Monday, November 3, 2008

Pasta e Fagiole

Mmmm....soup. I heart soup. Thick, hearty, stomach-filling soups. But I rarely eat it when I go out. I'm a big believer in that soup must be homemade. And lately I've been watching way too many reality TV shows about restaurants (can you say Kitchen Nightmares?) to know that most things in restaurants are not homemade.

While pregnant, I went to the Olive Garden for the Soup & Salad lunch deal with a few coworkers. I had the Pasta e Fagiole for the first time (first time ever...not just at the OG) and I fell in love! I soured the internet looking for a copycat recipe and found this one. It's not the same as the OG, but its pretty damn good.

12 oz extra-lean ground beef
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup carrot, finely chopped
1 cup onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (12 oz) can of V8 juice
1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can of cannellini beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can of kidney beans, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15 oz) can of fat-free, low sodium beef broth
4 oz diatali macaroni

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add beef; break up and cook until cooked through. Drain fat.

Add celery, carrot, onion and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except macaroni, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer for one hour.

After 50 minutes, boil macaroni and cook to al dente. Drain well, and add to soup. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Yields 8 hearty servings.

WW info: 5 points per serving.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mama needs a new apron....

I am the laziest blogger ever. I know I haven't updated in ....oh, who knows how long. Bu the sad part is that I DO have several recipes to add, I'm just too lazy to download the pics off my camera or type up the recipes.

What I am NOT too lazy to do is read other people's blogs and find this little contest from Pennies on a Platter. And fast forward to 6-7 months from now when my baby lives outside my body and is eating food.....I plan on making my own baby food (and blogging it), which means pureeing everything, which means liquid food everywhere, which means liquid food on my clothes. So I'm crossing my fingers that I win this apron because Mama's gonna need it.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's my Blog-iversary! Steak Fajita Quesdillas

Happy blog-iversary to me! My one year anniversary of starting the ramblings of the Foodie Fashionista has completely snuck up on me. As Cookie Monster once said on Sesame Street, "If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake....baked a cake...baked a cake...." BUT...I don't really bake. But I do grill.

My new motto is "Grill once, eat as many times as possible."
Tuesday night I grilled steak tips. Nothing fancy. Just marinated in Lawry's Steak and Chop marinade. But I always make enough to last one dinner and at least 2 salads worth. Wednesday's and Thursday's lunches were a salad with romaine, tomato, corn, red pepper, red onion, avocado and some sliced steak. Yum.

And by the time dinner came around on Thursday, it was time to get rid of the steak. I can't explain where the inspiration came for this. I think it was my constant craving for cheese lately. And the abundance of leftover steak and peppers in my fridge.

non-stick coooking spray
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small onion, sliced thin
4 ounces cooked steak, sliced into small strips
1/4 teaspoon cumin
4 whole-wheat, low carb wraps (like Cedar's)
non-stick cooking spray
1 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat a George Foreman grille or panini press.

Spray a large skillet with non stick cooking spray and heat over medium-heat. Add in peppers and onions and cover, allowing to soften for about 5 minutes. Add in steak and cumin, and toss well. Cook until steak is heated through. Remove from heat.

Spray one side of a wrap with cooking spray and place sprayed-side down on preheated grill. Arrange about 1/4 of the peppers, onions and steak on one half of the wrap and add 1/4 cup cheese. Fold over wrap to cover, and press. Cook until cheese is melted and wrap begins to get brown and crispy.

Serve with salsa, guacamole, and/or fat-free sour cream.

Yields 4 servings.

WW info:
Core - 1 point per serving (for wrap)
Flex - 3 points per serving

Holy Guacamole

In my opinion, guacamole doesn't really need a recipe. I just make it to suit my taste. You need avocado, lemon juice, salt cilantro, diced and seeded tomato, and diced red onion. I start with mashing the avocado and adding the lemon juice and salt to taste. Then add the tomato and red onion to reach your desired chunkiness. I could eat this every day.

WW info:
CORE - all included
FLEX - i'd guess about 2 points per 3 Tbsp.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

If you are a loyal reader of my blog, you'll know that I am no good at making cookies. So I give up. I'm throwing in the towel. But that doesn't mean I've given up on baking all together. I've made a successful brownie in the past, so why not try a cookie in a brownie form.

More commonly known as a blondie, these chocolate chips bars are the real deal. I'm not calling them blondies though. since traditionally blondies have nuts in them, and I am not a nut person. I might be nutty sometimes, but I like to keep the nuts out of my brownies and blondies.

1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp) butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 8x8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat until butter melts and the mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat the egg and vanilla. Slowly pour in the butter and sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Mix in flour, baking powder and baking soda. Spread batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Yields 9 bars.

WW info:
Click here

Monday, July 7, 2008

Crushed Potatoes

I haven't been blogging much but I religiously keep up with my blog reading (thank you, Google Reader!). I bookmarked Crash-Hot Potatoes at the Technicolor Kitchen and was inspired to alter it slightly. Being in the mood for baked potatoes one particular night but only have small white potatoes, I combined Patricia's recipe and a stuffed baked potato.

Smiles and clean plates were plentiful that evening.

16 small potatoes (Yukon Gold are my preference, about 2" in diameter)
non-stick cooking spray
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1–1 1/2 cups shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
1 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons finely snipped chives

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add potatoes; boil for about 10-15 minutes, until soft yet firm.

