Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pecan Chicken & Spaghetti Squash


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

This was my first time making spaghetti squash, and I have to say, it was delicious and fun! This was also my first time using cereal to crust a chicken, and that was also great! I'm sick, so you'll have to forgive my horrendous prose here. My brain is clogged so my choice of words will probably be lacking!

So here's how I did it: I roasted the squash for about an hour and started on the chicken. I dipped the chickens in flour, eggs, and coated them with a mixture of branflakes, pecans, garlic salt, & onion salt. Then I arranged them on a baking dish to cook for the last forty minutes with the squash. Wow, I make it sound so easy!

The squash came out of the oven, and then came the fun part that gives spaghetti squash its name! I shredded the meat with a fork to make spaghetti-like shreds. Over this, I drizzled some olive oil, and tossed it with grated cheese, salt, and pepper. Delicious! The crunchy crust on the chicken was wonderful too!

This meal was a nice, comforting winter dish! And since the smallest squash I could find was six pounds, we were eating it for a while!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Turkey Chili


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

This entry was almost a disaster, because I forgot to take a picture of this dish at first! What you see here is most of what was left in the dish before I gobbled up the remainder. Pretty nice close-up though, if I do say so myself.

This chili was delicious, and also reminded me of the chili my dad used to make. Except no beef and probably way less salt.

Well this turkey chili was pretty basic, but on the plus side, very easy! I browned the ground turkey, and removed it so I could saute the green pepper (not pictured?) and onion. Then I threw the turkey back in, along with two cans of diced tomatoes(no salt added), two cans of kidney beans, and a chili seasoning packet. Normally I would just make my own seasoning, but I had a coupon for the seasoning this time! Plus I was in the mood for something quick, and this was it!

I almost had a freakout because I forgot to buy chips to eat with this! What an offensive thought! I ended up breaking up some semi-stale tostadas I had lying in the pantry and using those for chips.

This was probably the first time the book actually called for ground turkey, instead of me just substituting it for beef. I feel like the more I learn about nutrition, the more I question this book. Sure, it is written by someone with more titles than Stephen King, but still!

There are many things in this book I don't think are suitable for diabetics, where they essentially cop out by making the serving size only 1/2 a cup. I'm not making two dinners, people!

Now, I have no complaints with this particular recipe, just saying...This recipe was overall pretty healthy, though it could do with some more veggies!

It snowed here. That is all.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Blacked Catfish Tilapia


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Well, I still have a plethora of old stuff with which to entertain you guys! I can use some sleight-of-blog to distract you all until I'm back and running! I'm not entirely sure if I'm giving up Healthy Calendar for good, as it is pretty much my livelihood now, and with a well-played strategy, it is not and will not set me back as much as it would seem. Time will tell.

So here is another fish. Another strikethrough fish! Once again, I am using tilapia in place of a weirder fish. I've caught catfish before, and I really just can't get down with the creepiness of this bottom feeder. And I make a point not to eat anything with an evil mustache. Also, I have no idea where to acquire catfish unless I actually did go out to the Slime-comico and fish it up myself! No thanks.

Well, this recipe was certainly easy to throw together. The tilapia had a southwestern feel, since I covered it in a rub of paprika, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. While it seared, I heated some frozen veggies that I tossed with the same combo of spices. That's all!

I'm still not sure if I like tilapia or not. I think it is more prone to be 'fishy' which I'm not a huge fan of (yet another reason I like sushi best!), and it always makes me think I'm eating something gone bad. Who knows.

Well, I will continue to post my backlogs of food while I still have them!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let's Back It Up a Bit

Thanks for the support, everyone! Perhaps I was a little melodramatic when I said I had to stop doing this blog. I meant I would have to stop doing the Healthy Calendar adventure because of the costs!

It still sucks, but at least now I can show the creative and thrifty side of eating healthy - just to prove it isn't impossible! Though I have to say, it sure sucks having to be poor with a diabetic in the house, since all the cheap (and delicious) stuff is starch!

