Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Heartattack Chicken

Took a few days off from cooking anything noteworthy. And I've pretty much blown my diet until I get back from Mardi Gras. Nevertheless, I did something creative for dinner tonight that would have been not-so-bad for me had I really been following a low-carb diet.

Bleu Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Chicken - oh yeah, you read that right. I still had a small tub of Bleu cheese butter from the other week that I wanted to use, so I searched around for a couple of recipes and here's what I ultimately came up with.

Bleu Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breast
4 - 6 Tblspn blue cheese butter
4 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 350. Pound each chicken breast to 1/8 inch thickness (or really thin is what I mean). Place bleu cheese butter at one end of chicken and roll up. Wrap two slices of bacon around each roll. Tuck all edges in. Bake at 350 for 35 - 45 minutes.

To stick with the bleu cheese theme, I served it with pasta in a Buffalo flavored sauce (from Target).

Lessons learned: You probably don't need the bleu cheese butter, regular blue cheese would probably do just fine. It's a little tricky to make sure the chicken is cooked because you don't want to cut it open until you serve it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beer Brined Chicken

This post is 24 hours in the making. I was going to make this yesterday, but decided too late to brine a chicken. This was a small roaster that I was just going to stick on the grill, but found this recipe at homebrewchef.com. A friend brought over a bunch of beer we weren't going to drink, so I figured this was a good a way as any to use it. Of course, I had to change it just a little bit because of what I had on hand.

Beer Brined Chicken

1 whole roaster chicken

4 Bottles of Beer (I used Corona)
1 Cup Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
4 Bay Leaves
2 Tbls. Dry Oregano
1 Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped
1 Lime, quartered
4Each Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced

Water or ice to cover chicken

In a large pot, add beer, salt, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, onion, lime and garlic. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes and remove from heat. Let cool in fridge or add ice. Place chicken in pot (or large tupperware) with cold brine and top with cold water to completely cover the chicken. Place in fridge for 6 - 24 hours. Cook as usual.

The beauty about this brine is that you can use just about any beer, herbs or veggies that you have on hand. It is the salt that helps this brine work - but won't make your meat salty. Ask Alton Brown why - I don't know.

I served it with beer bread (none for me) just to round out the night.

Well I got on the scale this morning and it showed that I lost all the pounds I gained over my three day-high carb blowout last weekend (something like five pounds!!). I've been drinking lots of water, and it took everything I had today to pass up that fresh-baked-still-hot-from-the-oven bagel at the deli this morning. Even though I'm way down for the week, I'd like to lose two more pounds before I head to New Orleans next week.

Probably no posts from me through the weekend - dinner at a friend's on Friday and indoor waterpark with the kids Saturday and Sunday. We'll see.

Also today:
Breakfast: Eggs with turkey bacon and cheddar from the deli
Lunch: Hot Dog
Snack: Chipotle Olives, Pepper Jack Cheese, Pecans

Oh, I did have a few handfuls of popcorn - like really good movie popcorn. Couldn't pass up the smell of the kids' bags from Target.

Leftovers and Old Favorites

Short post about yesterday:

Breakfast: Atkins Daybreak Bar
Lunch: Leftover Sesame Chicken
Snack: Chipotle Olives and Pecans
Dinner: Turkey Sausage and Peppers

Turkey Sausage and Peppers
1 Red Bell Pepper chopped in big chunks
1 Green Bell Pepper chopped in big chunks
1 Can Roasted Garlic and Onion Chopped Tomatoes (Red Gold)
1 lb. Hot Turkey Italian Sausage (Jenny O) (which was not spicy at all.
1 Tbls. Penzey's Tuscan Sunset seasoning

Cook Turkey Sausage in 400 oven for about 20 minutes. Slice. Combine with all other ingredients in large pan and cook over medium heat until heated through (about 10 minutes).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ode to Semi-Homemade

I love that show on the Food Network, Semi-Homemade. I haven't watched it in a while, but I take a look at her recipes quite a bit. -- but I'm warning you, if you open up that page (or any other page on the foodtv site), a video pops up and starts making noise. I HATE THAT. I am going there less and less to find recipes. I don't need web sites talking to me. Anyway, my main course tonight was two simple ingredients - a jar of Spicy Red Pepper Marinara Sauce and a Top Sirloin Roast.

