Monday, February 24, 2014

Date Night--Monday, February 25, 2014--Home Again, Home Again

Firstly, I had a nice visit with my family last week.  I can't say it was exactly relaxing...I did the same amount of cooking that I do at home, and for a whole crowd of people.  But we don't have to get into that now.

Highlights?  I made my Chicken Parm Meatballs and 4 little boys all under 8 ate them up and came back for more.  My Brownie Bites were a big hit with the little boys and the big ones, too.  And, finally, I "created" an oatmeal cookie recipe for my mom.  She remembered eating an apricot almond oatmeal cookie and I was able to successfully modify a  recipe (using Splenda) that met Mom's memory.

But now I'm home and I'm cooking for the person I love most in the world.  Here is my meal plan for this evening:


Crudite Shooters.  I've taken some bar ware and filled with cut up veggies.  I'll add our favorite dipping sauces before serving them.
Crudite "Shooter"

Martinis.  You can't get more classic than that.


Baked Chicken Parmesan

  • 4 (about 8 oz each) chicken breast, fat trimmed, sliced in half to make 8
  • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted (or olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese (I used Polly-o)
  • 1 cup marinara or Filetto di Pomodoro
  • cooking spray

    Preheat oven to 450°. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with spray.
    Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Melt the butter in another bowl. Lightly brush the butter onto the chicken, then dip into breadcrumb mixture.  Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.
    Lightly spray a little more oil on top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over, bake another 5 minutes.  
    Remove from oven, spoon 1 tbsp sauce over each piece of chicken and top each with 1 1/2 tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese. 
    Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

    I'll be serving the chicken with pasta for my baby and roasted  broccoli with garlic and red paper flakes for both of us.  I will drink white wine.  Possibly this one:

    It's hard to say whether we'll open this  tonight...there's an open bottle in the fridge, but I'd like to.  Josh has his choice of white or red.


    Lemon Cheesecake Yogurt Cups

    Lemon  Cheesecake Yogurt Cups

    • 12 reduced fat vanilla wafers
    • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 6 oz fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
    • 2 large egg whites
    • 3 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp lemon zest
    • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
    • 24 blackberries

    Heat oven to 350°.
    Line cupcake tin with liners. Place a vanilla wafer at the bottom of each liner.
    Gently beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth using an electric mixer. Gradually beat in fat free yogurt, egg whites, lemon juice, lemon zest and flour. Do not over beat. Pour into cupcake liners filling half way.
    Bake 25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool to room temperature. Chill a few hours in the refrigerator

    Top with fresh berries and powdered sugar if desired

    The original recipe was topped with blackberries, but these strawberries were begging to come home with me.  So the jumped in my cart, my car, and eventually my mouth.  YUMMMM!

    So this is my plan for tonight.  How 'bout you?

    happy cooking

    Monday, February 10, 2014


    I found this recipe last month (or maybe 2 months ago) and finally made it on Friday.

    Josh declared it "the best soup" I've ever made.  We will finish it tonight.  Gotta love a no cook Monday, right?

    So here's the recipe:

    Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
    Source: my Mom, adapted from 365 Days of Slow Cooking

    2 cups water
    4 cups (32 oz) less sodium fat free chicken broth
    1 lb raw boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 (6 oz) box of Long Grain & Wild Rice (I used Uncle Ben’s) – not the quick cooking kind, do not prepare
    1 cup sliced or diced carrots
    1 cup sliced celery
    ½ cup flour
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon black pepper
    1 stick (8 tablespoons) light butter 
    2 cups fat free half and half

    1. Bring the water and chicken broth to a boil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the chicken, rice (with seasoning packet), carrots and celery and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through and easy to shred. Remove the cooked chicken breasts to a plate and shred with two forks. Replace the lid and continue to simmer the rest.
    2. Mix together the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl until combined. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in flour a spoonful at a time to make a roux. Pour the half and half in a little at a time, stirring continuously with a whisk to allow the roux to combine with the cream. Continue whisking and adding half and half until the mixture is smooth and creamy. 
    3. Add the shredded chicken and the cream mixture back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Bring back to a simmer and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow soup to thicken and flavors to combine. 

    Yields 10 (1 cup) servings. WW P+: 6 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on
    Nutrition Information per serving from 212 calories, 19 g carbs, 6 g fat, 15 g protein, 1 g fiber

    Check out the actual blog for pics.  I was unable to copy them this time. 

    As to Josh's rave reviews, I haven't made that many soups and this is his favorite kind of soup.  He adds lemon to his. (I think that might be a Polish thing to's definitely not Italian.)

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    Date Night, Wednesday February 4, 2014

    There are a number of reasons I've been quiet the last two months.  It's not that we haven't had our dates...we have. I've just not been sharing them.   That's really all I'm going to say about that.  I'm here now, and hope to be regular again.

