Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spaghetti with Pesto and Tomatoes

I made something yummy!!!

I've been trying to watch what I eat lately, so this is another Weight Watchers recipe. As Weight Watchers recipes are concerned, this is definitely one of the better ones. The recipe says that it serves 4 and that it is 5 points per serving. Since I am still nursing my son, I'm allowed a few extra points a day. Of course I had to add some extra things to the recipe, such as onions, more garlic, and some chicken. But it came out really well and this is a definite do again! This recipe is from the Weight Watchers New Compete Cookbook:

Spaghetti with Pesto and Tomatoes (serves 4)

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 sun-dried tomato halves (not oil-packed), chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 cup packed arugula leaves
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
    What I added:
    • 1 extra garlic clove
    • 2 chicken breasts, sauteed in basting oil (not exactly Weight Watchers, but delicious)
    • 1/2 Spanish onion
    • Instead of using 8 halves of sun-dried tomatoes I used an entire bag that was already chopped up.

    1. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil. Add the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. I added garlic, onions, and some cut up chicken breast that was sauteed in oil to this mixture.
    2. Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions; drain and place in a serving bowl. I used rigatoni.
    3. Meanwhile, to prepare the pesto, in a food processor or blender, combine the arugula, basil, parsley, mint, the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and the garlic; puree. Pulse in the salt and pepper. Add the tomato sauce, pesto and cheese to the pasta; toss to combine. I added some Parmesan to the pesto sauce because it was a little bland.

    I highly recommend this recipe (with the changes I made). Like I said, not exactly Weight Watchers, but not as bad as the Beef Wellington my husband made last week.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Ow Ow Ow My Face Is On Fire Holy Hell It Hurts Chili

    Yesterday I decided to revisit my chili. I wasn't happy with how it turned out last time, and really - how hard is crock pot chili?

    I begin cutting up the veggies...2 onions (complete with burning and tearing eyes), garlic, a green pepper, and...a jalapeno. I always knew that jalapeno peppers left oils on your hands so that you aren't supposed to touch your face after you handle them. I decide to wash my hands. And I wash them again. And then one more time for good measure. The oil should be off, right?

    I take the chopped meat out of the package to find that apparently it was beginning to go bad. Time to run out to the store. I decide that since the baby is fed and happy that I would take a quick shower before I go out. I soap up, wash my hair, and move to my face. Oh crap - the oil is still on my hands. OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!

    After about 5 minutes of standing under the water trying to get the jalapeno oil off without using my hands, I get out of the shower and dry off. Now for those of you who know me, you know that I'm pretty much blind without my glasses. The only reason I didn't have my contacts in while I was in the shower was because of the chance there was oil on my hands. I figured that since I washed my hands and took a shower that the oil had to be off of me by now, right? I go to put my contacts in, and OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! Alright...glasses it is.

    I head on over to the grocery store, pick up what I need, and come back home. I brown the meat and throw everything into the crock pot. Kelly comes home and makes himself a plate to bring to work. Apparently it wasn't that good. Well I went to all of that trouble to make it, so there's no way I'm eating crappy chili again. I throw in some more salt, chili powder, another onion, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and believe it or not a half a can of beer. I let it cook for about another hour, and it turned out pretty good! Yay me!

    Lessons learned:

    1) Jalapeno oil sucks...make sure you get it ALL off before you touch anything
    2) The more onions the better
    3) Beer is for more than drinking
    4) I like it hot

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese FAIL

    In order to make up for the fact that I didn't cook anything last week due to Jackson's stomach virus, I decided that I'd cook twice this week. Unfortunately, I got cocky with this recipe - and it completely backfired. Here's the original recipe (from Family Circle Magazine):

    Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese (serves 8)

    • 1  box (1 pound)  elbow macaroni or rotini
    • 1  pound  ground sirloin
    • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
    • 1/4  cup  ketchup
    • 2  tablespoons  yellow mustard
    • 1  tablespoon  unsalted butter
    • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
    • 1  can (12 ounces)  evaporated milk
    • 3  cups  shredded cheddar cheese
    • 2    medium-size tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
    • 2  tablespoons  seasoned bread crumbs