Well, I still have about two weeks of food to show you guys before I have to stretch my independence wings(and maybe an Independence card >.<), so expect more in a day or so!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Freakout

I literally have negative money right now, so I'm going to have to stop doing this blog.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tortellini Soup


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

So, let me tell you about my textbook fiasco. For a copy of a second-to-most-recent edition of my nutrition textbook, the list price is TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS! I wouldn't pay two hundred dollars for a Bible autographed by Jesus! Okay, maybe I would, but I still wouldn't be able to afford it. Though the resell value would put me back in the black...

Either way, I bought a copy off Half.com for only 42 bucks with shipping and handling, and it arrived yesterday. I've fully read the first two chapters (which was homework for tomorrow), and I can honestly say it was the first time I've ever read a full chapter in a textbook. In grade school, I would usually skim the chapter without retaining any information, or just read the captions and side blurbs. I was actually interested in this enough to be able to read a textbook and I think that's amazing.

I'm also learning a lot of unfriendly statistics that will shock and educate you! But I'll save those for a later date!

Tortellini soup! This is a mediocre picture since I took it while the food was still smokin' hot(literally), but this soup was fantastic!

I started by sauteeing some turkey sausage and an onion in the soup pot, then added a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, basil, and oregano. Then I threw in a can of diced tomatoes and three cans of chicken broth and boiled. Finally, I tossed in some whole-wheat three-cheese tortellini and salt and pepper and cooked until the pasta was done.

The soup was awesome and comforting and we both loved it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Peanut-Crusted Cod Tilapia


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

If this doesn't look appetizing to you, don't worry, it just means that you are still sane.

Actually, it wasn't so bad, I just don't think I'm a huge fan of tilapia. I chose tilapia over cod because that is what was on sale at the time. I've had tilapia since then too, and it wasn't the greatest. I figured out that it was Giant-brand frozen fish that I've been buying for all these meals - I thought it was something fancy; I guess not!

I think my main complaint was my utter inefficiency at preparing this meal. I spent twenty minutes shelling the peanuts that I bought in-shell to save a buck, and then another twenty minutes thawing the fish. No. Not at the same time. Sigh.

By the time I got everything straightened out, the meal itself took about ten minutes to prepare. I dredged the fish through a flour/cayenne mixture, dipped them in some egg whites, and pressed them into the chopped peanuts on one side. Then the fishies went into a buttered pan for about five minutes on both sides. I served this with the leftover salad from the night before. The flavors were decent together, but they probably would have been better if I had run the peanuts through a processor to get a finer coating.

Okay, I spent all day at work, then grocery shopping, then two hours of educational reading....time to relax!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tangy Apricot-Glazed Pork Tenderloin & Lucky Black-Eyed Peas



All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

So it turns out that the book gave us a New Year's meal after all, complete with (apparently) lucky black-eyed peas! I'd never observed this New Year tradition before, but as far as lucky superstitions go, this world needs all the help it can get!

This dinner was also special because of a guest star, my Dad and local blogger, winner of monoblogue's "Best Local Blog Contest", afterthegoldrush2!


Hungry Dad!

We had a small issue surrounding my oven being junk, but once that was taken care of, dinner was great! The pork was tangy and apricot-glazed, as promised, and the black-eyed peas were spicy and delicious! We also had a really nice Waldorf-esque salad, courtesy of my boyfriend, Sean!


Way delicious!

So I started with a glaze for the pork, by simmering together sugar-free apricot preserves, apple cider vinegar, sage, basil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. I slapped it onto the piggie and threw it in the oven for a while. It came out tasty as expected!

For the peas, I sauteed a green pepper and added some garlic later. Then I threw in the peas and red pepper flakes for a zing(!) and sauteed a while longer. They were AWESOMEEEE. These were so good I could barely pry my Dad's mitts off the bowl so I could have my own third helping of them. :P

I didn't get a good description-worthy look at Sean during his salad process, but it definitely came out delicious! It was made of celery, apples, walnuts, and pecans over romaine lettuce, with a dressing comprised of a dash of just about everything in our condiment collection. I know he used probably five different vinegars, honey, and God knows what else. Whatever he did, we all loved it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spinach and Mushroom Pizza


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Pizza!

This homemade pizza was absolutely delightful! It was also very nostalgic for me because my Dad and I used to make homemade pizza back in the day. We used the Pillsbury raw crust (the one that would explode out of the container and probably caused some injuries to someone) and would top with sauce and shredded cheese. This used to be one of my favorite things to eat when I was a kid because it was like the first food I ever "cooked", so I felt totally grown-up and awesome. This pizza was almost as easy as those!

