Monday, December 28, 2009

Cooking Around the Seasons

Last week, when I was ready to wake up the groups, I was also in the mood for cookie baking and making ham and turkey. WOW~ I said to myself, none of these groups really fit that bill. So, I created a new group. It is a group called Cooking Around the Seasons.

This is the group for sharing seasonal recipes. It also answers the questions: What to do with the turkey leftovers? How do I add variety to the Christmas ham? What do I do with the 20 gallons of apple cider I bought while apple picking? Join us and share..

The variety of holiday and seasonal cooking seems endless. There are times of the year when all I want to do is talk about cookie baking. There are other times when the prices of strawberries make me buy far more that I can use at any given time. How about those dozens of hard boiled eggs at Easter. I also love hearing about cultural specialties by seasons. What about those extra boxes of matzah?

Right now it is winter. The local fresh vegetables are few and far between here in the Northeast USA. I am focused on beans, meats, and tuber vegetables as well as soups and stews. What are you making in the winter? Do you have a favorite soup or stew? Do you cook butternut squash better than anyone you know? Share with us! Did you get a new appliance for the holidays? Want suggestions on how to use it? Do you have left over turkey or ham? Want new ideas on how to use it up? Ask questions and let us help you.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Diane's Menu 12/22/2009 - 12/28/2009

Diane's Menu 12/22/2009 - 12/28/2009

Tuesday - Thai Chicken and Asparagus over Brown Rice
Wednesday - Prime Rib, String Beans, Carrots, Salad, Baked Potato
Thursday - Italian Antipasti and Appetizers for Dinner
Friday - Christmas Dinner at my sisters
Saturday - Ham, Home Fries, Broccoli
Sunday - Pasta Arrabiata, Salad
Monday - Bean, Butternut Squash, Wild Rice and Kielbasa Stew

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Diane's Menu 11/08/09 - 11/18/09

Diane's Menu 11/08/09 - 11/18/09

Sunday 11/8 Honey Ham, Cheddar Cheese Grits, Steamed Carrots
Monday 11/9 Pizza
Tuesday 11/10 Black Bean Stew with Ham, Rice and Vegetables
Wednesday 11/11 Pork Stir Fry with Asian Vegetables
Thursday 11/12 Chicken Sorrentino, Spinach, Rice Pilaf
Friday 11/13 Burgers, Twice baked sweet potatoes
Saturday 11/14 Grilled Chicken over salad with apples, spiced pecans and blue cheese crumbles
Sunday 11/15 Football Fare - Buffalo Wings, Stuffed Potato Skins, Vegetable Crudite etc
Monday 11/16 Pizza
Tuesday 11/17 Vegetable Risotto in Rice Cooker **
Wednesday 11/18 Curried Cider Pork Stew **

** Recipes below


Risotto in your Rice Cooker

Some of the best rice cooker recipes are not just for plain old rice, but for that Italian specialty, risotto. Less labor-intensive than making on the stove, making risotto in your rice cooker is easy.

To make 4 servings, you'll need:

2 tablespoons butter, olive oil, or a combination of both
1/4 cup onion, shallot, or leek
1/4 cup white wine or vermouth
1 cup Arborio rice
About 2-3 cups of a vegetable of your choice, such as asparagus, mushrooms, squash, etc. The vegetable should be cut into bite-sized pieces, about 1 inch
3 cups stock or broth (either chicken or vegetable work best)
1/4 to 3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs or flavorful greens, such as parsley, arugula or watercress (use less if the herbs are very pungent; more if they're mild)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

First, set your rice cooker to "Quick Cook" or "Regular" or "Brown" and let the surface of the rice-cooker pot heat up for a minute or two. Add the butter or olive oil to the pot and use a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula to spread it across the surface of the pot. When the oil is heated, add the onion, shallot or leek and stir to coat with the oil. Sauté it, stirring occasionally, until it softens and turns translucent. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes.

Pour in the white wine or vermouth and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate and the wine to heat up and reduce a little.

Add the rice to the pot and stir to coat the grains of rice completely with the wine. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the rice starts to absorb the wine. The rice will eventually become translucent around the edges, with a small white dot remaining. This means it's ready for the stock.

But before you add the stock, add the vegetables and sauté them for a minute or two, stirring occasionally. Leafy vegetables, such as arugula or, in the case of this recipe, watercress, should not be added until the last minute. But harder vegetables like asparagus or squash, need time to simmer and cook through.

Pour in the stock or broth, all at once, and stir to combine it with the rice.

Close the lid on the rice cooker. If your cooker has a porridge setting, set it for this. If it is an on-off cooker, or only has a "Regular" setting, then use that setting. Either way, set a timer for 20 minutes.

After 10 minutes, check on the rice and give it a stir to recombine the ingredients. When the timer goes off, check on the risotto. If there is still a lot of liquid remaining, and the rice is still hard in the middle, cook it a little longer. The rice should be tender, but still have a little "bite" to it, what the Italians refer to as al dente. And there should be enough liquid remaining to make it just slightly soupy.

Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper, and add up to another tablespoon of butter, if desired.

If you're using fresh herbs or chopped greens, add them now, stirring them in to combine and wilt. You can close the lid and let the risotto sit for a minute to wilt the greens.

Spoon risotto into a shallow soup bowl and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and, if desired, some fresh chopped herbs such as parsley or basil. Enjoy!

Curried Cider-Pork Stew

2 lb. boneless pork shoulder
4 medium red and/or green crisp-tart cooking apples
1 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 large onion, cut into thin wedges
2 tsp. curry powder
1 (14-oz.) can chicken broth
2/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
12 oz. baby carrots with tops, trimmed, or packaged peeled baby carrots
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 (1-1/2-lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (2 cups)
Sour cream, shredded orange peel, snipped fresh oregano and/or freshly ground pepper (optional)

1. Trim fat from pork; cut pork in 1-inch cubes. Peel, core, and chop two apples; set aside. In a 4-quart Dutch oven brown pork, half at a time, in hot oil; return all pork to pan. Add chopped apples, onion, and curry powder; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add broth, cider, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add carrots and celery to pork mixture; return to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut remaining apples into 1/4-inch-thick wedges. Add apples and squash to pan. Cover; cook 10 to 12 minutes or until pork and vegetables are tender. Serve with sour cream, orange peel, oregano and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 379, Total Fat (g) 14, Saturated Fat (g) 4, Monounsaturated Fat (g) 6, Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 2, Cholesterol (mg) 102, Sodium (mg) 526, Carbohydrate (g) 31, Total Sugar (g) 15, Fiber (g) 6, Protein (g) 32, Vitamin A (DV%) 0, Vitamin C (DV%) 52, Calcium (DV%) 10, Iron (DV%) 19, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Source: Better Homes and Gardens


