I decided to invite some friends for not-christmas dinner. I made salmon, hasselback potatoes and roasted broccoli.
I did the salmon on the stove and in the oven. I had read a lot of different recipes for salmon on the stove and there were a few different approaches. I settled on using the cast iron pan and the oven. I seasoned the salmon with salt and pepper, then seared them flesh (not skin) side first for a minute. I flipped them, and then threw them in the oven (preheated at 425) for like 6 minutes. They cooked really nicely and the flesh came off the skin with ease. My only problem was the pan was too hot at first and smoked when I added pam. I wiped it and then I just cooked them without the pam. It didn’t stick which was nice. The other thing I did was make sure I started with the fish at room temp. Thankfully and somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t overcook the fish!
I also made hasselback potatoes. That is when you slice it 3/4 of the way through and fan it out. I used two wooden spoons as knife blocks. I initially alternated putting garlic and shallots between each slice. Then, I read some more recipes and it sounded like you did’t have to put stuff in each and every slice and they will just open if you wet them first. I basically just kept it as it was except I took out a few shallots and garlic. I sautéed them in olive oil then poured the strained oil on the potatoes for flavor. Next time, I will read the recipe first and then try to cook it. I want to do them again, but I will read more recipes first. Oh, I also cut off a bit of the bottom first to give me a flat surface.
I also roasted broccoli as I describe on 2011-12-06. They could have used a bit more time but they were still good. I also served some rosemary and olive oil bread.
Finally, for dessert, I made stuffed dates. They were pretty easy since once I cut out the pit, I used leftover German Butter Cream from the Thanksgiving Red Velvet Cake. I topped them with some powdered sugar. They were good!
With Meredith away, I wanted to make something I couldn’t make when I was cooking for both of us and this is what I came up with. It was pretty standard taquitos (originally 2011-04-27) except I made a few changes. Instead of all hot sauce, I put two ground, dried Bhut Jolokia (wikipedia, the hottest pepper in the world)) peppers in. I first de-seeded them then chopped them and finally ground them. The other change I made was to replace one Laughing Cow wedge with goat cheese.
It turns out Meredith could have eaten it even with the goat cheese since it was SO SPICY from the two small peppers, that you really didn’t taste the cheese. It was still flavorful, but also really spicy! I have to be careful using them.
I also made baked zucchini. I was lazy and used real bread crumbs. They were much better than the fiber one version. Though, I still want to try with corn flakes.
This was pretty standard moussaka. We made it the night before so when we cooked it from cold, it had strange cracks in the top. Not a big deal by any means. The biggest difference is that we were cooking it, I realized we forgot to buy potatoes. We were getting ready to make it potato-less, Meredith remembered that we had canned potatoes so we used them. Given the option of no potatoes and the canned, I would use the canned, but they had a strange taste and I prefer the real ones.
This idea really came out of nowhere. We only just decided to call them zucchini latkes instead of fritters for Chanukah. I read a few different recipes for zucchini fritters and basically settled on the one below.
One thing I did differently was after grating the zucchini, I laid out two layers of paper towel on a baking sheet. I spread the zucchini as flat as possible and topped it with another two layers. I then put another sheet on top and pushed as hard as I could. I put a bunch of pans on it as weight and let it sit. After 10 minutes, I changed the upper layer of towel. I didn’t need the zucchini right away so I was able to devote this time to really drying it off; which many recipes insisted was absolutly important.
Anyway, I followed the below recipe except I also added some cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powder, and some dried basil. Also since I was 1.5x the recipe, I eyeballed some extra egg (whites) and I think I added too much. It was a very, very wet batter. It probably didn’t help that the salt drew out more moisture. I added more flour to compensate but it was still wet. I spread them really thin and let them bake longer to compensate. They ended up okay but I’ll be more careful next time.
Meredith and I both really enjoyed them. They reminded me of fried zucchini and other zucchini fritters I have had. They were basically out only item (we had some extra moussaka sauce from the moussaka we pre made for 2011-12-22). Next time we will add some other protein source or something.
This was my first attempt at Corned Beef Hash. I based it on the recipe below (half). The biggest things I did differently was cook the potatoes in the microwave first and I bough thick slices of corned beef from the deli. I was curious if it would get moist enough, but this recipe, unlike others, called for some ketchup, hot sauce and chili-sauce (which I interpreted as Siracha). I didn’t have a poblano so I used some jalapeño. I also didn’t do the egg as they suggested.
They results were very good. It had a nice texture and turned out to be fairly moist. I could have used more corned beef but it was fine enough.
This was a pretty simple meal. Just normal salmon burgers. We did the brussel sprouts like last time. Let the pans warm up in the oven at 500. I put them on and let them cook fast. I do not know if it is because they were rather old, or how we cooked them, but they were a bit strange and not as good. Actually, I took the leftovers for lunch the next day and those were much better.
We also had fresh bread from Harris Teeter what was very good.
We made the lasagna with the recipe from 2011-02-07 with spinach instead of swiss chard. Also, we were light on the spinach and mushrooms. Becuase of that, we made it in the smaller glass dish. We used Barilla no-bake lasagna noodles.
This one was interesting in that we made it, it sat if the fridge for two days, in the freezer for two days and then we defrosted it and cooked it. Surprisingly, it turned out to be okay. I do not think we made any other changes other than the type of vegetable.
As always, the points on this were extremely low since it is basically all veggies.