I browned the roast in a cast iron skillet, topped it with the marinara sauce, and let it simmer for two hours. There ya go. A lot of the water boiled out the sauce and it left a very concentrated, fairly spicy. For my husband, I served it with a side of pasta.

Lessons learned: If you want to slow cook a roast, do it in a slow cooker - not a cast iron skillet on low. Maybe add some red wine to the sauce.

Also today:
Breakfast - Two eggs with a tablespoon of Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Lunch - Chicken Salad from the Schmaltz Deli, but I added in some chopped pecans
Snack - more pecans in the afternoon and after dinner

I'm trying to resist getting on the scale, but I'll probably get on tomorrow.

Back in the game

Since I had such a high carb weekend - and the scale shows it - I knew I needed to get back in the game yesterday. I wasn't very hungry until late, so I stopped an picked up an Unwich from Jimmy John's (don't tell the deli). Had a few pecans and almonds for a snack, oh, and a slice of pepper jack cheese. It was a little warmer here in Chicago yesterday so we were finally able to grill!! I grilled some corn on the cob for Mike and the girls, and chicken for everyone. Here's the marinade I used (you know I almost never use a measuring cup):

Sesame oil
Low sodium soy sauce
white wine
sesame seeds
toasted flax seeds

Mix all in plastic zip top bag with chicken and place in fridge for at least 1/2 hour.

It was really yummy and nutty.

I'm trying to drink lots of water to still compensate for the weekend. And today will be even warmer than yesterday, so after I finish a volunteer project at the girls school, I'm going for a walk.

The High Carb Weekend

Ok, so I'm a couple of days behind in posting. The weekend really got away from me. And I knew I wouldn't be doing low-carb, so I didn't really have much "good stuff" to post. But I threw a little Mardi Gras soiree this weekend and served Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Hot Crab and Artichoke Dip and King Cake.
This king cake came from www.mannyrandazzo.com. Straight from New Orleans. This is the cheese filled. Now really, was I supposed to pass this up?
I thought my crab dip was amazing. I looked at a bunch of recipes and kind of just threw something together, so to the best of my recollection, here is the recipe:
2 Tbls. butter
1/2 cup (or more) "holy trinity" (celery, bell pepper, onion)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
1 lb. lumb white crab meat
2 blocks cream cheese
2 teas. cajun seasoning
Saute celery, bell pepper, onion in butter until tender. Over low heat, add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add crab meat, parmesan cheese and crab meat. Stir until all is combined and warmed through. I put mine in a crock pot to keep warm through the party. Serve with crackers.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sausage and Veggie Frittata

I love recipes like this - I was able to use so many things in my fridge. Like the buy one, get one free dozen eggs. The leftover turkey sausage. The last bit of mozzarella. That zucchini I kept meaning to eat. This was a perfect recipe for a low-carb diet - and would work for breakfast or dinner.

Sausage and Veggie Frittata

1T Butter
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup red bell pepper
2/3 cup cooked Italian sausage (crumbled)
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small tomato, chopped or sliced
8 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 T TSG Over The Edge Herbed Spinach *
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mix of mozzarella, pepper jack and parmesan)
1/4 block of cream cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Heat olive oil and butter in oven proof skillet (I used an 8" cast iron pot). Saute onion in oil and butter. Add peppers and zucchini and saute for a few minutes.

In another bowl, combine eggs, milk and Herbed Spinach seasoning. Add cheese and stir. Add sausage, then pour over veggies in cast iron pan. Remove pan from heat. Dollop cream cheese on top of the egg mixture. Top with slices or chunks of tomato.

Place pot in oven and bake for 25 minutes. (A wider pan would take less cooking time.) Frittata will be slightly brown around the edges and firm in the middle. I also broiled mine for a couple of minutes to brown the top. Let stand for five minutes after taking out of the oven.

