Sunday, December 7, 2008

Diane's Menu December 13 - December 19

Diane's Menu December 13 - December 19

Saturday - Roast Chicken, Cavatelli with Broccoli with garlic oil
Sunday - Double Stuffed Baked Potatoes with Chili and Cheese
Monday - Slow Cooker Turkey Kielbasa Stew **
Tuesday - Take out Pizza
Wednesday - Santa Fe Chicken Tortelini (chicken from Saturdays Roast Chicken) **
Thursday - Marmalade Curried Chicken ** in slow cooker, over brown rice from rice cooker
Friday - Possibly out to eat, if not Shrimp Stir Fry over brown rice (enough made on Thursday for both meals.)

** Recipes below

Slow Cooked Turkey Kielbasa Stew

1 tablespoon oil
1lb turkey kielbasa, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 small red potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
2 cups fresh baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise
1 (12 ounce) jar home-style pork gravy
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground sage
1 1/2 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed

Heat oil in large skillet over high heat until hot. Add kielbasa to skillet; sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cook 3 to 5 minutesor until browned, stirring frequently.

In 4 to 6-quart slow cooker, combine kielbasa and all remaining ingredients except green beans.

Cover; cook on LOW setting for 6 to 8 hours.About 20 minutes before serving, stir in green beans. Increase heat setting to high; cover and cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.Makes 6 servings.



9 ounce cheese tortellini
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups broccoli flowerets
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups cooked chicken, cut up
3/4 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup colby cheese, shredded
1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cook and drain tortellini as directed on package. While tortellini is cooking, grease 3 quart casserole. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10" skillet over medium high heat. Cook broccoli, onion and bell pepper in oil for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender. Remove broccoli mixture from skillet. Cook flour and 2 tablespoons oil in same skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Stir in milk, broth and cumin. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly, remove from heat. Stir in chicken, monterey jack cheese, the tortellini and broccoli mixture. Spoon tortellini mixture into casserole. Bake uncovered 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly. During the last 5 minutes of baking, sprinkle with colby cheese and tortilla chips, bake until cheese is melted.

Marmalade Curried Chicken

Serving Size : 6
Categories : Slow Cooker


4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup orange marmalade (sugar free works well)
1/4 cup water
3 teaspoon curry powder
1 garlic clove smashed
salt and pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours. Serve chicken breasts with juices over hot cooked rice. Ifdesired, thicken juices with a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with a smallamount of water.

Menu December 6 - December 12

Diane's Menu December 6 - December 12

Saturday - Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Baked Potato, Carrots, String Beans and Salad
Sunday - Seared Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with wasabi mayonnaise, Shredded Lettuce Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette, Wonton Chips
Monday - Pasta and Meatballs
Tuesday - Take Out Pizza
Wednesday - Turkey/Potato/Cheese Gratin with Broccoli
Thursday - Slow Cooker Lentil Curry with Squash and Cashews **
Friday - Out to eat on the way to see/hear a band we love


Slow Cooker Lentil Curry with Squash and Cashews

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger root or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water or apple juice
1 cup dried green lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
1 large potato, chopped into 1-inch cubes
6 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup cashews (salted or unsalted)

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until softened and translucent. Stir in flour, curry, ginger, cumin, fennel seeds and salt; mix well. Stir in stock and water; bring to a boil, scraping up bits from bottom of skillet. Transfer mixture to slow cooker. Add lentils, squash and potato; stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Add spinach leaves; stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for another 15 minutes or until leaves have wilted. Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle with cashews.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Menu November 29 - December 5

Menu November 29 - December 5

Saturday - Thai Chicken Wraps and Veggie Stir Fry
Sunday - Roast Leg of Lamb, Roast Potatoes and Steamed Carrots
Monday - Weekly Takeout Pizza
Tuesday - Grilled Turkey Caesar Salads
Wednesday - Curried Lamb and Bulgar Pilaf in Rice Cooker
Thursday - Pasta Amatriciana with Peas
Friday - Shrimp and Broccoli Risotto

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rice Cookers

I read a great article called "Who needs a rice cooker?" on the Washington Post Newspaper site. Basically it is an essay about the benefits (there are no disadvantages) of owning and using a rice cooker.

If you have never used one you don't know what you are missing. And, if you have used one you are already a devotee.

I own 2 rice cookers. They are both made by Zojirushi. One is a on/off basic model and the other is a fuzzy-logic model with many bells and whistles. They each have their own benefits. I use my rice cooker 5 times a week or more, sometimes more than once a day. I am a gadget junkie, but truthfully unless you want to make porridge or mostly brown rice the low end models are good enough for most people.

Once you start cooking with a rice cooker, you will be able to create your own recipes and know the techniques required to make awesome porridges for breakfast and even to bake a cake. But, until then, try this great cookbook called "The Ultimate Rice Cooker" by Beth Hensperber.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Diane's Menu November 22 - November 28

Diane's Menu November 22 - November 28

Saturday - Moroccan Lamb and Butternut Squash with Couscous **
Sunday - Thai BBQ Chicken, Snow peas saute
Monday - Weekly Pizza Take-out
Tuesday - Pasta and Meatballs
Wednesday - out for dinner and live music
Thursday - THANKSGIVING at my sisters. I am bringing homemade Stuffed Grape Leaves for an Appetizer, Pumpkin Dinner Rolls ** and all the ingredients to make my own Pumpkin Martinis.
Friday - Grilled Shrimp on Spinach Salads


Moroccan Lamb and Butternut Squash with Couscous in slow cooker

2 pounds of lamb (shanks work, boneless leg of lamb works), if using boneless cut into very large chunks.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion sliced thinly
3 dried red chilis or 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (depending how spicy you like it)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground ginger (depending how spicy you like it)
3 tablespoons honey

1 1/2 pound butternut squash, skinned and seeds removed, cut into large chunks
1 14 ounce can low sodium chicken broth

In a large saute pan, brown lamb in canola oil. (If you have a slow cooker that allows browning, use it.)

Remove lamb from pan. Add onion and chili peppers and stir to coat in oil and allow to soften. Add all of the spices and stir to coat and cover the onion with them. (If you are using a slow cooker that doesn't brown, this is the point where you would pour all of the ingredients into the slow cooker from whatever saute pan you had been using)

Add the honey and stir to mix in. Add the butternut squash and chicken broth. Stir to mix.

Place lamb on top of the mixture. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.

If using shanks, remove bones, if not just stir it all together and add 1 cup raw couscous. Stir to mix and cover and cook another 15 minutes.

Ready to serve and enjoy!


Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
5 tbsp butter, divided
1 tsp salt
2 pkg (1/4 ounces each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 F)
2 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup canned pumpkin1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, brown sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, and salt to 110 - 115 F. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in a warm water. Stir in the milk mixture. Add 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, wheat flour, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Beat until smooth. Add enough remaining all purpose flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour. Punch dough down. Divide into 20 pieces. Shape into balls. Place in a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled. Melt the remaining butter. Brush over the dough. Bake at 375 F. for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the pan to a wire rack.Makes about 20 rolls.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Menu November 15 - November 21

Saturday - Spicy Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes (Leftover sliced and frozen in gravy for Friday)
Sunday - Lamb Shanks Saltimbocca with polenta and peas
Monday - Take out Pizza
Tuesday - Caribbean Chicken and Squash**
Wednesday - Jambalaya with Shrimp in Rice Cooker
Thursday - Grilled THICK Boneless Pork Chops, Asparagus and Brown Rice
Friday - Apple Pumpkin Soup **, open faced Pot Roast Sandwiches

** Recipes below


Slow Cooker Caribbean Chicken and Squash

4 chicken thighs, skin removed
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup water or broth
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except chicken. Mix well. Place chicken on top of mixture. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours or until squash is done and chicken juices run clear when pierced. With forks, remove chicken from bones, then cut into pieces. Stir into vegetable mixture. Serve with fresh bread and a green salad.


Apple Pumpkin Soup
(This will make enough for dinner and then I will have a few servings left for lunches.)

2 cups finely chopped peeled tart apples
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups canned pumpkin
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (I will be using Splenda brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup half-and-half cream (I will use evaporated skim milk)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large saucepan, saute apples and onion in butter for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually whisk in broth. Stir in the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Cool slightly. In a blender, cover and process soup in batches until smooth. Pour into a bowl; cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Just before serving, transfer soup to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Stir in the apple juice, cream, salt and pepper; heat through. Yield: 12 servings (about 2 quarts).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Multi Bean and Pea and Lentil Soup for lunch today

I cook beans once or twice a week in my Pressure Cooker. But this package that I just bought, which was so inexpensive, was all mixed peas/beans/lentils already. Because I bought them in bulk, they had no directions on the package. We tend to avoid pre-packaged seasonings as they are so full of salt.

So here is what I did.