I used a pre-packaged readymade crust for this pizza, and rubbed it with olive oil and garlic. I sauteed the fresh spinach and mushrooms with some oil, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. I spread this mixture onto the pan, followed that with some shredded cheese, and popped in the oven for a bit. The picture above is the pizza before its mystical journey into the oven.



Here's the finished product served with a fresh salad. This pizza was very healthy because spinach and mushrooms are so important! The spinach is great for regulating the heart, fighting free radicals and cancers, and supplying iron, calcium, Vitamin A, and more. The mushrooms provide three of the B Vitamins, as well as potassium and selenium, the latter of which is helpful in fighting prostate cancer.

In reality, this fate would never have befallen Popeye!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sloppy Joes & Corn Salad


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

My first Nutrition class happened! I am very excited about the class, AND it turns out I do have a friend in the class after all! It's a friend I went to SU with, who they apparently screwed over regarding general credits, and this class will complete her degree. We're both excited that we have a friend in the class and that we can safely walk together to the cars, since the class is out at 10PM. This also further proves the fact that I DO in fact know everyone in town, and I really can't go anywhere without seeing someone I know! Maybe I should run for public office...

The teacher seems cool, judging by the fact that he didn't go on a diatribe about what normal human behaviors irk his psychoses (I seriously had a professor once say if we yawned in class we were in trouble), or spend an hour overviewing the syllabus.

We had a basic explanation of the two projects this semester (more on those later) and then had a short lecture about the basic basics of nutrition. Every time he got into any detail he stopped and said, "Well, we'll get into that another day", and I just wanted to shout, "No, NOW, I want to leeeeeearn!".

That's never actually happened to me before, so I'd say that's a good sign of my future. Generally in Previous College, I would leave the first day saying, "*groan* This is going to suck!", even for classes in my major...Of course, to be fair, having only one remedial class instead of juggling four or five upper-level classes is quite a difference. Ah, well, ON TO THE FOOD!

Healthy Calendar kicks off the new year with Sloppy Joes and Corn Salad. I was wary of this because I'm pretty sure I've eaten Sloppy Joes once in my life, and I hated it. I don't remember if it was because it was so 'sloppy' or because of the taste, but I've never been compelled to make or eat these since.

I had one last-ditch strategy to make these palatable, and that was to change the ground beef in the recipe to ground turkey. I'm sure this will come as no surprise to you guys by now, but I loved it! Seriously, ground beef is horrendous, and more expensive and more fatty than turkey.

So I cooked the turkey, added the onions, and the garlic. Then I added tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and simmered for a while.

Meanwhile, I made the corn salad. I thawed some frozen corn and mixed it with some basil, a green bell pepper, and a red bell pepper. There is also supposed to be red onion, but Sean has a weird reaction to raw red onion (oh noes, now the world will know his Kryptonite). I forgot this fact until after I cut the red onion and was too lazy to cut up a different onion, so I omitted onion entirely. The dressing is made of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. I believe I gave it a splash of lemon juice as well.

Serve the "Joe" mix on buns and enjoy! The next day we mixed together the Joe mix and the salad and ate it right out of the bowl. This was good because we cut out the starch of the bun, considering we got enough from the corn.

Here is a picture displaying the awesomeness of my new camera!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chicken and Noodles


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

This recipe marks the last recipe in the book (excluding the December Dessert Cake from Christmas)! I've reached the end!!!

Luckily, I started over at the front with the January recipes! Haw haw, gave you all a scare there I bet...

Anyway, I felt this chicken and noodle dish was pretty lackluster. Sean really loved it though, so maybe it was just me.

It turned out to be like a homemade chicken noodle stew, of which I am not a fan. Let me clarify: I love Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup to death (bisphenol-A and all), but I've always shied away from the homemade version.

A big part of this is that the homemade soup is usually made with meat from a roaster chicken, which means you have to watch out for bones and gristle, because even the most meticulous chef won't get it all. I don't like to have to concentrate on not choking to death or cracking a tooth while I eat, so I solved this problem by baking boneless chicken breasts to use in this.

