Butternut and Sweet Potato

Hehe. My hubbie says he hates sweet potato. I want to eat them more often so I bought both butternut squash and sweet potato. So for dinner, I cut up both and steamed until soft. I mushed them together and he wasn’t the wiser!!! Shhh, don’t tell him.

I also recently picked up a white colored sweet potato (or was it a yam?) and I plan on slicing them and roasting along with white potatoes. I hope he doesn’t notice, they are just so good for you!

Meatless Tomato Sauce

I made an amazing meatless tomato sauce with pasta last night for dinner.

I usually don’t like my meatless tomato sauce, but it turned out rich and flavorful. I guess I am becoming a better home cook. LOL

Anyway, I sauted an onion in a hot pan with some olive oil and some salt, pepper, & dried herbs. When they were soft and yummy, about 10 minutes or so, I added my mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms were cooked, I added some white zin wine. I reduced uncovered for a few minutes, then added a can of diced tomatoes. Reduced uncovered and served over pasta with some freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.

I reheated a serving of sauce with 2 oz of pasta for lunch today and it was still just as fantastic.

And under 300 calories for a nice big bowl. 295 calories including pasta and cheese!

Coleman Natural Polish Kielbasa

We ate Coleman natural polish kielbasa tonight. It was the “red” kind of kielbasa similar to hillshire farms.

http://www.colemannatural.com/component/option,com_resource/Itemid,9/article,877/category_id,2/controller,article/

It didn’t taste as spicy as hillshire but it was pretty good. I would have it again. It’s still not food to have every night because it is loaded with sodium, but for a treat it works good.

I roasted cut up pieces with parsnips, celery stalks, broccoli, & summer squash. The juices from the meat added good flavor. I think next time I might add some additional herbs or spices.

Thumbs up for Coleman natural polish kielbasa!

All New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook Review

Review for the cookbook: The All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookboook: The Ultimate Guide from America’s #1 Food Magazine.

I love this cookbook! I love Cooking Light magazine, and found this cookbook at the library recently. It’s a well rounded cookbook, with lots of interesting recipes. Nothing too complicated.

Yes, there are a few recipes that are higher in calories, like desserts, but their versions are healthier than most regular recipes.

Sadly, I had to return the Complete Cooking Light Cookbook to the library (after renewing it twice) but I have it on my Amazon wish list, ready to order after the holidays!

Disclaimer:
I love reading cookbooks, like some people love reading novels! I am inspired by recipes, and enjoy learning ideas from cookbooks; I like putting my own spin on a recipe rather than exactly following it. Please keep in mind that my opinions might be completely different from the other home cooks.

Polenta

First time cooking polenta last night. For a first time, it wasn’t great, but I learned a lot!

I over salted! eek. I tasted with a spoon midway, and it was very bland, so I added more sea salt. After adding 2 oz of Parmesan Reggiano cheese, I mixed, then instead of using a separate metal spoon to taste, I tasted remnants on the wooden spoon before I stuck it in the sink.

It tasted bland still, so I added more salt.

I know better for next time! But the cheese tasted yummy, and so did the polenta, even though it was too salty!

Turkey Meatloaf – Round 3

I don’t know what it is about this turkey meatloaf recipe (from Epicurious.com), but I am almost obsessed about perfecting it! I made it again last night, and while it was better than last time, it still needs a few more tweaks.

To recap, the first try, it was delicious, but it tasted too much like “stuffing” with all the bread crumbs. Second time, I made the mistake of adding way too much chicken stock/broth, so it was swimming in juices. Still delicious, but not right.

Okay, so last night, this was the recipe:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (93%)
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth/stock (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 egg
  • shallots, zucchini, and a few chopped peppers. You can use mushrooms, or any other veggies like onions, carrots, etc.
  • I roasted a whole pepper in the oven, and sliced it to add to the top of the meatloaf as well
  • whatever herbs or spices you have: I used chopped fresh parsley, and dried thyme.
  • salt and pepper

The consistency was less liquidy this time, but it was still a bit too mushy. I need to lower the chicken stock amount again, or maybe add a touch more bread crumbs. Or even better, try it with real crusty bread chunks. I didn’t have mushrooms this time, so I used zucchini, and I am sure that added a bit to the liquid content of the meatloaf.

