I Cooked: Eggnog Pancakes

One of our good friends has a reputation for making awesome eggnog pancakes.  They’re a special seasonal treat he makes every year.  He invites people over for a big pancake party, and everyone eats all night long.  Unfortunately, DH and I usually have other plans when our friend throws pancake parties.  We’ve never had the pleasure of eating this particular treat.

Well, we were at the grocery store last weekend and saw eggnog on sale.  We were super excited!  We could finally attempt to make our own eggnog pancakes, and then drink whatever eggnog was left!  I bought the smallest low fat container they had.  DH was confused – didn’t I want lots?  Well sure!  But if it’s at home I’ll drink it.  And we all know I don’t need the extra calories.

Fast forward to this morning.  I got up and left DH warm in the bed.  Started the coffee, found a recipe and got to cooking.  The recipe can be found here, but I’ll copy and paste it below for you too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups eggnog
  • 2 tbsp melted butter or margarine

Directions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in separate bowls
  2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until moistened.
  3. Pour batter onto hot lightly greased griddle in 1/4 cup fulls.
  4. Turn when bubbles form on top.  Cook until second side is golden brown.

 

These were a definite hit.  They were fluffy and cakey and delicious.  I was expecting a more pronounced eggnog flavor, though.  We have a bunch left over, so I stuck them in the freezer to reheat in the toaster one morning.  DH said they made him feel like Christmas.

If I were to make them again, I think I’d lower the amount of baking powder.  There was a definite powder flavor in the batter (yes, I taste raw batter) that probably shouldn’t have been there.  I think I’d also increase the amount of eggnog and add some cinnamon.  It might make for a thinner pancake, but I think the eggnog flavor might be stronger and the cinnamon would warm it up.

I Cooked: Pasta with Tuna Sauce

Since my chicken smelled funny last night, which forced me to use the steak I was saving for something else, I had to be creative with tonight’s dinner.  I didn’t want to go out for dinner because we’re trying to save saving for a house and dinner out costs money.  So I looked in the pantry and what do I see?  Tuna.  Lots and lots of tuna.  I think it was on sale earlier this year.

DH hates canned tuna… something about the way it smells/tastes/looks.  Mere threats of tuna sandwiches for lunch will make him do my bidding (well… not really, but I can pretend!).  The thought of tuna casserole makes him shudder.  But, since I’m cooking tonight and I love tuna casserole, I thought I’d find a recipe and cook it.  Problem is that I didn’t have several of the ingredients required and it’s not the healthiest thing to make.

I poked around allrecipes and found this recipe.  I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients for this one too, but I figured it would be doable with a few modifications.  The recipe I made up with the modifications is below.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • once around the pan with wine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I put them in a plastic bag and crushed them by hand)
  • A few shakes of dried parsely container
  • A few shakes of Italian seasoning container
  • 1/4 tsp. dried pepper flakes
  • 2 cans tuna drained (6 oz each)
  • 16 oz dried pasta

Directions:

  1. Start the water boiling for the pasta.  When it’s boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions.  Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Chop the onion and crush the garlic.  When the pan is hot add both.  Cook until the onion is tender
  3. Add the wine, tomatoes, and spices.  Cook for a few minutes until reduced a little
  4. Add the tuna.  Fold in and cook until hot.
  5. Drain the pasta and add to sauce.  Toss and serve.

 

This is supposed to make 4 servings, but with all that pasta it’s really closer to 6. DH grimaced when I told him it was tuna, but ate it anyway.  He said it wasn’t bad; he couldn’t taste the tuna.  I thought it was OK.  It needed to be a bit “sauce-ier”. I wonder if it will reheat well for lunch tomorrow.

If I were to make this again, I’d make it with less pasta and maybe add some chunky medium salsa for a kick.

I Cooked: Chicken Tortilla Soup (again)

Tonight’s dinner was chicken tortilla soup.  I really wanted something comforting to eat and delicious to boot!  Since I have a lot of chicken, I thought I should make this tonight.

I chopped up a chicken breast and browned it in a pot.  Then I added a chopped onion and some minced garlic.  Once those were softened, a can of tomato sauce went into the pot along with a small box of chicken stock.  Then I added a small palm full of dried parsley, a half a palm full of chili powder, a quarter palm full of ground cumin and a dash of cayenne.  Once that came up to a boil I added a handful of frozen corn and another of frozen green beans.  Then I simmered it for about 15 minutes.  Toppings included avocado, tomato, shredded cheddar and broken tortilla chips.