Drain, and arrange on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Using the flat end of a meat mallet, squash each potato flat, until it is twice its original diameter. Drizzle the tops with olive oil, and scatter with salt and pepper. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

Remove baking sheet from the oven and add approximately 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese to the top of each potato and give each mound of cheese a quick squirt of cooking spray (to aid in the melting if using fat-free cheese). Return to oven for 3-4 minutes, until cheese is melted. Remove from oven.

Mix 1 tablespoon of the chives into the sour cream in a small bowl and dollop about 1 tablespoon of sour cream on top of each potato. Garnish with remaining chives.

Yields 8 servings.

WW info:
Click here

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bruschetta with Pesto

Where I'm from (New York City), Italian bread comes in a long, skinny loaf like a French baguette. When I moved to MA, I found that the local Italian bread is a short, fat loaf that you can't really slice into small appetizer-size pieces, which is why I tend to use a French baguette for this particular dish.

I promise the appetizer will disappear very quickly, so be sure to make plenty. Or serve it as a side dish like I do when I'm grilling steak.

1 long crusty loaf of bread (French baguette or Italian bread)
4 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
6 ounces buffalo mozzarella, diced
10-15 basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup pesto
fresh Parmigiano Reggiano to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice bread on the diagonal, making about 30 slices, each about 1/2" thick (quantity based on a loaf about 2' long). Lay slices on a baking sheet and bake until crispy.

While the bread is in the oven, toss the tomatoes, onion, mozzarella, basil and olive oil in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of pesto on each slice of bread. Top each with a about 2 tablespoons of tomato mixture and thin sliver of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

about 30 slices (depends on length of bread loaf).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tasty Tools Event: Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

It's fate that this month's Tasty Tools event is The Mighty Blender. I've had this recipe bookmarked since I first saw it in the May issue of Gourmet, and it just happens to utilize a blender! And I mean, come on....who doesn't LOVE Fruit Roll Ups?!?!

So, a few tips on making this yummy, sticky-fingered treat:

  1. You can use parchment paper in place of the Silpat. You'll yield a less bumpy result with the Silpat, but not everyone has one, so use what ya got!
  2. I used a bit less sugar than the original recipe called for. It definitely depends on the strawberries you can get. I happened to find some that tasted as though they had been injected with sugar, so I cut the 3/4 cup down to a heaping 1/2 cup.

1 1/2 pounds strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

Purée strawberries with sugar in a blender until smooth, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heavy saucepan. (Note: I skipped the straining step accidentally, and it came out fine.)

Bring purée to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally (more frequently toward end), until thick enough to mound slightly, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 200°F with rack in middle. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick liner (either Silpat or parchment paper).

Pour hot purée onto liner and spread thinly (as evenly as possible) into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle using spatula. Dry purée in oven until it feels drier (it shouldn't stick to your fingers) but is still slightly tacky, about 2 hours.

Cool on liner on a rack until completely dry, at least 3 hours and up to 24. (Note: Mine was cool in about 30 minutes!)

Place a sheet of parchment paper over leather, then peel leather off liner and roll up in parchment.

Yields 8 snack servings.

WW info:
1 point per serving

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mac and Cheese (inspired by Alton Brown)

My husband is a mac and cheese snob. Now, I don't mean he demands his macaroni served with truffle oil or anything like that. I just mean that he is just really, really picky when it comes this American classic. Next to my homemade macaroni and cheese, his favorite is Kraft in the blue box and Annie's. Its total comfort food.

A few years ago, I discovered Martha Stewart's recipe for mac and cheese and we just fell in love. I make it all the time, yet interestingly enough, I've never blogged it. Maybe because it became such a staple that I never thought to blog it. That, and since my blog is mostly Weight Watchers recipes, and macaroni and cheese is NOT a WW friendly recipe.

Then, a few weeks ago, I happened to catch Good Eats, For Whom the Cheese Melts 2, which was all about macaroni and cheese. Now everyone knows that Alton Brown "knows best." So since he claimed his macaroni was scientifically perfect, I had to try it. When I told my husband I was going to be trying a new mac and cheese recipe, there were a few grumbles under his breath about fixing that something that wasn't broken and divorce.

Of course, I had to make a few edits after reading the reviews and others for personal preference. I omitted the mustard powder (my husband hates mustard with a passion) and the onions (honestly, this just seemed like a weird addition to this dish).

Well, shuck my husband LOVED IT. I don't know if it was the mysterious flavor added by the paprika and bay leaf, or the slightly different consistency in the sauce (this sauce has less roux and an added egg compared to Martha's). Well, whatever it was, he went back for seconds and tried to make it back for thirds (but I stood between him and the dish).

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 3/4 cups fat-free milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
fresh black pepper
1 large egg
10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
cooking spray
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and keep it moving for about five minutes, making sure it's free of lumps.
(Note: I have never made a successful roux. I always wind up with a ball of flour. If this happens to you, make sure you whisk the roux into the milk with a little extra elbow grease to break it up.) Stir in the milk, bay leaf, pepper and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Beat egg in small bowl. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the egg. (this is called tempering, when you raise the temperature of the beaten egg before adding it to the hot mixture, so you don't end up with scrambled eggs). Add egg mixture to the hot milk mixture and mix in thoroughly.

Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt. Fold the cooked macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and then the
bread crumbs. Spray top of casserole with cooking spray to evenly coat the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes (I broiled for 3 minutes at the end to get a nice crunchy top). Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Yields 6-8 servings.

Original Recipe from Alton Brown

WW info:
Click here

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cooking up Something Different....

Like a bun in the oven. :)

My Weight Watchers eTools subscription has been temporarily discontinued due to my pregnancy, but I will be returning to WW just as soon as I am back on my feet, post-partum (due date is November 2, so just in time for the holidays!).