In my QVC MultiCooker:

Sautéed one onion and 2 jalapeno peppers (seeds and all) in 2 tablespoons of canola oil
Added 2 heaping teaspoons cumin and 2 bay leaves and 2 cups of the bean/lentil/pea mixture and stirred it around to coat.
I added enough water to cover it with a few inches extra and set it on high pressure for 25 minutes.
When done I gave it a quick release.
Added 1 large can of tomato paste, 3 tablespoons of the WOW chicken soup from the Ingredient Store, 1 pound kielbasa, 1 pound of carrots.
Back on high pressure for 20 minutes, natural release. Added quite a bit of hot sauce and stirred it in.

DELICIOUS!! We each had two bowls and there is enough left for lunch tomorrow too. The largest beans and the carrots had a bit of a bite, which we like and everything else was creamy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Menu November 8-14

Diane's Menu November 8-14, 2008

Saturday - Shrimp Fra Diablo over Whole Wheat Angel Hair Pasta, Salad
Sunday - Seared Ahi Tuna Steak (rare), Shredded Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
Monday - Steak Salad (for those regular readers, no Pizza night??? LOL)
Tuesday - Lentil Soup, Grilled Vegetable Panini with Goat Cheese
Wednesday - Grilled Turkey Tenderloin and Wild Rice Medley **
Thursday - Spaghetti Squash Salad with Grilled Chicken **
Friday - Red Bean, Barley and Sausage Stew **


Wild Rice Medley

(I will use all fat free cheeses and double the veggies)

1-3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch dried thyme
3/4 cup uncooked wild rice
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
6 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a saucepan, combine broth and seasonings; bring to a boil. Add rice; cover and simmer for 55-60 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. In a large skillet, saute green pepper, onion and garlic in oil. Add mushrooms; saute until tender. Stir in rice and tomato. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 8 servings.


Spaghetti Squash Salad

1 spaghetti squash (about 2-1/2 pounds)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup sugar (Splenda)
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Fill pan with hot water to a depth of 1/2 in. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the squash, separating strands with a fork. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl; add the squash and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon as a salad with grilled chicken or as a relish with burgers and hot dogs. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 8 servings.


Red Bean, Barley & Sausage Stew

1 lb. uncooked red kidney beans
46 oz. can chicken broth
2 c. water
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
1 c. barley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. thyme

The night before, rinse beans, put in large bowl with water to cover and soak overnight. (I never soak my beans, I pressure cook them in my multi-function pot and then change the function to a slow-cooker and continue.)

In the morning drain and rinse beans. Put all ingredients in a large slow cooker, stir, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Serves 8

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lunch Today - Brown Rice, bulghur and spicy chicken in the rice cooker

I made up a lunch today that was awesome.

I put 2 rice cooker cups of brown rice and 1 rice cooker cup of bulghur in my rice cooker. I added a 14 ounce can of fat free/low sodium chicken broth. I added 3 cups of water, 2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts cut in bite size pieces, 4 hot cherry peppers chopped up, 1 onion sliced thinly. Mixed with the rice cooker paddle and cooked on brown rice.

When it was done I added a can of sodium free kernal corn with the liquid. Closed the lid and let it sit for 10 more minutes. Then we ate. It was great, spicy and flavorful and very healthy!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's Breakfast: Diane's Cranberry Oatmeal

Diane's Cranberry Oatmeal
POINTS® Value: 5
Servings: 4
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Course: breakfast


1 2/3 cup(s) uncooked oatmeal
1 cup(s) cranberries
3 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
2/3 cup(s) Kellogg's Original All-Bran
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup(s) unpacked brown sugar
Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to taste


Add all ingredients in the rice cooker. Select porridge setting on rice cooker and press cook.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Diane's Menu November 1 - November 7

Diane's Menu November 1 - November 7
Saturday - Mexican Pork Roast w/Vegetables and Roasted Chipotle-Salsa Sauce **
Sunday - Roast Chicken, steamed vegetables (whatever is on sale), Roasted Garlic mashed Faux-tatoes (leftover chicken for Wednesday dinner)
Monday - Weekly Pizza
Tuesday - Grilled Lamb Chops and Orzo with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Spinach **
Wednesday - soft Chicken Tacos
Thursday - Burgers, Cole Slaw
Friday - Slow Cooker Curried Chicken Thighs with Curried Chickpeas and Kale ** (2 recipes, but I do them together)

** Recipes below
Mexican Roast Beef w/Vegetables and Roasted Chipotle-Salsa Sauce
Serving Size : 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
Step One: The Roasted Salsa
4 dried chipotle chiles -- (¼ to ½ oz) or 1 (7 oz) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce 1 small head garlic -- unpeeled
6 medium-sized tomatillos -- husked, rinsed, and halved
½ c finely chopped cilantro stems and leaves

Step Two: The Roast
3 pounds boneless pork roast
½ c all purpose flour
1 Tb vegetable oil -- (1 to 2)
2 Spanish onions -- thickly sliced into rings
1 bottle Mexican beer -- (12 oz) (I use apple cider, no beer in cooking in this house)
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 medium-size pasilla -- poblanos, or Anaheim chilies, seeded and cut into strips 4 medium-size carrots -- peeled and cut into ½ inch rounds
2 chayote squash (butternut, even the frozen works well here) -- peeled, pitted, and cut into 1 inch cubes
6 medium-size red potatoes -- scrubbed and quartered
2 c frozen corn (canned or off the cob works well too)

Step One Directions:

If using dried chiles, heat a heavy skillet over medium heat (cast iron works best). Cut open the chiles and remove the stems and seeds. Cut the larger chiles in smaller pieces and place them in the hot skillet to toast, pressing flat with a spatula until they darken slightly and release their aromas. Do not over-toast the chiles or they will have a bitter taste. In a small bowl, cover the toasted chiles with boiling water and let them soak for 30 minutes. Drain, and discard the water. While the chiles are soaking, preheat the broiler. Cut off the tip of the garlic head, slicing through the top of the cloves. Place the head of garlic on a plate, cut side up, and cover tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave for about 5 minutes, or until the cloves of garlic have softened. Remove the plate from the microwave. Remove the plastic wrap and let stand until cool enough to handle. Pull the cloves apart and squeeze out the garlic. Roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet 4 inches below the broiler until blackened on one side, about 5 minutes. Use long-handled tongs to turn and roast the other side. Put the tomatillos and any juice, the chiles, garlic, and cilantro into a food processor or blender and process to a fine-textured puree.

Step Two Directions:

Dry the meat on paper towels and dredge in the flour. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add the meat, cook until well browned on all sides, and set aside. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they are deeply browned and well caramelized, about 8 minutes. Deglaze the cooker with the beer, scraping up all the browned bits. Stir in the salsa mixture, cumin, salt, and pepper. Return the roast to the cooker and cook for 35 minutes on high. Use natural release, turn the meat over and add the chiles, carrots, chayotes, potatoes, and corn, stir to mix well. Cook for 5 minutes more on high. Use the quick release method and transfer the meat and vegetables to a platter. Skim any excess fat from the surface of the sauce, adjust seasoning to taste. Pour the sauce into a bowl and serve with the meat and vegetables.

Serves 6

Orzo Sun Dried Tomatoes and Spinach in Rice Cooker

1 cup orzo pasta
1 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons diced sun-dried tomato in oil
3 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped (or one box frozen spinach, you can put it in the rice cooker frozen!)

Place all ingredients in the cooker and flip down the lever to cook.

Serves 4



8-9 chicken thighs ,skin and fat removed
4 tbsp butter
1/2 c honey
1/4 c prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder (I use much more, we like spicy)

1.Melt butter then add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT chicken.
2.Roll chicken in sauce and put in greased slow cooker.
3.Pour remaining sauce over chicken.
4.Cook on high 4 hours.

Number of Servings: 4


Slow Cooker Curried Chickpeas and Kale

2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
3 cups chopped kale or 1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach
1 1/2 tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

Just throw it all together in the slow cooker and let it cook on low 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

Diane's Menu October 25 - Oct 31

Diane's Menu October 25 - October 31

Saturday - Pulled Pork on Brown Rice, steamed broccoli and salad
Sunday - Buffalo Wings, Bruschetta
Monday - Weekly Pizza
Tuesday - Whole wheat penne and broccoli
Wednesday - 3 Cheese and Salsa Pasta with Turkey Meatballs
Thursday - Burgers, Cole Slaw
Friday - out at a new Italian place for us before live music

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cuts of Beef

I found this great picture to help identify cuts of beef.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Diane's Menu October 18 - October 24

Diane's Menu October 18 - October 24
Saturday - BBQ ribs and soba noodles in the Rice Cooker
Sunday - Bulgur Pilaf with Moroccan Roast Chicken **
Monday - Weekly take out pizza
Tueday - Diane's 30 Minute Coq au Vin **
Wednesday - Roasted Garlic and Asparagus Risotto in Rice Cooker
Thursday - Curried Chicken Salad (with roast chicken leftover from Sunday)**
Friday - Ginger Pumpkin Bisque ** and Ham Sandwiches

** Recipes included below.


Bulgur Pilaf with Moroccan Roast Chicken


For the Chicken:

One 4-pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 cup (tightly packed) pitted prunes, quartered
6 thin slices lemon, pitted, plus more for garnish
2 Tbsp. butter, melted (optional)

For the Bulgur Pilaf:

Generous pinch of saffron threads
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup finely diced shallots or onion1
1/2 cups coarse bulgur
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint


Set a rack in the center and preheat the oven to 350° F.
Season the chicken well, inside and out, with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, blend the oil with the ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and cayenne.
Starting at the neck opening, gently press your hand between the skin and the flesh all over the chicken to loosen the skin. Rub half of the spice oil into the flesh under the skin.