    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart oval baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. Add pasta and cook 10 minutes, according to package directions. Drain.
    3. While pasta cooks, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sirloin, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Cook 6 minutes, until no longer pink. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Remove from heat and stir in ketchup and mustard. Transfer to a bowl.
    4. Return skillet to medium heat and add butter. Once melted, whisk in flour, then add milk in a thin stream. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of the cheese. Stir in pasta. Pour into prepared dish. Top with meat mixture, remaining cheese, sliced tomatoes and bread crumbs. Spritz with nonstick cooking spray.
    5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Increase heat to broil and broil for 2 minutes.

    I didn't have all of the ingredients, and it was raining, but I really wanted to try this. So this is what I did.

    MY Mac and Cheese (serves ?????)

    • 1 Box of Velveeta Macaconi and Cheese (Mistake #1)
    • 1 frozen clump of mystery meat (I'm pretty sure it was hamburger meat)
    • Ketchup (I didn't measure)
    • Whole grain mustard (I didn't have yellow mustard and again I didn't measure)
    • One big ass tomato sliced up
    • Breadcrumbs (Unmeasured)
    • Salt and Pepper 
    1.  Set oven to 350 degrees and spray a pan with Pam. In my case I thought the pan I used was the right size but it ended up being huge. So what do I do? Smoosh the mac and cheese over to one corner. Smart, right?
    2. Brown the meat in a pan (hey at least I am getting the hang of THAT). Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, ketchup, and mustard.
    3. Make macaroni and cheese according to the box.
    4. Mix mystery meat in with the mac and cheese. Add some breadcrumbs.
    5. Put mac and cheese in the pan.
    6. Put tomatoes on top of mac and cheese and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
    7. Bake in the oven for an undisclosed amount of time (in my case until it looked like Jackson was going to start screaming - about 8 minutes).

    You can see the many reasons why this recipe failed. Lesson learned - I suck at cooking so stick to the recipe.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Teriyaki and Pineapple Meatball Stir Fry

    Here's a quick and really easy recipe for nights when you don't have a lot of time - which seems to be the case for me lately (poor Jackson had a stomach virus last week and is now teething and going through a growth spurt!).

    Serves 3-4

    1 package Aidells Teriyaki and Pineapple Chicken Meatballs
    1-2 tbsp. olive oil
    1 large red pepper, cut into 1-inch slices
    1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch slices
    1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch slices
    3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
    1 cup of white rice
    Sweet and sour sauce (optional)
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Make rice according to package. In a separate pan, sautee red pepper, green pepper, salt, pepper, and onion in olive oil. Add garlic and meatballs to the pan. Put the rice on a plate and add the meatballs and vegetables. Serve sweet and sour sauce on the side.

    Now for what I did wrong (because I wouldn't be an incompetent cook if I didn't screw something up...). The meatballs definitely needed to be cooked longer - they were luke warm. I also think that next time I would add more garlic and onions because the veggies could use more flavor. I might even add chunks of pineapple. This recipe was definitely missing something...I'm just not sure what. Suggestions are welcome!!!


    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Chili and Pan Bagnat

    Technically I made this on Wednesday this past week, but because Jackson was being a cranky-pants (he's teething) I just haven't had an opportunity to write about about it.

    Earlier this week I had a craving for slow-cooker chili. I haven't had it in a while (and Kelly isn't a huge fan of chili so we rarely eat it) but I reaaalllly wanted it. I used this recipe with a few modifications - mainly more garlic and more onions. Truth be told, I wasn't a huge fan of this recipe. In my mind, chili has to have a little spice in it. This didn't really do it for me in that area. It had a nice taste, it just wasn't spicy enough. I served the chili over rice and topped it off with cheese and sour cream. Kelly said that he liked it even better the next day. I say that if you want to make the recipe, add hot sauce!