If you would like to assist me in figuring out point values for recipes I am unable to calculate at this time, both myself and my loyal readers would much appreciate it. Please post in comments and I will update each recipe when points are supplied. Thanks!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Homemade Pancakes

I've had this recipe bookmarked in my Google Reader for sometime now, but I'm embarrassed to admit that it was more for the heartfelt story that accompanied the recipe that the actual recipe. See, I'm an Aunt Jemima box mix kind of girl. And this morning, when I woke up and craved pancakes for breakfast (after eating matzoh for breakfast for a week straight), I was heartbroked to see that we were out of pancake mix. But then I remembered that I had this recipe filed in the back of my mind, and more importantly, all the ingredients in my pantry.

These pancakes were perfect. Equal to or better than Aunt Jemima. I made one small change: I left out the pecans and added a few chocolate chips for my husband.

Thank you to the Homesick Texan for sharing her story and her recipe. Thanks to her grandpa, I need not ever buy pancake mix in a box ever again.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Almond Thumbprint Cookies

In an effort to bring something for everyone to my in-laws for Passover (because not everyone likes cheesecake, including myself), I decided to attempt...the cookie. For those loyal readers of my blog, you know that "the cookie" and I have a history. Basically, they never come out right. They don't spread when they are supposed, they spread when they aren't supposed to...its a never-ending battle.

These cookies were a HIT. Gobbled up. Gone. I doubled the recipe, which should have yielded 48 cookies. I got 42, so I guess some were bigger than others.

3/4 cup sliced raw almonds, toasted and cooled
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup matzo cake meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup apricot jam

Pulse almonds, sugar, matzo cake meal, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. (Be careful not to grind to a paste.) Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter, egg, and extracts until combined well. Chill dough, covered, until firm, about 30 minutes.

While dough chills, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Drop level tablespoons of dough 1 inch apart onto 2 ungreased baking sheets. Roll dough into balls, then chill until slightly firm, about 10 minutes. Make a 1/2-inch-wide (1/3-inch-deep) indentation in center of each ball using your thumb, index finger, or the rounded end of a wooden spoon. Fill each indentation with 1/4 teaspoon jam and bake, 1 sheet at a time, until tops are pale golden and undersides are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack and cool completely.

Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days.

Yields 48 cookies.

WW info:
Click here

Monday, April 14, 2008

Semi-Homemade "Vodka Sauce" with Me

So for some ungodly reason, one of favorite quick fix meals is one of those salt packets known as Knorr Pasta Sauces. The parma rosa is my sauce of choice. I haven't eaten in about a year, but when I saw them on sale for fifty cents each, I had to grab a few. But my husband HATES this stuff. So I decided to fancy it up a little with a few fresh ingredients. And voila....Semi Homemade "Vodka Sauce" with me.

8 ounces penne, rigatoni, or other ridged macaroni
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1 packet Knorr Parma Rosa sauce mix
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano cheese
15-20 basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Cook pasta al dente per instructions on the box.

Mix milk and sauce mix together in a saucepan until well-blended. Heat over medium heat and butter. Bring a boil and turn down to a simmer; cook for 4 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes and Romano cheese. Cover sauce and turn heat down to low to keep warm until pasta is ready. Add pasta water (1 tablespoon at a time) to thin sauce out if necessary.

Stir sauce and half the basil leaf strips into drained pasta and stir until the pasta is well coated. Garnish each bowl of pasta with remaining basil leaves

Yields 4 servings.

WW info: 7 points per serving.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chocolate Chip Italian-Style Cheesecake

My mother-in-law asked me to bring a dessert for Passover next weekend. Seeing as how I am not a dessert person (I mean in cooking, not eating), this was a whole new challenge for me and required a practice run this weekend. Cheesecake seemed to be a very scary attempt but a safe one for the holiday since it can easily be adjusted to accomodate, as the only thing that needs to be altered is the crust.

Cara from Cara's Cravings suggested a crust of ground up macaroons, which proved to be tasty on the final outcome, but I think it needs some work. It came out a little soggy and not quite deep enough, as the lip on the base of the springform pan prevented me from removing the cake from the base. I also think some water from the water bath seeped in, but thats easily prevented next time by better sealing the pan. I think that when I make this for next weekend, I will add more macaroons, not use the butter (as the macaroons are extremely moist as is), and brush some egg white over it when I pre-bake the crust. I will post again if I am successful with that attempt!

10 Passover chocolate macaroons (about 1" in diameter)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
cooking spray

1 (15-ounce) carton fat-free ricotta cheese
1 (8-ounce) block light (50% less fat) cream cheese
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (cake meal for Passover)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup Splenda
3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 (4 oz) bar of semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Place macaroons and cold butter in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Spray a 9" spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray and press macaroom crumbs into base to create an even crust. Place in center of oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven ad set aside.

To prepare filling, place cheeses in a bowl, and beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Lightly spoon 1/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Add cake meal, sugar, vanilla, and yogurt to cheese mixture; beat until smooth. Add eggs and egg whites and beat in until just mixed (careful not to overbeat).

Wrap the base of the spring form pan tightly with tinfoil. Place in a large roasting pan. Pour filling over crust; gently stir in chocolate chips ensuring they are evenly distributed top to bottom. Fill roasting pan with hot water just enough to cover half the tin foil. Place roasting pan in oven and bake for 60 minutes.

After 60 minutes, turn oven up to 350°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes until set. Remove from water bath and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely until removing the springform pan.