Another problem that befell me was the noodle situation! This recipe calls for "kluski-style noodles" and the book describes them as a "dense, egg-style noodle that looks like really fat pasta". All the research I've done on these noodles implies to me that these are actually the noodles in the Campbell's soup. Unfortunately, Giant does not carry this product, and if they don't carry it, I'm not even going to attempt anywhere else in this one-horse town. I ended up using whole-wheat egg noodles instead. Maybe a certain CHEF IN TOWN (hint hint) can educate me on this matter.

If you feel the need to recreate this boring dish, go buy yourself some Campbell's Chicken Noodle. But seriously, you boil the noodles and some parsley in chicken broth and water, stir in some flour and water and simmer, and then add your (COOKED) chicken and salt. It's very simple! I have nothing more to say about this!

In other news, I am starting my nutrition class tomorrow night! Wish me luck!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pasta with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Pasta! One of the ultimate cheap and easy comfort foods! I liked this meal a lot because it reminded me a lot of all these 'pasta + whatever random stuff I had' concoctions I used to make back in the day; but this time I got to utilize some more refined ingredients!

While I cooked the penne, I sauteed my asparagus. I set the asparagus aside and sauteed the sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil with garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. I added a can of chicken broth and a tiny can of tomato paste and boiled to thicken. Then I added the asparagus and pasta and sprinkled with 'parmesan-flavored topping'. Yeah, I didn't realize I was buying Processed Flakes at the time, so we bought two. I can't wait to get through those bottles.

I always leap at the chance to make anything with asparagus, but I was a little hesitant about using sun-dried tomatoes. They tasted horrendous right from the bag, but in the end, they reconstituted in the sauce and tasted great!

I somewhat bastardized this recipe by using more pasta, basil, tomatoes, and tomato paste than it called for, but it was definitely still great. I just would assume that if you followed the recipe to the letter, the sauce would be even thinner and even less tomato-y.

Also, one improvement is that my alterations made a huge amount of leftovers!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Matzo Ball Soup & Green Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette



All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

I made these on a night when I didn't feel like spending forever in the kitchen, and wanted something light and meatless. Turns out Matzo ball soup isn't the lightest thing ever, but I was very satisfied with this meal!

This was my first time having matzo ball soup, and it did not disappoint! It was also very easy, and economical regarding ingredients. First you whisk together some eggs, oil, and the Matzo mix, and refrigerate for a bit.

During this time, I sauteed an onion in my soup pot, then added some salt + pepper, parsley, and three cans of chicken broth and boiled.

When the Matzo batter was ready, I formed it into fourteen little slightly-smaller-than-golf-balls, dropped them into the boiling soup, and simmered for a while. It's great because the Matzo balls expand and soak up all the other flavors!

While the soup simmered, I prepared the salad. I didn't picture the salad with the dressing because I thought this photo taken before was just plain beautiful! The salad was made of mixed greens (pre-packaged), pine nuts, and mmmmmmmmmmm.........fresh raspberries. The dressing, added later, was white wine vinegar, pureed raspberries, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was slightly cutting because of the vinegar, but squashing up the whole raspberries achieved the perfect flavor by fighting sour with sweet!

I seriously searched THREE different Giants before I found fresh raspberries, and it was well worth it, even at the astronomical cost this time of year. I also was treated with half a half a pint (no, not a typo) leftover to scarf down later. I can't stress enough how amazing fresh berries are, and I can't wait 'til the berries come back in season! (Except strawberries, the red-headed stepchild of the berries. Technically they are not really part of the berry family, but part of the rose family! A true berry has many seeds embedded on the inside! :O)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Breaded Pork Cutlets & Red Onion Marmalade


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Pork Chops! Homer Simpson would be proud.

This was my first attempt at making pork chops and I have to say, they were quite awesome. I got a great little six-pack of tiny cutlets for the job, and we were very pleased. I dipped the porkies into the standard flour/egg/bread crumb sequence, except to the bread crumbs I added (per HC's Chef's Tip) salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and basil. I also seasoned the pictured veggies with those five spices, and was quite pleased with those as well. The extra spices really made the breading extra special! I sprayed my baking pan and chops with some cooking spray, and popped them in the oven for 25 minutes.

