Monthly Archives: December 2009

Cranberry-Pecan Muffins

I needed homebaked breakfast food so here we go. . .


1 c all purpose flour

3/4 c whole wheat flour

1/2 c sugar

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp ground cinammon

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

3/4 c fat free milk

3 tbsp canola oil

1/3 dried cranberries, coarsely snipped

1/3 c chopped pecans, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 400 and prep muffin pan.  In a large bowl stir together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl whick together egg, milk and oil.  Add this mixgture to flour mixture and stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).  Gently stir in dried cranberries and pecans.

3. Spoon batter into muffin cups about half full.  Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool on wire rack for 5. Makes 12 muffins.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 176

Total Fat: 6 g

Cholesterol: 18 mg

Protein: 4 g

Carbohydrate: 27 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sodium: 134

Herbed Pork Tenderloin Dinner (Complete)

Ok, so here is my first non-low calorie dinner.  Don’t all jump at once!  I made this two evenings ago for company and it was an absolute hit as its praises were sung all night.  End with the pumpkin-chocolate pie (see previous post) and your legacy has been made.  Trust me :-)  (This serves a party of 6)

For pork tenderloin:

Brush a 3-lb (or equivalent) pork tenderloin with mustard (I did so generously).  Sprinkle 3 minced cloves of garlic evenly.  Then sprinkle 1/2 tsp each of rosemary and thyme.  Bake for approx 1 hour at 350.  Slice and serve with pan juices.


For Risotto:

Take 4-6 strips of bacon, chopped and saute with 1 chopped shallot in bottom of a pressure cooker until bacon is crisp [that's right bacon lovers - this one's for you!].  Drain grease.  Add drained sun dried tomatoes (about 4 count, snipped), 1 c chopped portobello mushrooms  and 2 tbsp olive oil and saute for a few mins.  Stir in risotto rice (equivalent to 6 servings). Mix 3/4 c white wine and 2 1/4 c chicken broth and pour over rice.  Cover and seal lid of pressure cooker.  Heat to medium-high and it should take approx 10 minutes for lid to rock.  Cook for an additional 10 mins after that or feel free to undercook to check on rice.  When rice is done add some chopped parsley and 1/2 c parmesan cheese if desired.

For cheddar cauliflower (and I thought this was so cool to make):

Wash cauliflower (med head) and remove side leafy pieces.  Slice bottom so whole head can sit flat on a pan.  Steam whole head for about 15 minutes or until barely done.  Mix 1/3 c mayo, 1 tsp tarragon, and 1 tsp fresh lemon juice and coat cauliflower.  Pat cheddar cheese onto head and place on baking sheet at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Cool for a few minutes and slice into 6 wedges.


And here you have it! I added a small side of baby herb salad with a few spritzes of dressing - bon appetit!

I could not believe how well this dinner turned out – all the flavors complemented each other so well!  Oh and if it’s a special treat don’t forget the Riesling!

*No nutritional information available for this meal.  I guess ignorance is bliss sometimes!

Pumpkin-Chocolate Pie

Here’s my spin on a winter-time classic – add chocolate of course!

What you require:

For crust:

1 1/3 c all purpose flour and 1/4 tsp salt; add 1/4 c cooking oil and 1/4 c fat free milk; stir lightly with a fork until combined and use your hands to work dough into a ball.  On a well floured surface, use your hands to flatten pastry dough and roll center to edge into a circle about 12 in in dm.  Transfer to 9 in pie plate.  Trim pastry to 1/2 in beyond edge of pie plate and flute or crimp edge as desired.  Do not prick.

For filling:

1 -12.3 oz package light firm silken-styletofu

1-15 oz can pumpkin

2/3 c sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

approx 4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate pieces (I used none other than Ghirardelli) [you can increase the amount depending on how much chocolate you want but know this will displace the pumpkin filling]

1. Heat chocolate pieces over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth.  Pour evenly on bottom of pie plate and spread until all sides are met.

2.  Blend tofu in a blender. Add rest of ingredients and blend until well combined.  Pour mixture on top of chocolate and make sure top is even and meets all sides.

3. Bake for 25 mins (you can cover the crust edge with foil if desired to prevent overbrowning – mine did not burn) and then for an additional 30 minutes more (remove foil before this if you used it).  Cool on a wire rack and then cover and refrigerate within 2 hours until set.

4. Serve with light whipped topping (or one of your choosing) and enjoy – makes 10 servings!

You may not be able to tell here but there is a fabulous layer of chocolate on the bottom - delish!