To make the ganache, mix the Splenda, cocoa, and milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a light boil. Remove from heat and stir the entire chocolate bar, broken into pieces. If necessary, add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to keep the consistency (I had to add about 3). Spread evenly over the cake and chill until serving.

Yields 12 servings.

WW info: To come later

Monday, April 7, 2008

Vegetable Tortellini Soup

picture coming soon....
Ladies and gentlemen, the Foodie Fashionista is back....for now. I haven't been cooking much at all over the past month as I have been very busy with work and somewhat under the weather, so when I am cooking, it's usually stuff I've already made in the past, which requires very little thinking.

So, while I've fallen behind in my cooking, I've also fallen behind in reading about other people's cooking. I must have near 1,000 blog updates to sort through in my Google Reader. While digging through some earlier today, I found this kitchen sink–type soup in Apples and Oranges. I altered it slightly (for instance, I added more tortellini to beef it up and make it more a meal). It came out delicious. I can't wait for lunch tomorrow!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, sliced into discs
1 celery stalk, diced
3 small white or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (15 oz) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn niblets
3/4 cup frozen green beans
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans reduced sodium, fat-free chicken broth
3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 cup dried tortellini
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a stock pot. Add onions; cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Cook for another few minutes; add beans, corn, green beans, diced tomatoes (with liquid), broth, and crushed tomatoes. Stir well. Add seasonings and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the tortellini. Cook until the tortellini is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper (and basil, oregano, and thyme if desired).

Yields 6 servings.

WW info:
core: 1 point (for tortellini); all included (without tortellini)*
flex: 3 points
*To beef up the soup without tortellini, try 2/3 cup of whole-wheat elbow or alphabet macaroni

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New York State of Mind

During a recent visit to NYC to visit family, I decided to finally make a trip to Chelsea Market, home of the Food Network and famed bakeries such as Eleni's and Fat Witch. Below is a picture of some of my spoils.

Clockwise from top left: cupcakes from Eleni's (one is yellow cake with chocolate buttercream and one is chocolate cake with mocha buttercream), famed sugar cookies from Eleni's in fun summer shapes, a mini blondie from Fat Witch, and 2 original fudge brownies from Fat Witch.

As a whole, I was kind of disappointed with Chelsea Market. I imagined it to be something totally different, like a combination of Boston's Quincy Market (with food stall after food stall after food stall of prepared food) and a farmers market with lots of fresh produce, cheeses, meats and fishes....

The shops are far and few and pricey, but i'm not sure if thats because its NY or because this is a slightly tourist trappy place. The few places we visited were good but not worth returning to again.

Reviews from my Yelp page:

Friedman's Delicatessen: I'm a sucker for a jewish deli. pickles, knishes, sandwiches...what else do you need? While on the slightly pricey side, the sandwiches were delicious and HUGE. I only got though half my sandwich and that was plenty. So we brought enough sandwich home for lunch tomorrow, so I guess we really got 2 meals for the price of 1, right? So I am a pretty picky person when it comes to eating egg salad and tuna salad in a commercial setting, but theirs was GOOD. Really good. My friend got the brisket sandwich and the meat was a nice and tender (there was a little too much fat visible for my taste but it was still good). The potato knish was also huge and delicious. The matzo ball soup was really good too. The broth wasnt too salty and the ball was the perfect consistency (a little too perfectly round if you ask me, but i digress). Will i be back? Mmmm...prob not since next time I'll be in search of a cheaper lunch but I'm not sorry I came. Definitely not.

Eleni's Cookies: Wow....and I don't mean that in the good wow sense. I am so unimpressed. iIhave been eagerly awating a visit to Eleni's ever since I saw her cookies featured in a 2001 issue of Martha Stewart weddings magazine. Yes, 2001. It was a long time coming and my bubble has been burst. The sugar cookies, while very pretty and somewhat tasty, are NOT worth the $3.50-$10 each pricetag. I picked up a flip flop, lobster, and bottle of sunblock. total? $10.50 for 3 cookies, each the size of a pack of gum. The cupcakes are piled high with fluffy buttercream frosting, and oddly enough, cheaper than each cookie. We took a vanilla with chocolate buttercream and a chocolate with mocha buttercream. the cupcakes themselves really had no flavor. The frosting was the winner in flavor over the the cupcake by far. As for the boutique...what a horrible setup. The goods are placed behind a counter that is at eye level (the one thing going for them compared to typical bakery setups where you have to hunch over to see the goods in the case), but the glass walls (aka sneeze guards) are so high that the snotty girls behind the counter can't hear you when you place your order. I had to shout my order 3 times over the glass. Also, there were several prewrapped items that were not priced and the girls had no idea how much they were.

Fat Witch Bakery: One of the best commercially made brownies I've ever had. I mean honestly, nothing beats a homemade brownie (be it from scratch or from a box of duncan hines) but these are damn good. we picked up some regular and some blondies. MMMMM.....I would return for these in a heartbeat.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pad Si Ew

My husband's favorite kind of take out is Thai food. And he'll only order one thing: pad si ew. So after much begging and pleading to me (the one who doesn't really like Asian food to begin with), I finally gave in and decided to make it. Of course, this required a special trip to the Asian supermarket for things like dark soy sauce (yes, there exists dark AND light...who knew?), fish sauce, and wide thai rice noodles.

