Thursday, September 30, 2010

San Francisco Treat - Part 1!

So as many of you know, my husband Rusty and I just went on an amazing trip to San Francisco. Over the next three days I will be recapping our world wind tour of the amazing West coast city! For those of you going to SF for FoodBuzz in November, take note....some of our decisions were great, some not so much!

It all started Thursday with a nice mid-morning 4 hour flight. We landed in San Fran around 11:15 and quickly tried to find a cab. Well, all of the cabs were lined up and we jumped in the first one. This was a BAD choice! Our cab driver drove us to the hotel at 95 MPH!!!! Rusty and I always have bad luck with transportation, particularly cabs, and this one was no different. After our terrifyingly speedy cab ride, we checked in at our hotel, the Hilton at Union Square.

Union Square:

The Hilton was a great hotel. It is an enormous epicenter for major conferences, which was very apparent when we arrived. There were a million bags and people everywhere! Our room was great with a pretty decent view of the nearby buildings.

As far as hotel advice, if you need to be near Union Square, the Hilton was great. If you are simply a tourist, stay closer to the Wharf. I recommend a little boutique hotel called The Argonaut, it was beautiful and in an awesome location.

After checking in, we had a quick lunch at Max's. Max's menu reminds me a lot of a Jewish restaurant Katz's. There were a million choices, mostly consisting of huge sandwiches. I tried the blackened shrimp tacos and they were awesome (but a bit on the spicy side).

Once we finished lunch, we headed straight for Fisherman's Wharf to hop on our tour bus. Before loading, we were introduced to the phenomenon known as the SF street performer. I am pretty sure this guy had 10+ instruments!

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT...If you are going to San Fran and have time to check out the city, get an All Loops Pass from CitySightseeing Tours!!!! We had a 48 hour pass that allowed us to hop on and off double decker buses that toured all around town! Our first tour included so much that we almost felt like we had experienced everything we needed to in just an hour and a half (of course we did many other things!!!).
Here are a few pics from the first tour (thank you Rus for playing photog!):

The Transamerica Pyramid:

The Bay Bridge:

St. Peter and Paul Church:

We hopped off the bus at Union Square near our hotel to get ready for dinner. Our dinner was at this incredibly cool but pricey attraction in town, Teatro ZinZanni! This dinner and show combo is housed in a huge complex of circus tents at Pier 29. You walk in to a very "burlesque-ish" type bar with a neat little shop to the side. The website says to dress "festively" and I came very close to adding this beautiful headband to complete my outfit...

The 3 hour show was absolutely hilarious! I wish I could have taken pictures, but of course that was strictly off limits. The show itself is centered around the meal and keeps the time between courses action and comedy packed. The food wasn't too bad either. It was a 5 course meal with cocktails or wine. We ended up choosing the wine flight that was paired with each course. It was a bit more expensive, but for our big dinner out we figured what the heck?!

After dinner we tried to catch a cab outside the theater and we had zero luck. We were standing on a street corner on the Embarcadero, the main street running along the bay, and not a single empty cab drove by. As a last resort, we ended up walking all the way to Pier 39 to catch a cab at the mainstream tourist attraction. It was quite a hike, but thankfully we finally found transportation.

After our safe cab ride home, we sat in bed planning our fun filled days ahead. They included a trip to Muir Woods, the Golden Gate Bridge, Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 (and the awesome seals), Ferry Building and holy cow farmer's market and a tour of Alcatraz. What I can't believe is that we saw all of that in three in a half days. I will try to skim the surface of our adventure and hopefully give y'all some good travel advice! If you have any questions about my trip just leave a comment or send me a tweet and I will be happy to get back to you!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chicken Knuckle Soup

Sorry, Laura...had to say it! Thanks to my friend AOB for that lovely recipe name. I figured that this fateful recipe would be a good way to get back into the blogging groove after my amazing trip to San Francisco. If you were following me on Twitter for the past several days, you probably had a chance to check out what delicious foods I was eating. If you didn't get a chance to check that out...ahem, Laura :) I will be posting about my trip for the next couple of days.

