Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Date Night--Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Well if last week was Asian week at the Saxes, tonight we are toasting Italia!

I'd like to share a bunch of recipes, but the bottom line is, much of the meal came out of my little ol' head.  I did have inspirations, but I veered so far from them (who puts raisins in their braciole?) that I'm not even going to share them.


Manhattans!  I think Frank and Dino would approve.


Bruschetta.  I have had lots of tomatoes this year.  So dice 'em up, add some garlic, basil, and onion.  Dress lightly with balsamic and olive oil and whammo--you've got your bruschetta.  I made my crostini from a sandwich roll I bought three days ago.  It was the perfect amount of stale to crisp up in the oven.

Main Course--

Beef Braciole (pronounced bra-zhole).  What is braciole, you'd like to know.  According to it's  "a flat piece of veal or beef rolled around a filling and baked in stock and wine."  In my preparation, it's been cooking in my homemade gravy in my crockpot.  That's the way my grandmom always did it

What cut was it?  Emily Bites (my loose inspiration) called for 1.25 lb of beef top round roast.  She wanted me to beat it down to a .25".  Easier option?  Have the butcher slice it for you at .25"!

With what did I fill it?  EB rolled hers with onion, garlic, spinach, dried parsley, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoned bread crumbs, and, wait for it, golden raisins.  Me?  I chopped (in my food processor) a very generous amount of fresh parsley, a handful of baby spinach, 3-4 garlic cloves, and .25 c each Parmesan and bread crumbs.  Oh, and I drizzled in a little olive oil.  It was very green, but very tasty..

Now as for the rolling.  I took each slice of meat, seasoned it with salt and pepper and slathered the whole thing with my parsley/cheese/breadcrumb concoction.  I secured each roll with butchers' twine and seared them in pan on the stove.  

When the braciole was  browned on all sides, I transferred them to my crockpot and deglazed my pan.  I used some reserved tomato "liquid" thinned with water for the deglazing as that liquid with all the fond was next into the crockpot.  Followed by 3 c of my tomato sauce and 1 c of crushed tomatoes.

And there they have been for the last 4 hours on low.

The braciole will be served with spaghetti.

Side Dishes--

Salad.  I should say saladS as mine is different from Josh's  Josh has a chopped spinach salad.  I tried my best to emulate Wildfire on this.  I chopped the the egg, the mushrooms, and the pancetta.  "Pancetta?" you say.  It's an ITALIAN meal, it should have Italian bacon.  I made him croutons in the grease from the pancetta.  And then I made him a mustard vinaigrette.  I'll warm it before I serve it.

My salad?  Thanks for asking,  I've been enjoying greens with fresh salsa as the dressing.  Tonight I'll use brushetta.


Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies.  This one I can share a recipe.

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
Larger Image
2PointsPlus Value
Serves: 24
These cookies are the perfect combination of vanilla and chocolate. If you prefer chewy meringues, make them the day before you plan to eat them.



  • Preheat oven to 200ºF.
  • Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray; coat with a light dusting of flour and shake off excess.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form; gently fold in chocolate and vanilla extract.
  • Drop mixture by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart, making 24 cookies.
  • Bake until lightly golden and no longer sticky on the surface, about 1 hour. Turn oven off and let cookies sit in oven for 1 hour. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Yields 1 cookie per serving.


  • You can make these cookies mini if you prefer. Just use heaping teaspoons of batter; not tablespoons.
I actually found these a little too sweet. Next time I'll cut the sugar to .75 c. 

So that's whats been cooking in my kitchen today.  How 'bout yours?

happy cooking!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Date Night--Wednesday August 21, 2013

It seems I'm going Asian with dinner tonight.  Well, except for dessert.  I guess there's got to be an exception to everything, right?

I'll make Josh a gimlet.  I'll be drinking cranberry juice, sparkling water and a squeeze of lime.

Lean Cuisine calls them "spring rolls."  I call them cigars.  Josh calls them yummy. You can call them whatever you'd like.