I am writing this about a week later. Anyway, this was the idea we came up with when we started to figure out what to eat around 9:00. We needed something really fast and we had little in the fridge. We did have some low-fat crescent rolls and the really low fat hot-dogs. We cut the hot dogs in half and rolled them into the rolls. It wasn’t until they were in the oven that we realized the rolls expired about 6 months ago but we decided to eat them anyway. (thankfully, we are still alive to tell the tale)
The points plus was actually not as bad as I expected when we first thought of the idea. We each had 4 rolls made with 2 hot dogs. It was 2.5 points/roll and 3 for all the hotdogs so only 13/person. Not too bad as the only dinner item. Certainly not a well balanced meal but fine for what time we had.
Since the hot-dogs are hebrew national, it feels wrong calling the meal “pigs in a blanket,” hence, “cows in a blanket”
We made stuffed poblanos like this time. We super sautéed onions, and then added shredded chicken. I used some Franks Red Hot in the pressure cooking brother. We used this to moisten the shredded chicken and onions. We added franks red hot, 3 laughing cow cheeses and some olivio. We probably went a bit heavy on the olivio and cheese and maybe light on the Franks. I say that because it didn’t taste overly buffaloy (is that a word?). We stuffed them into poblano halves, topped them with low fat cheese, and baked them at 375 for 20 minutes. Next time, I would precook the poblanos a bit.
Even though we could have used more buffalo sauce / Franks red hot, it was super flavorful, as is usually the case when we do the shredded chicken and laughing cow.
We made chili and I think for the first time, we didn’t use a pre-made chili seasoning. We started with a pound of 93% lean beef and a lot of onions. In addition to tomatoes (2.5 cans) and black beans, we also added zucchini.
I do not remember all of the seasonings, but the biggest one was dried ancho (maybe something else. Meredith may know), We chopped them up and then used the Magic Bullet grinder to break it smaller. We also used crushed red pepper, hot paprika (not smoked), cayenne pepper, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cumin (most “chili” like in my opinion).
It was really good and we made enoug for the next two lunches. Also, it was really low in points having a contribution from the beef (16 points plus) and the beans (7 points plus).
We also had some jalapeño-cheddar bread
We had company over and we went for a southwestern theme. First was the posole. We used the same recipe from the Homesick Texan from p 146. We basically followed the recipe with a few changes. We used 2 poblanos since we didn’t have seranno. Also, instead of broiling them whole, I cut them since I was going to be blending them anyway. Also, inspired by the Chile Verde we made, rather than boiling the tomatillos, we roasted them as well in the broiler. We also used about 3/4 of a pound instead of half a pound. We also used the immersion blender to blend it all. That was so much easier. Finally, we forgot to add the lime juice. The posole was very good! It had a nice and complex flavor. It seemed well received as well.
We made empanadas using the standard dough (doubled). We made the filling with a mix of red kidney and black beans. What made this time different was we added shredded chicken. As we usually do with shredded chicken things is we used the water/broth from the chicken to moisten the bean mixture. We used habanero and regular tabasco and regular seasonings. I think this was one of the better times we made the empanada filling. One nice thing about this was we made and assembled it ahead of time and then just cooked it.
Finally, we made date-nut bars from Homesick Texan (I’ll add the page later). We replaced half of the sugar with splenda. This was the only change we made so it still had some points (1/2 cup of nuts has 22 points plus). We made make it again for ourselves but we will use more splenda, less nuts, and may make other changes to lower the points. They were delicious! Sweet, but not too sweet and a nice texture. They were also pretty easy…when Meredith chopped all of the dates and nuts :-)
Meredith made this so I cannot comment too much, but we had bought a tofurky to cook for a quick dinner. Meredith made a marinade of soy sauce, a bit of olive oil, and some thyme and also put some sweet potato and zucchini in as well. We also had artichokes with a salsa-greek yogurt (fat free) dipping sauce.
We cooked the brocolli using a similar method to the curried cauliflower. Basically, after tossing them with olive oil and seasonings (TJ 21 seasoning salute, onion+garlic powder, etc), I put them on a tray and covered it with aluminum foil I then roasted them for about 8 minuted. After that, I uncovered them and let them roast for another 10-15. I used 450 instead of 500. The brocolli was very good and certainly done enough. I woudln’t mind them more charred, dried out and crispy though. I am afraid to go as long as the cauliflower, but maybe that is what it needs. Or a higher temp, or both.
The shrimp was really just thrown together. After defrosting them, I marinaded them in lemon juice, lime juice and a bit of apple cider vinegar. I also sprinkled Adobo seasonings and italian seasonings. I think they cooked a bit in the acid (a la ceviche) but I (obviously) still grilled (on the griddler) them. It may have been a bit too strong on the acids but they tasted pretty good.
The only real problem with this meal was we didn’t really have enough food. More shrimp next time.
We made lentil soup with the recipe here. We basically followed it but I added 1 cup of water since it looked like it was cooking down too much. Well, I do not know if the one cup made it this way, but it was flavorless! Looking back we used bouillon in it and apparently it was needed. With some Siracha and Tabasco, it was better. It was also a bit better the next day but still nothing like the first time when it was so amazing.
So next time, I will use bouillon and I will also blend a little like the did originally.
We also roasted sweet potatoes for about 45 min on 400. They were tossed with some olive oil, salt, pepper and italian seasonings. They were very good! The only thing is I should have flipped them half way through or something.
We made the usual taco stew and it was extremely good! We used a bit extra seasoning and we let it simmer for a long time. I think that is the trick to this stew. The extra seasoning adds flavor and the longer simmer removes more water and also concentrates the flavor. We also used about 2/3 of a pound of (extra lean) beef which is a bit more.
We also had roasted butternut squash.
What was also really good is that the next morning, I took a bit of the leftovers and made a taco (egg beater) omelet. Also very good!
I do not think I have done it before so here are the points plus:
2/3 lbs 93% lean beef…12
1 cup corn…4
1 can black bean…7
23 points + for at least 3 if not 4 servings