Anyway, back to homemade chicken noodle soup a la Paula Deen. The dish by name seems so simple...just chicken noodle and stock. Well Paula's original recipe was not so simple. You have to chop and then simmer FOREVER and then add the rest of the chopped ingredients. All in all it takes almost one and a half hours! As y'all may well know, Laura and I HATE time consuming recipes. Not only does the soup take forever but I had an unfortunate accident that cost me a few extra hours :(
So it begins...with several ingredients. Paula's recipe calls for a whole chicken in the soup base, but I definitely preferred to just use chicken tenders. I also substituted salt free chicken broth base instead of bouillon. Bouillon typically has a lot of salt some of which comes from MSG.

The ingredients for the stock:

The ingredients for the rest of the soup:

Me rocking my onion goggles after my run, but prior to "The Accident":

What the stock looks like (if only we could have scratch and sniff computers!):

At this point I started cutting the carrots...insert gruesome story here and trip to the ER. I left the stock sitting on the stove (burner off of course) hoping to get back to it. Luckily, WE were able to finish the recipe.
I enlisted my hubby for the rest of the chopping and I working on pouring and stirring.

He did a great job!
After all of the craziness that was Sunday, we were able to sit down to a bowl of chicken noodle soup. It was very hearty, delicious and not too salty. The saltiness of a typical Campbell's CNS is a bit too much for me. I only wish CNS wasn't something I only wanted when I don't feel well. When you are sick, who has one and a half hours to make soup?!

The nutrition facts speak for themselves. A great hearty bowl of soup for decent calories, low fat and low sodium!!! What else could a girl ask for?? Okay, maybe better cutting skills, but either way, I was able to end the night on a delicious note!

I did cut my recipe in half, for fear of having a million servings of soup in the fridge while I was out of town. The recipe below is exactly what I used.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Stock Ingredients:
1 ¼ lbs chicken breast
7 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
½ tsp Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper Seasoning
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Bay leaves
1 packet salt free chicken broth
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp salt substitute

1 ½ cups carrots, sliced (carefully!)
1 cup sliced celery
1 ¼ cup egg noodles, uncooked
1 cup sliced Portobello mushrooms
1 ½ tbsp chopped parsley
2 oz cooking sherry
½ cup Parmesan
¼ cup fat free half-and-half

In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients for the stock and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken from the pot and tear or cut into large chunks, set aside. Remove bay leaves.

Bring the stock to a boil and add carrots, cooking for about 3-5 minutes. Add celery and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook for another 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients including chicken. Cook for another 2-4 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top 10 Tuesday

This week's Top 10 Tuesday is a joint effort from me and Kat. We compiled a list of the Top Ten staples in our pantries. This list reflects a few healthy foods that we always have on hand. One thing we always tell our patients is don't keep tons of junk food in your house. Why tempt yourself? We want to make sure that if we have a craving for something sweet or salty, we have something healthy on standby.

And here we go!

#10 Sugar-free Mixes
My choice is Fruit Punch Crystal Light. Mmm... I love that stuff! I even sent some to my sister-in-law when I sent her a special care package. Kat prefers an Arizona Tea (honestly, I can't remember the name of it!) Maybe Kat will edit it in later. Bottom line, they're both ways to make sure we get enough water without drinking a bunch of calories.

#9 Mandarin Oranges in Juice
I like mine plain, but Kat likes to mix hers in some low fat cottage cheese. You could even use them in an Asian salad.

#8 Sugar Free Pudding
Who doesn't love pudding?! Sugar free chocolate pudding with some fat free whip cream is a quick, easy dessert that will satisfy any sweet tooth craving. Kat has sugar free pudding with her lunch 90% of the time. And I'm sure the other 10% of the time can be attributed to days when she just doesn't pack her lunch.

#7 Diet A&W Root Beer
A lot of the time, especially on Fridays, Kat and I have a little snack and usually it's a healthy mix of protein and carbs to tide our hunger until dinner time. But sometimes, when we want something sweet, we grab some Diet A&W Root Beer from the cafeteria and that does the trick! I don't know what's in it, but it really takes away our craving for sweets!