Monday, October 12, 2009

Diane's Menu October 12 - October 20

Monday 10-12 - Pizza
Tuesday 10-13 - Moroccan Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash **
Wednesday 10-14 - California Tamale Pie **
Thursday 10-15 - Cider Pork Stew **
Friday 10-16 - Harvest Pot Roast **
Saturday 10-17 - Dinner out
Sunday 10-18 - Pulled Pork, Cole Slaw, Corn Bread
Monday 10-19 - Mediterranean Chicken with Spaghetti Squash Recipe **
Tuesday 10-20 - Grilled Chicken over Asian style green salad

** Recipes Below


Moroccan Lamb Stew


Serves 3-4

* 450g lamb neck fillet, diced
* 3 gloves garlic, finely sliced
* 1 shallot, finely sliced
* 1 red onion, finely chopped
* can chopped plum tomatoes
* can chickpeas
* 1 butternut squash, peeled & diced
* 8 peppercorns
* about 10 fresh thyme sprigs
* 1 tbsp harissa paste
* 1 tsp ground coriander
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1 tbsp olive oil plus more for frying
* 1/3 bottle red wine
* 2 handfuls fresh spinach

This is an easy but extremely tasty dish - mildly spiced and great for winter. Serve with some flatbread or pitta.

1. Mix the olive oil, oregano, cumin, coriander & garlic in a bowl. Add the lamb and cover it well. Marinate for 2 hours.
2. Fry the onion & shallot with the peppercorns in a large heavy pan, on a medium heat until tender and translucent (about 5 mins).
3. Add the lamb and brown all over, stirring to ensure the garlic doesn't burn (add a little more oil if necessary).
4. Raise the heat, add the red wine and deglaze the pan. Leave for about 2 minutes to reduce and for the alcohol to evaporate.
5. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes.
6. Simmer for 30 minutes.
7. Add butternut squash and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
8. Just before serving, add the spinach and stir until wilted.
9. Serve immediately in bowls, discarding any thyme stalks, and enjoy.


California Tamale Pie

1 lb. lean ground beef, browned
3/4 c. yellow corn meal
11/2 c. milk
1 egg, beaten
1 pkg. chili seasoning mix
1 tbsp. seasoned salt
1 lb. can tomatoes, cut up
1 lb. whole kernel corn, drained
21/4 oz. sliced ripe olives, drained
1 c. Cheddar cheese, grated

Stir together cornmeal, milk and egg. Add rest of ingredients, except cheese. Pour into Crockery Pot, cover, cook on high 3 to 4 hours. Sprinkle cheese over top, cover and cook another 5 minutes.


Cider Pork Stew

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
3 medium cubed potatoes (about 2-1/2 cups))
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1-1/2 cups)
2 medium onions, sliced
1 cup coarsely chopped apple (1 medium)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery (1 stalk)
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 cups apple juice or apple cider
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Celery leaves (optional)

1. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. In a 3-1/2- to 5-1/2quart slow cooker, combine meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, apple, celery, and tapioca. Stir in apple juice, salt, caraway seeds, and pepper.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. If desired, garnish individual servings with celery leaves.

Makes: 8 servings


Harvest Pot Roast with Tomato-Wine Gravy

2 1/2 lb. chuck roast
1 tbsp. cooking oil
2 med. turnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3 med. carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 11/2 cups)
1 can condensed tomato soup (103/4 oz.)
1/4 c. dry red wine or water
3 tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 lb. winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 11/2 to 2 inch pieces

Trim fat from roast. In a large skillet brown roast on all sides in hot oil.

Meanwhile, place turnips, carrots, tomato soup, red wine or water, tapioca, allspice, and pepper in Crockery Pot. Stir together. Place roast on top of vegetables. Put squash on top of roast. Cover; cook on low for 10 to 12 hours (high 5 to 6 hours).

Put roast and vegetables on a serving platter. Skim the fat from the gravy so you can serve the gravy with the pot roast.

Serves 6


Mediterranean Chicken with Spaghetti Squash Recipe

6 Servings
Prep: 35 min.
Cook: 35 min.

1 medium spaghetti squash
1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 center-cut bacon strips, chopped
1 medium leek (white portion only), coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine or additional reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup half-and-half cream
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash cut side down
on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 15-18
minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook
chicken over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Remove from the
In the same skillet, cook bacon and leek over medium heat until bacon is
crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon mixture to paper towels. Add
garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add
the broth, wine and cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2
minutes or until thickened. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add chicken
and bacon mixture; heat through.
When squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to separate strands.
Serve with chicken mixture. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 3/4 cup chicken mixture with 1 cup squash equals 340
calories, 12 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 82 mg cholesterol, 656 mg
sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 30 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges:
4 very lean meat, 2 fat, 1-1/2 starch.

Mediterranean Chicken with Spaghetti Squash published in Healthy Cooking
October/November 2009


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Diane's Dinner Today - Chicken, Quinoa and Spinach Pilaf

Today I made up a lunch/dinner in my rice cooker that is awesome. It is actually our big meal of the day since I tutor tonight from 4 to 8.

I put 2 teaspoons of olive oil in the rice cooker on brown. Added 2 large leeks sliced and 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast cubed. I sauteed for a short time and then added 1 1/2 rice cooker cups (about 6 ounces each) of quinoa. I stirred to coat the grains with the little oil that was left and then poured 2 1/2 cups of water that had been whisked with red curry paste into the rice cooker. Closed the cooker and set on "mixed rice" and start! When it was at the 2 minute warning and smelling great I added 3 cups of baby spinach and stirred it in to wilt. Closed the rice cooker again and when it beeped that it was done we ate it. It was luscious!