It was yummy, and it got my nose running.  That’s a good thing because I’m fighting off a cold.

 

C25K – W3D1

For more information about the Couch to 5K training plan visit http://www.c25k.com/

Today’s workout was the most challenging so far.  I started with the normal 5 minute warmup walk, followed by 90 seconds of jogging, 90 seconds of walking, 3 minutes of jogging and 3 minutes of walking.  I had to repeat the jogging/walking cycles once.

The 3 minute jogs were the worst.  My knees didn’t want to bend right, the music on my playlist wasn’t working for me, and I could feel myself sweating.  I hate to sweat when I can feel myself sweating.  It’s odd, I know, but sweating when I’m running around and playing is one thing, sweating when I don’t have anything else to distract myself is another thing altogether.

Either way, I did finish the workout.  No wussing out for me on this one.  I ended up going 1.5 miles during my 23 minute workout.  Not bad for someone who could hardly walk around the block a couple years ago!

Yesterday I had to work, so I didn’t have much time to do any exercising.  Plus, my head hurt (I missed lunch) and could hardly see well enough to cook a decent meal.  DH took me out for sushi instead.  I’ll just freeze some of the chicken or not make the tuna casserole on Friday to makeup for the missed cooking last night.  I did a quick workout with weights after dinner.

Breakfast this morning was a quick parfait thingie: nonfat strawberry yogurt topped with a handful of mini shredded wheat, a few almonds and a banana.  It’s an easy breakfast to make and delicious to eat.  I usually make it with raisins instead of a banana, but I need to eat this fruit before it all goes bad.  You don’t have to use strawberry yogurt; any flavor works, that’s just the flavor I had in my fridge.

 

Rice Cake with Peanut Butter and Banana

Breakfast for the last couple of mornings has been the same, but it’s good so I don’t mind.  And it’s easy so I don’t have to worry about burning myself if I try cooking while I’m still half asleep.  You just take a rice cake (any flavor but mine are plain), add about a tablespoon of peanut butter, and top it with a sliced banana.  I’ll usually have a half a glass of milk and some coffee.

Later on, snacks will be fat free yogurt (any flavor) with graham crackers, and fat free cottage cheese with pears.  Yum.

I Cooked: Chicken Stir Fry

Stir fry is another easy “go to” meal that I make pretty often.  My versions are usually full of veggies and low in fat.  We often end up with plenty of leftovers for DH and I to eat the next day.  This recipe uses chicken, but I do the same thing with beef.  I’ll often add other veggies if they’re on sale too, but this is my basic recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 chicken breasts sliced about 1/2″ thick
  • 1-2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1-2 scoops garlic from the jar
  • 1 tbsp ginger from the tube
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or sesame oil
  • Red pepper flakes to taste/desired hotness
  • Soy sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • Brown rice, cooked

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add chicken and pepper and cook until browned.
  2. Remove the chicken and add the vegetables and spices to the pan.  Cook until warmed.
  3. Add the chicken back to the pan.  When warmed back up, add soy sauce (go a couple of times around the pan).
  4. Serve with rice.

I Cooked: Chicken with Corn Salsa

I wanted to make something light and mostly easy to prepare for dinner tonight.  I decided to make the “Grilled Chicken with Fresh Corn Salsa” recipe from Weight Watchers All-Time Favorites (ISBN 978-0-470-16999-5) with a few alterations.  The recipe I made up with my alterations is below.  It feeds 4, or if you halve the chicken you can feed 2 and use the salsa as your veggie.

It turned out really yummy.  I made some whole wheat noodles to put on the side.  DH went back for seconds on the salsa.  I would totally make it again.

Ingredients

For Salsa

  • Half a bag of frozen corn
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely chopped
  • Juice of a lime
  • A scoop of garlic from the jar
  • Salt and pepper

For Chicken

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Chili powder
  • Ground Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the corn.  Cook till defrosted and starting to brown.  While the corn is cooking, cut the tomatoes, onion and jalapeno.  Put the corn, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Stir and set aside.
  2. Rub both sides of the chicken with oil and sprinkle both sides with the spices.  Heat a pan over medium heat, add the chicken when hot and cook for 10-12 minutes before turning and cooking for another 10-12 minutes.
  3. Top the chicken with the salsa.

