Friday, June 20, 2008

Ziti Mexi-Cali

Today is the 15th day of 100+ temperatures and its only June! So here's a good recipe for one of those days. All you have to cook is the pasta.

8 oz ziti or other short pasta
14.5 oz can Mexican-style diced tomatoes with/jalapenos or chiles
1 can yellow corn, drained or 1 cup frozen kernels
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 bunch scallions, chopped
fresh cilantro (optional)
1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese

1. Cook and drain the pasta.
2. Combine pasta and all other ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to mix well.

note: if using frozen corn, rinse them under warm water to defrost them before adding to bowl.

What I did: I added a little spoonful of lite sour cream on top of each dish.

Source: Cheap. Fast. Good! by B. Mills & A. Ross


I eat this every morning with skim milk, like regular cereal. Justin & Logan like it with yogurt. And here's my disclaimer - I make this differently every time. I've tried many recipes, each one swearing its the best granola recipe out there. Well everyone has a different idea of how a granola cereal should be. So this is a granola "formula." I can't find the website I got it from...and I've added some things to it anyway. I'll give you the basic formula then I'll tell you what I use out of the formula and you can do what you want with it.

7 cups dry ingredients including:
at least 2-3 cups oats (I prefer quick, but you could use regular)
plus the following, as desired:
wheat germ
whole wheat flour
wheat bran
wheat grits
soy flour or grits
Grape Nuts cereal
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds, roasted
fresh grated or dried coconut
dry milk solids
chopped nuts
spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc) to taste
brown sugar

1 cup liquids, including as desired:
molasses (a little bit of this will make the whole batch tast like molasses, so be careful!)
melted butter
peanut butter

Preheat oven to 300
1. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl
2. Combine liquid ingredients & pour over dry ingredients. stir until thoroughly combined
3. Spread in large greased baking sheet and bake 30-60 minutes, stirring often. Dont over-brown
4. When cool, add dried fruits, if desired.

What I do: I put 3 cups quick oats in a large bowl. Then in a 4 cup Pyrex I add the rest of the dry ingredients until it fills up to 4 cups, with roughly the following:
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup grits
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts or coconut

Then I dump it in the bowl with the oatmeal & mix it all together.
Then I get 1 cup Pyrex and add roughly the following until its a half inch or so over the 1 cup line:
2 TB canola oil
4 TB water
1 TB vanilla
1/4 - 1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup skim milk
(if I still have some space to fill I'll add some peanut butter or applesauce, or usually just some more water)

I'm still experimenting, but I think it needs more than 1 cup of liquid to get it to make little clumps of granola instead of a bunch of loose oats, etc. So I've been increasing the liquid amount a little each time. I don't like mine very sweet, so add more sugar or honey if you do. I stir it about every 10-15 minutes and I think it takes about an hour to cook to a golden color. I keep it in a plastic container in the fridge.

Pineapple-Black Bean Enchiladas

2 tsp veg oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 20 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
1/3 cup pineapple juice, reserved
1 15 oz can black beans drained & rinsed
1 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups (12 oz) shredded low-fat cheddar
1 10oz can enchilada sauce
8 whole wheat flour tortillas
reduced fat sour cream
chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet. Add onion & red pepper, cook 4-5 minutes until softened. Stir in pineapple, beans, green chiles & salt. Cook and stir until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro adn 2 cups of the cheese.

2. Spread 1 TB enchilada sauce on each tortilla. Spoon about 3/4 cup vegetable mixture over sauce. Roll up & place seam side down in baking dish.

3. In small bowl, mix reserved 1/3 cup pineapple juice & remaining enchilada sauce; pour over entire surface of enchiladas in baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Spray sheet of foil w/cooking spray & place over enchiladas (sprayed side down). Seal tightly & bake 35-40 min. at 350. Remove foil during last 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted & sauce is bubbly. Top each enchilada with small spoonful of sour cream and sprinkle on some cilantro.

What I did: I used dried cilantro, so I added it in with the pineapple, beans, etc. I don't think I added the salt, and I used more than 8 tortillas. I made it in 2 small pans & froze one for another day and I can't remember if I put 5 or 6 enchiladas in each pan, but I definitely got more than 8 out of the recipe. Also, not a big deal, but if you have the time, let the veggie mixture cool off before adding the cheese - it might be easier to fill the enchiladas w/o melted cheese stringing everywhere

Source: Thanks Mindy! And if I remember correctly, you said this was a Weight Watchers recipe.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Macaroni & Cheese

3 cups macaroni noodles, cooked

2-4 TB butter
4 TB flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1. melt the butter and add the flour, stirring constantly with a whisk until it thickens, just a minute or two
2. Add the milk & salt and stir with a whisk over med/high heat frequently until it thickens
3. pour the sauce over the noodles, add the cheese. Stir to combine until all the cheese is melted. Serve.