It fed my husband and I well and there is enough for a lunch for me later this week.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Menu 10-5-2009 to 10-11-2009

Monday 10-5 - Pizza
Tuesday 10-6 - Roasted Chicken, Quinoa and Spinach Pilaf
Wednesday 10-7 - Strip Steak, Grilled Potato Salad, Broccoli
Thursday 10-8 - Chicken Sorrentino over Spinach and Rice Pilaf
Friday 10-9 - dinner sized Shrimp Cocktail, Salad
Saturday 10-10 - Indian Almond Curry Lamb **
Sunday 10-11 - Pulled Pork, Cole Slaw, Corn Bread

** from Glorious One-Pot Meals Cookbook recipes and review to follow.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Recipe from Glorious One-Pot Meals: Argentinian Beef

For those of you who haven't followed my previous posts about Infusion Cooking in the past few days here are some of the rules:

Measurements are to be nearly exact
Cast Iron Dutch Oven - 2-3 quarts - no bigger unless you double the recipe
Layering as directed and don't mix up the food until you serve it.

This particular recipe made with my changes in () is totally Simply Filling, with a whole grain, lean meat, 4 servings of vegetables. It is VERY filling! Could easily be 3 servings instead of 2. If you eat 1/2 of it, it is 10 points. If you eat 1/2 of it, it is 7 points.

We had this for dinner today. Our dinner is mid afternoon. My husband didn't like it. Next time I make this I will add quite a bit of garlic. I found it a bit bland even with the amount of cumin that I used.

Argentinian Beef

Feel free to make this recipe using ground turkey or pork instead of beef, or even meat-substitute crumbles. You could also use a tenderloin cut of meat. Look for peeled and chopped butternut squash in your supermarket vegetable aisle. Serves 2

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and minced
8-10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I used 2 teaspoons or 4x the amount)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (I didn't use salt at all, but LOTS of pepper)
3/4 pound ground meat (I used 7% fat or 93% fat free)
1 cup white rice (or any grain, I used brown rice that had been soaked for 30 minutes)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon broth (preferably beef) or water (I used fat free beef broth)
2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (I used a single block package of already cooked and frozen butternut squash. I put it in frozen.)
1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets (about 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Brush inside and lid of a 2 quart cast-iron Dutch oven with olive oil.

In a large bowl, mix the onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the meat to the bowl and mix well. Set aside. If using tenderloins rather than ground meat, set the onion-spice mixture aside and simply spoon over the steaks in step 5.

Rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Tip the rice into the pot, add the liquid and stir to make an even layer.

Drop ragged forkfuls of the meat mixture into the pot. If using tenderloins, arrange them in the pot and blanket with the onion-spice mixture.

Arrange the squash in a layer, then load in the broccoli until the pot is full.

Cover and bake for about 45 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully cooked meal escapes the oven.

Serve immediately.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Here is the recipe for our dinner tonight from the Glorious One-Pot Meals cookbook. . Made with chicken broth instead of lite coconut milk it is 6 Weight Watchers points per serving. If made with the coconut milk (lite) it is 9 points per serving. The recipe serves 2.

This is INFUSION cooking. Use the appropriate size pot and layer exactly as stated. DO NO STIR.


1 cup Quinoa (can substitute brown rice, that has been soaked for 30 minutes, or regular rice but no longer Simply Filling)

3/4 pound chicken breasts or thighs

One 14 ounce can coconut milk, light or regular (I used fat free chicken broth, if you use coconut milk lite it adds 3 points per serving and it is no longer Simply Filling)
2-4 tablespoons red curry paste
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (found in Asian markets, substitute Worcestershire sauce if you don't have it or won't buy it.)
1 teaspoon brown sugar (I am using brown sugar Splenda. Points not figured for real brown sugar)
zest of 1 lime or 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
5-10 fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 carrots, sliced into coins
One 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 large handfuls fresh spinach, or one 10 ounce package frozen
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Brush the inside of a 2 quart cast iron Dutch oven with canola oil. Don't use a pot that is much bigger as the timing and moisture content for this type of infusion cooking is based on the structure and size of the pan.
Since the quinoa in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear. (I buy pre-rinsed Quinoa, but most has a soap like coating that needs to be rinsed off.) Spread the quinoa in the pot in and even layer. Place the chicken on the quinoa.
In a medium bowl, whisk the coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest and basil. Pour half the mixture over the chicken.
Scatter the carrots and then the chickpeas in the pot. Top with the spinach and pour the rest of the coconut mixture over all.
Cover and bake for 45 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully cooked meal escapes the oven. Serve immediately. If you use rice and it is still a bit crunchy, quickly fluff with a fork and replace the lid. Let sit for another 3-5 minutes before serving.

On a scale of 1 - 10, hubby gave it an 8. I gave it a 9.5. It was very good! The quinoa was so nutty and the chicken was so tender and moist. It was everything I hoped for and more.

Tomorrow is Argentinian Beef. Review will be posted!!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Cookbook Review: Glorious One-Pot Meals

Name: Glorious One-Pot Meals
Author: Elizabeth Yarnell
Publisher: Broadway Books, 2005
Pages: 223
No photos or drawings

The first thing I can say about this book is WOW! What an incredible technique even without the recipes.

Elizabeth Yarnell developed her revolutionary infusion cooking method to avoid often mushy slow cooker results and to make cooking and cleaning up after dinner a breeze. All it takes is a Dutch oven and a few basic fresh or even frozen ingredients layered - never stirred.

One pot meals are meals that can be layered into a dutch oven (caste iron or enameled cast iron) and baked in the oven and come out as a full meal of a protein, starch, and veggies. It is not to be confused with cooking a variety of things separately and adding them to a pot to finish or combine and served. It also isn't cooking something for a while and then opening the pot and adding more ingredients and then adding something else a while later. It is truly ONE pot and ONE step cooking.

The vegetables emerge crispy, the meats tender and the flavor is incredible.

Glorious One-Pot Meals has a long introduction and an even longer "What you need to know" chapter before the recipes begin. The technique is described in detail and timing charts are provided and suggestions for substitutions too! The recipe chapters are broken out into Fish, Seafood, Meal, Poutltry and Vegetarian. Every recipe is a full meal for 2 people. There are instructions in the first 2 chapters on how to double or quadruple the recipes.

I like being able to put everything together and then sit and relax with my husband or company while it cooks. I like having really great meals/recipes for just 2 people. I love the variety of the ingredients. Elizabeth Yarnell uses many different flavors, many different proteins, quite a variety of vegetables and grains.

I had many dishes in my menu last week from this book and each one was superb. Tonight we are having Adobo Pork.


Adobo, or roasted pork, is a staple in Latin America and some parts of southeast Asia. This is just one version of the Latin American-style dish, made easier as a Glorious One-Pot Meal. Replace the rice and broth with 3/4 cup quinoa and 1 cup of broth for a more authentic South American meal.