During this time, I made the red onion marmalade. I sauteed the sliced red onion for a while, and added some red wine vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. I have come to the conclusion that either my measuring cup is inaccurate, or these people really like their vinegar. Since everything I've cooked with the measured vinegar : honey ratio has been waaaay too acerbic for our tastes, I smartened up and added a spritz more honey this time. Then I let the marmalade simmer until the chops were done, threw some frozen veggies together, and served!

I couldn't decide between these two clips of the same episode, so enjoy!



Friday, January 15, 2010

Enchiladas!


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Mmmmmm, these were certainly no Plaza Tapatia enchiladas, but they were simple, spicy, and awesome!! And they will have to do in a fix until I get some money and can get back to Plaza (OR until I can figure out how to duplicate their potato burritos and chile rellenos!).

I know the look of enchiladas is pretty non-descript, so I'll fill you in on what's going on here! For the filling, I cooked together a pound of ground turkey, a can of spicy fat-free refried beans, Mexican-style cheese, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.

After that, I steamed the whole-wheat tortillas (layered them in damp paper towels and microwaved for one minute), filled them with the meat mixture, and placed them - seam side down - in a baking dish.

I made a sauce that was probably the most predictable Mexican-style sauce ever - a combination of tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. It was tasty, but I don't think it was quite right as an attempt to copy your standard enchiladas sauce. Maybe it was too thick and too tomato-y. This arena not being my forte, I proceeded unabated. I dumped the sauce over the enchiladas, topped with more cheese, and popped them in the oven for about 25 minutes!

These enchiladas were incredibly spicy! I didn't realize how spicy the beans would be alone, and the red pepper flakes made them even more 'zingy'! Also, the sauce was spicy because I never correctly measure cayenne pepper, because as far as I'm concerned, the more the better. I personally loved these, but while he liked them initially, Sean is not as huge a fan of spicy food as me, so I was stuck eating the leftovers myself! Don't worry, I'll convert him! Especially because cayenne is probably the most amazing (and easily-obtainable) substance in the world for your health! I know I've probably raved about cayenne a million times so far on this blog, so I'll spare you another diatribe.

Buen appetito!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What More Can I Give?

Today, I donated what I could to help build a new school for Haitian children. This is my response to afterthegoldrush's post of the old-school "We Are The World":



And you know damn well if he hadn't left us so early, he'd be out there doing this again at 50! And maybe I could be out there doing this again with him like I was last time!

And, of course, the most meaningful song I know:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chicken Sausage Gumbo


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

This was an absolutely delicious gumbo! I'm not sure if this is considered Creole or Cajun gumbo, so I'll just cover my bases and call it awesome Louisiananananan! Either way, it was spicy and fantastic!

I started off with onions, celery, and green peppers (which, according to Wikipedia, is the "holy trinity" of vegetables for gumbo) and added some turkey sausage, then added the spices, tomato sauce, okra, and broth and simmered for a while.

I made my first roux out of flour and oil; I suppose a roux is some sort of thickening agent to make everything tastier! Then I added the roux and my cubed chicken and simmered for another while. I served this over whatever rice I had lying around at the time, and I could not get enough of this dish. Unfortunately, there was so much and it was too filling to eat much at once that I had to throw a bowlful away because it had been in the fridge for wayyyy too long. The raccoons will eat well!

***

I don't have much else to say for today. I don't like to talk about current events in this blog because they are always too infuriating or sad, and those two emotions have no place in food. All I can say is that this shitty decade still isn't over til '11.....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pork Loin with Dried Plums & Garlic Olive Oil Potatoes


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

I'm really dating myself and my upkeep failure with this blog by admitting this, but here was our New Year's dinner!

The pork loin was quite tasty, but kind of a trial. I was instructed to cut slits in the sides of this thing, and then stuff prunes inside. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, no. Maybe if I stuffed the loin while it was on the baking sheet ready to go, but instead I was really supposed to first saute all sides of the prune-stuffed loin in a too-small pan. Most of them fell out during that debacle, so I just stuck them on top for the baking process!