I followed this recipe exactly, but something went awry. There definitely wasn't enough liquid to coat the everything once it was in the wok and keep everything nice and moist, and I kept adding more soy sauce and more fish sauce until it was so salty it was nearly inedible. I think next time I will stray from the recipe slightly and try adding some (low sodium) chicken broth to keep it moist.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Meatloaf Burgers with Smokey Ketchup and Carmelized Onions

I've been craving meatloaf but it takes so long to bake it! It's a total "Sunday dinner" in my books, meaning Sunday is the only day of the week that I have time to prepare and cook it in time to eat dinner at a decent hour. The idea came to me when I was flipping through an old issue of COoking Light where they had a feature on burgers from around the world. All of a sudden I thought, "Why can't I put all the flavors of meatloaf into a burger size portion?" Ta-da.

So I took my meatloaf recipe and just turned it into burgers, ketchup topping and onions and all.

Carmelized Onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cup yellow onions, sliced thin
1 1/2 cup red onions, sliced thin
pinch of sugar

Heat oil over medium heat in a small saute pan. Add onions and cover pan. Cook until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add sugar and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes, until the onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Smokey Ketchup
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Mix ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 slice of light wheat bread, ground fine (I use a coffee grinder or mini food processor)
20 ounces 93% lean ground beef

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix ingredients from egg through bread. Stir in cooked onions and garlic. Add meat to bowl and mix well with hands. Mixture will be much wetter than a typical burger mixture. Shape meat into 6 equal patties. Grill or broil to desired level of doneness. Serve on a light hamburger bun with smokey ketchup and carmelized onions.

Yields 6 servings.

WW info:
flex - 4 points per burger
core - included
(does not include hamburger bun)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Coq au Vin

I sort of didn't realize when I jumped into this recipe that it wasn't extremely Weight Watchers friendly (especially when served with mashed potatoes, like I did). It could probably be lowered in points by using chicken breasts rather than thighs, but the chicken thighs really add that extra kick of flavor and texture to this dish (that, and I had a package of them in my freezer that were screaming at me to use them every time I opened the freezer).

The original recipe called for a few slices of bacon, and then you cook the chicken in the bacon grease but I don't care for the flavor of bacon (unless its served alongside some eggs or French toast) so that's where I substituted the oil. If you like bacon, then check out the original recipe.

Serve over mashed potatoes to help soak up all the delicious juices.

2 cups red wine
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 (4-ounce) chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup pitted dried plums, quartered
2 bay leaves

Chicken sangria, anyone?

Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; cover and marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Remove the chicken from marinade, reserving marinade, and pat chicken dry. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in flour; set aside.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil to a Dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add half of chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.

Remove onion and carrot from marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving marinade. Add remaining oil to pot and then add onion and carrot to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in marinade, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add chicken, dried plums, and bay leaves; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour and for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaves.

Yields 6 servings.

WW info:
core - 2 points per serving
flex - 7 points per serving

It's Peanut Butter Jelly (Muffin) Time!

Growing up, I dreaded the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My mom always sent us to school with them for lunch, and by lunch time the peanut butter and jelly would have made the bread all soggy and the sandwich would have been smushed by everything else my lunch bag. So I'd end up with a PB&J ball.

So now I'm all grown up and there is nothing more than I love than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But there are rules:

  1. The jelly must be strawberry.
  2. The jelly must actually be preserves or jam.
  3. A PB&J sandwich must be accompanied by a glass of ice cold milk.
So as much as I love PB&J, it's not quite Weight Watchers friendly. The peanut butter alone is 4-5 points. Then when you factor in the bread and jam, you're looking at a 10 point sandwich! No thanks! This muffin will satisfy that craving hands down...and at only 3 points each! It is AWESOME.

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Splenda
1/8 cup Splenda brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons light butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 400°.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, Splenda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (through vanilla); add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Line a 12-muffin tin with muffin/cupcake liners. Fill each cup half full with batter. Spoon 1 teaspoon jam into each cup. Spoon remaining batter on top to cover jam. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool on a wire rack.

Yields: 12 servings

Source: Cooking Light

WW info: 3 points per muffin

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Neely's BBQ Spaghetti

I've never even seen The Neeley's but someone at work made this and brought in the leftovers. It sounds ghetto, but it was amazing! It was like a distant relative of chicken cacciatore, but with a smokey flavor from the Worcestershire sauce and some kick from the chili powder and cayenne. I'll bet the leftovers will even better tomorrow after the pasta sucks up all the flavors.

BBQ Sauce

1 1/4 cups ketchup
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 tablespoon garlic powder
pinch of chili powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cooked uncovered, stirring frequently, for 2 hours. You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate.

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups bell pepper, chopped (mixed colors or all one color)
1 small yellow onion
2 cups Neely's BBQ sauce (recipe above)
8 ounces chicken, cooked and chopped into bite-size pieces
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute the pepper and onion, until softened for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the premade BBQ sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add the chicken.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Season liberally with salt and add spaghetti. Cook until al dente and drain. Toss spaghetti with sauce.

Yields 4 servings.

WW info:
flex - 7 point per serving
core - 1 point per serving (for the sugar)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sweet Potato Chicken Quesadillas

I like Rachael Ray. I know I'm in the minority in most cooking circles, but I like her ideas. I don't like watching her on TV (her abundance of enthusiasm is sometimes like nails on a chalkboard to me) but I love her magazine! I found this idea in there, but I can't even credit her with the idea since it was a recipe submitted a the reader (Sarah Ellis of Columbus, OH...good job!). I tweaked it slightly (the original recipe called for black beans, but it seemed a waste to open a can for just me since my husband doesn't like them....but you should toss them in if you like them).

