• Friday: Family Dinner Out – North Star American Bistro – This is a restaurant I actually forgot about, but we ended up at due to their not having a wait on a Friday night when we’d already stopped at 2 other restaurants with hour+ long waits. I started with the Chestnut Manhattan, which I was looking forward to having again immediately after my first sip. Not surprisingly, we ordered calamari, which was very good. I loved my entrée of short ribs, cheesy mashed potatoes, and sautéed spinach. Unfortunately, Jim did not care for his entrée of bourbon salmon. His disappointment was slightly forgotten when he dug into a slice of turtle cheesecake garnished with candied nuts. So, so good.
  • Saturday: Caesar Salads, Antipasti, and Bolognese Sauce over Tagliatelle – Great recipe, didn’t change a thing. The best part is that it’s a large batch and freezes very well for a quick weeknight meal.
  • Sunday: Buttermilk Roast Chicken, Green Beans, Corn, and Mashed Potatoes – I LOVE this recipe. I don’t change much, except for upping the spices, and adding a bit of tabasco to the marinade. Another step I take is to drain and dry the chicken before roasting. I just use paper towels to sop up as much of the marinade as possible. The first time I made this, I didn’t do that, and the chicken was delicious, but soggy. When you dry before drizzling with oil and roasting, it gives the skill more of an opportunity to crisp up. And really, let’s be honest, isn’t crispy skin the best part of roasted chicken???
  • Monday: Errands & Dinner Out – Chili’s – For as much as I don’t care for chain restaurants, there are a few that are “worthy” of our time and money. Chili’s is one of those on our list. I used to get the chicken tacos, and I’m still a little annoyed that they took those off of the menu. Scratch that, I’m a lot annoyed. They were good. Really good. Whatever, I’ll try to move on … try. My new go-to are chicken fajitas, Cadillac style. They’re always good, and they ensure lunch is also covered for the next day or two.
  • Tuesday: Pizza and Salad – We had Carter’s 4K registration and tour, and didn’t get home until almost 8:00 p.m. Thank goodness for frozen pizzas from Costco. Did you know I love Costco?
  • Wednesday: Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef over Rice with Asian Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms – This was good. Like, Jim asked if it was from a bag good. I should be insulted by that, but I know him well enough to know he meant no harm. I did add some Sriracha, which I will definitely do next time as well.
  • Thursday: Alfredo Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Mushrooms and Steamed Broccoli – I just wasn’t feeling like actually cooking, so Carter and I picked up some sauce from the grocery and I tossed with sausage, mushrooms, and pasta we already had on hand. It was really a Valentine’s present to myself.

Rather Rich Corn Muffins

September 24, 2010

I recently made a Bacon-Watercress Salad from Food Network Magazine that contained a suggestion to serve with cornbread. Well, given that we’re big fans of cornbread, I wasn’t going to turn up my nose at their “expert opinion” and pair it with anything else. I decided to try this recipe featured recently on What’s Cookin’, Chicago?. Jim asked that we skip the add-ins this time, but I think any combination of the ones noted below would be delicious. I also liked this recipe, because it was easily halved and whipped up by hand for a quick weeknight side.


Ingredients:

Muffins:

  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups All-purpose Flour
  • ¾ cups Coarse Cornmeal
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Kosher Salt

Add-ins:

  • 1/4 cup Sweet Corn, frozen
  • 1/4 cup Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 bunch Scallions, sliced thin (green part only)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously grease 24 standard muffin cups or line them with disposable muffin wrappers; set aside.
  2. Add all the ingredients except the ‘add ins’ into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed just until the ingredients are combined and not lumpy. Stir the desired add-ins until combined.
  3. Using a large-sized scoop, fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full with the batter (one scoop of batter per muffin tin). The batter is enough for 24 muffins. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minute, until lightly brown and the tops spring back with touched.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re sitting there thinking, “Soup? Really? It’s 80 degrees outside and you’re seriously making soup?” Then you think about it some more, and say to yourself, “She is. She is seriously making soup. And not just any soup, but a chowder at that. What a weirdo!”

Well, while you’re correct on the last statement, I can be quite the weirdo; I stand firm that it’s not too weird to make soup, especially this on. You see, this soup features two of the best things about summer: fresh sweet corn and basil. The third player in this dish is bacon, and really, what cannot be delicious with a kiss of bacon?