I Cooked: Spaghetti

Spaghetti was one of the first evening meals I ever learned how to cook.  Of course, as a child I wasn’t allowed to cut any vegetables but I could choose which ones to use.  I’d watch eagerly as my mother would chop the ones I’d chosen.  My eyes would tear up along side hers as she’d cut the onion.  I loved watching her do the prep work because I knew I’d get to do the “cooking.”

Mom would put a big pot under the faucet so that I could fill it up with water and add some salt for the noodles.  Then she’d bring it over to the stove and allow me to turn on the burner.  I got to pull the biggest pan out of the cabinet and start the fire under it as well.

When the pan was hot enough, mom would add the ground beef and salt and pepper.  She’d let me break it up with a wooden spoon until the meat was browned.  The onion would be added next and cooked in the fat rendered from the beef.  I got to stir that too.  Then we would dump the meat and onion mixture onto a plate with paper towels to drain it before adding it back to the pan along with the rest of the vegetables.  Usually the veggies would only be celery and bell pepper, but sometimes we’d add a carrot or broccoli to spice things up.

A can of diced tomatoes, another can of stewed tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce and one of tomato paste found their way into the pan too.  Then we would open a bottle of wine and dump some in.  Finally the spices… all dried because we never had fresh: garlic, oregano, basil and thyme.  After a bit of simmering our mixture was ready.  I always got to stir.

Today, I continue follow almost the exact same method and recipe that I learned as a child.  It brings back comforting memories and is a great way to feed an army with about a pound of ground beef.  This recipe makes enough for me and DH to have dinner for two nights, plus extra to freeze… maybe six or seven servings.  It’ll go even further if you add salad and garlic bread to accessorize.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • A couple of scoops of garlic from the jar
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can stewed sliced tomatoes
  • small can tomato sauce
  • small can tomato paste
  • Wine (red or white) pour around the pan a couple of times
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried basil, oregano and thyme – sprinkled on top
  • About a pound of spaghetti or other noodles, cooked according to package directions

Directions: See intro – seriously!

I Cooked: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tonight’s dinner is chicken tortilla soup.  DH tried this for the first time on our honeymoon at Disney World.  We had lunch in the Aztec temple in Epcot at a sweet little Mexican place.  This was his appetizer that day, but I figured adding a salad and maybe some tortilla chips would make it into a light meal perfect for the end of summer.  This particular recipe is another mix of a couple different recipes based upon what was in my kitchen.  This makes a lot of soup!  We’ll probably be eating it for the next couple of days…

Ingredients

  • 2-3 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2-3 spoonfuls of minced garlic from the jar
  • 1 palm full ground cumin
  • 1 palm full dried oregano
  • 1.5 palm fulls chili powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 48oz box low sodium, low fat chicken stock
  • 2-14oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1-14oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 avocado chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • Shredded mozzarella (actual recipes call for jack cheese)
  • Crushed tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add chicken and cook most of the way.
  3. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic and spices.  Cook until softened and turning translucent.
  4. Add chicken stock, canned tomato, and canned beans.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10-20 minutes.
  5. Serve with bowls of fresh tomato, avocado, cheese and tortilla chips.

Dinner 1/13/08

This is what I cooked for dinner tonight!  The adults all liked it; the kids not so much.  Mom thought it would be good with shrimp instead of chicken.  I found it in Betty Crocker One-Dish Meals page 242 (copyright 2005 General Mills Inc., published by Wiley Publishing, Inc.)

Thai Chicken Pizza:

6 flour tortillas (8-10 inches in diameter)
1/2 Cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tsp sugar
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz.)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1 bag (1 lb) frozen stir-fry vegetables, thawed and drained.

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place tortillas on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 5 minutes or until crispy.
2. Mix peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar; spread over
tortillas.  Top each with 1/4 of the cheese.  Spread chicken and
vegetables evenly over tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup
cheese.
3. Bake 10-15 minutes or until pizzas are hot and cheese is melted.

Betty’s Tip: Peanut sauce, found in the asian foods section of your
grocery store, an be used in place of the peanut butter mixture.  Use
slightly less than 1 cup.

Makes 6.
Nutrition stuff: 1 pizza = 1 serving.
Calories 490 (215 from fat)
Fat 24g (saturated 10g)
Cholesterol 60mg
Sodium 1330mg
Carbohydrate 37g (Dietary fiber 5g)
Protein 36g
%Daily Value: Vitamin A 20% | Vitamin C 22% | Calcium 36% | Iron 18%
Exchanges 2 Starch, 1 Vegetable, 4 Lean Meat, 2 Fat
Carbohydrate Choices 2 1/2

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