Ancho chiles are actually dried pablano chiles, which are rich in flavor and popular for cooking. They've been described as looking and tasting like prunes, though certainly with more of a bite. Anaheim chiles are a milder substitute.

You can use boneless frozen pork chops without increasing the cooking time. However, if they are frozen with the bone in, you may need to allow ten extra minutes in the oven. You can also substitute flank steask, or chicken pieces with good results. (ANOTHER wonderful thing about this cookbook is the ability to substitute things that are on sale, that you may have in the pantry or replace something you don't like.)

You can also add slices of fresh tomatoes to this recipe. Layer the sliced tomato on top of there is still space in the pot after adding the green pepper. (Serves 2)

Canola oil spray
1 cup Arborio rice (I will be using Quinoa)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons broth (beef, chicken or vegetable) or water
2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/4 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 to 3/4 pound center-cut and deboned pork chops, 1 inch thick
One 15 ounce can corn drained
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch strips

Preheat oven to 450°F

Brush inside and lid of a cast-iron Dutch oven with canola oil.

Rinse the rice in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear. Tip the rice into the pot. Add liquid, reserving 1 tablespoon, and stir to make an even layer.

In a small bowl, stir-together the remaining 1 tablespoon of broth with the chiles, onion, oregano, cumin, pepper, allspice, vinegar, and orange and lime juices.

Place the pork chops in the pot and pour half of the mixture over them. Add the corn and bell pepper and pour in the rest of the spice mixture.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully cooked meal escapes the oven. Serve immediately.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Diane's Menu September 21 - 27, 2009

Diane's Menu September 21 - 27, 2009

Monday 9/21 Adobe Pork (one pot meal with pork, rice, corn, chilli's, spices and green bell pepper)
Tuesday 9/22 Red Curry Chicken (one pot meal with chicken, brown rice, coconut milk, carrots, chickpeas, and spinach)
Wednesday 9/23 Argentinian Beef (one pot meal with ground beef, butternut squash, broccoli, and brown rice)
Thursday 9/24 Chicken Sorrentino
Friday 9/25 Hot Sausage over Polenta with peppers and spinach
Saturday 9/26 Moroccan Chicken with many spices, mushrooms and sugar snap peas, over whole wheat couscous.
Sunday 9/27 Football fare - Chicken Strips buffalo style, vegetable crudites


I have a new cookbook called Glorious One-Pot Meals by Elizabeth Yarnell. All of the one pot meals listed come from her book. Feel free to ask for the recipes if you would like them. I would highly recommend the book.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Diane's Menu 9/11/2009 - 9/20/2009

Diane's Menu 9/11/2009 - 9/20/2009

Friday 9/11 -
Saturday 9/12 - Strip Steak, String Beans, Carrots, Salad
Sunday 9/13 - Grilled Tuna Steak, Asian Slaw
Monday 9/14 - Weekly Pizza
Tuesday 9/15 - Dinner sized Shrimp Cocktail, Celery and Carrot sticks
Wednesday 9/16 - Oven Baked Chicken, Quinoa Pilaf in Rice Cooker, Broccoli
Thursday 9/17 - Grilled Chicken Breasts, Mediterranean Leek And Olive Salad
Friday 9/18 - Pork Tenderloin, Asparagus, Brown Rice
Saturday 9/19 - Prime Rib, Spinach, Salad
Sunday 9/20 - Chicken Breast Strips Buffalo Style, Brown Rice, Carrot/Celery Sticks

Mediterranean Leek And Olive Salad Recipe
Serves 4

4 leeks white part only sliced thoroughly rinsed and drained
4 tomatoes halved horizontally seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber peeled seeded and chopped
1/4 cup oil cured pitted black olives, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 squeezed garlic cloves
4 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1.Combine leeks, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives in a salad bowl.
2.Whisk together olive oil, garlic, vinegar, oregano and pepper then toss with the vegetables.
3.Sprinkle cilantro over top before serving.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How I learned and am still learning what works for my metabolism.

I have struggled with my weight all of my life. I love food. I eat well. I like variety and love to eat out. I love to cook. I love to try new things and go to gourmet outings. All of these things have led me to be overweight all of my life.

In the early 1990's I lost 60 pounds using the Deal-a-Meal (Richard Simmons) method. For those who may not know the details of that particular plan, it works with a set amount of protein, starch, vegetables, fat, dairy etc that you are allowed to eat everyday. You get cards for each serving of an item you are supposed to eat.

When I reached my goal, the instructions told me to add a starch card per day to start maintenance. Well I did that and after 1 week I had gained 5 pounds. Now 1 carbohydrate card was the equivalent of 1 slice of bread or one large baked potato. One slice of bread (large baked potato) is about 70 calories. So, I ate 490 calories extra that week. Since it takes 3500 calories to make a pound, I couldn't figure out how eating 490 calories made me gain 5 pounds. That would have been the equivalent of 17,500 calories if you do the math. (3500 x 5) So, I eliminated that starch card and promptly went back to my goal weight by losing that 5 pounds in one week.

Crazy I thought! What was going on?? So, I tried it again and again I gained a few pounds. And, they came right off when removing the starch card.

At that point, I was a month past my original "goal" weight and still I hadn't been able to accurately get through to a maintenance plan. I decided not to add anything to my choices and continued to lose weight.

I didn't want to lose anymore, so I decided to try some maintenance choices on my own. I added a protein card instead. I still lost weight. The next week I added 3 protein cards and finally I was able to find the "maintenance" plan for me. My body craved protein and when given enough but not too much of it, could easily eat what seemed like an obscene amount of protein and still maintain the weight I wanted to be.

I will never pretend to know what is best for anyone else besides myself. But, for me a low or lower carbohydrate lifestyle is the key to a healthy body and a comfortable weight.

It has been many years since I made that discovery and until this past February, I had totally forgotten it. Now, I am back to trying to eat fewer carbohydrates and more protein and I again have much weight to lose. I am currently following the Simply Filling avenue of Weight Watchers.

My menus and recipes also include other types of food. I am a gourmet after all and I personally can't live on "meat alone". However, I want to attempt again to control my own glycemic index and use the carbohydrates in a conscious healthy attempt to better choices for my health.

I started a new YAHOO! group called A Healthy Gourmet Join me in my journey if you would like.


Mixed Drink Creativity - Peach Melba Martini

I am constantly inventing mixed drinks when we are out bar hopping. Sometimes this habit actually earns me to drink free at the bars we go to. One in particular, that makes an infused vodka with different fruits and herbs, gave me a free martini for every recipe that I created and they sold at the bar. Kind of like a barter system I guess....

