Ah, Nostalgia…

All through college, I loved to pretend that I could cook. Wait, that’s not quite right. I used to like to pretend I could cook fancy food. In all reality though, I could make a few things very well.

  1. Pizza Chicken
  2. Ratatouille
  3. Baked pasta (made with a jarred “baked pasta” sauce)
  4. Lemon chicken w/noodles
  5. Turkey burgers

Yeah, thats about it. #4 up there was one of my favorites because it tasted a lot like something fancy (Chicken Picatta) but it was super simple. My friends all thought that it was so fancy, and asked me to make it for them all the time. Little did they know that it stemmed from a failed attempt at trying to make ACTUAL chicken picatta!

Since Adam and I had a relaxing night planned of doing a lot of nothing, I decided it was time to break out that old non-recipe for dinner tonight. I found myself sitting on the couch, watching Food Network, eating my lemon chicken and pasta, and was immediately thrown back… I was 20 again, living in the “Blue House”, getting ready for what some people would call a “lame” night. No, wait… the Blue House days were the days of drunken craft night with Ericka, involving way too many sparkly beads and hot glue!  Enough reminiscing… on to the recipe (This is for ONE serving)

Yes, my dinner was beige with beige.

Yes, my dinner was beige with beige.

Lemon Chicken With Noodles

Ingredients

1 chicken breast, pounded thin

1/4 c. flour

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

juice of 1 lemon

1 c. cooked whole wheat pasta, kept hot

1 tbsp. parmesan cheese

Directions

Mix the flour and garlic powder together in a shallow dish. In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic together. Coatboth sides of the chicken breast with the flour mixture, and place the chicken in the pan. Cook, turning once. When the chicken is almost all the way cooked through, pour the juice of the lemon into the pan. Flip the chicken once again, and add more lemon juice if needed. Stir the parmesan cheese into the hot noodles, and eat.

Sometimes, if I got really ambitious with this recipe in college, I’d add some frozen broccoli florets. Usually though, I’d just go a little more nuts with the parmesan cheese (like, 1/2 c. or so) and about double the noodles. This is why I gained weight in college!!

Enjoy the simple recipe!

Albóndigas y Espaguetis (Spaghetti and Meatballs)

I started teaching my students food words today, and I have to say, talking about food for an additional 97 minutes today sure got my appetite going! My students were fascinated by so many of the words they learned today, so I thought I’d share a small sample list of the ones that cracked them up:

  • Albóndigas – Meatballs
  • Espaguetis – spaghetti
  • Gofre – waffle
  • Budín – pudding
  • Manteca de cacahuate – peanut butter

The talk of Italian foods during our vocabulary lesson got me thinking… hey! I have the stuff for spaghetti and meatballs! Then I had the thought that if I make spaghetti and meatballs, I can have a fun Spanish title for my blog entry tonight, and that sealed the deal!

I know I just made meatballs a couple weeks ago but I decided to make a different recipe that were a bit more sturdy so they could hold up cooking in some sauce. The key to these meatballs (and keeping them at a Point® a piece) is to use super-lean ground beef and ultra fluffy Panko bread crumbs.

Cooking meatballs is a cinch in my new cast iron skillet!

Cooking meatballs is a cinch in my new cast iron skillet!

Simple Italian Meatballs

Ingredients

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 C. panko breadcrumbs

1 tbsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 egg

1 jar of your favorite jarred pasta sauce

Directions

In a mixing bowl, gently mix the ingredients (except the sauce) together until well combined. Form into about 15 meatballs, and place into a hot skillet. Cook about 5 minutes on one side, then gently turn. Cook another 5 minutes, then add 1 cup water (watch the steam!) and the jar of sauce. Simmer on low heat about 25 minutes. Serve on pasta.

I had mine on high-fiber pasta with fresh broccoli!

I had mine on high-fiber pasta with fresh broccoli!

It was a fantastic and satisfying dinner, and I’m so excited that I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Happy almost Friday everyone!

