Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tag, I'm it.

Damn! I hate these things. I think I'm the most uninteresting person in the world, so why would you want to read 7 boring facts about me? beats me, but Erika has tagged me, so I will give in to the insanity.

1. I drive a Nissan Altima that is the color "smoke". The car is Smokey and I am the Bandit. Together we are Smokey and the Bandit. Thankfully, I in no way resemble Burt Reynolds.

2. I have a jar of chicken fat in my fridge. I'll bet there aren't many bloggers out there that have the same.

3. I hate all things raspberry. I can't elaborate on that. If it has anything to do with a raspberry, I will run in the other direction. Ew.

4. I once dropped an entire pot of steamed broccoli on the floor and proceeded to serve it to my entire family. To quote my dad: "Dori, I am FLOORED by this broccoli."

5. I have 2 cats: Mittens and Peanut Butter. Their nicknames are Puppa (Mittens) and Butter (guess which one that is).

6. I LOVE bananas but hate anything and everything with banana in it. Muffins, bread, smoothies...they all make me want to puke. Seriously. If I smell bananas outside of their natural state, I gag.

7. My husband loves to vacuum. Ok, that wasn't about me...well, in a way it was. I was indirectly saying that I hate to vacuum.

OK....thats it. I am tagging Butter & Love, Sheri, Martha, MA Girl in the OC, Sarah, Trisha, and Annie.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Best Disaster

This disaster takes the cake. Or the crisp?

This is an apple crisp that I tried making after a trip to the apple orchard last fall. I didn't think it was crispy enough after the recommended baking time, so I turned on the broiler to crisp up the top real quick. Then the phone rang....... you know what happened next. Here's hoping that my second attempt this fall goes a lot smoother.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cilantro Lime Dressing

I was inspired to make this from a dressing I had at John Harvard's Brew House. I used it over a tossed salad of mixed greens, corn, tomoato, red onion, and grilled chicken with a southwestern rub. Would also make a nice citrus-y marinade with a bite.

2 garlic cloves
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 packed tablespoon cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teapsoon salt
2 teapsoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp light mayo

Place garlic cloves in food processor and pulse until minced very finely. Add in lime juice, vinegar cilantro, cumin, sugar, salt and oil. Process until well blended. Add in mayo and continue to process until blended completely.

Yields about 1 cup.

WW info: 1 point per 2 Tbsp.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Chicken Cacciatore

Or as my mom calls it, Chicken Catch-My-Dori (I still get a giggle out of that!). Try the Pastene San Marzano tomatoes. They taste like they were picked right off a sunny field in Italy! You can also use roasted peppers for an extra level of flavor.

4-6 chicken breasts
pepper, basil, garlic powder to season
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 large portobello mushroom, chopped
non-stick cooking spray

3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large carrot (or 6-7 baby carrots), diced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 6 oz can tomato paste (i used the kind with italian seasoning in it)
1 14 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced

Season chicken with basil, garlic, powder, and basil. Set aside.

Sautee mushrooms in a teaspoon olive oil till soft and brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Add spray pan with non-stick cooking spray and add chicken. Cook over medium-high heat until brown on both sides (doesn't have to be cooked through, just brown). Remove and set aside.

Add a Tbsp of olive oil and cook garlic, onions, celery, and carrots until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Keep pan covered to keep the moisture in. Add wine and cook 2 minutes.

Add broth and paste and mix well. Add tomatoes (with juice from can), peppers, and cooked mushrooms. Stir. Add back chicken and bury under sauce. It might not seem like enough sauce, but it will increase as it cooks. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for about 30-35 minutes. Keep covered.

Serve over pasta.
Yields 4-6 servings.
If you use 4 chicken breasts, cut down to 1/2-2/3 of each pepper. You may have sauce and veggies leftover, but its not enough to try to cut down the whole recipe. Great over pasta without the chicken!

Recipe derived from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.