The pork tasted good - a little too salty - but I think that might have been due to the fact that all I could find was a pre-flavored Golden Rotisserie porkloin of accurate size and decent price. I didn't attempt to wash the original flavor off the meat, and I know darn well I didn't oversalt this thing!

The intended glaze of chopped prunes, honey, and balsamic vinegar smelled and tasted like death at first, but Sean bailed me out and created something palatable out of it. Don't fret, dear readers, I obtained a little gem for Christmas called The Flavor Bible, which is already teaching me how to think for myself in the kitchen! And no, the irony is not lost on me...

Anyway, it's a great book to teach both professional chefs and amateur home chefs about flavor balances and lesser-known (as well as greater-known) successful flavor combinations, the idea being that you can create your own divine meals without following a cookbook word for word. I haven't gotten too far yet, but I'll keep you posted!

On to the side dish! The red potatoes were tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, and baked for half an hour. Result: Heaven. And that's all I have to say about that. As ending filler, I shall now present our New Year's fancy table setting!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Asian Sesame Cornish Game Hens


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Mini-chicken-carcass!

Well, before I get onto this, I'd like to hit a few serious notes. I have changed comment security so that you have to do that lame prove-you're-not-a-robot thing. I apologize! I hate it too! But I noticed I have several random spam messages on some old entries about how to get rich quick! and whatnot. So far, it is still possible to post anonymously, but only if you are human. (Frankly, though, I would love to know who my anonymous commenters are!)

Secondly, you may have noticed a Paypal donation box on the left of the screen. Due to reasons beyond my control, I am almost totally broke! In an effort to save money, unfortunately this expensive hobby might have to be first to go. THE MAN is threatening to take away my very livelihood! Now, I'm not going to beg, but listen to this 100% true story (swear to God):

My friend Justin donated ten dollars last night through Paypal, to help me out and to hopefully fund an upcoming "Twirling Towards Freedom's Ramen Week" (course, now I have to hold a Ramen Week! See? This is what happens when you sell out - controlled content! :P). Anyway, apparently this nice gesture granted him super super karma, as today he got a super super raise at work. Apparently it pays to help me out! :D

Okay, that's enough of that snivelling. I am not licked yet! On to the henz!

This was my first time eating a Cornish hen. These little guys are really awesome! They are like a miniature, supertender version of a chicken, and probably pumped with a lot fewer chemicals since they are supposed to be small! The Asian-inspired glaze here is made of sugar-free apricot preserves, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and hot sauce. And as I'm sure you can see, I drowned the hens in sesame seeds as well before baking. By the way, sugar-free apricot preserves are incredible. They're too sweet alone, but I have definitely combined them a few times with my regular grape jelly in a PB&J sandwich.

Occasionally the book decides that they don't want to give you a side dish, so I threw the hen on a bed of zucchini. I think it looks comfortable!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Salmon with Citrus Sauce & Artichoke Salad


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

I apologize for this being slightly out of focus - I am still learning the tricks of the trade with this new camera. I also have bad eyesight, so the camera thumbnails don't really help me that much whilst I am photographing.

Even though it is slightly out of focus, I think the deliciousness is still highly visible!! This dish got rave reviews in my house, as exemplified by Sean wolfing down the entire batch of the artichoke salad after our first initial helpings.

This dish was incredibly easy!! I seasoned the salmon filets with extreme amounts of pepper and popped them in the oven. Meanwhile, I prepared the artichoke salad and boiled the citrus sauce for the fish. The white stuff on the salmon is the fat (my educated guess) that rose to the top during baking; the citrus sauce was clear. The sauce had Asian tones, the ingredients being orange juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper flakes for a zing! It complimented the salmon very well.

The salad was very simple too as you can probably see! I made this with artichoke hearts, black olives, tomato and onion, with a dressing of red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. I think it would be a great thing to serve to a crowd, especially in the summertime.

I found this really great salmon at Giant by a brand whose name escapes me (I'm going to buy something else from them later tonight so I'll let you all know!). They keep this brand in the freezer next to the seafood section with the frozen shrimp, etc. They sell two filets of various fish (salmon, tilapia, cod, ahi, etc) in a nice colorful packaging, and I will be buying all my applicable fish filets from there in the future, especially after my infamous fresh fish ordeal a few months ago. Unless I'm eating sushi, fresh fish is not that impressive to me, and far less trustworthy in my opinion. By the way, this was wild Alaskan salmon; Atlantic and/or farm-raised salmon are worthless and unhealthy as they pump the salmon full of garbage to fatten them up. You are also less likely to catch parasites or disease from wild Alaskan.