That is why I do not at all think it’s weird that I decided to adapt

Summer Corn & Orzo Salad

August 3, 2010

This is a recipe my mom has been making for years. Light, fresh, and delicious. It’s a great summer side salad for a picnic, BBQ, or just to go alongside some grilled chicken or shrimp.


Ingredients:

  • 5 cups Corn, fresh or frozen thawed
  • 16 oz Orzo
  • 1 cup Greek black olives, pitted & halved (black olives work here too)
  • 2 Red Pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup Fresh Basil, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup Fresh Parsley, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup White Wine Vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook and drain orzo according to package directions.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Corn & Crab Fritters

July 20, 2010

Well, I’m on week 4 of my new approach to cooking and eating, and I am very proud to say that things are going quite well. 10 pounds lighter well. The downside is that my pants are loose, but I am NOT complaining about that at all. I’ve really enjoyed the Weight Watchers program, as it is really all about what you can eat, rather than what you cannot, i.e. I am still enjoying wine with dinner, I just have to “budget” for it. You’ll notice that I have a new Weight Watchers category for recipes, and I plan on adding in the point value for new recipes I’m posting.

I loved the idea of this recipe from Cooking Light on MyRecipes.com, but the reviews weren’t so great. Taking the feedback of others into consideration, I increased the amount of chili powder and added in a minced jalapeno pepper for a little extra kick. I served these with a Garlic Aioli and a light Arugula and Tomato salad that I dressed simply with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.


Ingredients:

  • 4.5 oz Flour, about 1 cup
  • ¼ cup Cornmeal
  • 3 Tbsp Chives, finely minced
  • 1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Pepper, freshly ground
  • ½ cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ¾ cup Corn, fresh or thawed frozen
  • 1 Jalapeño, finely minced
  • 8 oz Lump Crabmeat, shell pieces removed
  • ¼ cup Canola Oil, divided

Directions:

  1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  2. Combine buttermilk and eggs, stirring well. Mix in corn and jalapeno until fully combined. Add egg and corn mixtures, to flour mixture, stirring gently until moist. Fold in crab.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 5, ¼ cup, batter mounds to pan, pressing each with the back of a spatula to slightly flatten. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden and thoroughly cooked. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and batter.
  4. Serve with Garlic Aioli and a light arugula and tomato salad. Leftovers can be refrigerated and microwave for 1 minute to reheat.

 

Servings – 10 fritters

WW Points – 1 fritter = 2 pts / 2 fritters = 3.5 pts

Have you ever made a recipe you thought looked tasty and then were totally blown away by just how awesome it was? This was definitely the case with this recipe I discovered on Pink Parsley. Obviously, I thought it would be good, and thought it would be a delicious side for the Chicken Enchiladas Verdes I was making for our Cinco de Mayo dinner, but I was really impressed by how this simple dish stood on its own by bringing out the sweetness and natural flavor of the corn. I’ll definitely be making it again, as I think it would pair well with so many different dishes.

The original recipe calls for using corn freshly cut from the cob, but I used frozen corn, as it’s not quite sweet corn season around here yet, and, honestly, I didn’t want to put forth the extra effort. I think either would work great. I’ve also adjusted the recipe you see below to yield a smaller amount, as the 12 cups/ears of corn originally called for would feed an army, and be way too much for just the two of us.


Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • ½ cup Scallions, chopped
  • 4 cups/ears Corn, freshly cut from the cob or frozen that has been thawed
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove, minced
  • 3 oz Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup Cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat butter in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Cook scallions, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the corn and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
  3. Stir together the cream and cornstarch until thoroughly combined. Add to the corn and simmer, stirring until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer ¾ cups of the corn mixture to a blender, or hand blender safe dish, with garlic and puree until smooth. Return to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix in most of the cheese and cilantro. Sprinkle additional cheese and cilantro on top to serve.

This is another recipe where I used some of my freezer stash in a new way. This time it’s my Saucy, Spicy Crockpot Black Beans as a salsa. If you’ve made these and have some on hand, you should definitely use them, but canned black beans would work fine as well.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Black Beans
  • ½ cup Corn
  • ¼ cup Red Pepper, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Red Onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients. Allow to set for at least 1 hour.
  2. Enjoy with tortilla chips or cheese quesadillas.
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