Peanut Noodles: Take 2

After yet another long and hectic day at work today (got there early, a pregnant teacher passed out and an ambulance was called, I covered an extra class during lunch, then supervised after school study hall… the teacher is fine, by the way! It was scary!), I got home and wanted noodles. I didn’t care what kind, but I wanted NOODLES DARN IT!

I asked Adam what kind of noodles he’d like, and he said that if I didn’t mind, could I make peanut noodles again? Um, lets see, long hard day, noodles, peanut butter… yes! I decided to take the opportunity to perfect the peanut noodle recipe, and I think I’ve got it! These were creamy and spicy and sweet, and I added peas this time!

I only had one piece of chicken... I wanted more noodles!

I only had one piece of chicken... I wanted more noodles!

PERFECT Peanut Noodles

Ingredients

1 lb. whole wheat or high-fiber pasta, cooked and kept hot

1/3 c. creamy peanut butter

1 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. dark sesame oil

1 tbsp. red wine or rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Sriracha (Rooster sauce) to taste

cooked vegetable of choice (peas, broccoli, red peppers, etc)

Directions

Mix all ingredients from peanut butter through Sririacha in a small bowl. Stir until well-combined. Mix pasta with the vegetables, then add the peanut mixture. The heat from the noodles will melt the peanut butter. Stir to evenly coat the noodles. Add more sriracha if desired.

OH MY GOODNESS were these good noodles! I could eat them every day…which is why this is probably the last time I’ll make them for a while! Once this batch is gone, no more! I think I have a peanut butter problem…While I was eating these noodles, I had a flash. This recipe is remarkably similar to a recipe my grandma used to make with tiny tube pasta, baby peas, and a slightly spicy peanut sauce. I remember trying to shove as many peas as possible into each tube noodle, and then eating the stuffed noodles.

QOTD: Are you going to watch the new season of Biggest Loser? I think I am, though I think it creates unrealistic expectations for many overweight people. I find myself to be truly motivated by the contestants’ success, even though I’m usually eating dinner during the show!

Chicken Katsu and Peanut Noodles

I decided to venture into the wonderful world that is Panko breadcrumbs today. Panko crumbs are  Japanese breadcrumbs, usually used on the outside of tempura fried dishes, and dishes such as tonkatsu (a fried pork cutlet) and chicken katsu (the same, with chicken). Chicken katsu is a favorite of Adam’s when we go to our sushi place, so I decided to try it for dinner today. I had no recipe, so I just cooked by the seat of my pants, so to speak.

The recipe for the noodles is below!

The recipe for the noodles is below!

Chicken Katsu

Ingredients

1 lb. chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 3 or 4 oz pieces

1 egg, beaten

1/4 c. milk (or water)

1 Tbsp. low-salt soy sauce

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. dark sesame oil

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions

Mix together the egg, soy sauce, and milk (or water) in a shallow dish. Pour the panko crumbs into a separate dish. Heat the oils together in a large frying pan, then proceed to coat the chicken in first the egg mixture, then the panko. Gently place in the oil and cook until golden on both sides and chicken is cooked through, about 5 min. on each side.

We also had some sesame-peanut noodles with broccoli on the side. THESE were a hit! Here’s the recipe, super simple, and very easily vegetarian or vegan!!

Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles

Ingredients

2 servings of whole wheat or high fiber pasta, cooked

3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter

1 tsp. dark sesame oil

1 Tbsp. low-salt soy sauce

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

red pepper flakes to taste (i used about 1/2 tsp)

Whisk all ingredients except pasta in a bowl. Thin with water if necessary. The sauce should be the consistency of a thin pudding. Pour the sauce over HOT noodles, and stir until all noodles are coated. Add a vegetable of choice, I chose broccoli, but peas and/or cabbage would be delicious!

This was a fun dinner, since it tasted like we were out to eat, but we were at home in our pajamas! I’m dreading going back to work tomorow, after being off for over 2 weeks, but alas… back to reality I go! It will definitely be nice to have a set eating schedule again, and much more limited fridge access!