Toss the prunes and lemon slices in the remaining spice oil. Stuff these into the cavity of the chicken. Secure the opening with skewers or toothpicks. For a very crisp skin, brush the chicken with the melted butter.

Set the chicken on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted where the thigh meets the leg registers 165°F, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

After the chicken has been roasting for about 35 minutes, begin preparing the bulgur pilaf; in a small bowl, stir the saffron into 1 tablespoon of warm water. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over medium-high heat until they soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the bulgur emits a faint toasted aroma, about 3 minutes. Add 3 1/4 cups of water plus the saffron and its soaking water. Bring to a boil. Stir in the salt. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the bulgur is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. If all of the water has been absorbed and the bulgur is not done, stir in 1/4 cup hot water and cook over a very low heat for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the bulgur steam for 10 minutes or until the chicken is done. To serve: Remove the stuffing from the chicken. Discard the lemon slices. Stir the prunes, almonds, and mint into the bulgur. Add salt to taste. If you wish, skim the fat from the chicken pan juices and stir them in.

Carve the chicken and serve each portion with a large spoonful of the bulgur pilaf.
From "Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way" by Lorna Sass


Diane's 30 Minute Coq Au Vin

3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
4 ounces pancetta, diced (I find it dices easier when it is partially frozen)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup red wine
3/4 cup boiling water
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 medium onion, in large dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 ounces unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

Empty can of mushroom soup into a bowl. In the can place the dried porcini mushrooms crushed up in smaller pieces. Pour boiling water into the can to the halfway point and let sit to cool.In skillet (preferably NOT non-stick), melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add oil and onion and pancetta. Cook slowly, do not let onion color. Raise heat and add chicken and garlic and cook until all pinkness of chicken is gone and some browning has occurred. Remove chicken from pan. Add red wine and scrape up bits. Return chicken to the pan.Mix the cooled porcini mushroom mixture with the bowl of cream of mushroom soup. Pour over the chicken in the pan. Bring to a slow simmer stirring occasionally to mix all ingredients. Add the other 2 tablespoons of butter and let melt and blend in.Serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with parsley.


Curried Chicken Salad

3 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained
1 medium apple, diced
3/4 cup halved green grapes
3/4 cup pineapple tidbits, juice drained and reserved
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds


1-1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1 to 3 teaspoons curry powder

In a large bowl, combine first eight ingredients. Blend all dressing ingredients and toss with chicken mixture. Chill several hours. Yield: 8 servings.

Ginger Pumpkin Bisque
(from the Marsh Tavern, Manchester, Vermont as published in Yankee Magazine)

3/4 cup of chopped shallots AND1/2 cup chopped onions
OR1 large onion chopped
2 tsp. of grated gingeroot OR 2 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. oil
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider
1 16 oz. can pumpkin (in a pinch substitute squash)
1/3 cup maple syrup (the REAL stuff...don't skimp!!!)
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup whipping or heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla(nutmeg for garnish)

In a 3-quart saucepan cook shallots, onions, and gingerroot/ground ginger in hot oil over medium heat till tender but not brown. Stir in flour. Add chicken broth and cider all at once. Cook and stir> over medium heat till thickened and bubbly. Sitr in pumpkin, maple syrup, bay leaves, cinnamon, thyme, pepper and cloves. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaves. Cool slightly. In a food processor or blender container cover and blend mixture in 3 or 4 batches. Return the soup to the saucepan. Stir in the 1 cup of cream and vanilla. Heat through but do not boil!!!! If desired, swirl cream into each servin and garnish with sprinkled nutmeg OR a sprig of fresh thyme.

Makes approx. 8 cups or 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Here are some of my favorite combinations for Paninis:

  • grilled Veggies (especially eggplant, red peppers, zucchini and onions) with goat cheese
  • ham and cheese
  • salami, pepperoni, provolone cheese and a tomato paste spread. Season with oregano and garlic and you will swear you are eating a pizza.
  • roast beef, cheddar cheese, horseradish
  • hamburger, cheese, bacon, ketchup
  • corned beef or pastrami, sauekraut, swiss cheese, thousand island dressing
  • meatballs slice, mozeralla cheese, marinara sauce
  • tuna salad, swiss cheese

More to come!

Bulgar for Breakfast?

This morning I have a big pot of bulgar cooking in my rice cooker.

I put the rice cooker on brown and added 1 tablespoon of butter. I cut up 2 large apples into it. Then I added lots of cinnamon and ginger and a bit of nutmeg. Then 2 rice cooker cups of bulgar and 1 1/2 cups of evaporated skim milk and 3 1/2 cups of water. I also added 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.

I set it on the porridge setting and it is cooking away now. SMELLS AWESOME!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TODAYS GRIPE! Slow Cookers and Good Quality Meats

OK, so I am going to spend this post ranting my opinions. It's my blog after all!

I love my slow cooker. I use it 2-3 times a week, sometimes even more. It makes soups and stews and flavorful combinations that meld spices and inexpensive pieces of meats to make lusciously comforting meals.

I don't understand why someone would spend $7.99 (or more) per pound on a pork tenderloin and then cook it in a slow cooker. (Crock-pot) A pork tenderloin has almost no fat. It is an expensive piece of meat that begs to be quickly grilled or roasted. It is a piece of meat that will dry out by just looking at it. It is a piece of meat that will be tasty when cooked to an internal temperature of 150° but will taste like straw when cooked to more than 165°. Why would you waste such a piece of meat in a slow cooker??

I cook pork in my slow cooker often. I use pork legs, shoulders and butts. The pork is tender and delicious when done and never dry. It ranges in price from sometimes less than $1 a pound if bought in bulk on sale to no more than $2 per pound. Yes, the pieces are usually too big for one meal but how wonderful it is to have meals of pulled pork or pork fried rice or pork and beans already cooked in the freezer for busy nights.

So, if you want to save money and improve the results in your slow-cooker, don't use expensive lean cuts of meat.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bulgar and Turkey Experiment for Dinner

Today I am going to play with my rice cooker.

I have a brand new bag of bulgar and some turkey cutlets that are defrosted. I also made some homemade peach chutney last week and I think I will spice up the broth for the bulgar with curry and onions and then serve the whole thing with peas and the peach chutney.

I will let you all know how it turns out.

Oh, by the way, I was looking for a liquid ratio information for bulgar in the rice cooker and ran across a great blog for Turkish cooking. Check it out!

For more recipes about grains check out my YAHOO! grain group!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Diane's Menu October 11 - 16

Diane's Menu October 11 - 16

Saturday - out to a new place for BBQ (see review on previous blog post)
Sunday - left over from BBQ dinner out (portions at this place were HUGE and we are big eaters.)
Monday - weekly take out pizza
Tuesday - hamburgers on home made sourdough whole grain bread, steamed string beans
Wednesday - grilled turkey cutlets with Peach Chutney over greens
Thursday - pasta and meatballs
Friday - spicy lentil stew with smoked sausages

New BBQ restaurant in nearby town

We had dinner at a new place on Saturday night. At least it was new to us. It is called 28 BBQ and is located on route 28 in Bound Brook, NJ.

What a great find this place is. It is located on the main street in town on a corner. It is small and like sitting in a friend's kitchen. It was rather hot in the restaurant and we sat at clean wooden tables. There was a big family seated near us and there were only about 5 other tables.

We were greeted by three different waitresses and each was eager to help us. The sights of all that meat on the rotisserie made our mouths watered as we looked at the menu. The menu is mainly pork, beef and chicken done on the rotisserie. There is also fish and varied appetizers and sides. The value for the money is incredible. The prices are pretty typical until one sees the servings. We are big eaters, and even so, brought home half of our dinners for a future dinner at home.

We each ordered the combination of chicken and pork spare ribs. It came with yellow rice and a choice of sides. I had the salad and my husband had the black beans. We could have also chosen fries. The chicken was succulent and so tasty, even the white meat. The flavor of the light BBQ sauce that is used all through the rotisserie time was defined but light enough to let the flavor of the perfectly cooked chicken through. The ribs were a delight. Unlike the heavy sugar coated sauces of most places, the same light sauce was used when cooking and it let the impeccably cooked meat shine through. The rice which is usually just and after thought at most places was cooked so that each grain was flavorful and didn't stick together. The black beans were seasoned well.

