Monday, September 16, 2013

Date Night--Monday September 16, 2013

I know it's Monday.  What's up with that?  Once again, due to circumstances beyond my control, Wednesday became unavailable.  So we've moved it to this evening.

I'm calling tonight's fare, International Night.  I'm all over the map with the food. In part, because it's what I have on hand and in part because my meticulous meal planning from last week got ignored.  Possibly because I was getting sick (as I am now...ear infection, sinus infection).

So to begin, we'll start with Cocktail Hour:

Josh and I recently rediscovered the Rob Roy.  Like a Manhattan, but with Scotch whisky instead of rye. That's what I'll be making for Josh.  I shall be enjoying a Bloody Mary.

Appetizers are Boboli Toasts with a pizza dip.  This one came completely out of my own little head.  I took a mini Boboli Crust and cut into 8 triangles.  Then I pried (okay, I cut) the triangle in half horizontally so as to have 16 triangles.  Next, I sprayed them with my Misto (EVOO) and sprinkled them with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.  I baked them for 5 minutes at 425 degrees.

As for the pizza dip, I'll blend some fresh tomatoes, onion, and garlic with some pizza sauce and diced pepperoni.  I have some small bakers so I think I'll put this mixture into one of them, top it with some Italian cheese and bake till bubbly.

Now that sounds distinctly Italian.  But here's the Main Course:

Orange Beef and Broccoli 



  • Combine the steak, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a large zip-close plastic bag. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag; turn to coat the beef. Refrigerate, turning the bag occasionally, at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  • Heat a large deep nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Add the oil and swirl to coat the skillet. Add the beef and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. Add the broccoli and onion to the skillet and stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir together the orange zest and juice and cornstarch in a small cup until smooth; add to the skillet. Stir-fry until the sauce thickens and bubbles, about 1 minute. Add the beef and stir-fry until heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Yields 1 3⁄4 cups per serving.

This is not the original recipe that I had planned to use.  I prefer this one for several reasons:
1.  the vegetable is built in
2.  it uses ginger which I love Love LOVE
3.  there's some marinating time which allows some of the flavors to really marry with the beef
4.  this serving size is huge for as WW portion
5.  finally, and probably most importantly, I know and trust this site (WW); the other recipe came from a new site to me and I'm not sure I agree with all of her point conversions.

Now to the Side Dish.  The Main Course was distinctly Asian. I'm not sure if this part of the meal is British?  American?  I just don't know.  What I do know is that we both like mushrooms and barley.  So I think this will be a slam dunk.  I also predict that Josh will say regular or fried rice would be better.  I guess that's not really a slam dunk then is it?

Barley with Mushrooms and Onions

 Image of  barely with mushrooms and onions



  • Coat a heavy saucepan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat; melt butter in pan.
  • Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring a few times, until mushrooms release their moisture, about 5 minutes.
  • Add broth, barley and salt; bring to a boil. Partially cover pan and reduce heat to low; simmer until barley is tender, stirring occasionally, about 60 to 75 minutes. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

I've never been directed to "shred" mushrooms before.  Because they're small and I value my knuckles, I would prefer the food processor.  I think, however, that I shall just dice them small.  I'm partial to a uniform size and shape in dishes like this.  Dice the onion, dice the mushroom.

Now to Dessert.  I've already made dessert.  Frequently, that is where I begin my meal preparations.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

5 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
3 T butter, softened
3 T unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ c sugar
½ t vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c white whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
½ t salt
½ c low-fat buttermilk
3-4 T fresh lemon juice
1-2 t lemon zest
2 c blueberries
1.    Preheat the oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
2.    In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter and applesauce and beat with an electric mixer until blended. Add sugar and beat until combined. Add vanilla, eggs and egg whites and beat until blended.
3.    In a separate bowl, combine the flour (lightly spoon into measuring cups and then level with a knife), baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir together. In the bowl containing the wet ingredients, use the mixer on a low speed while pouring in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Add the lemon juice, zest and buttermilk and beat until blended. Add the blueberries and fold in gently.
4.    Spoon the batter evenly into the liners. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

So I couldn't find my muffin liners.  It's way past time to reorganize my pantry.  Maybe when I'm done being sick.  I did have cooking spray specifically for baking.  They came out like a dream.  So confessions:  An extra yolk made it into the batter and I only got 22 muffins, not 24.  Sue me, I tried my best.

I think I may freeze some of these.  I can see them being part of a healthy breakfast, snack or last minute dessert.

So this is what's cooking in my kitchen.  How 'bout yours?

happy cooking