#6 Justin's Chocolate Almond/Hazelnut Butter
I can't believe we just discovered this a couple of weeks ago! When I spread in on my Double Fiber Bread (see #4), I swear I'm eating bread and chocolate frosting! Yum! And they come in little packets, so the portion is easier to control.

#5 Fiber One Bars
Just like with Justin's Almond Butter, we love Fiber One Bars. They're chewy and crunchy and sweet. Plus they have 9 grams of fiber per bar (or at least the Oats & Caramel flavor does; it's my fave!). They remind me of eating Kudos Bars way back in the day. Anyone else remember those? Do they even make them still?

#4 Nature's Own Double Fiber Bread
I know Kat doesn't really like to bring sandwiches for lunch, but every once in awhile I'll go on a kick and take sandwiches for weeks (usually when I end up making my gazillion-th batch of Paula Deen chicken salad . . .) and I love this stuff because it has 5 grams of fiber and only 50 calories per slice. Mmmm . . . fiber!

#3 Reduced Fat Cresent Rolls/Goldfish Crackers
So #3 is kind of a tie. Kat loves Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls and always has them on hand for quick suppers. I like them too, but I have a harder time not eating the whole batch! So my pick is Goldfish Crackers. I rediscovered these the last time I traveled to SC and I like that one serving takes awhile to eat so I feel like I'm getting more. And look what I found this past weekend!! Where have you guys been??

Not the healthiest, but less messy than the real thing and definitely less fat and temptation!

#2 Reduced Fat Cheese
We like cheese. We don't like fat. Match made in heaven!!

And our #1 pantry staple is . . .

#1 FNF Bars!!
Kat and I have set out to make the blogosphere's best tasting granola bar! We're still working out the kinks, but that just means we have plenty of them in our pantry. Kat posted a pic here.

What are your pantry staples??

Sunday, September 26, 2010

(Imagine) Sandwich Sunday

Wow, I feel a lot of pressure. Pressure to top Kat's Grilled Basil Panini Sandwich from last week that looked amazing. How can I top her sandwich?? How about with chocolate! Mmmm, warm, gooey chocolate . . . Nothing beats chocolate!!

I found this recipe for Dark Chocolate Banana S'mores in Fitness Magazine and just adapted it with what I had on hand. I know what you're thinking, s'mores aren't sandwiches, right? But really, what is a sandwich? It's something yummy between two slices of starch. Sounds a lot like s'mores to me . . .

I found the perfect sandwich, I made it (twice!) and it was wonderful! Only now that I'm posting it, I realize I can't find my pictures anywhere! I think I might have accidentally deleted them when I was cleaning up my camera files. Argh!!! Why can't I accidentally delete my Salmon Mousse Pictures or the horrible Goulash I made??

I grilled up my bananas with a thin smear of Smart Balance and I don't think I ever appreciated grilled fruit until I saw my lovely caramelized bananas! Oh, it was so pretty, I'm devastated I don't have my pics to share.

Anyhoo, I assembled my first banana s'more just like you would a regular s'more. But the banana was so hot it melted the chocolate really fast when I bit down and warm chocolate sauce dripped everywhere! It got on my shirt, in my hair, somehow it even got on my bra.

The second time I made it, I served it open-faced and it was much easier (and cleaner!) to eat.

So even though I don't have any pictures to share, I know I'll be making these again and then I'll be share to snap pics and post them immediately!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Twitter, anyone?

My lucky blogging buddy, Kat, is enjoying a well-deserved vacation in San Francisco right now. She originally planned to pre-post something foodie-related, but she got a tad behind schedule (probably trying to pack with a bum hand), so we're a little short on posts. Sorry!

But don't worry, I'm still here! And for those of you who get Twitter (I don't get it at all! I don't understand the lingo or the point of it the point of it . . . I'm like one of those little old ladies who's hoping The Internet is just a fad), Kat said she plans to Tweet her Eats (see! I don't get it!), so follow her @FoodyNotFatty.

We'll get back to more regularly schedule posts next week when she return. Please hang in there, we've got some amazing stuff cooking . . . literally!! And we have the mess to prove it!