    OK on to the Pan Bagnat. I got this recipe from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. According to the cookbook, "Pan Bagnat" is French for "soaked bread". Here's the recipe (it makes 4 servings):

    2 very ripe tomatoes, peeled
    One 8-ounce loaf of day-old French or Italian bread, halved lengthwise
    1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
    1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    2 scallions, thinly sliced
    2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
    2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    Freshly ground pepper, to taste

    1. Halve each tomato horizontally; with a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and pulp. Dice the tomato shells.
    2. Pull out the soft insides of the bread and tear into pea-size pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in the tomatoes, cheese, parsley, scallions, vinegar, oil and pepper.
    3. Fill the bread loaf with the tomato mixture; close the bread and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight; just before serving, cut into 4 sandwiches.

    First of all, I had no clue how to peel a tomato. I was about to pull out the vegetable peeler when I read the recipe a little more (it always helps to read the directions...), and this is what I learned.

    "To peel tomatoes, cut an X on the bottom, just deep enough to cut the skin. In a medium saucepan, bring 4" water to a boil. Drop in the tomatoes and boil just until the skins split, 10-15 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes and hold under cold running water; rub off the skins."

    *I should note that I had to boil the tomatoes about 30 seconds to get the skins to split.

    This recipe is DELICIOUS, even though I didn't follow the recipe exactly (yet again). Remember, this is Weight Watchers - they try to keep it healthy and sometimes have to sacrifice taste to do it. I ended up added more cheese, garlic, and salt. The garlic makes it really tasty - I suggest 2-3 cloves.

    Oh, and I attempted another omelet. I'm getting better!!!

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Comfort Food

    Everyone has their favorite comfort food. For some people, it's ice cream. For others, it's chicken soup. For me, it's cottage cheese and noodles.

    Did you just throw up in your mouth a bit? I wouldn't be surprised, since it's the usual reaction I get when I say that I'm in the mood for this delish dish. In fact, cottage cheese and noodles is a prime example of things my husband considers Jewish lore since he can't believe that people would actually eat it (other examples include gefilte fish and Manischewitz wine).

    My grandmother and mother used to make this dish whenever they didn't feel like cooking, there wasn't much to eat in the house, or when I begged for it. It's so ridiculously easy that it's become one of the few dishes that I'm proficient at making. I made it on a weekly basis in college (much to my roommate's chagrin).

    I'll admit it. The thought of cottage cheese paired with egg noodles is a little gross. Not to mention that it's not the prettiest dish. But for what it lacks in looks it makes up in flavor. I always tell people - if you like cottage cheese then you'll like this dish.

    My grandmother's recipe for Cottage Cheese and Noodles

    Egg Noodles (amount doesn't matter - make enough for the amount of people eating)
    Cottage Cheese (enough to cover the noodles)
    Butter (enough to coat the noodles)
    Salt and Pepper

    Cook the noodles and drain.  Add butter (let it melt on top of the noodles). Add cottage cheese, salt and pepper. Mix.

    Easy, right?

    Last night I decided to add to her tried and true recipe. Remember the kugel I made for Rosh Hashanah? I took my cue from that recipe and added a small onion (sauteed in butter), a scoop of sour cream, and some parsley to my grandmother's cottage cheese and noodles. I also took away the melted butter on top of the noodles. It was sooooo good!

    For all of you doubters out there, just give it a chance. I guarantee that you'll like it! Oh, and for proof that this dish actually exists - check this book under "Noodles and Cottage or Pot Cheese".

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Omelet Part Deux

    Ode to an Omelet

    How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.
    I loathe thee morning, noon, and night
    Yet my stomach grumbles at your sight
    For you taste so warm and good.
    I can not seem to make you right
    You always break, run, and fight.
    I loathe thee dearly sure it's true;
    I loathe thee when you taste like poo,
    I loathe your ingredients - eggs, milk too;
    Salt and pepper - when the cheeses ooze.
    I loathe thee with a sense of grief
    I loathe thee because you forsake me
    You take the wind out of my sails,
    Yet one day I will prevail,
    Just you wait and see.