Sunday Night Barbecue

Well, I finally feel better! I’m not “ship-shape” by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve managed to keep soup, a baked potato, and noodles in my stomach with no ill effects… so I’m “better”! Thanks for all the healing thoughts, I really appreciate them!

Since Adam wasn’t sick at all, I decided to be a nice fiance and make him a decent dinner. We had some frozen chicken drumsticks and loads of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce, so I decided to make a taste of summer on this 16* day. Really no recipe here… I thawed the drumsticks in the microwave, put them in a glass baking dish, sprinkled with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then covered them in about 1/2 c. barbecue sauce. I baked them at 400*, covered, for about 35-40 minutes (honestly cant remember!). Adam said it was good!

Not quite as good as on the grill...

Not quite as good as on the grill...

While Adam munched on the chicken, I ate a bowl of my ultimate comfort food: parmesan buttered noodles! (Whole wheat of course, and low-fat “butter”) and thank goodness, I’m still feeling ok!

My feel good red bowl

My feel good red bowl

That’s all for now… hopefully the “feeling better” will continue, and I’ll have REAL dinner posts TOMORROW!!

Non-vegan, Not-So-Natural dinner

CAUTION! THIS IS NOT AN ALL-NATURAL VEGAN, VEGETARIAN, RAW, OR VEGGIE-FULL MEAL! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK! 🙂

OY did I have a long day!! I won’t go into details, but lets just say that a trip to the grocery store after work was NOT top on my list. I went though, as we needed supplies for dinner, and I desperately needed a snack. I went into the store having NO idea as to what dinner was going to be. I wandered down the health food/organic aisle, and what did they happen to have? LARABARS!!! AT MY NORMAL GROCERY STORE!!! 4 for $5!!! SO EXCITED!

Ok, no more caps. Anyway, once I knew I had a car snack, I could think about dinner, and the first thing that came to mind was chicken carbonara. Don’t know why, but it was ALL I wanted. I went through the store, grabbing what I needed, and then hurried up to check out. The result: HUGE HIT! (And fairly low-Point® too!)

Trying the "close-up"...what do we think?

Trying the close-up, what do we think?

Cheapo Chicken Carbonara

Ingredients

2 chicken breast halves, cut into small pieces

1 small onion, diced fine

2 tsp. olive oil

1 can peas, drained

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 c. fat free milk

5 strips center-cut bacon, cut into small pieces

1 lb. high-fiber or whole wheat pasta, cooked

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Once the onion is transluscent, add the chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Then, add the chicken and cook until nearly done. Stir in the soup and milk, and then add the peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then stir in the cooked pasta. Serves 6.

The one problem with this recipe is that now, I have over half a package of center-cut bacon in the fridge. Luckily a) I love bacon and b) center-cut bacon is much lower fat than regular bacon! I also have though, 2 new Larabars to try!

QOTD: What have you bloggers found is the most effective way to increase blog traffic? Some days I have over 400 hits, and other days, barely 200… I don’t get it! Any hints you can offer would be great 🙂


Salmon-Basil Pasta

Since we don’t have any Thanksgiving leftovers to speak of, and we have yet to grocery shop, dinner tonight was a “make something with what we have in the house” kind of meal. I went through the cupboards and the freezer and came up with this simple and delicious dinner. Adam even went back for thirds! Please pardon the not-so-great and nondescript looking photo. This was not a photogenic dinner!

NOT a great photo!

NOT a great photo!

Simple Salmon-Basil Pasta

Ingredients

3 salmon filets (about 1 lb), cooked

1 tbsp. olive oil

6 or 8 frozen basil cubes or 1/2 tube basil paste or fresh chopped basil

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 lb angel hair pasta, cooked

1/4 c. Italian bread crumbs

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the cooked salmon filets and break into small bite sized chunks. Then add the basil, garlic, and cook about 1 minute. Add the pasta, stir well, then add the bread crumbs. Stir again and serve immediately, then top with parmesan cheese. This would be great with an add-in of any vegetable as well!

I’m off for the night to relax, watch movies, and possibly indulge in some dark chocolate… yum!