Nutritional Information (per serving AND this is without the chocolate layer):

Calories: 190

Total Fat: 6 g

Cholesterol: 0

Protein: 3 g

Carbohydrate: 31 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sodium: 151 mg

Spicy Fettucini Alfredo with Crab

With the scallops from last week fresh in mind I wanted to branch out and do something with Crab. After talking with a friend I decided a spicy, Cajun-esque, Fettucini Alfredo was the dish of choice.

Here is the hit list for rather easy dish to make…

1 lb crab meat (lobster tail could also work, I think…)

1 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of Hot Sauce

3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

2 cups of heavy cream

½ minced shallot

¼ minced yellow onion

2 finely chopped green onion

¼ cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

½ lb of cooked fettucini

Salt and Pepper to taste

Finely chopped dill and parsley for plating

Here ya go…

1) Melt the butter in a large skillet and sauté the crab meat for roughly 3 minutes over a medium flame

2) Add salt and pepper to taste, add your shallot, green and yellow onions and cook for 2 minutes

3) Stir in hot and Worcestershire sauces, stir and cook for a minute – allowing the flavors to be fused with the contents already in the pan

4) Increase heat to medium-high and add cream and cheese, stir and cook for 6 minutes allowing the cream to thicken

5) Mix your crab and cream sauce with the cooked fettucini and you are done!

If you love Alfredo, you enjoy this dish.

The mix of Hot Sauce and Worcestershire didn’t make sense to me.  I questioned my friend when he made the suggestion but what I realized was the Worcestershire sauce cuts spicy effects of the Hot sauce, leaving a very subtle kick.

The sauce wasn’t overly rich, or so I thought.  If one wanted to create a dish that had thicker sauce I would suggest adding more cheese.

Spicy Fettucini Alfredo with Crab


Banana Bread

So as is the experience of most people, when you need to use up your ripe bananas a classic banana bread always seems to be the best way to do so.  This turned out fabulous!

What you will need:

1 c all-purpose flour

1/3 c whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 c mashed banana (2-3 medium)

3/4 c packed brown sugar

1/4 c fat free milk

2 egg whites

2 tsps canola oil

1/4 c chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and prep your loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl sitr together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the center.

3. In another bowl combine mashed banana, brown sugar, milk, eggs whites, and oil.  Add this mixture to flour mixture and stir just until moistened.  If desired, stir in 2 tbsp of walnuts and spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.  You can also sprinkle more walnuts on top.

4. Bake for about 45 mins.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 mins and then remove bread from pan.  Cool on wire rack.  [The recipe states to wrap and store overnight before slicing but if you're like me you won't wait because your house will smell of sweet temptation.]

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 143

Total Fat: 2 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Protein: 3 g

Carbohydrates: 28 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sodium: 152 mg

Fettuccini di Tina

Tina has introduced me to the wonders of dry white wine vinegar. I’ve made a few changes to this knock-out recipe that Tina Culbertson posted a few days back.  Let us get to it!

Required Items for Fettuccini di Tina

2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced yellow onion

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup cold butter, sliced

1 1/2 cups chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/8 cup thin sliced green onion

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon shallot

3 boneless skinless chicken breast

extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

8 oz Fettuccini

First up,  get the water for your Fettuccini up and boiling.  Once you have a rolling boil going, add salt and pasta.  Cook until al dente and set aside (or if you are really good, time it perfectly while the other items are cooking)

Next up the chicken… brush with olive oil and grill to your liking.  Depending on your available tools this may be an actual grill or stove top. Set aside and cover (or time for the sauce).

Now the sauce…

1) Saute garlic and yellow onion in 2 Tbs. butter in a large skillet over medium heat the garlic begins to turn slightly brown.

2) Stir in White Wine Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Water and increase heat to medium-high to reduce your mixture by half.

3) Reduce heat to low and stir in cold butter, one slice at a time.

4) Stir in tomatoes, basil, parsley, green onion, kosher salt, and shallot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

And I give you Chicken di Tina.

Tina, thank you SO much for a wonderful dining experience.  I’ve tasted this flavor a number of times and wondered how to pull it off, now I have an understanding. Frankly, the sauce alone could be used for pasta along.


The original recipe called for Goat Cheese to be used as a topping but, yeah, I forgot to throw some on at serving time.  It didn’t matter as the dish rocked!

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I know everyone has their version of chocolate chip/chunk cookies.  This recipe contains oats and oatmeal chocolate chip is one of my favorite types of cookies.  So here you go. . .

You will need:

1 1/4 c rolled oats

1 c all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 oz soft silken-style tofu

2 tbsp butter, softened

1/2 c granulated sugar

1/2 c packed brown sugar

1/4 c canola oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

4 oz dark chocolate chunk piece or bittersweet chocolate pieces (Ghirardelli)

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Place oats in a food processor or blender and blend until oats resemble a coarse flour. In  medium bowl stir together oats, flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  Set aside.  Blend tofu in food processor or blender until smooth and set aside.