WW info: core: all included flex: 5 points (not including pasta)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Blueberry Zucchini Bread & Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread (Take 2)

I did it! I baked! I made a bread! And even Matt likes it! I think the demise of the last time I tried to make this was not squeezing the moisture out of the zucchini and bad baking soda. This is awesome! A definite keeper, and its even Weight Watchers friendly!!!!!!

Original recipe (I made substitutions to lower fat, calories, sugar, and cholesterol)

non-stick cooking spray
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Egg Beaters
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup Splenda
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pint fresh blueberries OR 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips OR 1 cup blueberries and 1/3 cup chocolate chips
cinnamon sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray two 8x4 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

After shredding the zucchini, place it in a strainer and press out about 1/2 the liquid.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg, egg beaters, applesauce, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. If making 2 loaves of the same kind, gently fold in the blueberries or chocolate chips. If making one of each, transfer half the batter to each loaf pan, and then fold in the 1 cup blueberries into one pan and the 2/3 chips into the other. Sprinkle the top of each loaf lightly with cinnamon sugar.

Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 2 loaves (12 slices each).

WW info:
2 points per slice for either type of loaf

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

My favorite spread.

1 garlic clove
1 (15 oz.) can of chick peas
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Place the garlic clove in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add chick peas, red pepper, lemon juice, and tahini. Close food processor and turn on, slowly drizzling in the olive oil. Process until smooth.

Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, and/or pita wedges.

Yields 2 cups.

WW info:
2 points per 1/4 cup serving

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Most Favorite Meal/Snack/Appetizer/Etc.

Is there anything more perfect that tomatoes, cheese, and fresh basil. I could eat this forever.

"Fried" Zucchini Chips

I found this while flipping through the Weight Watchers magazine and Barnes & Noble. Sometimes I just eat both servings for dinner (like I did tonight).

1 medium zucchini

1 Tbsp Kraft Free Italian Salad Dressing
1/8 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice zucchini into 1/4" slices. Toss in bowl with italian dressing. Mix breadcrumbs and cheese in a bowl and dredge coated zucchini slices through mixture. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and lay zucchini flat. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping chips once halfway through. After 20 minutes, remove baking sheet from oven and turn broiler on high. Broil on each side for 2-3 minutes. Serve with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Yields 2 servings.

WW info:
core and flex: 1 point per serving (not including dipping sauce)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sausage & Basil Quesadillas

Yum... leftovers! Had some left over sausage and sauce from the other night, so I decided to make some quesadillas. I used my Foreman grill, but you also use a quesadilla maker, panini press, or stovetop grill.

2 (4 oz.) chicken sausage links
3 basil leaves, chopped

2 whole wheat pitas

1 cup fat-free mozzarella cheese

non-stick cooking spray

1 cup roasted pepper marinara for dipping

Spray a small skillet with cooking spray. Run a knife along the long side of each sausage link and remove meat inside. Heat over medium heat until browned through. Add basil and toss. (Don't add basil until meat is cooked or else it will get limp and lose its flavor). Heat grill. Slice each pita in half forming a total of 4 pockets. Add 1/4 cup of shredded cheese to each and 1/4 of the sausage and basil mixture. Lightly spray each side the pita with non-stick cooking spray and place on grill. Cook until pita is browned and cheese is fully melted. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

WW info:
core-5 points (4 per sausage link; 1 per pita)
flex-7.5 points

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My husband, the gourmet chef.

Here is my husband, cooking what he cooks best: boxed mac n' cheese. At least its organic mac n' cheese, right? I ate Lazy Tilapia again.

Filet Mignon with Merlot Reduction

Holy stink! Boiling the wine made my house smell SOOOOOO bad! But the end result was delicious, so I won't complain too much. I made this for a friend's birthday dinner and it was really good. I've slightly adjusted the recipe below as I found the original to be way too salty. Another problem was that the steaks got cold after cooking them and setting them aside to use the pan i added the "cover with foil" part. Next time I may grill the steaks and make the sauce seperately, that way everything is ready at the same time.