Some of the drinks I create are sold in local bars and restaurants. I even had a grocery store manager ask if I would be willing to print a booklet of them for him.

One of my most "famous" drinks is called a Peach Melba Martini. If you have ever had a Peach Melba for dessert you will recognize the flavors instantly. Peach Melba is my favorite dessert. I always have it for my birthday. It is made of fresh peaches topped with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream and then a raspberry sauce with fresh raspberries is poured over the ice cream. Of course it is topped with gobs of fresh whipped cream. The fruit being fresh makes the tart/sweet combination perfect for a mixed drink.

Here is the recipe for the martini:

1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
1 ounce peach schnapps or peach brandy
1 ounce raspberry pucker
splash of heavy cream

Shake well and serve in chilled champagne glass with frozen raspberries as a garnish. You can also float some lightly whipped heavy cream on top for extra creaminess, but it isn't necessary.

This is a great drink for after dinner.

Master Quench

This past weekend we were in the Berkshires and I had one of my latest favorite drinks. It is called the Master Quench. It has some ingredients that sound like they don't belong together but it is out of this world. It is made with vanilla vodka, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and ginger beer.

Now, I love maple syrup; the real stuff only! And, the combination of the bite of the cayenne and the ginger beer is perfectly matched and soothed by the sweetness of the maple syrup. It leaves a warm feeling in your throat but holds no burn.

This has led me to contemplate more combinations with maple syrup. I will post them when I have tried them.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Diane's Menu September 1 - 10, 2009

Diane's Menu September 1 - 10, 2009
9/1 Tuesday - Linguine a la Joseph (Whole wheat linguine with grilled shrimp and scallops)
9/2 Wednesday - Pulled pork and pink beans
9/3 Thursday - Chicken Francaise, Zucchini, Rice
9/4 Friday - New England Clam Chowder, Hamburger, Salad
9/5 Saturday - BBQ ribs, slaw
9/6 Sunday - Grilled chicken buffalo style over romaine lettuce, with apples, candied pecans and blue cheese crumbles
9/7 Monday - Pizza
9/8 Tuesday - Sausage and baby lima bean bake**
9/9 Wednesday - Prime Rib, Carrots, String Beans, Salad
9/10 Thursday - Chicken Sorrentino (Chicken layered with Eggplant, Prosciutto, Mozzarella Cheese, in a sherried brown sauce over spinach)

Sausage and Baby Lima Bean Bake

4 cups frozen baby lima beans, about 1 pound, cooked and drained
1 pound mild bulk pork sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced or shredded carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning blend
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart casserole.In a large skillet, brown the sausage with chopped onion, carrots, and celery until vegetables are tender and sausage is no longer pink. Add tomatoes and seasonings and cook until hot and bubbly. Add the drained baby lima beans and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared casserole. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 15 minutes longer.Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Diane's Menu August 23 - 31 - 2009

Diane's Menu August 23 - 31 - 2009
Sunday - Aug 23 - Roast Chicken, Curried Grains with Broccoli in Rice Cooker
Monday - Aug 24 - Weekly take out pizza
Tuesday - Aug 25 - Asian Inspired Salad with left over chicken from Sunday
Wednesday - Aug 26 - Grilled Turkey Breast, Salad, Baked Sweet Potatoes
Thursday - Aug 27 - Chicken/Eggplant Parmegiana, Brown Rice
Friday - Aug 28 - Chalupa **
Saturday - Aug 29 - Rotelle with Roasted Corn, Braised Zucchini, Roasted Garlic, Oregano and Feta **
Sunday - Aug 30 - Strip Steak, Grilled Veggies
Monday - Aug 31 - Dinner sized Shrimp Cocktails with Cocktail Sauce, Cole Slaw


**Recipes below


1 lb Dry pink beans
3 lb Pork roast
1/2 c Chopped onion
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Chili powder
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 can (4-oz.) chopped green chilies
Corn chips

Sort and rinse beans. Put all ingredients except corn chips in Dutch oven,an electric crockery cooker or heavy kettle. Add 7 cups water. Cover andsimmer about 5 hours, or until roast falls apart and beans are done.Uncover and cook about 1/2 hours to desired thickness. Serve with cornchips and pass condiments for choice of toppings: (chopped tomato,avocado, onion, shredded lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, taco sauce orother hot sauce).


Rotelle with Roasted Corn, Braised Zucchini, Roasted Garlic, Oregano and Feta
Courtesy Robin Miller

2 ears roasted corn
1 pound rotelle pasta, or any spiral-shaped pasta (I will be using whole wheat pasta)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup roasted garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (I will be using fat free feta cheese)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wrap corn in foil and roast in preheated oven for about 1 hour. This can be done in advance on a prep day. Cook rotelle according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Transfer pasta to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn cut from cob, zucchini and onion and saute for 3 minutes, until golden brown. Add oregano and cook 1 minute. Add broth and roasted garlic and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes.

Pour mixture over pasta and toss to combine, adding cooking water,if necessary, to moisten pasta. Fold in parsley and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Transfer pasta to a serving platter and top with feta cheese.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's even possible to eat the Simply Filling way at fast food places...

This morning I went to McDonalds. I know UHOH, is what you are saying to yourself. Nothing on that morning menu is good for Simply Filling. Well, you would be only slightly correct. They have the special on Egg McMuffins now, 2 for $3. I asked if the English muffin was buttered before the sandwich was put together. They said "NO". So, I ordered 2 without cheese. I opened them up and ate the egg and Canadian bacon. YUMMY! and totally Simply Filling!

The moral of the story: Don't be afraid to ask questions and request special things and you can even eat well and healthy at a fast food place!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Julie & Julia

I don't do movies. In the last 10 years I have been to the movie theatre about 5 times and at least 3 of them were taking a child to see a new Disney movie. There are many reasons for it, but probably the biggest one is the price. Afterall, if I can own the DVD for around $15 and watch it often and resell it to get some of that $15 back, why in the world would I pay $40 (2 tickets, popcorn and soda) for my husband and I to go to the movies?

Today, I went to the movies alone. I did the first movie of the day so that I wouldn't have to pay more than the matinee price. I just had to see Julie and Julia.

Meryl Streep is the master of accents and I dare anyone to say she doesn't look, walk and act just like the master Julia Child. The cooking scenes are so realistic that I wanted to grab a knife and help. Amy Adams is adorable as the professional writer and amateur cook who blogs about her path of cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The side story is a double love story about two couples who have mastered the art of loving.