There is no bar and the sodas are bottled from a cooler. We didn't ask, but it's possible that you could bring your own. They do have desserts that looked incredible, but we were far too satiated to try any.

The place does an incredible take out business. They package the food so well that it stays fresh.

They have a website and a blog.

We are looking forward to eating this food again.

Monday, September 29, 2008

October Food Holidays - October is Just Around the Corner

October 1, 2006 Homemade Cookies Day
October 1, 2006 National Frappe Day
October 1, 2006 Pudding Season Begins
October 1, 2006 World Vegetarian Day
October 1-7, 2006 American Beer Week
October 1-31, 2006 Eat Country Ham Month
October 1-31, 2006 International Microwave Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Apple Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Applejack Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Caramel Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Chili Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Cookbook Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Cookie Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Dessert Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Pasta Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Pickled Peppers Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Pizza Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Popcorn Poppin' Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Pork Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Pretzel Month
October 1-31, 2006 National Seafood Month
October 1-31, 2006 Vegetarian Awareness Month
October 2, 2006 National Fried Scallops Day
October 3, 2006 National Caramel Custard Day
October 4, 2006 National Taco Day
October 4, 2006 National Vodka Day
October 5, 2006 National Apple Betty Day
October 6, 2006 National Noodle Day
October 8, 2006 National Fluffernutter Day
October 9, 2006 Moldy Cheese Day
October 9, 2006 National Dessert Day
October 9, 2006 Submarine - Hoagie - Hero - Grinder Day
October 10, 2006 National Angel Food Cake Day
October 11, 2006 National Sausage Pizza Day
October 11, 2006 World Egg Day
October 12, 2006 National Gumbo Day
October 13, 2006 National Peanut Festival
October 13, 2006 National Pumpkin Festival
October 13, 2006 National Yorkshire Pudding Day
October 14, 2006 Chocolate Covered Insect Day
October 15, 2006 National Chicken Cacciatore Day
October 15, 2006 National Mushroom Day
October 15, 2006 National Roast Pheasant Day
October 16, 2006 National Liqueur Day
October 16, 2006 World Food Day
October 17, 2006 Four Prunes Day
October 17, 2006 National Pasta Day
October 18, 2006 National Chocolate Cupcake Day
October 19, 2006 National Seafood Bisque Day
October 20, 2006 National Brandied Fruit Day
October 21, 2006 Caramel Apple Day
October 21, 2006 National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day
October 22, 2006 National Nut Day
October 23, 2006 Canned Food Day
October 23, 2006 National Boston Cream Pie Day
October 24, 2006 Good And Plenty Day
October 24, 2006 National Bologna Day
October 25, 2006 National Greasy Foods Day
October 26, 2006 National Mincemeat Day
October 27, 2006 American Beer Day
October 27, 2006 National Potato Day
October 28, 2006 National Chocolate Day
October 28, 2006 Wild Foods Day
October 29, 2006 National Oatmeal Day
October 29-6, 2006 National Chili Week
October 30, 2006 Buy a Doughnut Day
October 30, 2006 National Candy Corn Day
October 31, 2006 Halloween
October 31, 2006 National Candy Apple Day

Diane's Menu September 27 - October 3

Diane's Menu September 27 - October 3

Saturday - Roasted Chicken, Asparagus, Salad
Sunday - Grilled Tuna (very Rare) and Tomato Bruschetta
Monday - Weekly Pizza night
Tuesday - Chicken Pasta Salad (chicken from Saturday)
Wednesday - Mediterranean Pork, Zucchini and Orzo *
Thursday - Kielbasa Split Pea Soup
Friday - Beef Stew on Brown Rice

*Recipe below

Mediterranean Pork, Zucchini and Orzo
Light & Tasty
June/July 2006 issue

METHOD: Stovetop - One-Dish
TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

1 pork tenderloins (3/4 pound each)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 quarts water
1-1/4 cups uncooked orzo pasta
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
2 cups chunked zucchini
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


Rub pork with pepper; cut into 1-in. cubes. In a large nonstick skillet, cook pork in oil over medium heat for 5 minutes and add the chunks of zucchini and garlic. Stir and cook until pork is no longer pink.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in orzo and salt; cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook 45-60 seconds longer or until orzo is tender and spinach is wilted.

Add tomatoes to the pork; cook and stir for 1 minute or until heated through. Drain orzo mixture; toss with pork mixture and feta cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts
One serving: 2/3 cup pork mixture with 2/3 cup orzo mixture Calories: 372 Fat: 11 g Saturated Fat: 4 g Cholesterol: 71 mg Sodium: 306 mg Carbohydrate: 34 g Fiber: 3 g Protein: 31 g Diabetic Exchange: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 1 fat.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Diane's Menu September 20 - September 26, 2008

Diane's Menu September 20 - September 26, 2008

Saturday - Turkey Goulash in Slow Cooker
Sunday - Saucy Maple Country Style Ribs *
Monday - Weekly Take-out Pizza
Tuesday - Lamb and Vegetable Rice *
Wednesday - Scallops with Sun Dried Tomatoes over Whole Wheat Penne *
Thursday - Gingered Beef with Vegetables *
Friday - Ginger Curried Pumpkin Soup * and Grilled Chicken Quesidillas

* Recipes provided below


Saucy Maple Country Style Ribs 10 WW points

1 1/2 lbs country-style boneless pork ribs
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried minced onion, or use fresh
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash of pepper
Place pork in the slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over
pork. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.



2 pound lamb shoulder roast
1 T. cooking oil
2 1/2 cups hot-style vegetable juice (V-8)
1 cup regular brown rice
1 tsp. curry powder (penzey's mild curry is good)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch strips

Trim fat from lamb roast. Brown roast on all sides in
the cooking oil.

In a 4 quart crockpot, combine vegetable juice,
uncooked brown rice, curry powder and salt. Add
carrots. Place meat atop carrots.

Cover. Cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high
setting for 4 hours. Add pepper strips to the
crockpot. Cover and let stand 5 to 10 minutes to allow
peppers to soften. Serve.

This recipe freezes well.


Scallops with Sun-Dried Tomatoes 7 WW points
Light & Tasty
June/July 2006 issue
Page: 61

METHOD: Stovetop - One-Dish
TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

6 ounces uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
3/4 cup hot water
4 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound bay scallops
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl,
combine the sun-dried tomatoes and hot water. Let stand for 5 minutes;
drain and set aside.
Place the broccoli and broth in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and
microwave on high for 2-4 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender; set
In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook garlic
in oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add scallops; cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the lime juice, basil, salt, and reserved tomatoes and broccoli;
cook 2-3 minutes longer or until scallops are firm and opaque.
Drain the pasta; stir into scallop mixture and heat through.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts
One serving: 2 cups Calories: 367 Fat: 10 g Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 41 mg Sodium: 585 mg Carbohydrate: 40 g Fiber: 4 g Protein:
30 g Diabetic Exchange: 3 very lean meat, 2 starch, 1-1/2 fat, 1


Gingered Beef and Vegetables 7 WW points

* 1-1/2 pounds boneless beef round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
* 4 medium carrots, bias-cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
* 1/2 cup bias-sliced green onions
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1-1/2 cups water
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
* 1-1/2 teaspoons instant beef bouillon granules
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 3 tablespoons cornstarch
* 3 tablespoons cold water
* 1/2 cup chopped red sweet pepper
* 2 cups loose-pack frozen sugar snap peas, thawed
* Hot cooked brown rice

1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine beef, carrots, green
onions, and garlic. In a medium bowl, combine the 1-1/2 cups water,
the soy sauce, ginger, bouillon granules, and crushed red pepper;
pour over mixture in cooker.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-
heat setting for 4-1/2 to 5 hours.

3. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. In a small
bowl, stir together cornstarch and the 3 tablespoons cold water; stir
into meat mixture along with sweet pepper. Cover and cook for 20 to
30 minutes or until thickened, stirring once. Stir in sugar snap
peas. Serve with hot cooked brown rice. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition Facts

* Calories 350,
* Total Fat (g) 10,


Ginger-Curry Pumpkin Soup 2 WW points for half of the recipe

16 ounces canned pumpkin
2 1/2 cups veg stock
1 teaspoon ginger, finely grated/minced
1 teaspoon curry powder or to taste
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
toasted sliced almonds for garnish

In a medium saucepan combine pumpkin, stock, ginger, and curry powder.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Season to taste with
salt and cayenne.
Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds, if

Friday, September 5, 2008

Diane's Menu September 13 - September 19

Menu September 13 - September 19

Saturday - Crock-pot Hearty Beef Stew*
Sunday - Grilled Lamb Kabobs, Greek Orzo Salad*
Monday - Weekly take out pizza
Tuesday - Spanish Chicken and Rice*
Wednesday - Black Eyed Pea Casserole*
Thursday - Key Lime Chicken and Cucumber Salsa*
Friday - Pasta and Meatballs

* Recipes below


Crock Pot Hearty Beef Stew

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, undrained
3 Tbsp. quick cooking tapioca
2 Tbsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1" slices
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1-1/2 lb. lean chuck roast, cut into 1" cubes
2 tsp. canola oil

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, tapioca, basil, sugar, salt and
pepper; let stand for 15 minutes. Place the potatoes, carrots, onion
and celery in a 5 quart crock pot/slow cooker.
In a large nonstick skillet, brown meat in oil over medium heat.
Drain and transfer meat to slow cooker. Pour tomato mixture over the
top. Cover and cook on HIGH heat setting for 8 hours or until meat
and vegetables are tender.
Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition Information:
Per serving (1-1/3 cups) = 380 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat),
78 mg cholesterol, 458 mg sodium, 46 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 31 g

Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 2 vegetable.