Is there anyone else out there resisting Twitter??

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reminder: Always Read the Instructions First!

Can I say how jealous I am that other bloggers are posting pics of themselves wearing long sleeves, sweaters and scarves? It's still so hot in Houston! Not miserable-hot, just uncomfortably-damp-hot. I know I shouldn't complain, the worst is over, but I'm so ready to join the aforementioned bloggers with their winter wear! Or fall wear, whatever. I love cool morning, gusty breezes and coming home to warm food. Like chili! I though I'd test out Paula Deen's recipe for Jaime's Chili in preparation for cooler weather.

In looking over her recipe, I noticed it included a huge amount of tomatoes and beans. It had a grand total of 84 ounces of tomato products (over 10 cups!) and 42 ounces of beans (a little over 5 cups). Granted her recipe serves 8-10, I decided instead of subbing items like we normally do, I'd do a little bit of eliminating to lower the calories.

I eliminated an entire can of beans, cut the stewed tomatoes (honestly, I just don't like big, oozy chunks of tomatoes in my chilies and soups so I was happy to get rid of it). I also chose 93% lean ground turkey instead of Paula's beef/sausage mix. The recipe says add chili powder and cumin "to taste" and I ended up not using it because I don't trust myself enough to add spices "to taste." I think I'd over/under add and the final product would come out terrible. I tested out a reduced sodium version of chili seasoning, but forgot to keep the package for menu calculation purposes. And I didn't think to Google it, so I just calculated both recipes with the same seasoning. Sorry, folks!

I chopped and I browned and got everything in the same pot. Once it was ready to simmer, I skimmed to the bottom of the page. Yikes! It said to let the pot simmer for 4 hours! 4 hours! It was already 5:45 and there was no way I was waiting until almost 10 pm to eat! So I let it simmer for 2 1/2 hours while Cody and I dined on some frozen entrees. Yum.

Before I went to bed, I poured it into some Tupperware and vowed to read my recipes more carefully next time.

I finally got to test it out, 2 days later! Better late than never, right?

And it was good! Not the world's greatest chili, but definitely worth my efforts.

Here are the stats, not including any toppings or garnishes, only the changes I mentioned above:

Nutritional Information (OLD)Nutritional Information (NEW)
Servings Per Recipe: 10Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving Amount Per Serving
Calories: 346Calories: 207
Fat: 11.4 gFat: 3.6 g
Sodium: 872 mgSodium: 660 mg
Fiber: 14.5 gFiber: 10.3 g

And the recipe, if you have 4 hours to wait for chili!

Sittin' Around Chili

1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 c celery, diced
2 (28 ox) diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 package chili seasoning mix

In a large pot, brown the ground turkey and drain any fat. Add the onion, green pepper and celery and saute for ~4-5 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes, and cook for another 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add the beans and chili seasoning. Cover partially and let simmer for 4 hours.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top 5 Tuesday....very appropriate

So today I was supposed to write about the the top 5-10 things you didn't know about me. Well, I only have 5 easily workable fingers, so in an effort to give them and my brain a breather, I thought I might share with you a few of my worst accidents, ending with my recent cheffing accident on Sunday.

5. Falling off my horse

I have done this a million times!!! I don't have a horse anymore, but I grew up riding from a very young age. My most memorable occurrence, happened just before I was to go over a jump. My horse bucked and I ended up going over the jump side saddle. Once on the other side I bailed, but my horse still got a kick in for good measure. This kick landed right on the inside of my thigh. I ended up with a beautiful horseshoe shaped bruise. Hmph.

4. Finger slammed in the door when I was a kid
This may not sound like a big deal, but I still have a deformed middle finger. When I was a child I guess I had a few CRAZY friends. When I was visiting a friend who will remain nameless, she decided it would be awesome to grab my hand, stick it in the door, and slam the door. Of course I ran off screaming, but to this day, I have a big old lump on my middle finger from her CRAZINESS!