Well, it was worth it. It would have been worth the $40 price! I can't wait for it to come out in DVD so that I can buy it and watch it again! There are smiles, laughs and tears in the story and so much wonderful food that I can't wait to try some of the recipes myself, again.

Diane's Menu August 9 - August 16, 2009

Diane's Menu August 9 - August 16, 2009
Sunday 8/9 - Chicken Parmesan over Spaghetti Squash
Monday 8/10 - Take Out Pizza
Tuesday 8/11 - Asian Inspired Salad with Gingered Pork Strips
Wednesday 8/12 - London Broil, Cauliflower (Left over steak for Friday salad.)
Thursday 8/13 - Chicken Sorrentino
Friday 8/14 - Steak Salad
Saturday 8/15 - BBQ ribs, Brown Rice, String Beans, Carrots
Sunday 8/16 - Curried Quinoa and Chicken in Rice Cooker

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Diane's Menu August 2 - 8, 2009

Diane's Menu August 2 - 8, 2009

Sunday Aug 2 - Turkey Kielbasa in Homemade BBQ Baked Beans over Rice - Beans are pressure cooked and then the whole thing is slow cooked.
Monday Aug 3 - Take Out Pizza
Tuesday Aug 4 - Roast Chicken, Curried Quinoa and Spinach Pilaf in Rice Cooker
Wednesday Aug 5 - Prime Rib, Carrots, String Beans, Salad
Thursday Aug 6 - Chicken Sorrentino (my version of one I had at a restaurant) over Spinach and Rice
Friday Aug 7 - Asian Pork Chops, Bulgar and Bean Sprout Asian Salad
Saturday Aug 8 - Out for Dinner and Music

Monday, July 13, 2009

What is Hunger? Why do I eat?

As someone who has spent the most of her adult life trying to lose weight, I have developed a theory about hunger. I am talking about true stomach hunger, not the emotional hunger that many feed when they overeat.

I believe that if you eat properly and get all of the good health guidelines in your diet, you will not be physically hungry. Sometimes I think I am hungry and if I take the time to stop and "listen" to my stomach and I realize that I am not hungry at all. When I don't take to the time to stop and listen, I often overeat.

I eat for hunger, but I also eat because I love the taste of food. Sometimes I wish I could chew and spit out the food. I really do love food. I love trying new flavors and eating familiar favorites. There are a few items that I know I can't have in the house because of the inability I have of choosing the proper portion or saying "NO". But, most times if I have eaten properly in the day, I can easily decide not to have too much of something else.

I am going to start to blog my daily food intake and comment on what I am eating and why. I am also going to start commenting on the amount of alcohol that I drink. If I stay home, I drink nothing. But, when we go out, I do drink; and sometimes I drink way too much for any healthy lifestyle. I don't drive when we go out, so at least I am only hurting myself.

I already plan my weekly dinners, but now I want to use this forum to post my other daily meals as well.

Today I had a 3 egg omelette with onions and zucchini for breakfast. I also had coffee.

For lunch I ate 3 cups of lettuce, 1/2 cup of fat free feta cheese, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of olive oil. I also added in many spices and herbs.

Tonight we are having pizza. I will post my recipe for polenta pizza. It is Simply Filling Weight Watchers and oh so good!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Diane's Menu July 11 - July 18, 2009

Diane's Menu July 11 - July 19, 2009

Saturday 7/11 - Black and Blue Strip Steak, Carrots, Salad, Wine
Sunday 7/12 - Country Style Pork Ribs, Corn on the Cob
Monday 7/13 - Pizza (Polenta Pizza for me)
Tuesday 7/14 - Curried Roast Chicken, Quinoa and Spinach
Wednesday 7/15 - London Broil, Roast Potato Salad, Asparagus (Slice leftover and freeze for Sunday)
Thursday 7/16 - Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry
Friday 7/17 - Shrimp Fajita Salad, Wine
Saturday 7/18 Black and Blue Strip Steak, String Beans, Salad, Wine
Sunday - 7/19 Left over London Broil over a huge salad

Monday, June 15, 2009

Diane's Menu June 15 - June 21

Diane's Menu June 15 - June 21

Monday - Jerk Chicken Tenders, Broccoli, Brown and Wild Rice
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Lamb Osso Bucco, over Polenta Squares
Wednesday - Shrimp Cocktails, Raw Carrots, Garlic Bread
Thursday - Steak, Salad, Baked Potato
Friday - Whole Wheat Pasta Amatriciana
Saturday - Dinner out
Sunday - Fathers' Day Rib Eye, Asparagus, Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Diane's Menu June 7 - June 13

Diane's Menu June 7 - June 13
Sunday - Roast Chicken, Broccoli, Brown Rice (Chicken leftover for Tuesday Salad)
Monday - Weekly Take Out Pizza
Tuesday - Asian-style Chicken Salad
Wednesday - London Broil, Baked Potato, Cucumber/Onion Salad (leftover London Broil for Saturday Wrap)
Thursday - Grilled Chicken Breast, Asian-style Slaw, Carrots and String Beans
Friday - Lamb and Rice Curry in Rice Cooker
Saturday - Fajita style London Broil Wrap, Hubby will use tortillas and I will use lettuce leaves.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Diane's Menu April 12 - April 18

Diane's Menu April 12 - April 18

Sunday - Easter Dinner at my Sister's - Roast Lamb, lots of veggies
Monday - Paganucci Stuffed Peppers, Grilled Tilapia
Tuesday - Slow Cooked Tuscan Beef Stew **
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Fajitas **
Thursday - Pineapple Shrimp Rice Bake **
Friday - Grilled Chicken, Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf, veggie of some kind
Saturday - Dinner out

** Recipes below
Pineapple Shrimp Rice Bake

Prep: 30 min. Bake: 15 min.


2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked long grain rice (I am using brown rice)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, julienned
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 pounds cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
3/4 cup pineapple tidbits, drained (I am using fresh pineapple)

Directions: In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the garlic, onion and green pepper in oil until tender. Stir in soy sauce and ginger. Add shrimp, ham and pineapple. Stir in rice. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Stir before serving.