It’s been really fun experimenting with this recipe!

Second Try Turkey Meatloaf

I tried a pretty good recipe for turkey meatloaf about a month ago, and I wanted to try it again last night with some revisions.

Well, it was edible, but I still made mistakes and I think 3 times will be the charm next time!

First, I only had 1 lb ground turkey, which was half what the recipe called for. I forgot to divide the ingredients in half before I poured the full cup of chicken stock. I figured eh, the mushrooms would absorb it! Big mistake. I shouldn’t have put in so much stock. It made the meat way too liquidy, and it ended up steaming/boiling the turkey, so it had a gray tinge. Didn’t look extremely pleasing to the eye, but did still taste fine, just a little soupy.

I reduced the panko bread crumbs to 1/2 cup, and this time added the mushrooms and shallots. Diced up those mushrooms as small as I could to make sure my picky hubby wouldn’t notice them. It worked for the first piece of meatloaf, but when he went back for seconds, he asked me what this little piece of “something” was. LOL.

The good news is, he only picked out that one piece of ‘shroom and didn’t even bat an eye when eating the rest of the 2nd piece!

So, we have leftovers for lunch today, along with beets, butternut squash and brown rice. I like making extra so we have lunch portions too!

Next time, I think I will definitely watch the amount of chicken stock, and I think it will be perfect. In the future, I might experiment with whole grains, like oatmeal or whole wheat bread instead of the panko crumbs.

Whole Wheat Muffins – Recipe not so disastrous

I admit it, I am not much of a baker. I love to cook, and the reason I love it so much is because when you cook, you don’t need to follow a recipe. You can experiment with ingredients and throw in a little of this and mix in a little of that.

With baking, it has to be measure this and measure that…and don’t over mix because it will be tough, etc.

Well, I have been dying to bake some muffins. I recently bought baking powder, baking soda, whole wheat flour, etc. I had all the necessary ingredients, I just needed to find a simple recipe.

Googling “whole wheat muffins”, I found a basic recipe on allrecipes.com – http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Whole-Wheat-Muffins/Detail.aspx

I read through some of the comments that offered suggestions for revisions, such as substituting applesauce for half of the oil, adding blueberries, raisins, bananas, etc.

I decided to modify the recipe to substitute applesauce for half the oil/fat, and substitute the oil for melted coconut oil/butter. I also cut the recipe in half so it would yield 6 muffins instead of the full 12.

(For more information on cooking with coconut oil, I found this article very helpful)

The dry ingredients mixed easily, but the wet ingredients were a little trickier, especially when it came to adding my microwave melted coconut butter/oil. Because the other wet ingredients were still chilled, it solidified the coconut oil into a big chunk! aaack!!! I tried breaking up the coconut oil with a spoon, but it was hopeless, there were going to be solid chunks in the mix. Fingers crossed, it would all just melt together when baking.

Worse yet, the recipe called for half an egg, so I figured since one commenter mentioned using 2 egg whites in the recipe, I could easily substitute one egg white for half an egg.

A little voice inside my head told me to crack the egg over a different bowl, but no, I decided to crack into the wet ingredients, thinking I could easily separate the white from the yolk! ha! Of course the yolk fell in along with a huge piece of shell. I easily grabbed the shell out of the mix, and tried spooning a bit of the yolk out of the bowl. aack!

This was going to be a disaster! I had chunks of hardened coconut butter, along with too much egg. Oh well, it’s all a learning experience right?

So, I mixed in the dry into the wet, and tried to evenly dump the mixture into 6 muffin cups. I put the muffin pan into my smaller toaster/convection oven, and it baked for about 10-11 minutes (half the time as the original recipe)

I let the pan cool for a few minutes before removing them. I placed each muffin gently on a cooling rack. They didn’t look too bad, despite the uneven sizes!

