Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Catching up...

Meal planning has continued to be fun and successful.

Last Sunday I made Steph's Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken that is delicious! I made the gravy per her recipe (I added 1/2c of leftover chicken broth to make the gravy go a little further) and served it on the chicken and over some WHITE rice... With pasta, I can't tell the difference between regular and whole grain, but with rice I can... and its not that I dislike the whole grain, but sometimes the plain old white kind is a welcome change, especially if I know I got a good serving or two of whole grains already that day. To up the nutrients, and make my plate more colorful, I made this yummy veggie medley that I saw Giada make (yes, we're on a first name basis) - "Asparagus, Artichoke, and Mushroom Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette".

Look at those veggies!
Garlic & shallots... so aromatic and they add such great flavor.

I know Grandmother would have raved about how beautiful the veggies were! No one appreciates great produce like she did :)

This time I seasoned the whole bird... huge improvement!


On Monday, I had good intentions of making spaghetti for dinner but Richard encouraged me to order pizza so I wouldn't have to cook and even though I actually enjoy the cooking... I gave in and accepted the offer. We enjoyed pizza and the Bachelor :)

Tuesday night was the last night of an 8-week Bible study on James that Beth Moore was teaching and Mom and I had been attending so we went to Zoe's before hand. I really wish there was a Zoe's closer to home! If you are ever in the Washington/Heights, SanFelipe/Galleria, or Shepherd/59 area, you should definitely check it out!

Wednesday night I made the spaghetti... this is one of my staple meals that is relatively inexpensive and easy to keep the ingredients on hand in the pantry or freezer. I started with a jar of sauce, 1/2 # ground turkey and threw in leftover onion, mushrooms, and bell pepper to increase the veggie content without really noticing a difference! The extra veggies also serve to stretch the sauce. Genius! Served it over whole grain thin spaghetti. Per Richard's request and to keep us from overeating the pasta, we had a side salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper and feta.

Thursday night I did a repeat of the Italian Chicken in the crock pot that I posted the recipe for in a previous post. It was just as good the second time around! We repeated our salad from the night before.

The leftovers for the week provided great lunches and dinner for Friday night.

This Sunday I had planned to make charro beans again and Jiffy cornbread muffins (so cheap, so delicious!) for dinner which worked out well because they do take a while to cook so I was able to leave them cooking while we worked in the yard and just come in to stir periodically. I did use a little olive oil in place of the bacon. Richard said he preferred it, it was closer to his mom's (she doesn't put anything besides beans, water, and salt in the pot) and I liked it too, but it was understandably not as tasty as the batch with bacon! This coming from someone who doesn't really care for bacon.

Richard had requested fish so I made salmon, sauteed spinach, and couscous for dinner Monday. It was simple, quick and delicious. For the salmon, I seasoned the 1# filet with salt and pepper and dotted it with 1 Tbsp butter. Baked it at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Awesome. The couscous I made according to the directions but used chicken broth in place of 1/2 the water. You bring the liquid up to a boil and then stir in the couscous, remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. So easy. For the spinach, I sauteed about 5 cloves of minced garlic in 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and then added 3/4 of a 10oz container of baby spinach and stir until it wilts down.

This isn't the prettiest plate... the salmon flaked apart so it's a little hard to distinguish, but it tasted great! If you need perspective, the picture above and two pictures below is a lunch sized plate (you know, not the dinner plate and not the saucer...)

Tuesday night I made Shrimp Scampi with Artichokes from Ellie Krieger's cookbook The Food You Crave. She is another Food Network "star" - her show is Healthy Appetites - but I don't think she has new episodes. She is fairly dry but is a dietitian so I like her take on cooking healthfully. I had a small dilemna in preparing this meal. It called for 1/3 c of white wine. This is usually NO problem, I love the excuse to sip some wine while I cook and have a glass with dinner... alas, Richard and I decided to give up alcohol for Lent. The sacrifice is completely worth it... its nothing compared to the sacrifice Jesus made for me... but I have realized just how much we enjoy having a glass of wine. I had begun to notice how wine once a week with dinner had turned into an almost daily occurrence. I don't think there is anything sinful about alcohol in moderation... and 1 drink per day for women and 2 per day for men is actually shown to have health benefits, not that it is a reason to start or increase alcohol consumption in my opinion... but it does add extra cost to the grocery bill and add extra unnecessary calories. Plus I would never want to develop any dependence on an initially innocuous habit. Anyway, that was a tangent but that has been my thought process... I'm not legalistic enough about Lent to think I shouldn't add a little cooking wine, but I hate waste! To open a bottle of wine would be really hard to resist sneaking a glass and if we didn't drink any it would feel like a terrible waste of money. I could have substituted chicken broth but it just doesn't have the same flavor. I had a brilliant brainstorm and thought it might be helpful for other people who don't drink at all or just don't want to spend the money at that particular meal on wine: A few winemakers make 4-packs of "single-serve" (6 oz) bottles... I went this route and the 4 packs was only $4.50. I used one and now have 3 on standby.

Shrimp scampi goes well with pasta so I used the leftover whole grain spaghetti from last week's spaghetti dinner. Rather than serving it on top, I decided to mix it in together so the pasta would really soak up the sauce. We had side salads to accompany our meal. And water :)

That gets us to tonight... Wednesday. I made another "staple" meal: tacos. I used ground turkey, a packet of reduced sodium taco seasoning, corn tortillas, cut up tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado and some light sour cream and reduced fat shredded mexican cheese blend. We had leftover beans on the side. Very easy and filling!

Tomorrow night I'm planning to make roast and veggies in the crockpot! Hoping it turns out well.

Ooh! Ooh! One discovery I made this week: Special K cracker chips... Have you seen the commercials? I tried the sea salt variety and they were YUMMY! The best part is you get like 30 crackers for 110 calories... It is a great calorie bargain, but unfortunately there are only like 3.5 servings/box.

Hope you're having a great week... have you had any great discoveries lately?

Love, B


  1. Those crackers ARE good!

    I am really impressed with all of your cooking... makes our constant leftovers seem very boring!!

  2. Where are those Special K cracker ships at the grocery store, specifically HEB? I looked last night and didn't find them.