1 750-ml bottle Merlot
3 (14.5 oz) cans low-salt beef broth

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 6-ounce filet mignon steaks (each about 1 inch thick)
Freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Boil wine and beef broth in heavy large saucepan over high heat until mixture is reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix butter and flour in small bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt and cracked pepper. Sauté steaks until medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and cover with foil.

Add shallots, garlic and thyme to skillet; stir 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups reduced wine mixture to skillet (reserve remainder for another use). Bring mixture to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add butter mixture and whisk until smooth. Boil sauce until thick enough to coat spoon, about 2 minutes. Serve steaks with sauce.

Yields 6 servings.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Grilled Sausage & Veggies

Given that sausage and peppers go so well together, I decided to grill up some sweet italian chicken sausage, zucchini (leftover from the bread I made earlier), and portobello mushroom caps and mix in with the roasted pepper marinara sauce. Served over penne. Yum!

WW info:
core: if served over whole wheat pasta, only count 4 points for a 4 ounce link of sausage.
flex: 9 points (4 for sausage, 4 for 2 oz. uncooked penne, and 1 for sauce)

Roasted Pepper Marinara

This came out so good!!!! After roasting a couple of peppers the other night (check me out!), I let them sit for a few days before I decided to use them. The recipe calls for one pepper, but i used about 1/3 each of a red, yellow, and orange pepper.

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (28 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can of tomato paste with italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
1 roasted pepper, cut into strips

Heat EVOO over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes and add garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes or so. Stir in tomato paste and let it "melt" for about one minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt, and bay leaf. Stir well and simmer.

Place 1/2 the strips of pepper into a food processor with some of the liquid from the peppers and pulse until the peppers are broken up and almost pureed. Add to sauce. Take rest of peppers and pulse in the food precessor until just broken up unto small pieces. Stir into sauce.

Let simmer for about 60 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Yields about 3 cups of sauce.

WW info:
core - all included
flex - 1 point per 1/2 cup serving

Zucchini Blueberry Bread

Someone at work made this this week and it was incredible. So I had to go find a recipe that I could modify to Weight Watchers standards. And I found MASSIVE zucchinis at the Amish farm stand in town, so how could I pass it up?

The original recipe can be found here on (and its awesome).
I found mine on here on

In my recipe, I substituted oil for applesauce and half the sugar for Splenda.

Final result: too dense/wet and way too many blueberries. This could be because I halved the recipe and used a 9" long loaf pan, rather than the 8". But was still very tasty.

Update: For an even better recipe, see my second attempt at baking this bread.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Meatballs & Gravy

That's-a one spicy meat-a-ball! (well, actually thats two and they aren't spicy at all)

This recipe was given to me by my Italian friend, Tara, who got her from mom, who probably got it from her mom, and on and on and on. I promise these will be the best meatballs you have ever eaten.

2 eggs
4 slices of white bread, crusts removed
1 pound ground meat (a veal/beef/pork mix is the best)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
½ tablespoon black pepper
½ tablespoon oregano
½ tablespoon basil
vegetable oil (as needed)

To Make the Meatballs: Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Soak slices of bread in water and squeeze out thoroughly; tear up bread into tiny pieces. Add bread, meat, garlic, cheese, and spices to eggs and mix well, making sure that there aren’t any clumps of bread. Do not overmix.

Heat about a 1/4" of oil at the bottom of a large stock pot. Roll meat into balls that are about 1½" in diameter. Cook meatballs in oil until brown on all sides (about 20 minutes). Remove meatballs from oil and set aside; reserve oil in pot.

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
12 ounces cold water (use tomato paste can to measure)
1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes, with Italian seasonings
1 bay leaf
pepper (to taste)
basil (to taste)
a pinch of sugar

To Make the Gravy: Brown onion and garlic in oil from the meatballs. Add tomato paste and stir. Add water, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, pepper, basil, and sugar; mix well. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add meatballs, cover and vent.
Simmer over low heat for 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring frequently. If there is too much oil on top at the end, you can carefully spoon some off, but do not remove all of it (that’s where all the flavor is!). Remove bay leaf and serve over macaroni.