Greek Orzo Salad

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
2 (6 ounce) cans marinated artichoke hearts
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 (2 ounce) can black olives, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Drain artichoke hearts, reserving liquid.
In large bowl combine pasta, artichoke hearts, tomato, cucumber, onion, feta, olives, parsley, lemon juice, oregano and lemon pepper. Toss and chill for 1 hour in refrigerator.
Just before serving, drizzle reserved artichoke marinade over salad


Spanish Chicken and Rice
From Good Housekeeping
triple-tested at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute
With our freeze-now, serve-later dishes, you can give your family a
comfy meal on even the busiest weeknight. Chicken and rice gets a
Spanish twist from peppers and olives and a healthy kick of sweet, smoky

~ 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
~ 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
~ 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
~ 1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
~ 2 medium green peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
~ 2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
~ 1 large onion, chopped
~ 1 tablespoon(s) paprika
~ 2 can(s)(14 1/2-ounce) diced tomatoes
~ 1 can(s)(14- to 14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth
~ 3 cup(s)water
~ 2 1/2 cup(s)long-grain white rice (I am using brown rice)
~ 1 package(s)(10-ounce) frozen peas
~ 1 cup(s)salad olives or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed olives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil on
medium-high until hot. Sprinkle chicken all over with salt and black
pepper; cook, in 2 batches, about 6 minutes per batch, until lightly
browned on both sides. With tongs, transfer chicken pieces to small
roasting pan (13" by 9") or jelly-roll pan (1 1/2" by 10 1/2").
Cover roasting pan with foil and bake chicken 25 to 30 minutes or until
juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with tip of
Meanwhile, in same Dutch oven, cook green peppers, garlic, and onion
about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in paprika and cook 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with their juice,
broth, water, and rice; heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to low;
cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in frozen peas and olives.
Grease two 2- to 2 1/2-quart glass or ceramic baking dishes. Spoon half
the rice mixture into each prepared baking dish. Carefully tuck thighs
into hot rice mixture. Cover and bake one dish 25 minutes or until rice
is tender and most of liquid is absorbed. Fluff rice to serve.
Meanwhile, prepare second baking dish for freezing (see Thawing and
Reheating Tips).
To reheat after thawing 24 hours:
Conventional oven: Heat, loosely covered, at 350 degrees F 1 1/2 hours.
Microwave oven: Not recommended; cooking is uneven and rice turns mushy.

Serves 8

Yield 2 casseroles
Prep Time 35
Cook Time 25
Total time 60

Calories440Total Fat8gSaturated Fat2gCholesterol85mgSodium1180mgTotal
Carbohydrate62gDietary Fiber5gSugars--Protein29gCalcium--


Black Eyed Pea Casserole

Big family or big appetites? Here's a hearty casserole to satisfy the hungriest.


1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I am using ground turkey breast)
1 teaspoons seasoned salt
1-1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 small jalapeño chile, finely chopped
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (I will be making them the night before from dried)
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup milk (I will be using skim milk)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon baking powder, if desired


1. Heat oven to 375°F. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef, seasoned salt, white pepper, bell pepper, jalapeño and onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.

2. Stir black-eyed peas, tomatoes, cumin, garlic powder and chili powder into beef mixture. Spoon beef mixture into ungreased rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Set aside.

3. In medium bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients. Pour evenly over beef mixture.

4. Bake casserole 40 to 50 minutes or until light golden.

Tips from the Kitchen


The topping on this spicy casserole bakes up light and tender. If you like a heavy, denser-style cornbread, leave out the baking powder in the topping.


Cool Cucumber Salsa

2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
½ c. chopped green bell pepper
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced (I didn't seed)
1 small red onion, minced
2 tbs. minced cilantro leaves (I used a big handful, we like it)
1 tbs. minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs. fresh key lime juice (I used bottled key lime juice)
1 large ripe tomato (recipe doesn't call for this but we added it in)

Mix all together in a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Tangy Key Lime Chicken

2 tbs oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
½ c. key lime juice
1 tbs. honey
½ c. chopped cilantro
2 tbs. minced garlic
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown on both sides. Add the lime juice, honey, cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper to the pressure cooker, turning the chicken once to coat both sides. Lock the lid in place. Bring to 15psi over high heat, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to stabilize and maintain that pressure, and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and use the natural release method. Preheat the broiler. Transfer the chicken to a broiler pan and baste with some of the sauce. Place the pan about 6" from the heat, turning and basting with the reserved marinade until both sides look crisp and brown. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve with the Cool Cucumber Salsa on the side.
Serves 6

From: Miss Vickie's Big Book of Pressure Cooker Recipes

Diane's Menu September 6 - September 12

Saturday - Roast Chicken, stir fried string beans, biscuits
Sunday - Grilled London Broil, grilled asparagus
Monday - Weekly take-out pizza
Tuesday - Curried Beef and quinoa stew
Wednesday - Chicken pasta salad (with leftover chicken from Sunday)
Thursday - Buy one get one burger at a local pub
Friday - Steak over Asian salad of greens (leftover London broil)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Diane's Menu August 24 - August 30

Sunday - Corned Beef and Cole Slaw
Monday - Weekly Take-Out Pizza
Tuesday - Hamburgers, Cole Slaw
Wednesday - Spicy Chicken, Snow Peas and Brown Rice
Thursday - Weekly Buy-one-Get-one burger at a local pub.
Friday - Probably Out To Dinner
Saturday - Roast Leg of Lamb, Roasted Potatoes, Turnips, String Beans

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Uses for Yogurt - Garlic or Lasun Raita-India

I am always looking for new uses for yogurt. It is so good for you and it is so low in calories and fat compared to many of the things that it replaces.

I tried this today as my "mayo" for tuna fish salad. It was great!

Garlic or Lasun Raita-India

2 cups plain yogurt
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 to 2 green chillies minced
bunch of cilantro leaves minced
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. mint

Mix all ingredients and transfer to a in a serving bowl.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Menu July 18 - July 25, 2008

Friday July 18 - Turkey Kielbasa and BBQ Pinto Beans
Saturday July 19 - Grilled Strip Steaks, Curried Quinoa Salad
Sunday July 20 - Grilled Pork Chops, Cuban Style Black Beans and Rice, Salad
Monday July 21 - Weekly Pizza
Tuesday July 22 - Whole wheat penne with baked caponata salad (as a cold pasta salad)
Wednesday July 23 - Sweet Polenta Pie with Roasted Vegetables (I am grilling my veggies in stead of roasting them)
Thursday July 24 - Spicy Shrimp Kabobs over brown rice

Cuban Style Black Beans and Rice - 7 pts

Recipe By :The PDQ (Pretty Damn Quick) Vegetarian Cookbook by Donna Klein
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : LowFat (Less than 25%) Quick
Spicy Vegan
Veggie WW

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup frozen chopped onion
1/4 cup frozen chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon refrigerated bottled minced garlic
16 ounces black beans, canned -- (1 can) rinsed and drained
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth -- or water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 pinch cayenne pepper -- or to taste (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups hot cooked rice

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and cook, stirring often, until thawed and softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Add the beans, broth, vinegar, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, cayenne (if using), salt and pepper; bring to a brisk simmer over medium-heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly reduced, about 10 minutes.

To serve, divide the rice evenly among 4 dinner plates. Top with equal amounts of the bean mixture and serve at once.

Makes 4 main dish or 6 to 8 side dish servings

Per serving: Cals 343 (21% fat); Total Fat 8g (sat fat 1g); Carbs 57g; Fiber 4g; Prot 11g; Chol 0mg; Sodium 70mg.

"This classic bean dish is traditionally served over white rice, but brown rice is an equally delicious, and more nutritious alternative. The beans are also wonderful over couscous or tossed with small shells or elbow macaroni."

"7 pts"
S(Formatted by Chupa Babi):
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 355 Calories; 8g Fat (21.1% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 57g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 419mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.