1 large chicken breast (about 5-6 ounces)
1 teaspoon Southwestern seasoning (like Emeril's)
non-stick cooking spray
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
4 whole-wheat, low carb wraps (like Cedar's)
1 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

Rub seasoning into chicken. Spray a skillet with cooking spray place over medium heat. Cook chicken until brown and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Chop cooled chicken into small pieces.

In a pot of boiling water, cook the sweet potato until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain, return to the pot, and mash. Spread the potato mash over 2 wraps. Top each with half the chicken, half the cheese and a second wrap.

Heat a skillet over a high heat (or a panini press or Foreman grill). Cook each quesadilla until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Serve with salsa.

Yields 2 servings.

WW info: (if using the wraps described above) core - 2 points flex - 7 points

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


OK! I've been tagged by about 10 people and I was trying to avoid it but now I feel bad. So here are my five fun foodie fashionista facts (say that 5 times fast!). And not to be a Debbie Downer, but I'm ending the line here. I can't think of anyone to tag since everyone has been tagged like 100 times already.

1. I have made a vow to seek out farmers markets in my area come this summer. There is an Amish farm stand down the road from our house which is as close as they get out by us, but I am determined to buy more local and organic produce.

2. I am the BBQer in my house. And I'm OK with that. I love to cook and I love grilling. And I really can't deal with my husband asking every 2 minutes, "Is this done yet?"

3. When we moved into our house 2 years ago, we didn't flatten any of the moving boxes we used. We just piled them up in the basement. We have mountain of boxes thats about 10 feet wide and 5 feet tall. But at least we're ready for the next time we move!

4. I'm secretly loving that Mylie Cyrus song thats on the radio right now. I can't get it out of my head.

5. I'm going to Alaska in May! We just booked our trip this past week. I'm so excited!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Master Baker Challenge: Cinnamon Raisin Bread

My first blog event outside of my comfort zone! The ingredient du jour was cinnamon and I have been staring at a canister of raisins in my pantry for weeks trying to figure out what to do with them other than oatmeal raisin cookies or just eating a handful of them.

This is only my 3rd experience with yeast but my 1st successful one. It smelled amazing while it was baking and it tastes even better! My husband usually gets angry when he sees me baking something that doesn't involve chocolate, but I saw the twinkle in his eye when it bit into the first slice, warm out of the oven.

P.S. I was hoping for a swirl in the middle but I'll work on that for next time. I think the dough just swallowed up my sprinkle of cinnamon. Oh well. It still tastes amazing.

Thanks to Nikki at CrazyDelicious for organizing this blogging challenge. I can't wait for the next one!

1 cup raisins
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups bread flour, divided
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
non-stick cooking spray

Place raisins in a small saucepan, and cover with water; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 minutes. Drain well.

Heat milk over low heat in a small, heavy saucepan to between 100° and 110°; remove from heat. Add butter to pan; stir until butter melts.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 3/4 cups flour, brown sugar, 3/4 tablespoons cinnamon, salt, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add warm milk mixture and eggs to flour mixture, and stir until a soft dough forms. Add raisins. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky). (I did all of the mixing in my stand mixer with a dough hook at low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl down every 2 minutes.)

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Roll dough into a 14 x 7-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Evenly sprinkle remaining cinnamon over the surface of the dough. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with a short edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place roll, seam side down, in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bake for 40 minutes or until loaf is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

Yields 16 slices.

Original recipe
from Cooking Light
WW info: 3 points per slice

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ravioli Madness '08

A few friends and I got together yesterday afternoon fir some good old fashioned ravoli-making fun. We each brought a filling (some brought 2 or 3) and then we made the dough and each brought home 3-4 bags of ravioli.

It's a good thing I don't own a Kitchen Aid, because I don't know how I wouldn't be making fresh pasta 24/7 ( I know I can make it without a Kitchen Aid, but let's face makes about 1000 times easier!)

Some of the combinations we made were:

  • roasted eggplant, roasted garlic, ricotta, and parmesan
  • smoked salmon, cilantro, scallions, and ricotta
  • feta, artichoke, and spinach
  • spinach and about 5 cheeses
  • pumpkin, mozzarella, nutmeg
  • sweet potato, cinnamon, nutmeg, parmesan
  • ricotta, kalamata olives, onions, asiago cheese
  • artichoke, cilantro, and red onion (i cant remember what kind of cheese was in these)
  • portabello mushroom and gorgonzola with balsamic vinegar

Smoked Salmon, Cilantro and Scallions

Kalamata Olives and Scallions

Portobello Mushrooms and Gorgonzola Cheese with Balsamic Vinegar

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chicken with Sage and Carmelized Onions

Well, this was tast-ee. I didn't have tumeric or shallots on hand, but it still came out great. I'm going to have to tweak the ingredients a little more when I make it next because Mr. Finicky (aka my husband) doesn't like cumin. Personally, I wasn't crazy about the flavor myself. I think that a little rosemary would make this dish amazing. Predictable, but amazing. I didn't have shallots, but I added a handful of mushrooms instead. Not quite a similar ingredient, but it added another level of flavor.

Link to original recipe

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Mr. Goodbar Cookies)

I yelled at my cookies. It's mean but they deserved it. This is about the umpteenth time that I have baked cookies AND THEY DIDN'T SPREAD! Is it because I used parchment paper? It was my first time ever using it, and I'm confused because I thought it served the same purpose as a Silpat, right? Which you can use with any cookie recipe, right? Is it my cookie sheets? Argh.

But they did come out miiiighty tasty. I think the old "smush with the bottom of a glass" technique will be employed the next time I make this recipe. Which I will.