Also today:

Breakfast: One of those Atkins breakfast bars. It had peanut butter. Hope I don't get salmonella.

Lunch: Salad with chicken and roasted veggies (not very many) from Trader Joe's.

I didn't even have time to snack today.

Oh, I didn't lose any weight last week. WTF? I weighed exactly the same. And this weekend is not looking good. (Didn't I say the same thing yesterday?)

Probably no post tomorrow - I'm going to a friend's for dinner and I'm not sure if she'd appreciate me snapping a pic of her salad.

* - TSG is going out of business. Can't get TSG Over The Edge Herbed Spinach? Try Tastefully Simple's Spinach seasoning. Or just add some dill, parsley and salt. You can order the TSG items for about two more weeks at http://www.gourmetwithme.com .

Chicken Salsa

Didn't have time to post last night. One of the challenges at my house is making something everyone will eat. With two picky young girls it usually involves one type of meat made several ways. That's what happened last night. The girls had plain, pan fried chicken breast. For my husband and I, I took the same chicken breast, pan fried it, topped it with fresh salsa and mozzarella, then place it under the broiler for a few minutes.Now when I say fresh salsa, I mean the kind I bought in the deli section, not the kind in the snack aisle. Did you think I actually had time to make fresh salsa? Not on a Monday, anyway.

I paired my chicken breast with some Greek salad from the deli. Yum.

Other meals today:

Breakfast: 6 Blackberries
Lunch: Country Club Unwich from Jimmy Johns (ham, turkey, cheese, tomato, mayo wrapped up in lettuce - no bread)
Snack: Slice of 2% cheese, handful of pecans

Trying to drink lots of water, but keep drinking lots of diet coke instead. And, I'm starting to notice that all of my food pics are looking the same. Will try something different. :)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Foodbuzz Sunday - Italian Sausage and Tomatoes

Sunday is the one day a week that I usually have any time to try out real recipes. Every other night I feel like I'm just throwing something together. So I'm trying to make a new Foodbuzz recipe every Sunday. This Sunday I made Roasted Tomatoes and Italian Sausage from The Duo Dishes. If you have a suggestion for my next Foodbuzz Sunday recipe, let me know!!

Let me start by saying that it would help if I would read the recipe closely before getting started. I'm going to give you their recipe and then tell you how a changed it up a little.

Roasted Tomatoes and Italian Sausage
3 cups cherry and grape tomatoes, mixed
1/2 lb. Italian sausage, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 - 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup basil, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parsley
Salt, to taste

1. Toss tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 5 whole garlic cloves. Roast at 400 degrees for approx. 25 minutes or until tomatoes darken and begin to burst. Remove from oven.

2. Mince last clove of garlic and cook with remaining olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add sausage as garlic sizzles and cook until done.

3. Add cooked tomatoes and balsamic vinegar to sausage and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

4. Top with basil and parsley.

Well, I wasn't going to serve this over pasta (more than enough carbs in the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar already), so I upped the sausage to one pound. Plus, I wasn't paying attention and instead of buying Italian sausage links, I bought bulk Italian sausage. And I bought turkey sausage - so that's all a big change from their original recipe.

Then, I also cut all of the tomatoes in half before roasting them. I probably also used 4 cups or more of tomatoes to compensate for more sausage.

In the end, even if was a little different than the original recipe, it was really tasty. While cooking and smelling the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, I was worried the dish would be too sweet, but it wasn't. The balsamic vinegar added a nice richness to the dish. This was so simple to make!!

So a decent amount of carbs came from the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. I learned that different balsamic have different amount of carbs. Mine, that I thought was pretty good and aged 8-12 years, had one gram of carb per tablespoon. One that I had the other day had 4 grams of carbs. It was very thick. So all I can say is read the label. ---But like I've mentioned, my diet right now is all about no bread, flour, sugar, potatoes and pasta. I'm not freaking out about the carbs from tomatoes.

Also today:
Breakfast: Scrambled egg with cheddar cheese , two slices bacon
Snack: Almonds

3 Columns Blogger Template by Amanda at BloggerBuster