Sweet and Sour Stir Fry Chicken Recipe – 4 Point Total

Sweet and Sour Stir Fry Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

– 8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 oz thinly sliced carrots
- 3 stalks green onions, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 oz sugar snap peas, cut in half width-wise
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup canned pineapple in it’s own juice
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 packets Splenda sugar substitute

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Spray a non-stick skillet with non-fat cooking spray and saute the garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and brown over medium heat. Add the carrots, bell peppers, and peas, and stir fry for about 5-7 minutes (until the carrots soften a little bit). In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and cornstarch; mix. Pour into the skillet, along with the vinegar, pineapple, pepper, Splenda and ginger. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 1-2 minutes (until the sauce thickens). Serve over some 0 point cabbage for added crunch and aesthetic appeal.

Entire recipe makes 2 servings
Each serving = 4 Point Total

Read more:

I fear this may be more work than it's worth, but I've got to give it a try.

This is mostly a one pot meal, though I think I'll also make some rice. I have some brown basmati rice that I think I'll cook in chicken stock and add garlic, ginger, and green onion to the mix.


Lemon Bars.  Pucker up!  The way I make these, they are deliciously tart.

Lemon Bars – 3 Point Value

Lemon Bar Recipes

Weight Watchers Lemon Bars Recipe

- 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.

Serving size is 1 Lemon Bar
Each serving = 3 Weight Watchers Points

The only change I make is that I use .25 to .5 cups of lemon zest.  2 tsps is nothing!  This is the third or fourth time I've made them and they are really, really good.  Very decadent tasting.  I thought about making a blueberry sauce to serve with them, but really, why?  I've got fresh berries to go alongside.

So this is what I'm making for dinner.  How 'bout you?

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Date Night--August 14, 2013

The last few weeks have been pretty rough.  Don't get me wrong, we had our Date Nights, but there wasn't anything blog worthy about them.

Tonight, however, is another story.  I've been planning this one since Sunday, and I'm kind of excited about it.  It's a very classic, very comfort food kind of a menu.

Wanna know what it is?  Okay, I'll tell you.

Shrimp Cocktail--I bought these stemless cocktail glasses a few months ago.  I think I'll put the shrimp and a wedge of lemon on the rim and the cocktail sauce in the middle.  Pretty, right?

Manhattans--Whenever I say "classic" you can bet we're having Manhattans

Main Course
Salisbury Setak--I made this once before but didn't make the patties thin enough.  Josh thought the sauce/gravy was spot on.  I figured it's time to try again. 

 Salisbury Steaks

Salisbury Steaks


  • 1lb extra lean ground beef (96% lean)
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • 2 cups fat free beef broth
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine ground beef, ½ of the onions, breadcrumbs, egg substitute, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, onion soup mix and pepper.
  2. Shape into 8 oval patties. Spray a large nonstick skillet with an olive oil mister or non-fat cooking spray and set over medium high heat. Brown both sides of patties, about 3-4 minutes each side.
  3. Remove patties from pan, and then return pan to heat. Add in remaining onions and mushrooms, and 1 tbsp of the beef broth, and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Return the Salisbury steak patties to the pan.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining beef broth, remaining Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, flour, and mustard powder.
  5. Pour into skillet over the meat, turn heat down to medium-low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Diet tags: Low calorie, Reduced fat, Reduced carbohydrate, High protein
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)
Entire recipe makes 8 servings
Serving size is 1 Salisbury Steak patty with sauce
Each serving = 3 Points +
PER SERVING: 126 calories; 3g fat; 12g carbohydrates; 15g protein; 1.5g fiber

Side Dishes
Mashed Potatoes--What else could I serve?

Mashed Potatoes with Garlic

Image of mashed potatoes



  • Place potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan; fill with enough water to cover them.
  • Set pan over high heat; bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are fork-tender, about 8 minutes; drain and return potatoes and garlic to pan. Add sour cream to pan; stir and then mash mixture until almost smooth (or desired consistency). Stir in butter.Season to taste with salt and pepper. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.


Roasted Broccoli.  
Toss your broccoli flroettes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 20- 25 minutes at 425 degrees. Make yoru florettes small. The high temperature causes the broccoli to carmalize.  YUM!

Chocolate Cherry Baked Oatmeal Singles--I actually gave Josh 5 dessert recipes to choose from and this was his selection.  I feel like maybe I've made these before, but I can't remember.  Can you?


So that's my dinner plan for this evening.  What are you making?

happy cooking