And they tasted okay too. I had one of the warm muffins for breakfast!

homemade whole wheat muffins

Okay, so here is my recipe:

Makes 6 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • * 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • * 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • * 1/4 cup white sugar
  • * 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • * 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • * 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons milk
  • * 1 tablespoons and 1 teaspoons coconut oil (melted)
  • * 1 tablespoons and 1 teaspoons unsweetened applesauce
  • * 1/2 egg

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). I didn’t grease my muffin pan, they stuck a little bit, but not so bad when using a non-stick muffin pan. Optionally, you can add muffin baking cups, which I might buy. I used a small (6) muffin baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients: both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well.
  3. I measured the coconut butter and scooped into a small cup; I microwaved for approximately 30 seconds or until melted.
  4. In a small bowl, combine milk, applesauce, egg, and coconut oil. Be careful when adding the melted coconut oil, if the other ingredients are chilled, the oil will harden. Blend wet ingredients well.
  5. Add dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy.)
  6. Divide the mixture into the 6 muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Note: I only baked for only 10-11 minutes in my toaster/convection oven, so watch them closely.
  7. Cool for a minute or two before removing the muffins from pan. Serve warm or leave cooling on rack.

Nutritional Data:

Calories 144.7
Total Fat 3.9 g
Saturated Fat 2.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 18.5 mg
Sodium 231.5 mg
Potassium 82.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Sugars 9.5 g
Protein 3.5 g

Turkey Meatloaf

I was planning on making pasta with turkey tomato sauce, but figured I might make a meatloaf instead. That way I could take the leftovers and easily make the pasta tomato sauce tomorrow night.

I searched on the Epicurious iPhone app for ground turkey recipes, and found what looked like a good one.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Turkey-Meatloaf-with-Mushrooms-and-Herbs-355229

I had to edit the ingredients, and “make it my own” as usual. (Note: I am not a good recipe follower, I rarely ever make a dish to recipe specifications)

I had one pound of ground white turkey (Natural from Plainville Farms) so I figured I better cut the recipe ingredients in half.

I didn’t have any bread, so I used 1 cup of Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs (only 220 calories for the full cup)
1/2 Cup of Swanson Low Sodium chicken broth (they have organic low sodium now! Yay)
Some diced onion
1 tbsp Olive Oil (yum)
1 egg (Pete & Gerry’s – Organic Eggs)
Basil, onion powder, garlic powder, a little dash of cumin, salt & pepper

Mixed that up, (smelled really good) then I donned a plastic food glove and mixed in the pound of ground turkey (not my favorite part! yuck)

Bake in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees.

The reviews were excellent, but since I messed with the ingredients, and only used ground white turkey, I hope it’s not too dry.
We’ll see how it comes out.

ETA: The meatloaf came out okay. I think I definitely overcooked it. Next time, I will watch it better. The taste reminded me of Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing. It was good. I think I might use less breading next time so it won’t be so “stuffing-like” and also might add thyme, as in the original recipe.

But all in all, it was a good start to a good turkey loaf.

Nutritional Data:

Calories 178.2
Total Fat 8.6 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 88.8 mg
Sodium 175.5 mg
Potassium 10.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 8.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 17.2 g
Iron 8.0 %

Photos below are not that appealing, and yes, I know my dish is very carb heavy! I didn’t feel like green beans and was too lazy to make a salad, so I microwaved frozen peas. I also added four Poppys potato and cheddar Pierogies with a dollop of fat-free plain yogurt. Yeah, way too carb heavy, but I am usually under on my carbs, so it’s okay.

turkey meatloaf

turkey meatloaf

Tilapia with peppers, onions, tomatoes

Made a delicious dinner tonight, tilapia baked with peppers, onions, & cherry tomatoes on top. No oil used, even when I cooked the veggies on the stove first. The tomatoes helped give it some liquid.

I had something similar on vacation in Franconia, NH, except they topped fish with just roasted peppers. It just yummy, so I knew I had to try to make it for myself.