3. Stubbing my toe
Now I know this one doesn't sound like a big deal....but it really was. I was walking around my college campus with some friends, enjoying the beautiful weather. There are also HUGE beautiful oak trees...that's roots have pushed up parts of the sidewalk. Well in my flip flops I slammed my toe into a huge outcropping of concrete. I ended up scraping off a decent portion of my toe, having to go to the campus clinic to have it debrieded and worst of all....MISSED A MAROON 5 CONCERT! My toe hurt so bad from the pressure of it hanging down, that I couldn't bear the idea of actually walking to a concert and standing there. Hopefully one day I can make that one up to the hubs :)

2. Breaking my arm
This one is actually kind of funny to me. As a kid I used to love to play wrestle with my dad. Well one night we were wrestling so hard I fell off my bed. It was only about 2 feet off the ground but I knew immediately that something was wrong. My parents, however, did not! They made me lay in bed with my arm, on a pillow covered with a bag of ice. When I woke up the next morning and my arm was swollen...AND COULDN'T BEND, they too me to the ER. At least I got an awesome hot pink cast!

1. Most recently, getting 4 stitches for making chicken noodle soup :(
This one is still a pain! I was making chicken noodle soup, a la Paula, and thought I would love to have uniform, thin carrot slices. Instead of pulling out my mandolin, I used my cheese grater (on the thicker slice side). Well, these carrots were tough.. the carrot got stuck, my hand did not and I ended up with a HUGE gash on my index finger, just below the knuckle. Now I will spare you further details, because if Laura is reading this right now she is probably getting queasy, and if she were there that night, I would have had to have taken her to the ER with me for unconsciousness! All in all, I have 4 stitches, won't need surgery and have an awesome big bandage that covers my whole hand. I did end up going home and finishing the soup, with the help of the hubs...and it was AWESOME!

Even though it is a strange topic, it was fresh on my mind! Hope y'all enjoyed this and I will post the soup recipe later this week!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Heart Blogs!

I can't believe that I've only known about the blogging world for less than a year! Somehow, in one of my inter-netting sprees earlier in the year, I stumbled across Kath Eats Real Food and I thought, "Hey, I like food too!" I loved reading it and checking for new posts and testing out crazy oatmeal combinations. I loved it so much, I wondered if there were more out there. And I found a million food blogs which became my new obsession.

But I don't just love food blogs. They're my favorite, but I try to be well-rounded. Here are a couple of my fave non-food blogs. Warning: Some may include some . . . inappropriate humor (my favorite kind of humor)!

1. CakeWrecks
This blog shares pictures of the funniest cake mistakes. Misspelled words, ugly cakes, cakes with decorations that look like poo, it's hilarious!

2. Post Secret
Here, people send in post cards anonymously with their deepest secrets. Some are pretty serious, but some are lighthearted and just downright funny.

3. My Husband Is Annoying
This is exactly what it sounds like. A woman shares some funny stories of some of the annoying thing her hubby does.

4. Hip2Save
Cody and I are both really frugal (that seems to be the nice way of saying 'cheap') and this website shares tons of online coupons, deals and freebies.

5. My Tattoo Sucks
This website shows pics of really bad tattoos. Some are funny and some just make you sad when you realize it on someone's skin permanently.

What are some of your favorite non-food blogs??

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sandwich Sunday

Today's sandwich already has me salivating again!!!! Since my first "Sandwich Sunday"episode was a little nontraditional, I figured I would do a twist on one of my favorite sandwiches here in Houston.

I love to get the Pizzatola Sandwich at Paulie's on Westheimer. It is a taste bud party of fresh mozzarella, pesto and ripe tomatoes sandwiched between 2 slices of oiled sourdough and grilled. The sandwich has a wonderful combination of flavors but is quite salty and definitely not very low calorie.

I decided to twist it up and not only decrease the calories, but add a little fancy protein for the hubs.

On my trip to Central Market I found some of the best "sandwich bread" I have ever had. It is simply a fresh loaf of 10 grain bread. To.Die.For! I also used a little 2% Italian cheese blend, homemade pesto and the guest of honor...Prosciutto!!!