Adapted from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter together with an electric mixer on a high speed. Add in the egg and vanilla; beat until fluffy. With the mixer on a low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by tablespoons onto the baking sheets, forming 24 cookies total. Using the bottom of a drinking glass, press down on each dough ball. Then using a fork, create criss-cross marks across the top of each cookie. Bake for 12–15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Yields 24 cookies.

WW info: 2 points per cookie.

White Bean Garlic Dip

Move over hummus. White Bean Garlic Dip is moving in. I found this recipe in my Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. It is AWESOME! I'm slightly obssessed with cannellini beans ever since I discovered them for my Tuscan Bean Soup, but my problem is that I don't like chewing on beans. The texture is not my bag, but I like them all mushed up. Black beans? Yuck. Refried beans? Yes, please. Chick peas? Blech. Hummus or falafel? Yum.

6 large garlic cloves
1 (15 ounce) can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400 degrees. Place 4 garlic cloves in the center of a small square of foil and tent foil over cloves to create a pouch. Roast cloves for about 30 minutes. Unwrap foil and allow cloves to cool.

Squeeze the garlic from the skins into the bowl of a food processor. Add remaining 2 cloves of garlic, beans, lemon juice, salt and olive oil; puree. Stir in half the chopped red pepper and transfer to serving bowl. Garnish with remaining red pepper and parsley to serve.

Yields 1 1/2 cups.

WW info:
core - included
flex - 2 points per 1/4 cup serving.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Garlic Pork with Vegetables and Noodles

Its a cold, rainy night here in Massachusetts and all I wanted was something healthy. Since the options were order in greasy take-out pizza or Chinese, or get in the car and drive through a monsoon to the supermarket for more food, I decided I would actually make use of what I had in the ol' pantry.

Not too shabby for a girl who claims to hate food of the Asian genre

And P.S. ... this dish isn't as garlicky as the title implies. I mean, there is quite a bit of garlic in it, but it's not so bad. Actually, the title was lacking in adjectives before I added it on.

Stir Fry Sauce

1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teapsoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teapsoon cornstarch

Pork Marinade
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic

12 ounces pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into small strips
8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti (or other thin noodles)
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups broccoli florets
1 cup sugar snap peas or snow peas
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup haricot verts
1/4 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

Mix stir fry ingredients together in a small bowl; set aside. In a larger bowl, mix 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic. Add in pork and toss until well coated by the marinade; marinate for 15 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta as directed on package.

Spray a wok with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add marinated pork and cook until cooked on the outside. Transfer the pork to a plate and tent with foil. Add mushrooms and minced garlic and cok for 3-4 minutes. Add broccoli, peas, pepper, and green beans. Pour stir fry sauce over vegetables and cover wok tightly. Cook for 5 minutes. Add semi-cooked pork to mixture, fresh ginger, and scallions. Toss well and cover tightly, cooking until pork is cooked through. Add cooked pasta and toss.

Yields 4 servings.

WW info:
core - 1 point (all included if canola oil is subbed for sesame oil)
flex - 7 points

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Better Than Big Barry's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

My husband is a soup person. Loves his soup. And I've been on a big homemade soup kick lately, but he hasn't really taken to any of them since they are all a little too healthy for his style. Quinoa Corn Chowder? Nope. Tuscan Bean Soup? Definitely not. Chicken Noodle Soup? Oh yeah. When he finally wandered into the kitchen to see what I was up to and saw the soup in the pot, he eyes nearly bugged out of his head, into the pot of soup.

So, the story begins with Matzoh Ball Soup. My favorite soup in the whole wide world. It was the 1,000th time I was making matz0h balls (first time blogging though) and I still wasn't quote ready to tackle the homemade soup element of it though.

Our story continues with Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. By now I'm starting to feel my way into homemade soup, but I'm still not quite there so I mix in some chicken broth and use sparing amounts of raw chicken and water. Something about the raw chicken in the soup wasn't rubbing me right.

But yesterday I was planning ahead to Friday, when I will home sick half the day after having a (hopefully painless) procedure. Hmm...what could I have on hand that will make me feel better? Duh...soup. So I leave work and I call Grandma from the car, who is always on-hand for cooking consultation as she doesn't really leave her house much anymore. Grandma gives me the shopping list, of which I already had most of at home except the cheesecloth (to strain out the fat at the end), dill, turnip, and an ingredient described like this: "That other root vegetable that goes in soup...the one with the green fringe on top. Just throw the whole thing in...fringe and all. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it at the market. If you can't find it, ask an employee or an old lady. They should know what goes in soup." Ummm....the employees in my market don't speak English really and I'd bet the old ladies don't either. And if they did, I highly doubt they would know what goes into old fashioned chicken soup. Needless to say, I came out root-less (and its not a parsnip or a turnip, according to Grandma). I also had some concerns when I asked where to find cheesecloth, I was told to ask at the deli counter or look in the dairy aisle. My reply: "Um, it's not cheese you know." Butcher counter guy's reply: "It's not?" Oddly enough, I found it hanging on a hook over the hot dogs...across from the cheese. What are the odds?

OK, so we're home...we're cooking....and you are wondering why the hell this soup is called Better than Big Barry's Chicken Noodle Soup. So my husband begs for a bowl the second it is ready to eat. I try to tell him that it should be eaten tomorrow after it sits, but he will have none of that. So I made him a small bowl. One bite and his eyes lit up like he had just gone to heaven. He exclaimed, "This is even better than the soup at Big Barry's!!!!" So now, us both being Jewish New Yorkers, I'm assuming that Big Barry's is a Jewish deli somewhere out on Long Island near where he grew up. OH. NO. Big Barry's was a COWBOY WESTERN THEMED restaurant from his childhood. He proceeded to go into great detail about this place for about 20 minutes. I have known him for 12 years and I have never seen him speak about anything with such enthusiasm. The jail cell where he had a birthday party, the cowboy-costumed waiters, the food served in cast iron skillets, the "gunman" in the watchtower on top of the restaurant with his shotgun aimed at the parking lot, and last but not least...the chicken noodle soup served in big tin mugs. Before yesterday, it was apparently the best soup in the world.

