29 March 2010

Cream Cheese 'sketti

The recipe for "Spaghetti a la Philly" showed up in my twitter feed a couple weeks ago and I thought "hmmm, don't I have a couple blocks of neufchatel cream cheese in the dairy drawer?" and then forgot about it.

Well, when I planned this week's menu I decided to be honest with myself and face up to just how hard Mondays are. I come home pretty darn tired and I don't want to cook anything complicated, but I also crave comforting homey foods that I can't really get through take out. So? 'sketti!

'Spaghetti a la Philly'

I made this recipe using two thawed bags of freezer sauce, a package of thawed ground bison, garlic, onion, parsley, neufchatel cheese, and whole grain spaghetti. Theoretically, it's fairly nutritious as I prepared it. But we ate two servings each, so it really isn't!

Would I make "Spaghetti a la Philly" again? Of course!

Menu Plan Monday, Week Fifty

Back to a normal week with proper cooking and whatnot.   Nothing particularly exciting about this week's plan, but it is a plan and I'm dead set on sticking to it.  The last few weeks have felt very topsy-turvy and I am craving lists and predictability!

  • "Spaghetti a la Philly" carried over from last weekend. Ingredients: Frozen ground bison, freezer tomato sauce, and light cream cheese.
Tuesday (work)
  • My mother's "Lentil Sausage Soup" w/ tinned peaches.
  • Lemon pepper chicken breasts w/ couscous and peas. Ingredients: boneless skinless chicken breasts (from freezer), salt-free lemon pepper seasoning, white wine.
Thursday (work)
  • Chicken salad sandwich (from leftover lemon pepper chicken) w/ tinned pears. Ingredients: chicken, light mayonnaise, tarragon, dried cranberries, green onion, pepper.
  • Baked salmon fillet w/ mashed potatoes and dilly carrots.
Saturday (work)
  • "Fish Stick Enchiladas" w/ salad and rice. Ingredients: Frozen fish sticks, "healthier" cream of mushroom soup, onion, chilies, cheese, tortillas.
  • Easter Dinner at my parents. Mom is making lamb, Paula Deen's au gratin carrots, pickled beets, and peas.  I'm bringing dessert -- probably, a vanilla bundt with fresh berries and whipped cream.

25 March 2010

Eggy-Eggy Joy-Joy

Browsed through my library's copy of Williams-Sonoma's Comfort Food cookbook and was consumed with lust. If I didn't have two cookbooks out already, I would surely have brought it home. Instead, I whipped out fifteen cents and photocopied the egg salad recipe -- I figured it was a simple enough recipe that I shouldn't be able to muck it up in a hurry and making it might assuage some of my cookbook lust.

I count this as my first ever egg salad even though The Husband insists I have made egg salad before as his food memories are not to be trusted. So a woman made him egg salad once? It could have been his mum. It could have been a woman at the sandwich shop ...

Anyway, this recipe is dead easy -- combine eight chopped hard cooked eggs, celery, spring onions, light mayonnaise, parsley, Dijon mustard (I used Stonewall Kitchen's blue cheese mustard), salt, and pepper.

Served it on a whole grain white bagel with light mayo and butter lettuce. The recipe had advised serving the egg salad on bread spread with mayo and I was worried that would be too much goop, but the salad itself is only just moist enough to hold together.

All in all, this recipe is a keeper.

22 March 2010

Menu Plan Monday, Week Forty-Nine

Working late again for four days running, so this week's menu does not depend on much cooking until the weekend. Happily, between leftovers from The Husband's Birthday Weekend Extravaganza (THBWE) and the pasta salad I whipped up Sunday morning, I shall not starve.

Yes, the sun came out, the temperature rose into the upper sixties, and I had to make pasta salad to celebrate. It is a very simple salad -- diced low-sodium ham, diced red leicester, mini wagon wheel pasta shapes, chives, parsley, pepper, yoghurt, and Penzey's ranch dressing mix -- but still pretty tasty.

M - Betty Crocker's "Blueberry Oatmeal Bread w/ peanut butter
T - Toasted bagel w/ peanut butter & honey
W - Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins & low-fat milk
Th - Scrambled egg on a toasted bagel w/ low-sodium ketchup
F - Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins & low-fat milk
Sa - (Late) Pancakes or waffles w/ maple syrup or jam
Su - TBD

M - Leftover THBWE half a grilled chicken sandwich & caesar salad
T - Low-sodium ham w/ red leicester & horseradish mustard bagel sandwich w/ apple sauce
W - Wagon wheel pasta salad w/ canned peaches
Th - Peanut butter, honey, & banana bagel sandwich w/ yoghurt drink
F - Wagon wheel pasta salad w/ canned peaches
Sa - Skip (late breakfast)
Su - TBD

M - Leftover THBWE sushi w/ yoghurt & honey
T - Leftover THBWE lobster mac & asparagus
W - Tuna salad sandwich w/ peeled seeded cucumbers in light Italian
Th - Wagon wheel pasta salad w/ apple sauce
F - Taste of Home's "Simple Herbed Scallops" with parsley rice and green beans. Ingredients: freezer scallops, butter, lemon juice, herbs, dried bread crumbs.
Sa - "Spaghetti a la Philly" Ingredients: Frozen ground bison, freezer tomato sauce, and light cream cheese
Su - TBD

21 March 2010

Blueberry Bread Goodness

While rummaging around in the freezer, I found two pints of blueberries and thought "muffins!" and then I thought "blueberry banana bread!," but my frozen bananas were a bit too fossilized even for banana bread so I made Betty Crocker's "Blueberry Oatmeal Bread," instead.