Yield: 8 servings.
Nutrition Facts One serving:(1 cup)Calories: 273, Fat:7 g, Saturated Fat:1 g, Cholesterol:143 mg, Sodium:774 mg,Carbohydrate:25 g, Fiber:1g,Protein:25 g


Slow Cooked Tuscan Beef Stew

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) tomato soup
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) beef broth
1/2 cup dry red wine OR water
2 lb. beef for stew, cut into 1" pieces
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced Italian-style tomatoes
3 large carrots , cut into 1" pieces
1 tsp. Italian seasoning, crushed
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cans (about 16 oz. each) white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained

MIX soup, broth, wine, beef, tomatoes, carrots, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in 3 1/2-qt. slow cooker.COVER and cook on LOW 8 to 9 hr. or until done.


Slow Cooker Fajitas

1 to 1½ lbs. boneless beef round steak, or chicken breast cut in strips
½ lg. red bell pepper, cut in strips
½ lg. green bell pepper, cut in strips
1 lg. onion, cut into thin slices
1 pkg. dry fajita mix (1 oz.)
¼ c. water
6 lg. flour tortillas (I will be using lettuce wraps for mine)
2 sm. tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, thinly sliced
½ c. dairy sour cream (We will have fat free sour cream, if we have it at all)

In slow-cooker, combine beef (or chicken or combination of both), peppers, onion, fajita mix and water. Cover and cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours or until meat is tender. Warm tortilla in microwave according to pkg. directions. With spoon, lift meat mixture out of pot. Place about 3/4 cup mixture along center of each tortilla. Top with chopped tomato, sour cream and avocado. Fold both sides over filling.

Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Diane's Menu April 4 - 11, 2009
Sunday - Grilled Tilapia, Sauteed Spinach, Baked Potato
Monday - Chicken Athena
Tuesday - Pasta, Salad
Wednesday - Crockpot Southwestern Chicken
Thursday - Hamburger, Red Cabbage Slaw
Friday - Dinner out with friendsSaturday - Dinner out

Chicken Athena

Healthy Cooking (100% Simply Filling)

Greek flavors abound in this tasty and tender chicken dish that's cooked in the slow cooker. Olives, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar combine with chicken for a special treat tonight. Radelle Knappenberger - Oviedo, Florida

METHOD: Slow Cooker
TIME: Prep: 15 min.
Cook: 4 hours


6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
2 medium onions, chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), chopped
1/3 cup pitted Greek olives, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt


Place chicken in a 3-qt. slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition FactsOne serving:1 chicken breast halfCalories: 237, Fat:6 gSaturated Fat:1 g, Cholesterol:94 mg, Sodium:467mg, Carbohydrate:8 g, Fiber:1 g, Protein:36 gDiabetic Exchange:5 very lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

Crockpot Southwestern Chicken (with Fat Free Cheese, 100% Simply Filling)

2-16 oz. cans of sweet corn, drained
1-16 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-16 oz. jar of salsa (mild-hot, your preference)
3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup low fat or fat free shredded cheddar cheese

Combine corn, black beans and 1/2 cup of salsa in the slow cooker. Place chicken breasts on top. Pour remaining salsa over the chicken. Cover and cook 7-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.Sprinkle with cheese to serve.

Makes 6 nice size portions.

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Start to a New Me

I have been doing Weight Watchers online since July 2008. As of last Thursday, 3/26 I had lost almost 50 pounds. It sounds like a good amount, but I have been almost stalled since November. It was partly my own doing, as I was fudging some counts and stretching the extra points I get weekly. However, it was also a function of the way my personal metabolism works. I am not a nutritionist and I don't claim to understand the science totally, but my body doesn't like carbohydrates. I don't mean all carbohydrates, but the "white ones". This includes sugar, four, white rice and potatoes.

Last Thursday I switched to Weight Watchers Simply Filling method of tracking food. My body has already reacted positively and I am rejoicing at already being down 3.4 pounds. I am so excited and it is self-motivating to see such fast results.

Since I love to cook and experiment, it has also given be an opportunity to be extremely creative to get some of my favorite tastes in my diet without using the "no-no" foods. This Friday we are meeting friends for pizza. I could use some of my extra weekly points for some pizza, but I prefer to save the points for my wine/beer while out for Rock 'n Roll on the weekends. So, I have been trying to figure out how to not only say "no" to the pizza, but be satisfied with what I am eating instead.

Here is what I have come up with:

Pizza Casserole with Spaghetti Squash

1 Spaghetti Squash - cooked and shredded
1 large can crushed tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
green peppers, diced
leeks, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fat free mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fat free Parmesan cheese, grated
4 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat broiler or oven to 450°

Saute leeks, green peppers and garlic in 4 teaspoons of olive oil over low heat. When veggies are soft add oregano and stir to coat. When you can smell the oregano add the can of tomatoes and mix well.

Remove from the heat and add the spaghetti squash threads and half the cheeses to the pot. Pour into a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.

Place pan under broiler or in VERY hot oven. It is done when the cheeses are melted and gooey.

Because of the oil it has to be eaten on 2 separate days or by 2 people. The other option is to count the extra oil in towards the weekly points. (2.5)

If you lower the oils to 2 teaspoons you could eat the entire thing if that's what it takes to make you feel satisfied.

If you substitute whole wheat pasta for the spaghetti squash it is still a filling food, but you would have to count it as the "once a day" item.

Another option is to add 1/2 cup of the Morningstar breakfast starter "sausage bits" to get that flavor that many people love on pizza.

If this is eaten by folks counting points it is 4 servings and 4 points as written originally per serving. If you use whole wheat pasta instead it is still 4 servings, add another 2 points per serving and if you add the Morningstar breakfast starter sausage bits you would add another 1 point per serving.

I will be experimenting quite often and hopefully I will remember to post my results.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Diane's Menu March 29 - April 4 2009

Diane's Menu March 29 - April 4 2009

Sunday - Roast Pork, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli
Monday - Shrimp Kabobs, Brown Rice
Tuesday - Whole Wheat Pasta with Marinara Sauce, Salad
Wednesday - Grilled Chicken Cutlets, Curried Quinoa and Asparagus Pilaf in Rice Cooker
Thursday - Hamburgers, Red Cabbage Slaw
Friday - Onion Crusted Tilapia, Snow Peas, Baked Potato
Saturday - probably steak dinner out

Diane's Chicken and Quinoa Chili in Rice Cooker

I am always experimenting with my rice cooker and grains. Today I made something so good for lunch that I have to share it.