Proscuitto can be pretty pricy. While standing in line to have it freshly sliced, I ran across this pre-packaged option. It had just as much as I needed and was very reasonable, about $4. If you check out your deli counter you may find different options, some up to $100+ per pound. I haven;t taken the time to ask much about it, but plan to do so on my next visit. Either way I was very satisfied with this purchase.

For the homemade pesto, I started off with a little Garlic Gold, Basil, Parmesan cheese (pre-shredded), S&P, and Pine nuts. By the way, did you know that Pine nuts are $29.99 a pound?! Thank goodness I only needed about a tablespoon. The guy at Central Market gave me a bit more; the amount in the little box cost me $3.50. eeeeh

After, blending all of the ingredients to a fine pulp, I started to assemble one of my favorite recipes....still drooling.

After grilling them on my Cuisinart Griddler, I sliced them in half and served them piping hot.

The outside was perfectly crispy, while the inside had an incredible blend of flavors from the pesto to the cheese to the slightly salty Prosciutto.

Nutrition-wise this sandwich was not too bad at all, especially for the flavor. I cannot express how amazing this was. Rusty and I loved it so much we made a third and split it :)

One Sandwich:
Calories 410
Fat 20g (mostly from the pesto)
Sodium 885mg (mostly from the cheese and Prosciutto)
Fiber 3g
Prosciutto Panini
Pesto (makes ~1/2 cup):
1 cup fresh Basil
3 tbsp Garlic Gold oil
1 tbsp Pine nuts
S&P to taste
3 tbsp Parmesan, grated
2 slices whole grain bread
1 tbsp pesto
1-2 oz Prosciutto
3 tbsp 2% Italian cheese blend
Tomatoes (optional, I forgot to add them but I bet the flavor would have been amazing)
Combine all ingredients for the pesto in a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are chopped to a fine pulp.
To assemble the sandwich, brush one side of each piece of bread with Garlic Gold. On the other side of one piece, spread pesto evenly. Top pesto with 1 tbsp cheese, Prosciutto, and then the remaining cheese. Top with other piece of bread, oil side out. Put sandwich in a panini press or even in a skillet, heating until cheese is melted and bread is lightly brown. Enjoy!!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where The Magic Happens, Part II

Since Kat shared her kitchen with you guys last week, I though I'd do the same! I 'fessed up on Tuesday that I love looking in other people's kitchens, I thought it was only fair to give you a peek into my cupboards!

Nothing too exciting. All the fun stuff is in my cupboard (don't worry, it's coming)! That's root beer on the top, Cody loves it. When we got Rooty, I suggested naming her after a food that he likes and I started naming foods he likes to eat. Beef Jerky. Pop Tart. Cereal. Eventually we brainstormed Root Beer and we've been calling Rooty since then.

Since I brought her up, because I love sharing pics of my pups . . .

On to frozen foods . . .

It's kind of cluttered, bu that's because I keep my bread in the freezer. Yes, I said freezer. We don't go through it that fast and this way it doesn't get all moldy. And my toaster has a defrost setting, so it works out. And I know I did a post a long time ago about making your own Popsicles, but I have some sugar free (for me) and regular (for Cody) in case I don't make them using my mold. You can never have too many Popsicle in Houston, TX.

On to the pantry!

A little closer . . .

My spice bucket really needs a makeover. Everything is just tossed in there, it's a mess!

Hope you enjoyed the raiding my fridge! I try to find a balance of health and taste and economy with a splash of a splurge every once in awhile. I'm a one stop shopper kind of gal so I know you can get healthy food from a regular grocery store.

What's in your fridge? And how do you store your spices?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another lasagna...

This lasagna was a bit of a combination of Paula's Shrimp and Scallop Lasagna and my adapted Turkey Spiral recipe. As y'all know I LOVE seafood. I love seafood so much that I took the majority of the shrimp recipes in our stack (partially because I love it and partially because Laura HATES it).

I will actually get to spend 5+ days with some of the freshest seafood in the country next week. My hubby and I have planned a fun couples getaway to San Francisco! We are so thrilled to go on a vacay, but I am also thrilled to get some of the freshest and tastiest crab, shrimp and fish on the West coast!!! Good thing I don't have to have my cholesterol checked because I would be in deep trouble after our shellfish fest :)

If you have been to San Fran, are there any restaurants you recommend?

