X 9 X 2-inch baking pan as evenly as possible; press down with a spatula to create a packed surface. Place crust in middle of oven and bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make lemon topping, beat eggs in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until well blended. Add vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar; mix well. Add lemon juice and remaining powdered sugar; mix until powdered sugar is completely dissolved and then add zest.
As soon as crust is finished, remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Immediately pour lemon mixture over hot crust. Bake completely, about 30 minutes; cool, and cut into 24 bars. Yields 1 bar per serving.
NOTES: The crust must be HOT when you pour on the lemon mixture.
You’ll need approximately three lemons to yield the amount of juice and zest in this recipe.
You can increase the lemon flavor of these bars by adding more zest or eliminate the zest altogether for a less tart taste. You can also change the flavor completely by subbing fresh lime juice and zest for the lemon.

Now if you've been calculating my points, you know I'm at 16 or so.  I have 20 pts left for the day.  So those 4 points will be imbibed.  Maybe in a coffee drink, maybe in an after dinner drink, maybe in a glass of wine.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dinner with the In-Laws

Many of you know that my MIL had a stroke last year.  She is recovering, but it's slow going.  Cooking dinner is not one of the things she can do on her own yet.  I've heard tell, though, that she's a pretty good sous chef. :-)

Most  weeks, I try to bring a meal over to give everyone a little bit of a break.  Tonight Josh and I are not just bringing dinner to them, but enjoying it with them.

This is not as whole a menu as a date night menu would be (no apps or cocktails).  Really it's just dinner and dessert.

Main Course:

Chicken Milanese with Arugula Salad

Image of chicken Milanese with arugula salad



  • In a small bowl, whisk together first four ingredients; set aside.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, fennel, onion and tomatoes; set aside.
  • Place chicken between two sheets of wax paper; pound until 1/3-inch-thick (to watch a video of this technique, click here). Rub salt and pepper into both sides of chicken.
  • Place flour in a shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. In a third shallow bowl, whisk together egg, egg whites, parsley and cheese.
  • Dip a piece of chicken into flour; turn to coat and shake off any excess. Next, dip chicken into egg mixture; turn to coat. Lastly, dip chicken into bread crumbs, shaking off any excess ingredients. (You want to coat the chicken very lightly, not cover it with a heavy crust.) Set aside and repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Coat a large skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat. Melt half of butter in skillet (do not allow it to burn); add two pieces of chicken. Cook chicken until coating is golden, flipping once, about 7 minutes; remove to a paper towel and cover loosely to keep warm. Off heat, recoat skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat. Melt remaining butter in skillet; cook remaining pieces of chicken.
  • Toss salad with dressing. Sprinkle chicken with lemon juice and serve topped with salad. Yields 1 piece of chicken and 2 cups of loosely packed salad per serving.
My mom made this wonderfully yummy tomato mango salad while I was in SC with my family a few weeks ago.  The ingredients are tomatoes, mangoes, shallots and basil.  It gets tossed with a very light vinaigrette.

I may bring broccoli, too.  I don't think one can have enough veggies in a day.

Dessert is my clafouti.  I didn't love it, but everyone else did.  And I have the cherries.  I will be bringing the batter in food storage container along with the cherries.  I'll bake it there.  It takes an hour.  I'll bring ice cream too.

That's what's cooking in my kitchen.  How 'bout yours?

happy cooking