And now I can say with great pride and enormous pleasure that my soup tops that. Yee haw!

1 (3 pound) roasting chicken
2 large carrots, chopped
2 large celery stalks with leaves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 parsnip, sliced in half vertically
1 turnip, sliced in half
3 garlic cloves, peeled
several springs of parsley and dill
10-12 cups cold water
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces pasta (optional)

Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs (reserving a few springs of dill) in a large stockpot. Add enough cold water to cover all the contents of the pot. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer; cover pot, but vent to allow steam to escape. Simmer for about 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, remove chicken from the soup. Remove as much meat as possible and discard skin and bones. Remove turnip and parsnip and discard. Find garlic cloves (they should be floating near the top) and smash them against the side of the pot and mix the smashed garlic into the soup. Add chicken meat back to soup; season with salt and pepper and add leaves of reserved dill springs. Add pasta and bring back to a boil; boil until pasta is cooked through.

Remove pot from heat and cover top surface of soup with cheesecloth. Push cloth down into soup until it sits just below the surface. Allow to cool completely, preferably overnight. Slowly lift cheesecloth up, separating the fat from the top surface of the soup. Reheat to serve.

Yields 10 servings.

WW info:
core - all included (without pasta); 1 point with pasta
flex - 3 points per serving (including pasta)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Makeover for this Fashionista

You might notice a few changes going on with the Foodie Fashionista in the coming weeks. I felt like I needed a makeover. New logo, new fonts, new colors...maybe soon a change of address! But nothing yet. Stay tuned and thanks for reading the ramblings of the Foodie Fashionista.

'Tater Skins

I am really looking forward to the Super Bowl this year for many reasons.

  1. The New York Giants are in it! Go Giants! I hope they cream the Pats. I'm a New Yorker living in Massachusetts and I absolutely depise the New England Patriots.
  2. We have a brand new 46" Sony LCD and we will be watching the game in HD.
  3. Most of the yummy traditional football snacks I'm preparing are Weight Watchers Core-friendly!!!!! Which brings me to the point of this post....
So I don't remember the conversation my husband and I were having the other night, but in the middle of it, it all of a sudden occurred to me that I could make CORE potato skins and have no guilt about indulging in them!

8 baby white potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 Tbsp fresh chives
1 cup fat-free sour cream
4 strips lean Canadian bacon, fat trimmed
1 1/2 cups fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until soft in the middle, about 25 minutes. (You can also speed up this process by microwaving them at this step for 5 minutes). Stir 1 tablespoon of chives into sour cream and mix well; set aside.

Meanwhile, spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place trimmed bacon in skillet. Cook until brown on both sides and crispy, about 4 minutes each side. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel to absorb any residual grease. When cooled, chop into fine pieces. Set aside.

Slice potatoes in half and spray the skin sides of them with non-stick cooking spray and season generously with salt and pepper. Place potato halves back on baking sheet, skin side up, and cook for 10 minutes,

After 10 minutes, flip potato halves over and scoop out about 1/4 of each potato and discard. Distribute half the cheese over the tops of the potatoes. Layer the bacon evenly over this layer, followed by the remaining cheese. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chives over tops and lightly spray finished skins with cooking spray. Return to oven and bake until cheese has melted.

Serve with sour cream.

Yields 8 servings (2 halves each).

WW info:
core - included
flex - 1 point each


I finally made a successful cookie. The Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. But do I see all the hype over these allegedly heavenly cookies? Unfortunately, not really. Don't get me wrong...they were a delicious treat after all the diet treats I've been stomaching lately, but I don't think they tasted any different or looked any different than cookies from the Nestle Tollhouse recipe, which I made many times in years gone by before I went healthy. They were better than these healthy chocolate chip cookies, but I don't know that they are worth the time. Although, licking the bowl was the highlight of my day. And I definitely ate more than my fair share.

WW info:
2 points per cookie*
*The recipe as is on is supposed to yield 18 HUGE cookies. You can easily get 36 good-sized cookies (that are still very will be a very nice snack).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Quinoa Corn Chowder

Is there anything more tummy-warming than chowder on a cold winter day? I'm not a huge fan of corn chowder, but I am a big fan of quinoa and I'm always looking for new ways to use it. I don't have a huge stockpile of recipes incorporating it since it is often used in place of rice or couscous and I don't use either of those ingredients much (brown rice makes an appearance on our table when a stir fry makes its way to our table, but that's pretty much the extent of our rice consumption.)

I recommend using a Yukon Gold potato with this recipe, as it is very soft and part of it will disintegrate into the soup, adding to its thickness. You can slo sub the dried herbs for fresh, just be sure to double their amounts, as dried herbs are much more potent than fresh.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small Onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove; crushed and minced
1 lg Potato; peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
3/8 cups uncooked quinoa
2 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 bay leaves
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1 tsp fresh dill
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper; to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and red pepper until soft. Add the corn and potato, cook for another 5 minutes. Add stock, bay leaf and quinoa; stir well. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add milk, dill and thyme. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves; add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with dill to serve.

Yields 4 servings

WW info:
core - included
flex - 3 points