This is my mom's recipe (probably her mom's too) and although not especially healthy, is one of my favorites. She made it a lot on busy nights that we had to go to the church for scouts & mutual. We always had it with peas & grape juice. My husband does not consider mac & cheese a "meal" so I always made it on nights he had class until 10 and wasn't eating with us anyway.

I always use skim milk. Sometimes I use whole wheat flour. Also, mild cheddar cheese doesn't have a whole lot of flavor, so I like to use medium or sharp cheddar. You may also want to add more salt & pepper.

Tomato, Basil & Cheese Pasta

A friend gave me some fresh basil from her garden & I made this. I think the fresh basil made a big difference, but you could probably still use dried basil. I put half in an 8x8 pan for that night and put the other half in a foil pan in the freezer for another day.

1 lb. medium shell pasta
extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 15oz cans Italian diced tomatoes
10-12 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn
salt & pepper
1 cup store-bought pesto
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 c. shredded mozzarella

1. Cook and drain the pasta, keep warm. Preheat the broiler.
2. saute the onion & garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Add the tomatoes & simmer a few minutes. Stir in the basil and the S/P to taste.
3. Combine the pasta, tomato sauce, pesto, ricotta and parmesan in a large bowl. Mix well and transfer to baking dish.
4. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Place under broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheeses.

Notes: I use the lower fat, skim ricotta. You can find the pesto in a jar near the spaghetti sauces at the store.

Adapted from Rachael Ray's original recipe

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Smoky-Sweet Pork

We are surrounded by BBQ places here in Texas & my husband said he would buy this. We had it on little mini slider-sized wheat buns & my 2 1/2 year old ate 2 of them!

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 1 1/2 hours

1 1/2 lbs boneless pork top loin roast or boneless pork blade roast
2 tsp cooking oil
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup snipped pitted dates
2 TB finely chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp bottled minced garlic or 2 cloves garlic, minced
bread or buns

1. Trim fat from roast. In a large saucepan brown roast on all sides in the oil. Drain off fat. Add water, ketchup, bbq sauce, red onion, celery, brown sugar, dates, peppers, mustard and garlic. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until meat is tender stirring sauce occaisonally.

2. Remove meat from sauce. Pull meat apart into shreds with 2 forks. Skim fat from sauce. Combine meat with enough sauce to your desired consistency.

3. Serve on top of bread slices, or in buns, with lettuce (if desired).

What I did: I left out the dates. My roast was 1.8 lbs and was done before an hour and a half, so make sure you check it around an hour b/c you won't want it overcooked. I also pureed the sauce in a food processor after cooking it b/c I didn't want onion & celery chunks in my sauce.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Dieter's Cookbook

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Salmon with Feta & Pasta

25 minutes, start to finish

12 oz fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillet
8 oz rotini pasta
2 cloves garlic
4 large roma tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)
1 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
3 TB chopped fresh basil
ground pepper
2 tsp olive oil
4 oz crumbled feta cheese

1. Thaw the fish, rinse, pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Cook pasta, drain & keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, lightly coat large nonstick skillet w/cooking spray. Heat over med-high. Add garlic, cook & stir 15 seconds. Add fish to skillet & cook 4-6 minutes until fish flakes easily w/fork. Stir in tomatoes, olives basil, and pepper. Heat through.

3. Toss salmon mixture in large bowl with pasta & green onions, and feta. Serve

Notes: I used diced tomatoes out of a can and dried basil. I also used reduced fat feta. Don't bother salting the salmon or the pasta's cooking water - the feta has plenty of saltiness to go around. This was good with the salmon, but it would probably be good with chicken if you don't have the salmon.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens New Dieters Cookbook


This recipe is kind of long to type out, and actually, a little more complicated than I usually bother with, but it's a good one. So here's the link:


Everyone's spice tolerance is different, but I didn't think this was too spicy. If you are worried about it, you can pick out the seeds from the peppers.

Don't substitute anything else for the fire roasted tomatoes or the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - they add important flavors. The sour cream & green onions are also a must. You could skip making the tortilla strips and use regular tortilla chips though. We loved this!

Source: Rachael Ray