I don't know if eating an entire bowl of artichoke salad is that healthy, but this was a great starch-free meal that left us full! Salmon is chock-full of omega-3, which is a healthy kind of fat that is good for the heart and brain!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Manicotti


All recipes are part of my Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Manicotti. Must be Italian for "pain in the ass".

Seriously though, this was delicious. But, seriously though, this was a pain in the ass to make. You have to boil the noodles, make the filling, fill the noodles with the filling, arrange and construct this masterpiece in a baking dish with your sauce, (the sauce was easy, one can of marinara on the bottom and one on the top!), and top with cheese. And then, THEN, you may bake for an hour.

I exaggerate, I mean this was in no way difficult; the only tedious and frustrating part was shoving the filling into the flimsy noodles. But I would say it took roughly two hours from setting out my ingredients to eating the manicotti, and I spent half of that working!

Like I said, this was wonderful, but not something I would make again for a while. I would probably make this if I were feeding a crowd, because it yields a lot and is economical. I can think of many things a lot more impressive, time-efficient, and aesthetically pleasing though. (I took about six pictures, and ^that^ was the best.)

But it was delicious, and since there's only two of us, it lasted a while, which made the time spent worth it. I added spinach to the ricotta/mozz/parm/parsley/egg filling, which made it more delicious and more vitamin-rich!

Buon appetito!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Raspberry Almond Layer Cake


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Cake!!!!!!!!!!!

I will be the first to admit, a baker I am not, but this came out pretty damn awesome! I made this for Christmas in Vermont. This cake was exceedingly simple, even if it's not very pretty!

In an effort to make this easier for the baking-challenged such as I (even though I have a live-in pastry chef to bail me out of major disasters), the cake recipe was normal yellow cake mix with water, egg + egg whites, canola oil, unsweetened applesauce, and almond extract beaten in. I have come to learn that almond extract is amazing, and the almond taste increases the longer the dessert lasts!

After mixing, I split the batter in two and baked the halves. While the cake cooled after baking, I heated the sugar-free raspberry preserves filling so they would be easier to spread. I made Sean cut the cakes into layers, because my Jedi powers foresaw uneven catastrophe if I were to perform this task myself. Then I layered the cake and covered the fault lines on the top with powdered sugar!

I was supposed to use fresh raspberries as a garnish, but UNBELIEVABLY, I could not find FRESH RASPBERRIES in VERMONT on CHRISTMAS EVE. I know, I know, it's impossible to fathom, but it's true. End sarcasm.

Magnifique!

Sean convinced himself into believing this was a 'diabetic cake' and therefore he could eat however much he wanted. While I didn't ADD any sugar (other than the inch-thick layer on top....), whatever sugar originally existed in the cake mix was still there, so he was not entirely "safe". Regardless, it is still pretty good as far as cakes go, and dammit, even diabetics can risk stripping their blood vessels on Christmas!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat-Cheese-Stuffed Chicken & Mushroom Rice Pilaf


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Fancy pants! This is definitely the fanciest thing I've ever made. Hell, even the "Chef's Tip" in the book says, "Impress your gourmet friends with this easy and healthy meal!". This is cute, but I wouldn't exactly consider many of my friends "gourmets". Because all of my friends are either college age or have graduated in the last five years, I would venture to say that at least a few of them would consider anything that didn't emerge from a Kwik-E-Mart freezer as 'gourmet'.

The title is pretty self-explanatory, but I was very pleased with how this turned out! Chicken 'stuffed' with a roasted red pepper and goat cheese mixture, on a bed of mushroom and white rice pilaf. The only minor hang-up we came across was the fact that I just could not pound the chicken flat enough to roll around the filling very well. It's probably because I am a weak little girl, but I'll blame it on the fact that I bought a pound of extra thick chicken breasts [they usually come four medium chickens to a pack, but mine came with three large ones instead!]. Besides, this could have easily just been chicken topped with the filling, since that's how we all treated it anyway.