Yields about 12 meatballs.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Roasted Peppers a la Foodie Fashionista

When your grill is out of gas, no need to cry. Just create a wonderful fire hazard by spearing your pepper with a large fork-like utensil and roast over the stove. It will create a wonderful burning smell that will waft around the house for hours to come.

Please excuse the gym clothes and gym hair. Obviously, the fashionista in this foodie is not showing in this picture.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lazy Tilapia

Why does it look like something peed on my tilapia?

There is a recipe below for a wonderfully fancy Tilapia with Bagna Cauda...but I couldn't be bothered with all the effort so I just sprinkled some S&P on my fish, sauteed in PAM, melted a little butter in a sauce pan, squeezed a lemon in, added a splash of white wine and some of the lemon zest and voila! Lazy Tilapia.

Garnish with lemon slice and serve with...thats right! A starch and green. Did you expect something else?

WW info:
core - 1 point for 1/2 Tbsp of light butter
flex - 7 points

You could totally cut down on the points but using a butter spray instead. I think that would work fine.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I. Love. Meat.

Dinner tonight was steak. Omaha steaks. Lovely, perfectly portioned, soft as butter, Omaha steaks. Every few months, we get "meat bombed" by my mother-in-law. A meat bomb is when a package of frozen meat over dry ice magically appears on your doorstep. Tonight's cut: top sirloin marinated in Peter Luger Steak Sauce and grilled to medium-rare. Roasted potatoes seasoned with old bay and S&P and chopped steamed spinach made an appearance as side dishes.

Another perfectly balanced meal accomplished.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Kombucha? Ew.

Today, my boss thought that she would bring some snacks to a meeting from Whole Foods. Rugelach? Yum. Brownie Bites? Yum. Kombucha drinks? Ew. Double Ew.

From Wikipedia:
"Kombucha is the Western name for sweetened tea or tisane that has been fermented by a macroscopic solid mass of microorganisms called a "kombucha colony," usually consisting principally of Bacterium xylinum and yeast cultures."

Mmmmm....tea with cultures. It looked like Gatorade with clumps of moldy bread floating in it. It smelled like a fruity blend of Lysol and vinegar. And as if it was supposed to make it better, it was fizzy.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Salmon Burgers

(recipe adapted from In Great Taste: Fresh Simple Recipes for Eating and Living Well by Evelyn Lauder )

1 tablespoon EVOO
1/4 cup chopped scallions or yellow onion
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 pound salmon fillet, bones removed, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp plain bread crumbs
salt and pepper to season

Heat 1/2 Tbsp of oil over medium heat in a small non-stick skillet. Add onions and cookfor 2 minutes, until translucent. Add lemon juice and raise heat to medium high, cooking until most of the liquids have evaporated. Remove from pan and add to bowl to cool.

Place raw salmon in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add to onions, and mix in egg, parsley, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Form into 2 equal size patties.

Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sear patties for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Serve over a salad or on wheat bun as you would a burger.

WW info:
CORE - all included (well, the breadcrumbs account for .25 points per burger, so you can go 0 or .5)
FLEX - have to figure it out

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Holy Aioli...what a disaster

I was leafing through cookbook that was a gift that I've never looked through before with any interest (In Great Taste: Fresh Simple Recipes for Eating and Living Well by Evelyn Lauder) and I came across a recipe for basic aioli. I thought, "That might be a nice condiment for the salmon burgers I'm making tomorrow."

So how can you screw up egg, garlic, lemon juice, EVOO, and dijon mustard? Let's just say all it came out as was a watery version of dijon mustard. Oh my god... it was so gross that I just poured it down the drain.

And P.S. ... is aioli even supposed to have mustard? I thought it was just egg, lemon, and EVOO??

Steak Frites

Check out my sexy grill marks!