Diane's Chicken and Quinoa Chili in Rice Cooker

2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
1 medium onion diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 cup quinoa
1 small can fat free chicken broth
1 small can stewed tomatoes
1 precooked or grilled chicken breast
1 packet Sazon seasoning
1 can corn or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernals

In rice cooker on browning cycle, if you have one, heat oil and add onion and jalapeno pepper to saute for a few minutes. When soft add cumin and quinoa, stir to coat. Add chicken broth and tomatoes. My chicken breast was fully cooked, but frozen so I put it in at this point. If yours is cooked and cold, you might want to also put it in at this point. If it's cooked and room temperature you could wait till the end. If you want to cook the chicken in the rice cooker, you can chunk it up in 1 inch chunks and also add it at this point. Add the Sazon seasoning. Close rice cooker and set for regular rice. It will take about 1 hour. When it has 2-5 minutes to go, add corn and stir to distribute. Close rice cooker and allow to finish.

This is SOOO good. Spicy and tasty and very filling. I think this will be enough for 2 lunches or if I had made it for dinner and added another chicken breast it would have been enough for my husband and I both.

It is totally on the WW plan for Simply Filling. I didn't figure out points because I am not counting points at this time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Diane's Menu March 22-28, 2009

Diane's Menu March 22-28, 2009

Sunday - Roast Chicken parts, Baked Potato, Broccoli (chicken and broccoli leftovers for Tuesday Casserole)
Monday - weekly Take-IN Pizza
Tuesday - Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
Wednesday - Tilapia Francais, Brown Rice, Asparagus
Thursday - Macaroni and Cheese (fat free, yes it's possible!)
Friday - Chalupa **
Saturday - Dinner Out for a night of Rock and Roll!

** Recipes below

1 lb Dry pink beans
3 lb Pork roast
1/2 c Chopped onion
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Chili powder
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 can (4-oz.) chopped green chilies
Corn chips

(I use much more of all the seasonings except salt.)

Sort and rinse beans. Put all ingredients except corn chips in Dutch oven,an electric crockery cooker or heavy kettle. Add 7 cups water. Cover and simmer about 5 hours, or until roast falls apart and beans are done. Uncover and cook about 1/2 hours to desired thickness. Serve with cornchips and pass condiments for choice of toppings: (chopped tomato,avocado, onion, shredded lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, taco sauce orother hot sauce).

Prep and Planning Make Weekday Meals a Breeze!

Does anyone else besides me watch Robin Miller on the Food Network?

I love her recipes and techniques. So I thought I would share one or two that I use all the time. Actually I started doing this long before Robin Miller, but today she reminded me.

When I plan a meal, I automatically think about what ingredients go into that meal and try to plan another meal in the same week or the following week that will use those same ingredients so that I don't have to cook something twice.

For example: If we are going to have a pasta meal, I will cook 2 pounds of pasta at the same time. I use part for the first meal, take the remaining and split it in 2. Make a casserole with some of it and a pasta salad with the rest. Most casseroles made with pasta can be frozen for future use.

Next week, we will have a pork roast on one of the days. The roast is too big for one meal on purpose! In the same week I will also have twice baked sweet potatoes with diced pork that was left over from the roast and soaked in BBQ sauce poured over the top of the sweet potatoes.

Menu to be posted in the next few hours.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Diane's Menu March 15-21, 2009

Diane's Menu March 15-21, 2009
Sunday - Chicken Caesar Salads
Monday - Weekly Take-in Pizza
Tuesday - Out for St Paddy's Day
Wednesday - Grilled Talapia, Black Bean and Corn Salad
Thursday - Chicken Quesidillas, Salad
Friday - Ravioli, Salad
Saturday - Dinner out

Sunday, March 1, 2009



1 can of jellied cranberry sauce (I used homemade with Splenda instead of the sugary stuff in the can.)
1 cup yogurt cheese
5 - 6 bananas slices
1 sleeve salted soda crackers, crushed

Arrange above ingredients in layers. This is good!

Purple Passion Salad

Purple Passion Salad

makes 8 servings, 2 points per serving, 1 fruit

1 pkg. Sugar Free Grape Jell-O
1 pkg. Sugar Free Black cherry Jell-O
1 bag frozen blueberries, defrosted and heated with 5 tablespoons of Splenda and 1-2 tablespoons of water to make a thick syrupy blueberry pie filling type mix, Let cool.
1/2 c yogurt cheese

Add 2 cups boiling water to Jell-O and let stand till syrupy. Add blueberry mixture. Set until nearly set. Then add 1 1/2 cup yogurt cheese. Just barely swirl it in. This is very good.

Diane's Black Bean and Corn Salad

Diane's Black Bean and Corn Salad

Side Dish

POINTS® Value: 3 for a 1 cup serving = 2 veggies and 1 oil

Servings: 6

Preparation Time: 0 min

Cooking Time: 0 min

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Course: Salad, Side, Veggie

1 1/2 cup(s) cooked black beans
1 cup(s) cooked frozen corn kernels
1 medium green pepper(s), diced into size to match size of corn and black beans
1 cup(s) roasted red peppers, diced into size that matches corn and black beans
2 small jalapeno pepper(s), diced very small
1 cup(s) onion(s), diced very small
1/4 cup(s) red wine vinegar
6 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp cilantro, torn into salad at end


Mix first 6 ingredients, Combine vinegar and oil, pour over veggies. Toss. Tear cilantro into salad, toss again. Best served second day.

Diane's Menu March 1 - 7 2009

Diane's Menu March 1 -7 2009

Sunday - Spinach Ravioli, Salad
Monday - Corned Beef, Baked Sweet Potato, Salad
Tuesday - Turkey/Beef Chili
Wednesday - Blackened Talapia, Brown Rice, Black Bean/Corn Salad
Thursday - Chicken Thighs Moroccan Style, Steamed Bok Choy, Whole Wheat Couscous
Friday - Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Baked Potato, Broccoli, Salad
Saturday - Pasta some style - not decided yet, might be out to dinner before live music.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Diane's Menu Jan 3 - Jan 9

I didn't make any menus for the 2 holiday weeks. We were in and out and eating at so many other places other than home, so I was just cooking last minute things when we were home. It is a bad idea to do that though, because Weight Watchers went OUT the window.

So, back to basics!

Saturday - Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Stir Fried Broccoli
Sunday - Chicken Cordon Bleu, Salad
Monday - Weekly Take Out Pizza
Tuesday - Buffalo Wings, Carrot and Celery Sticks
Wednesday - Roast Chicken (Leftover Chicken for Friday), Barley and Vegetable Pilaf
Thursday - Meatball Stew over Rice
Friday - Chicken Caesar Salads