This meal marked two exciting blog landmarks for me! First, this is the last picture on this blog that was taken by Old Crappy Camera!! Second, I had my first blog guest star helping me make this meal, hailing all the way from Austin, Texas just to visit me [and you know, her family and other friends and stuff...], Jessica!!!!!:


She likes it!

This was during Jessica's Christmas visit, and after braving holidays-packed-Giant for the last few ingredients, we settled in for this awesome dinner, and a viewing of The Room, possibly the worst film of all time. I feel it is only appropriate to close this entry and this chapter of my worst-pictures blog with the worst trailer for the worst film ever.



The only thing that would have made this better was if they had Don Fontaine reading the trailer, may he rest in peace!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Split Pea Soup


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

I'm not sure if there is a beautiful way to portray something as ugly and grade-school-rhyme-inducing as split pea soup, but the important thing is how it tastes! And it tasted great! I wish I had remembered the bread cubes in my pantry, as they would have made a great garnish; instead, I used a dash of oregano to make the food look not so goopy and not so radioactive.

One thing I liked about this dish was the economy of it. I used a cup of ham from the night before to round out this great soup. Just your basic ingredients: carrots, celery, garlic, peas[obv.], onion, broth, salt and pepper, all blended into the puree that you can enjoy no matter how many teeth you have! If you have teeth, you can add the diced ham as well.

This split pea soup recipe is very high in fiber and protein, each serving size weighing in at 12g and 18g, respectively. You need approximately twice those figures per day, and since the serving sizes listed are pretty small, you could easily get your daily requirement of each in the bowl pictured above.

This soup was also just more proof positive that I need to make more things with shallots. They are awesome, tasty, cute, and totally cheap! I paid only seven cents for one at the store! Not that you can make a meal out of it, but that still makes me happy.

And finally, I didn't realize it at the time, but I am totally awesome for putting green soup in a red bowl, as the colors are complementary.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Baked Ham with Mango Chutney


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

I love this; this is probably the prettiest and most colorful meal I've ever featured on here!

This was my first baked ham, which turned out great because, really, if you screw this up, you're kind of a miracle. The homemade mango and onion chutney turned out really well also!

One thing I have loved about this cooking adventure is that it gives me the opportunity to discover and try new foods and ingredients I wouldn't have experienced otherwise. Also, thanks to this book, I now have just about every condiment known to man.

This recipe isn't actually weird and I have made things with mango chutney before, but I've always been leery about mixing certain food groups. I have always been very weird about combining fruits with just about anything that isn't also a fruit.

NO MORE. Pork mixed with fruit is simply amazing.

Another thing I love about this meal is it adequately demonstrates how we [the royal we!] should be eating at dinner. Note how there are three different vegetables, and they take up half the plate! In theory, half your plate should be vegetables and the other half split evenly between meat/protein and starch/carb. In the case of my household, we are probably better off with more ham and less starch. Also, the more colorful variety of vegetables in your diet, the better!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Polish Sausage and Sauerkraut


Recipe courtesy of the Healthy Calendar.

Happy New Year! I hope The Ten will usher in better fortune for all, as The Nine sucked. I wouldn't go as far to say my year *sucked* on a personal level, but a lot certainly changed for me. Globally though, I would say it was pretty 'lame' overall. I never make New Year's Resolutions because I try to resolve to do things throughout the year. But, if you have a resolution, feel free to post it in the comments!

Well, this is a pretty self-explanatory dish. Kielbasa and 'kraut! The recipe called for tomatoes added into this, which I thought was rather unusual. I thought it was pretty good, though next time I might want to try a different brand of sauerkraut - it was more 'sauer' than anything I had ever tasted in my life. The recipe called for a bit of brown sugar, and Sean tells me that sugar is apparently some magical vinegar-tamer, so perhaps it will need more next time!

Though we saved a significant amount of fat by using turkey kielbasa, this recipe was very high in sodium!

Sigh, I searched the entire internet for the Simpsons footage that I wanted [yes, the *entire* internet], but all I could find was the footage taken from directly BEFORE the part I wanted. I wanted the "Uter Brauten" scene, after he is made into food by the teachers!