Baked Caponata - 1 pt, Carbs 7g, Fiber 2g

Recipe By :"The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen" by Donna Klein
Serving Size : 12 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : LowCal (Less than 300 calories LowerCarbs
Spicy Vegan
Veggie WW

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds eggplant -- 1 eggplant
1 medium onion -- about 6 ounces
1 large celery stalk -- chopped
2 medium ripe tomatoes -- (about 6 oz each), peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup kalamata olives -- pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup green olives -- preferably Italian, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon capers -- drained
freshly ground black pepper -- to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil -- (1 to 2 T) optional

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Brush a large baking sheet with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and set aside.

Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the eggplant cubes in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and drain for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. (If time doesn't permit, omit salting and draining eggplant that is to be stewed or baked with several ingredients, as any bitterness is typically masked by other flavors.) Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Quickly brush the eggplant with 1/2 tablespoon of the remaining oil. Bake for 20 minutes, turning and stirring once.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 T. of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are reduced to a pulpy consistency, about 25 minutes.

Add the water, vinegar, tomato paste, and sugar; blend well. Stir in the baked eggplant, olives, and capers; season with pepper. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through and the flavors are well blended. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with the basil, if desired.

ADVANCED PREPARATION: the dish can be covered and refrigerated for up to three days. Bring to room temperature or reheat in a low oven before serving.

Make about 3 cups (12 one-quarter cup servings)

Per 1/4 cup serving: Cals 63; total Fat 4g (sat fat 0g); Carbs 7g; Fiber 2g; Prot 1g; Chol 0mg; Sodium 127mg.

"There are probably as many versions of this famous sweet and sour eggplant appetizer as there are cooks in southern Italy. the following rendition is my "baked" adaptation of a Sicilian recipe that calls for frying the eggplant in copious amounts of oil. Delicious on its own or as a side dish, caponata makes a fine topping for crostini, bruschetta, and polenta."

"1 pt"
S(Formatted by Chupa Babi in MC):
"3 cups"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 60 Calories; 4g Fat (56.6% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 127mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.


Sweet Polenta Pie with Roasted Vegetables - 2 pts, 24g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber

Recipe By :"How It All Vegan" by Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : LowCal (Less than 300 calories LowFat (Less than 25%)
Spicy Vegan
Veggie WW

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
Roasted Veggie Topping:
1 med carrot -- chopped
1 sm zucchini -- chopped
4 mushrooms -- quartered
1 sm green pepper -- sliced
1 sm red pepper -- sliced
1 sm red onion -- chopped
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1/2 c water
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
4 fresh basil leaves -- finely chopped
4 Roma tomatoes -- chopped
salt -- (to taste)
pepper -- (to taste)
Pie crust:
1 c Coarse cornmeal
3 1/2 c Water
1 Tbsp oil
salt -- (to taste)
pepper -- (to taste)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a lg bowl, combine carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and garlic.
Drizzle lightly with olive oil and mix well.
Lay veggies out on a cookie sheet or lasagna pan and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned.
Place 1/2 c of the roasted veggies into a blender or food processor and blend with the water, tomato paste, vinegar, maple syrup, oil, basil, and tomatoes
Transfer this sauce and remaining roasted veggies to a medium saucepan and cook on med-high heat for 10 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low heat.

In a med bowl, whisk together the cornmeal with 1c of cold water, then set aside.
In a med pot, bring the remaining 2 1/2 c water to a boil. Once boiling, add cornmeal mixture and turn heat down to med-low. Add oil, salt, and pepper. Continuously stir mixture for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture sticks together and becomes very stiff.
Pour into a lightly oiled pie shell or a casserole dish. Let set for 5-10 minutes.
Pour veggie topping into pie crust. Cut into slices.

Serves 8

"2 pts"
"Posted 5:22 PM by Eric to Unknown"
S(Formatted by Chupa Babi):
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 141 Calories; 4g Fat (24.9% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 40mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 435 0 0 0 0

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Diane's Menu June 28 - July 4

Diane's Menu June 28 - July 4

June 28 - Grilled Rib Eye Steaks, Corn on the Cob, Green Salad (Extra corn made for salad the next day)
June 29 - Grilled Shrimp Over Black Bean-and-Corn Salad
June 30 - Weekly Pizza Night
July 1 - Roasted Chicken Thighs, Steamed Broccoli, Curried Quinoa (Extra chicken made for Salad next day.)
July 2 - Easy Thai Beef or Chicken Salad
July 3 - Baked Virginia Style Ham, Cuban Style Lentil Salad (Some of the leftover ham saved for Saturdays salad, the rest frozen for future use.)
July 4 - Neighbor's BBQ - Aduki Bean and Rice Salad
July 5 - Lentil Salad with Smoked Turkey (I am using the ham from Thursday)


Grilled Shrimp Over Black Bean-and-Corn Salad

Marinated shrimp:

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled


2 cups coarsely chopped tomato
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 can (15-oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15.25-oz.) whole-kernel corn, drained
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

To prepare marinated shrimp, combine
first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top bag.
Add shrimp to bag; seal. Marinate in the
refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Brush or wipe your Indoor Grill (like a George
Foreman) with cooking oil and preheat. Please,
do not use an aerosol (can) spray. Your grill will
last a lot longer, and will thank-you for it. Also,
by not using an aerosol spray you will be doing
your part to go green, and help the environment.

Remove shrimp from bag; discard marinade.

Place shrimp in the grill. Grill 1-2 minutes or
until shrimp are done (check after one minute).

To prepare salad, combine tomato and next 5
ingredients (tomato through jalapeno) in a large
bowl. Combine 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, cumin, salt
and black pepper in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
Pour dressing over bean mixture; toss well. Spoon
salad onto each of 6 plates; top with shrimp.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup salad and
4 ounces shrimp).
7 WW Points per serving.

After serving the grilled food, make sure that
your grill is unplugged. Put a wet cloth that
can be washed and re-used in your grill and
close the lid. In 10 to 30 minutes, the grill will
wipe clean

Join the YAHOO! group for more George Foreman Grill Recipes


Easy Thai Beef or Chicken Salad

"Chicken or beef - whatever your preference - inspired by a soy and sesame dressing, piled on top of a delicious fresh vegetable salad. Topped off with a side of steamed rice, this dish is perfect for a fresh and delicious main course any night of the week!"


1 cup white rice
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt to taste
garlic powder to taste
1 head lettuce - rinsed, dried and torn
3 large cucumbers, seeded and chopped
1 large onion, finely diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes


1. Rinse rice in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water until no longer cloudy. Transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for at least 10 minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated.

2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

3. Season chicken with salt and garlic powder. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, reducing heat when necessary, until no longer pink in center and juices run clear. Transfer to preheated oven to keep warm.

4. Place lettuce, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cilantro together in a large mixing or serving bowl. Toss to combine. In another bowl, stir together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and crushed red pepper until well blended and sugar is dissolved.

5. Remove chicken from oven, slice into thin strips, and drizzle with dressing. Divide salad and rice among serving plates, and top each with chicken slices. Dressing may also be served at the table and each salad dressed individually.


Aduki and Rice Salad (I am making at least 6x this recipe to take with us to a BBQ)

1/2 Cup aduki beans, soaked
1 cup long grain rice (Mine will be be cooked in the rice cooker)
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons lemon-juice or wine vinegar (I use lime juice)
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup corn kernels
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 small cucumber, diced
2 tablespoons raisins (not in mine)
2 tablespoons walnuts or pecans, chopped
Garnish: Chopped parsley (I use cilantro)

Cover the aduki beans with water and cook for 30 - 45 minutes, taking care that they remain intact.

Boil the rice for 10 minutes in enough water to just cover it. cover with a clean teatowel and saucepan lid and leave on a low heat until the rice is fluffy and dry (5 to 10 minutes, depending on the rice)

Mix the oil and lemon or vinegar together and stir into the warm rice. This is important so that the rice absorbs the flavors.

Cook the frozen peas (I just add them to the rice cooker when it turns to keep warm and let them steam.) and add to the rice together with the corn kernels, the drained aduki beans, the chopped vegetables, raisins and nuts. Stir well and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro. Serve chilled in a wide earthenware bowl or shallow terrine.


Cuban Style Lentil Salad

6 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse Sea salt
1 1/2 cup lentils, rinsed thoroughly
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, slivered
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Sea salt
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4 green onions, using the white and light green parts, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1/4 cup finely diced jicama
sprigs of fresh parsley and lemon wedges, for a garnish

Use a large pot to bring the water to a boil. Add the sea salt. Add the lentils, reducing the heat to medium-low. Cook covered for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Do not overcook.
While the lentils are cooking, use a medium skillet to heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently for about five minutes, or until softened but not browned.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cumin, coriander, cayenne, and the salt.
Add the white wine vinegar, combine thoroughly, and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Drain the cooked lentils and add them to the vinegar and seasoning mixture, taking care to combine thoroughly.
Drizzle with the remaining four tablespoons of olive oil and toss again to mix. Cool to room temperature, then stir in the scallions and the jicama.
This dish may be served immediately, or it may be chilled for one or two hours in order for the flavors to combine. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.