2. In a large bowl beat butter with electric mixer and add tofu. Combine well with mixer.  Add granulated and brown sugars and combine well.  Then beat in oil and vanilla.  Beat in as much of the flour mixture as possible and stir in chocolate.

3. Place rounded teaspoons of dough on ungreased baking sheet and bake for approx. 8 mins or until edges are golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.  Makes 24 cookies.


Nutritional Information (per cookie):

Calories: 125

Total Fat: 5 g

Cholesterol: 3 mg

Protein: 1 g

Carbohydrate: 18 g

Fiber 1 g

Sodium: 40 mg

Salmon with Tropical Rice

Here was a dish I was able to whip up quickly. . .and the flavor was spectacular and fresh!

What you’ll need:

1 lb fresh/frozen skinless salmon fillets

1 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed

1 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning

2 c hot cooked brown rice

1 medium mango, seeded, peeled, and chopped

1 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro

1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel

1. Preheat oven to 450 and prep your shallow baking dish and place fish in pan.

2. In small bowl stir together coriander, brown sugar, and lemon-pepper seasoning.  Sprinkle evenly over fish and press in slightly.  Bake for 4-6 min per 1/2 in thickness or until fish flakes easily with fork.

3. in a medum bowl stir together cooked rice, mango, cilantro, and lemon peel.  Serve with fillet – Enjoy!


Nutritional Information:

Calories: 366

Total Fat: 13 g

Cholesterol: 66 mg

Protein: 26 g
Carbohydrate: 35 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sodium: 155 mg

Bacon Wrapped Scallops over Barley and Garbanzo beans

The continuation of the “trying new things kick” moves forward and today we bring you Bacon Wrapped Scallops over Barley and Garbanzo beans.  Obviously, how can you go wrong with bacon wrapped anything!

For two servings you’ll need:

2 cups of cooked barley

1 can of garbanzo beans

6 large wild sea scallops

6 pieces of bacon (non-hickory smoked)

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup green beans

2 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley

2 tablespoons of finely chopped green onions

1 lemon for zest

Olive Oil

OK, first off… the cooking of barley.  From what I’ve read in a number of locations the best way to cook barley is first soaking the barley overnight, then boiling for 15 minutes when ready to cook.  If you do not have the time for the overnight soak, you can boil your barley for roughly 35 to 45 minutes.

With your two cups of cooked barley ready…

1) Wrap your scallops with bacon using a toothpicks to hold it in place

2) Heat up your desired amount of olive oil in a large skillet over a medium flame, salt and pepper to your typical taste, and place scallops into the pan 3 at a time. Cooking for roughly 3 minutes on each side, follow by one minute – turning constantly – on the bacon. Remove scallops, place on a side plate and repeat.

3) Depending on how much grease the bacon has produced, you may wish to drain off a portion of the excess.

4) Add barley, garbanzo beans, green beans, and green onions over a medium heat for four minutes. Add ¼ cup white wine vinegar, ¼ cup water and parsley, and lemon zest and cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.

5) Pad down scallops with paper towel to remove grease and serve over the mixture.


Bow down to the bacon wrapped scallop goodness!

Grandma Nakielny's Shortbread Cookies

With everyone making cookies these days, from Reeni to ReTorte, I felt the need to get in on the action.  I went to my grandmothers tried and true shortbread cookie recipe – and a true childhood favorite of mine.

Be warned, this is VERY easy to make.

1 lb. butter

1 c. sugar

4 c. flour

Again, this is really easy….

1. Cream the margarine with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and keep creaming.  (This will take a little while. )

2.  Gradually add the flour.  When the dough leaves the side of the bowl and does not stick to your fingers, it is ready.  If it sticks to your fingers, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of flour.

3.  Pat into an ungreased cookie sheet.  Cover pan with wax paper and gently roll the surface with a rolling pin (this will compact the dough).  Remove the wax paper and pierce the dough, at half inch intervals, with a fork.

4.  Put into a cold oven.  Set oven to 275 degrees and bake for 60 -70 minuter, or until light golden.

5.  Remove from oven and slice immediately.

Grandma Nakielny's Shortbread Cookies

Grandma Nakielny's Shortbread Cookies

A few things to note:

- The creaming of the butter and sugar is what gives the cookie its texture.

- These can be stored in an air tight container or tin for a while and still remain fresh.

I hope you enjoy!

UPDATE – Monica posted her Shortbread Cookies and I am very impressed.  There is a nice twist with her recipe!