I looked online for a recipe for the "frites" part of Steak Frites and came up with nothing. In the end, I gave up and just made something up. They came out great. And I mixed Yukon Golds and sweet potatoes for fun and for color. You can prepare the steaks anyway you like. Just time it so that they finish at the same time the fries do!

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes
1 medium sweet potato
olive oil
salt, pepper, old bay seasoning, garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel potatoes and slice into fries, about 1/4" square. Toss in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat. Toss in salt and pepper.

Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Lay fries flat on a baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic powder and old bay seasoning. Flip and season other side. Place sheet on top rack of oven and cook for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

WW info:
CORE - all included! (depending on your marinade for your steaks)
FLEX - varies depending on size of steak and marinade. frites are about 4-5 points

Friday, August 3, 2007

Recipes to come....

I have so many recipes I want to share, but I can't possibly wait to share them until the next time I make them! Stay tuned for:

  • Brisket
  • Chicken Cacciatore
  • Pasta with Eggplant, Basil, & Garlic
  • A kick-ass merlot reduction sauce for filet mignon
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Vodka Sauce
... and more!

Grilled Vegetables and Chicken

Does this platter of veggies (and chicken!) not look gorgeous????? We wound up not eating the eggplant because I forgot to salt it and it was waaaaay too bitter to eat. I had to spit it out! Good thing I tried a piece before tossing it in with everything else.

1 small red pepper, halved, deseeded and deribbed
1 small yellow pepper, halved, deseeded and deribbed
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2 thick onion slices (about 1/2" thick)
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced
8 chicken tenderloins
fat-free italian dressing (non-creamy)
non-stick cooking spray
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 (14 oz.) can of diced tomatoes
fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
dried oregano, basil, salt, and pepper
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

Salt eggplant slices and let sit for half hour. Preheat grill to high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Rinse eggplant and toss eggplant and zucchini in a small bowl with enough italian dressing to coat lightly. In a separate bowl, marinate chicken tenderloins in enough dressing to coat lightly. When grill is hot, place chicken and all vegetables on grill. Be careful to not separate the onions rings. Grill until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are cooked through. Peppers should grill until the outside skin is completely blackened. Remove chicken and veggies from grill. The tenderloins cooked much faster than anything else on my grill, so be sure not to overcook them.

Allow grilled items to cool. Boil water for pasta and heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes into a large saute pan. Slice chicken and veggies into bite size pieces. Season tomatoes with dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper and add in chicken. Bring to a light boil and toss in grilled vegetables. Add chicken broth as needed to thin sauce out.

Cook pasta to desired tenderness and toss with chicken and vegetables.

WW info:
CORE - all included!
FLEX - 6 points

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mmmm....candy buttons

Don't you think the background of my blog looks like the candy buttons that come on the strips of paper?

Tilapia with Citrus Bagna Cauda

I have no idea what "Bagna Cauda" means, but maybe it means yummy? Got this recipe from my boss (who raved about it) and I'm going to try it soon. Just logging it in here so I don't forget about it. I will probably pass on the anchovys. And I bet this would be tasty on chicken as well.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
4 anchovy fillets, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
6 (6-ounce) skinless tilapia fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook the butter and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over low to medium heat just until the butter is melted, stirring frequently. Add the anchovies and stir until the anchovies dissolve, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Stir in the orange juice, basil, and lemon and orange zests. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt.

The bagna cauda sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before using. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and brush both sides of the fish with remaining 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil. Working in 2 batches, fry the fish until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fish to platter. Cover with foil and keep warm in the oven while cooking the second batch of fish. Drizzle the sauce over and around the fish and serve.

WW info:
CORE- 1 flex point (for the butter)
FLEX - 6 points

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

No photos here

I'm sorry, but I can't bring myself to photograph my food. I love to talk about my recipes, share my recipes, but the whole photography thing I can't get into. Unless I make something that is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous... Wait until you see my peanut butter pie. I'll probably make it in September sometime.

Plus, do you realize the ridicule I would have to go through when my husband sees me photographing dinner? I'll pass.