Lentil Salad with Smoked Turkey

1 cup lentils, rinsed
2 cups chicken broth or water
1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon (1 tsp. dry)
11 ounces (2 cups) smoked turkey breast, cubed
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/2 cup celery, minced
2 tbsp. fresh parsley; minced
1/4 cup regular or light mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt
2 tsp. Dijon or hearty style mustard
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
salt, pepper to season

Place the lentils and chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat-simmer until the lentils are softened but still firm to the bite, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the lentils, move to a large bowl, and cool to room temperature. Add the minced tarragon, turkey breast, red onion, celery and parsley to the cooked lentils. Mix gently. In a small bowl whisk the remaining ingredients and add to lentil mixture. Mix again lightly. Makes 6 servings.

Join my Yogurt Group for more recipes using Yogurt

Monday, June 30, 2008


I have always loved yogurt. Even the plain variety. I started to make my own yogurt about 2 years ago. It is so healthy and you can do so many things with it. I make smoothies for breakfast and use homemade yogurt cheese in place of sour cream and cream cheese. This is my latest experiment. It was very good. I used it as a dip with celery sticks for lunch.

If you are interested in more ideas and recipes for yogurt and yogurt cheese join my Yogurt YAHOO! group.


1 1/2 cups nonfat yogurt cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Drain spinach, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop finely. Combine with remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and chill.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

1/4 cup: Calories 35, Protein 4 gm, Carbohydrates 5 grams, Fat less than 1 gram, Cholesterol 0, Calcium 138 mg, Sodium 51 mg

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Love Affair with Curry

When I was a little girl we went to a restaurant for Easter Sunday once called Patricia Murphy's. My mother always cooked, especially for holidays, but this year she wasn't feeling well, so my grandmother took us out to dinner. It is a restaurant that no longer exists and you can see information about it's history and tradition here: Patricia Murphys Gardens in Yonkers

Lamb being a traditional Easter choice for a meal was on the menu and they made it with a herb and curry rub. My mother HATED curry, and she couldn't eat dinner that day because the whole place reeked of the perfume of the curry.

After that, I assumed that I didn't like curry. And, until I was out on my own and cooking for myself, I continued to believe that. When I finally tasted it at an Indian restaurant I fell in love. I also love the Thai curries that I have tried. So, now I cook them for myself or order them at a restaurant any time I can.

I just got a new cookbook called 660 Curries, The Gateway to Indian Cooking by Raghavan Iyer. Well, it is an encyclopedia of flavor on every page. I will have to finish this review and spend the rest of my living days reading and cooking from this book and I still won't be able to try half of them.

Curry is the gateway to Indian cooking. It is the backbone of Indian cooking, it's the GLORY of Indian cooking. Curry has nothing to do with the powder in a can and everything to do with amazing flavors. Curry is the dazzling layering of spices and ingredients, the familiar made new and the exotic made accessible. Not to mention all the tasty sauce to mop up with rice or bread. 660 Curries is Salmon with Garlic and Turmeric, Grilled Chicken with Cashew-Tomato Sauce, Lamb Shanks Braised in a Fennel and Cumin-Kissed Broth, Toasted Tamarind-Rubbed Shrimp, Pork Ribs with a Sweet-Sour Glaze. 660 Curries is traditional, contemporary, extraordinary, and it's jam-packed with easy one dish dinners that dance on the palate, in recipes created for the home kitchen. Even some of the more exotic ingredients are easily gotten from a list of mail order sources or some easy substitutes.

The beginning of the soft cover book has 16 pages of full color photographs. The chapters are plentiful and complete.

1 - The Curry Quest - history and information
2 - Spice Blends and Pastes
3 - Appetizer Curries
4 - Poultry, Game & Egg Curries
5 - Beef, Lamb & Pork Curries
6 - Fish & Seafood Curries
7 - Paneer Curries
8 - Legume Curries
9 - Vegetable Curries
10 - Contemporary Curries
11 - Biryani Curries
12 - Curry Cohorts

It also has 4 Appendix

Metric Conversion Charts
Glossary of Ingredients
The Elements of Curry
Mail Order Sources for Spices and Legumes

In over 800 pages there is more information than you ever need. I wanted to find just one recipe to try first so I closed my eyes, flipped the pages and pointed and chose Pigeon Peas and Peanuts with Jaggery. It was awesome. My husband wants to know when I am going to try something else from this book.

1 cup oily or unoily skinned split yellow pigeon peas (toovar dal), picked over for stones
1/2 cup raw peanuts (without the ski)
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen fenugreek leaves; or 1/2 cup dried fenugreek leaves soaked in a bowl of water and skinned off before use
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut; or 1/4 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut, reconstituted
1 tablespoon crumbled jaggery or firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon tamarind paste or concentrate
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 to 6 fresh green Thai, Cayenne or Serrano chiles, to taste, stems removed, slit in half lengthwise, do not remove the seeds.
2 tablespoons Ghee or canola oil
1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground asofetida

1 - Place the pigeon peas and the peanuts in a medium-size saucepan. Fill the pan halfway with water and rinse the pas by rubbing them between your fingertips. The water will become cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times until the water remains relatively clear; drain. Now add 4 cups water and bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Skim off and discard any foam that forms on the surface. Stir in the fenugreek leaves. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pigeon peas are tender, 20 - 25 minutes.

2 - Stir in the coconut, jaggery, salt, tamarind paste, turmeric and chiles. Continue to simmer the dal, still over the medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes.

3 - Heat the ghee in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds. Cover the skillet and cook until the seeds have stopped popping (not unlike popcorn), about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the asaferida. Pour this into the dal, and serve.

Note: To reconstitute coconut, cover with 14/ cup boiling water, set aside for about 15 minutes, and then serve.

Jaggery: A bamboo like sugarcane that dots the landscape in India. Mexican stores sell a similar product called piloncillo. Dark brown sugar is an easy substitute.

Ghee: Clarified Butter

Asafetida: A member of the carrot family. It is dried and then grated. It smells like the worst thing you have ever had in a kitchen. A cross between dirty socks and rotten onions. But, when cooked it tastes like oniony-garlick. (I can't get past the smell. I don't use it, I use onion and garlic!)

As a post note: I ran into another review with many pictures and other recipes for this book on line. Check out this link.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Diane's Barley Pilaf

Today for dinner we had BBQ ribs and I wanted something different than rice to go with it so I invented a Barley Pilaf that was awesome. I cooked it in my rice cooker.

Diane's Barley Pilaf

1 cup pearl barley
3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup mixed dried vegetables (I buy them from - it includes potatoes, carrots, green pepper, onion, parsley)
1 tablespoon WOW seasoning (It is a seasoning mix from the Ingredient Store, chicken bouillon based, with many herbs and spices; it's flavorful, but not spicy or hot.)
1 1/2 cups frozen baby peas or 1 can baby peas

I melted the butter with the olive oil in the rice cooker. Added the cup of dried mixed vegetables. Stir to coat and soften. Add barley and stir to coat with fat. Add wow seasoning and water. Close rice cooker and cook on rice setting. For the on/off variety turn on. When rice cooker turns to keep warm, add peas. Close and let steam for 15 minutes to heat peas through. Fluff with the rice cooker spatula and serve.

There is left over and I am going to use it with my eggs tomorrow morning to make an omelet.

Diane's Menu June 21 - June 27

Saturday - June 21 - Risotto de fungi (This is a family recipe, in the rice cooker this time though.) Salad
Sunday - June 22 - Spare Ribs, corn, white rice
Monday - June 23 - Pizza night
Tuesday - June 24 - Chicken, Bean and Wild Rice Salad
Wednesday - June 25 - Cavatelli and Peas
Thursday - June 26 - Grilled Lamb Kabobs, Curried Quinoa
Friday - June 27 - Pork Cholent Stew, Salad


Chicken, Bean and Wild Rice Salad

Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup each)
Preparation Time: 10 to 15 minutes

1 package (6.2 ounces) fast-cooking long grain and wild rice, cooked without spice packet, cooled
1 can (15 ounces) Light or Dark Red Kidney beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry-packaged Light or Dark Red Kidney beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (15 ounces) Black beans or Pinto beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry-packaged Black beans or Pinto beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (11 ounces) Mandarin orange segments, drained
1 cup frozen, thawed peas
Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 cups spinach leaves
12 to 16 ounces broiled or grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced or cubed
1 can (15 ounces) julienne beets, drained
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecan halves (optional)


Combine rice, beans, orange segments, and peas; pour 2/3 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette over and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon salad onto spinach-lined plates, arrange chicken on salad; spoon beets to the side. Drizzle remaining 1/3 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette over beets and chicken. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired.
Raspberry Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup raspberry or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons orange juice


Whisk together the all ingredients. Prepared ahead, refrigerate until serving time. Mix again before using.