Blueberry Oatmeal Bread

I substituted one cup of whole grain white for one cup of all purpose flour and didn't notice any weirdness -- the bread was nice and moist with good texture.

Overall, a very simple, very tasty recipe. Repeatable.

20 March 2010

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Loin

Slow Cooker Pork Loin

Cooked 3½ pound boneless pork loin on LOW for 10 hours with a third of a bottle of Good Housekeeping Mushroom Marsala Steak Sauce, a can of low-sodium petite diced tomatoes, some parsley, and dehydrated shallot flakes.

Surprisingly good if a bit messy as the roast fell apart as soon as I tried to slice it.

Served the roast on rice with tinned green beans, pickled beets, and a gravy I made by thickening the pan juices with a cornstarch slurry.

Not pretty, but certainly repeatable.

17 March 2010

Spinning Blades of Death

Why is it I am incapable of cleaning food processor blades without slicing myself open? I made two soups with my food processor last weekend and, each time I washed the blades, I managed to slice my thumb open. How clumsy can I be?

The soups were pretty tasty, though, and almost made up for the bloodshed. First, I made an easy black bean soup by running two (drained) cans of low sodium organic black beans through my food processor with a jar of Green Mountain Gringo's roasted garlic salsa, a little ground cumin, and enough low-sodium organic vegetable broth to make it soupy. The soup was quite good -- spicy, garlicky, and very hearty.

My second soup, alas, was not so good. I made "Pumpkin Soup" using a recipe from Stonewall Kitchen and, while the recipe was very simple and straightforward, I was not enamoured of the soup. The jar of maple pumpkin butter made the soup just too sweet for me.

15 March 2010

Menu Plan Monday, Week Forty-Eight

Working late four days running and then three days of birthday madness to celebrate The Husband turning thirty-four, so this menu does not depend on much cooking.

(I did make two soups using my food processor -- Stonewall Kitchen's "Pumpkin Soup" and a dead easy black bean soup -- to carry me through most of the work week).

Breakfast: Barbara’s peanut butter Puffins w/ milk and orange juice
Lunch: Leftover pork pot pie w/ yoghurt
Supper: Black bean soup w/ low-sodium ham & red leicester w/ maple mustard on whole grain white

Breakfast/Lunch: Alton Brown’s "Scrambled Eggs Unscrambled" w/ toasted whole white wheat bagels & orange juice
Supper: Leftover pork pot pie w/ yoghurt

Breakfast: Barbara’s peanut butter Puffins w/ milk and orange juice
Lunch: Black bean soup w/ chicken salad on whole grain white
Supper: Pumpkin soup w/ low-sodium ham & blue cheese mustard on whole grain white

Breakfast/Lunch: Nutella-filled crepes w/ fresh whipped cream
Supper: Pumpkin soup w/ chicken salad on whole grain white

Friday – Sunday
A three day birthday extravaganza to celebrate The Husband turning thirty-four. No doubt, there will be steak and cheesecake (and maybe even some cupcakes and barbecue …)

08 March 2010

Menu Plan Monday, Week Forty-Seven

Work Lunches/Suppers:
  • Bagel sandwiches made with my salmon spread and thin-sliced seeded cucumber. Plus random freezer or cupboard soups.
Home Suppers:
  • "Golden Pork Chops" from Taste of Home's The Busy Family Cookbook (Reiman Media, 2007) with tinned carrots. Ingredients: freezer chops, creamed corn, and leftover cornbread stuffing mix.
  • Taste of Home's "Simple Herbed Scallops" with parsley rice and green beans. Ingredients: freezer scallops, butter, lemon juice, herbs, dried bread crumbs.
  • Pasta with freezer tomato sauce and home-ground freezer beef.
  • My "Surprising Pot Roast" with mashed potatoes and peas. Ingredients: freezer roast, half bottle mushroom marsala steak sauce, dried parsley, dehydrated shallot flakes, light cream of mushroom soup.
  • "Shepherd-ish Pie" from the leftover pot roast and mashed potatoes, plus extra frozen veggies.
  • Campbell's "Tomato Carrot Spice Cake" (for my co-workers who deny the possibility of such a thing)
  • Several kinds of pie to celebrate Pi Day on March 14 (3.14).

05 March 2010

Jelly Roll Quilt-Along 2010, Block #1

Finished my first block for Moose on the Porch Quilts's Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt-Along. I started this block in a terriblenogoodrotten mood and was pretty sure I hated the jelly roll I had chosen, but by the time I got to the end of this block, everything was pure happiness and bliss. Hmm ... quilting as therapy?

Used a "9" by Sanae for Moda jelly roll for the body and Fusions 5573 by Robert Kaufman in vanilla for the background.

Simple Smoked Salmon Spread

I was poking around my fridge this morning and I thought, why don't I make my own flavored cream cheeses? So I did.

Simple Smoked Salmon Spread

Ran 8 oz smoked salmon, 8 oz light cream cheese, scant half cup light mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons dried dill weed, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and fresh ground pepper through my food processor.

Pretty good, but next time I also add a little lemon zest and minced red onion.