You could say this lasagna is a little preview to some of the flavors I will be experiencing. Instead of letting this lasagna be all about the seafood, I had to add some veggies!

I started out with some fresh shrimp and scallops from Central Market. The guy behind the counter kind of skimped on my seafood, but I ended up with just under 1/2 a pound of each.

I also tried to find the whole wheat noodles that I used for my spirals. After looking high and low at all of the local grocery stores, I had to settle on normal noodles. I still did the nutrition info for wheat noodles, because they would be the ideal choice when making this dish.

The other change, or truly addition, I made was adding "creamed spinach" to the mix. I simply melted 8 oz of fat free cream cheese and a bit of Garlic Gold in a sauce pan. Once melted, I added the drained and thawed spinach. I let it cook through before layering it in the lasagna.

Overall, it actually turned out pretty good. I might make a little bit more sauce and possibly do 3/4 pound shrimp and 1/2 pound scallops. Either way, it was definitely edible and quite a treat.

Here are the facts (if you count points, 1/8 is about 6)

Spinach, Shrimp and Scallop Lasagna
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 tbsp Smart Balance Light
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Garlic Gold
1 ½ onions, chopped
2 tbsp flour
2 ½ cups fat free half and half
1 cup 2% Italian Blend of cheeses
8 oz fat free cream cheese
10 oz chopped spinach, thawed and drained
¼ tsp black pepper
½ pound sea scallops
½ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9 inch casserole dish with canola oil spray.
In a large pot of water, cook the noodles until just done, approximately 10 minutes. Let sit until ready to assemble lasagna.

In a large skillet, melt the Smart Balance and 1 tbsp oil, then sauté the onions until soft. Over medium heat, whisk in the flour and gradually add the half and half. Add ½ cheese and pepper. Simmer until thickened. Once sauce begins to thicken add scallops and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add shrimp and cook for an addition 1-2 minutes. Let sauce stand.

In a small saucepan, melt cream cheese and 1 tsp oil. Add spinach and cook until heated through.

To assemble the lasagna, lay 4 noodles on the bottom of the casserole dish. Spread the spinach mixture on top of the noodles. Spread about ½ of the shrimp and scallops across the spinach with about 1/3 f the cream sauce. Layer 4 more noodles. Spread the remaining shrimp and scallops as well as another 1/3 of the cream sauce. Layer the last 4 noodles on the top, spreading the remaining cream sauce. Sprinkle ½ cup of Italian cheese across the top.
Bake the lasagna for 20-25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

That Was Meaty

With all the chicken and shrimp recipes we’ve been doing, it was nice to finally get a pasta recipe to try. Well, it’s not actually a pasta recipe, but a recipe for spaghetti sauce. Paula Deen’s recipe for Alice Jo’s Spaghetti Sauce looked pretty simple so it was perfect for me to test out on a busy weeknight!

(Sorry in advance for the lack of pictures, but Blogger was giving me major trouble when I was trying to load them. At least you get to see the first and the last pic!)

I switched the meat to lean ground turkey and used about 2/3 of what the recipe calls for. I added some diced carrots to make up for the bulk and omitted the salt. I wanted to use all reduced sodium tomato products, but when I went to the store I could only find No Added Salt Tomato Sauce (I guess that’s what I get for going early on a Sunday morning when the whole store was picked over).

The recipe was pretty simple, just a lot of chopping. I finally got it all chopped and cooked and set it to simmering while I worked on cooking up some pasta. One of these days I’m going to try spaghetti squash, but until then, I’m in love with this Barilla pasta made with a flour/bean flour blend.

The final product . . .

It tasted pretty good. It was really meaty. Not really “meaty” from the sauce, but really chunky. I think I tend to prefer my spaghetti sauce a little bit saucier. I actually used some of it a couple days later on a pita pizza and it was just too chunky and the flavors took away from the pizza taste I was looking for (because you know I love me some pizza!)