TIP: To save time, prepared raspberry vinaigrette dressing can be used. To cool rice quickly, spread cooked rice on a cookie sheet and refrigerate.
NOTE: Although bean recipes usually call for a specific variety, any canned or dry-packaged bean variety can be easily substituted for another.

Nutrient Information

Per serving: Calories 445; Fat 13g; % Calories from Fat 24; Carbohydrate 65g; Folate 240mcg; Sodium 1326mg; Protein 26g; Dietary Fiber 12g; Cholesterol 37mg


Curried Quinoa Recipe

Serves Six to Eight
1 Cup Quinoa
1½ Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
½ Onion Diced (about 4 or 5 ozs.)
1 Tsp. Grated Fresh Ginger Root
½ Fresh Green Chile (Finely Chopped)
1 tablespoon ground curry (we love spicy, use less to taste)
1¾ Cups Water
½ Cup Fresh or Frozen Peas

Rinse quinoa with cold water.
Some commercially available products are pre-rinsed.
Read your package.

Quinoa is coated with a natural substance called saponin that protects the
grain by repelling insects and birds. Rinsing the quinoa is important to
avoid a raw or bitter taste. You can tell if there is saponin by the
production of a soapy looking "suds" when the seeds are swished in water.

Place oil and diced onions in a heavy saucepan. Sauté the onions on medium
high heat for four to five minutes.

Add the ginger root, chili, and quinoa. Cook for one minute stirring
constantly. A fine, white spiral appears around the grain as it cooks.

Stir in the curry powder. Cook for one minute stirring constantly.

Add the water and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer
for 15 minutes.

Stir in peas. Cover and cook for four or five minutes or until peas
are tender and all the water has been absorbed.

Fluff with a fork before serving.


Cholent Stew:

2 pounds cross-cut beef shank - pork works well too
1 cup dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
3/4 pearl barley
15 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 beef bouillon cube, crushed
4 cups water, or to cover

1. Place the ingredients in the slow cooker in the order in which
they are listed. Cover and cook on high until the beans are tender,
5 to 6 hours. This meat will probably have fallen away from the
bones by this time.

2. Remove and discard the bones and any large pieces of marrow or
fat, If any pieces of meat are larger than bite-size, transfer them
to a cutting board, chop, and return them to the stew. Stir before
serving hot.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rice Cooker Sausage Casserole

I made this last night in my rice cooker. I sauteed the sausage right in the rice cooker, and because I used turkey sausage there was nothing to drain. I added the cheese when the machine switched to keep warm.

Rice Cooker Sausage Casserole

1 lb sausage (turkey sausage worked well)
1 cup rice, uncooked
4 to 5 cups cabbage, shredded (I used green and red cabbage mixed.)
1 large onion, sliced very thin
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cans diced tomatoes (I think the original calls for small cans, but to use it in the rice cooker I used 3 cans and 1 can of water.)
1/2 to 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
salt & pepper to taste (I don't salt anything and cheese is plenty salty enough for the flavor.)

Fry the sausage breaking it up into small pieces. drain thoroughly.
In a 9x13" dish, which has been lightly greased with vegetable shortening
or olive oil, scatter the uncooked rice. Arrange the shredded cabbage over the rice
and spread the slice onions over the cabbage. Sprinkle sausage evenly
over the onions and pour the tomatoes undrained, over the sausage.
Cover tightly with a aluminum foil and bake in a 325° oven
about one hour. Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese (if desired) and
return to the oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and
starts to brown.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Menu Week June 14 - June 20

Saturday - June 14 - Chinese Chicken Salad with Snow Peas and Rice Noodles
Sunday - June 15 - My husband's daughter is taking us to dinner for Fathers' Day
Monday - June 16 - Rice Cooker Sausage Casserole (Recipe posted previously)
Tuesday - June 17 - Honey Hoison Chicken, Steamed Broccoli and Rice in Rice Cooker
Wednesday - June 18 - Pizza, we missed our Monday pizza and we need a fix!
Friday - June 20 - Jerk Pork Tenderloin, Black Beans,pineapple-Cucumber Salsa

Honey Hoisin Chicken

2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Combine soy sauce,
hoisin sauce, honey, wine, ginger, salt and pepper. Dip each chicken
piece into sauce, then place in crockpot. Pour remaining sauce over
chicken. Cover and cook on LOW 4 or 5 hours. Turn control to HIGH.
Remove chicken from crockpot and keep warm. Dissolve cornstarch in
cold water. Stir mixture into juices in slow cooker. Cover and cook
on HIGH 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spoon sauce
over chicken. Serve with hot cooked rice.


Jerk Pork Tenderloin, Black Beans,pineapple-Cucumber Salsa


1 Whole pork tenderloin
Rubbed with Jerk Seasoning (recipe follows)

Jerk Seasoning:*

1/8 ts Cayenne pepper
1 tb Dried minced onion
1 tb Coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 c Chopped fresh coriander -- (also called cilantro)
1 1/2 ts Onion powder
2 ts Crushed thyme
1 ts Salt
1/4 ts Ground nutmeg
1 ts Ground allspice
1 ts Sugar

Salt to taste
8 6" tortillas -- warmed

Black Beans

2 15oz cans Black beans -- rinsed and drained
1 tb Chili powder
2 ts Ground cumin
1 sm Red onion -- chopped Chopped

Vegetable oil

2 tb Lime juice
Fresh coriander -- finely
salt to taste

Pineapple-Cucumber Salsa:

1 20oz can pineapple chunks -- drained
1 Jalapeno pepper -- seeded and diced
1 sm Cucumber Peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 ts Ground cinnamon
1 ts Black pepper
1/2 ts Cayenne pepper
2 tb Rice vinegar
2 tb Olive oil

Instructions for Jerk Pork Tenderloin, Black Beans,pineapple-Cucumber Salsa

Rub whole tenderloin with Jerk Seasoning.

Prepare a covered grill for indirect cooking (or preheat oven to 450 degrees for conventional cooking): Bank medium-hot coals (thickly covered with white ash) to one side of grill and place meat on opposite side. Place whole tenderloin in grill in covered grill and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 160 degrees. To cook in a conventional oven at 450 degrees, place roast in an open pan and cook about 20 minutes or until internal temperature reads 155 degrees on a meat thermometer. Allow roast to stand 10 minutes before cutting.

In a large bowl toss together beans, onion, chili powder and cumin. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, film with a little oil and stir-fry the bean mixture until heated through, about 3-4 minutes. Toss bean mixture with chopped fresh coriander, lime juice, and salt. Serve sliced tenderloin with beans, warmed tortillas and salsa.

Makes 4 servings. --

Pineapple-Cucumber Salsa:

In a medium bowl stir together drained pineapple chunks, diced cucumber, rice vinegar, olive oil, cayenne pepper, jalapeno pepper, black pepper and fresh coriander. Cover and let rest at room temperature for an hour to let flavors mingle. Refrigerate for longer storage. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 3 cups. --

*Jerk Seasoning:

Mix together dried minced onion, onion powder, crushed thyme, salt, allspice, nutmeg cinnamon, sugar, black pepper and cayenne. Makes enough to coat one whole tenderloin.



3 pounds red boiling potatoes

2/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove (I used 3)

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried,

plus rosemary sprigs for garnish

1 red onion, halved lengthwise and sliced thin lengthwise

2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

24 Kalamata or Nicoise olives, pitted and halved

Halve the potatoes, unpeeled, and cut them into 1-inch wedges. In a large roasting pan heat 1/3 cup of the oil in the middle of a preheated 425 degree oven for 5 minutes, add the potatoes, tossing them to coat them with the oil, and roast them, stirring them every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes, or until they are tender. Let the potatoes cool in the pan.

In a blender puree the garlic, the vinegar, the rosemary leaves, and salt to taste, with the motor running add the remaining 1/3 cup oil in a stream, and blend the dressing until it is emulsified. In a small bowl of ice and cold water let the onion soak for 5 minutes, drain it well, and pat it dry. In a kettle of boiling salted water boil the green beans for 5 minutes, or until they are crisp—tender, and drain them in a colander. Refresh the beans under cold water and pat them dry. In a very large bowl combine the potatoes, the onion, the green beans, and the olives, add the dressing, and toss the salad gently. Serve the salad, garnished with the rosemary sprigs, at room temperature.

Serves 8 to 10.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ice Cream - It's own Food Group

To me ice cream isn't just a bowl of dessert. It is heaven in a dish. It is cold which is my favorite temperature and cream which is my favorite food. Combine them together and it makes me happy! PURE JOY!

Now, I truly believe that ice cream is the healthiest dessert. It is full of calcium and even has protein and vitamin D. If you make it yourself, you can control the sugar or use none. You can control the fat or use yogurt.

Unfortunately I can't have any in the house. If it is in the house, no matter how much is here, I will eat it all.

OK, that's my blog entry, a confession that I can't say NO to ice cream. It is my drug! AND WHAT A HIGH IT IS!!