    So tonight.  I'm going kind of Asian.  That is until dessert, but I'll get there when I get there.

    Happy Hour

    Martinis.  A nice crisp cocktail, garnished with a twist of lemon.  You really can't beat that.  And with our martinis we'll be having Vegetable Egg Rolls.  This recipe is a straight up WW recipe

    Vegetable Egg Rolls



    • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
    • Place cabbage in a microwavable dish and cover. Microwave on high until wilted, about 4 minutes; drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add carrots, garlic, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, cornstarch and oil; mix well.
    • Arrange egg roll wrappers on a clean, dry surface. Spoon cabbage mixture diagonally onto each wrapper. Fold over one corner to cover filling. Fold up both corners. Moisten edges of remaining flap with water and roll up wrapper jellyroll style until sealed. Transfer egg rolls to prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. 

    • Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Serve hot.
    The only change that I make to this is that I buy prepackage slaw mix.  It has the cabbage, carrot, and a little bit of broccoli to boot.  I'll add the ginger, garlic, and scallions.


    This is actually the impetus for this meal. I saw this on my weekly recipe hunt and husband love Love LOVES orange chicken.  We'll see if this meets his requirements.  This recipe comes from



    • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
    • 1/4 cup fat free chicken broth
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/3 cup orange juice
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
    • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
    • 1 tbsp orange zest
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    1. Spray a large, nonstick skillet with an olive oil mister or non-fat cooking spray, and set over medium high heat.
    2. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper, and place in skillet. Brown chicken evenly on both sides, adding the broth, tbsp by tbsp to keep the chicken from sticking to the pan. Cook until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, and pour over the chicken. Bring sauce to a boil, and then let simmer for another minute or two until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and serve.
    I have a Birds Eye Steamfresh Brown and Wild Rice with broccoli and carrots that I will add some soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, green onion, garlic and ginger to.  (Not an idea completely out of my head.  It was on the back of the bag.

    Additionally, we'll have broccoli.  If Josh actually reads this post, he may have noticed that broccoli shows up quite a bit.    We like broccoli and I like the way it plays with orange.


    I offered Josh the choice of 2 WW treats that I've been making lately.  Turns out his choice meant nothing because I made them both.  

    This one was Josh's choice:  Skinny Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites (skinnykitchen.com_)

    ¼ cup regular brewed coffee or decaf, cooled, see prep tip
    ¼ cup canola oil
    ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
    1 large egg, I love using Egg-land’s Best eggs
    1 (20 oz) box Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat 3 mini muffin trays with cooking spray, with flour in it, see shopping tip.
    2. *Do not use the recipe on the back of the box. Follow my recipe. In a large bowl or electric mixer, mix together the cooled coffee, canola oil, applesauce and egg.  Stir in the brownie mix and mix until smooth.
    3. Fill muffin cups about 1 tablespoon each, with batter. Bake for about 16 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in edge of brownie bites comes out clean.  Do not over-bake. They should still be fudgy inside. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.
    4. Serve for a party or freeze them. When in the mood for just a small treat, zap in the microwave for about 20 seconds to defrost.
    Makes 36 brownie bites

    One of these bites is 2 WW points.

    My choice comes from LaaLoosh again. Weight Watchers Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

    Weight Watchers Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

    weight watchers chocolate chip cookies recipe
    – 2 tbsp light butter, softened (I like Brummel and Brown Spread)
    - 2 tsp canola oil
    - 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, dark-variety
    - 1 tsp vanilla extract
    - 1/8 tsp table salt
    - 1 large egg white
    - 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    - 1/4 tsp baking soda
    - 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, about 1/2 cup
    Preheat oven to 375ºF.
    In a medium bowl, cream together butter, oil and sugar. Add vanilla, salt and egg white; mix thoroughly to combine.
    In a small bowl, mix together flour and baking soda; stir into batter. Add chocolate chips to batter; stir to distribute evenly throughout.
    Drop rounded half-teaspoons of dough onto one or two large nonstick baking sheets, leaving a small amount of space between each cookie. Bake cookies until golden around edges, about 4 to 6 minutes; cool on a wire rack. Makes 24 servings.
    Serving size is 2 cookies
    Each serving = 1 Weight Watchers Point
    I've made this recipe twice and my cookies don't look anything like her picture. Maybe because I use mini chips.  But they taste really good. And for 2 points I can have 4 of these babies!

    So this is the meal plan for this evening.  Weather made hubby late to work, so he'll be late getting home.  That may be okay...traffic will have eased up and I'll have plenty of time make myself pretty for my baby and still get a jump on dinner.

    happy cooking