Nutritionally speaking, the lightened up version has less calories and fat. It was amazing to see how much switching to a leaner meat and using less of it actually impacted the nutrition stats! Even though I didn’t end up using reduced sodium tomato products, my version is lower in salt, just from omitting the 1 tsp that the original recipe calls for!

Nutritional Information (OLD) Nutritional Information (NEW)
Servings Per Recipe: 8 Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving Amount Per Serving
Calories: 351 Calories: 152
Fat: 23 g Fat: 4.4 g
Sodium: 1009 mg Sodium: 593 mg
Fiber: 3.6 g Fiber: 4.1 g

Here’s the recipe!

Chunky Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, diced (about 1/2 c)
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, No Added Salt
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Splenda
1 c water

Brown the ground turkey in a large pot and drain any fat. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrots and garlic clove and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings and water. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve with your favorite spaghetti.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

It’s that time again! It’s Top 10 Tuesday! Instead of going the food route, I thought I would share a list of a few of my favorite things, just to mix it up! I originally was going to do Top 5, but what can I say, I like a lot of things!

10. Getting mail
I remember when I was younger I used to check the mail everyday and when I didn’t get anything my mom would ask, “Well, have you written anybody?” Of course the answer was no, but I still felt left out. I still don’t write anybody, with the exception of my grandparents, but I love the joy of opening a full mailbox! I don’t love bills, but I like getting an envelope or package addressed just to me!

9. Movies that don’t make me think
My life requires enough thinking as it is! I hate it when I see a movie and it has one of those open ending where there’s no concrete resolution. When I walk away from a movie, I want to have some sense of completion and I don’t want to waste a lot of brain space obsessing about what could have happened. I need a “The End” that's legit.

8. The smell of wet cement when it first starts to rain
I don’t know if I can explain this one, but I just love the smell of the asphalt when it rains, but only for the first couple of minutes. Am I crazy? Does anyone else know the smell I’m talking about??

7. Looking in other people’s refrigerators
I know it’s weird, but I love snooping in other people’s kitchens. I don’t watch Cribs anymore because it makes me feel poor, but my favorite part of each segment was always when the celebs opened their fridge and you could see all their goodies. But don’t worry, I just like to look, I won’t judge you if you have junk food!

6. My girls
I love, love, love coming home to two happy dogs! They just brighten my day. These pups are my kids! They have two very different personalities but I love them both.

5. My fam!
Of course my family makes my Top 10 List! They taste my food disasters (remember my Salmon Jell-o disaster?), they always read the blog and are super supportive of anything I do. My mom and brother even helped me drive halfway across the country when I moved to TX; They helped unload an entire U-haul up 3 flights of stairs, in Texas heat, in the middle of AUGUST! Now that’s love! And they’ve given me some great childhood memories! Like I used to believe that there was a Cake Fairy until I was 10. I used to put a bunch of lights from a Lite Brite game (remember those?!) in a pan and put it in the “oven” (the cupboard) and “bake” it for a couple hours and every once in awhile, the Cake Fairy (Dad) would swing by and leave me a real cake! How awesome is that? I wonder if Monet had a Cake Fairy as a child to inspire her inner baker because she creates some fantastic looking sweets!!

4. My boo
What can I say? I love this guy. He eats my food without complaining, he humors my hypochondriac nature and gives me the warm and fuzzies!

3. Dirty Jokes
I know it’s juvenile, but I love me some inappropriate humor! When Kat and I were on our little field trip this past weekend, we were talking about how much we giggle like second graders when we see signs like, “Extra parking in rear,” or “Express Lube . . . Get In and Get Out.”

2. Taking naps
No explanation needed here. Who doesn’t like taking naps?!

1. Pizza and donuts
Okay, I know I said this was going to be a non-foodie post, but I’m making an exception pizza and donuts. They are my absolute favorite foods of all time. I don’t eat them that often because obviously they’re not the healthiest, but when I do have one or the other, I am in heaven for every second of that meal. I’ll find myself planning my pizza toppings during the day if I know I’m ordering at pizza that night. Or after I’ve had an extra delicious donut, I’ll think about how good it was for days! Not very dietitian-y, huh?

What are some of your favorite things??