Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Quick Key Lime Dessert

I never liked yogurt until I lived in Germany for three years. And the Greek yogurt with honey was beyond good. Then I moved back to the U.S. and hated yogurt again. Way too much sugar. Then I started trying the sugar free yogurts. Now I dislike artificial sweeteners; I would rather have a glass of water than a Diet Coke. But the slightly bitter (to me) aftertaste is perfectly suited to yogurt. I have been buying the Dannon CarbSelect and the other day decided to try Weight Watcher's Key Lime. This was prompted by tasting Smart One's Key Lime Pie (individual servings, frozen).

What I did for this dish, was to mix a carton of the key lime flavor yogurt with some whipped topping. I spooned it into a dish and then crushed some chocolate wafers for the topping. Wonderful. I think it would be even better frozen, if I can get some made ahead of time and put into paper cupcake liners. Of course, that would take time away from Knitting.

Plum Crazy Pork

This dinner was a combination of two recipes in this month's Everyday Food. Pork tenderloins were on sale on a buy one get one free deal. And plums are in season. For the pork, I made a glaze of 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 2T real maple syrup, mixing the ingredients together and boiling for abour 4 minutes. This was brushed over the tenderloins several times during baking.

In a separate dish, I melted 1T butter and stirred in 1/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup orange juice. Place halved, pitted red plums cut side down in the syrup. Bake in the same oven as the tenderloin.

When I served the plates, I sliced the meat and poured the yummy plum sauce over the pork.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Glazed Ham Steaks

We enjoy ham, but with just two of us at home, we can't buy a baked ham except when we have company. So I like to buy those vacuum packages of ham slices to keep on hand. Last night I was not in the mood for the grocery store, so I grabbed my package of ham, put it in the hot skillet and thought it looked very boring. So I found some orange marmalade and spooned some into a cup, thinned it down with some water, and carefully poured it over the ham so the little bits of orange would stay on the meat. I let it cook for a few more minutes. It really jazzed up that plain old ham steak. I served it with roasted sweet potatoes and a frozen vegetable medley. Voila!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Want a Recipe?

I am sure you have noticed that I am only posting a photo and a general description of how I make these dish. If you are interested in duplicating any of them exactly, please email me and I will send you a copy of the recipe.

Thai Style Shrimp

This is currently our favorite 'restaurant style' meal. And it is just a matter of combining convenience items. I use farm-raised frozen shrimp that has been shelled and the tails removed. I sautee these, then when almost done, I pour in some of the Maggi Sweet Chili Sauce mentioned in my Fake Asian Fish recipe. This glazes it and gives the shrimp some taste. I serve it with a boxed flavored rice mix. This one is a HT Traders brand and is Lemongrass and Ginger. The garnish is julienned cucumber and red bell pepper. Also I raided my herb garden and chopped up basil and mint. Fresh herbs make anything special.

We have a house in Panama City, Florida, and I really only like fresh Gulf shrimp, just off the boat. So serving this farm raised stuff, or even Atlantic fresh shrimp is problematic for me. I constantly search for sauces that give blander shrimp a zing. This one gets an A+

Monday, August 14, 2006

Slacker Lasagne

Larry loves lasagne and I hate to make it. Have tried the various frozen ones and they are just too fake. Today my Daily Dish email featured an Italian casserole made with ground beef, grocery store marinara sauce, and frozen ravioli. I had half a package of cheese ravioli languishing in the freezer, so went to the store and bought the ground beef. I started making the recipe and found even more shortcuts. I poured some sauce (I used a large jar of marinara sauce instead of the small jar and diced tomatoes) into the pan, and arranged half of the frozen ravioli on top of that. I cooked the ground beef, drained it, and sprinkled half in the pan. Poured half of the remaining sauce on top, then the rest of the ravioli, meat, and topped with sauce. Forgot the mozarella layer but put that on the top at the end.

Note: I finally figured out why I never have enough sauce, etc, in my ground beef recipes....the standard recipe calls for one pound of meat and my store packages it in 1 1/2 to 2 pound packages. I luckily had another small jar of marinara in the pantry. I like lots of sauce since I am not a major ground beef fan.

Will post a photo later, when I get it out of my camera.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Keeping it Fresh

Fresh melons and berries are so good in the summer. And they are not cheap. And there are only two of us eating. And I hate throwing out expensive produce after a few days, but did not think there was another way.

Then I was in Tuesday Morning several months ago and they had a FoodSaver Mini on sale. A friend of mine has the big version and loves it. So I grabbed it. (A quick check of the website indicates that it is no longer available, which explains why it was a Tuesday Morning closeout special. They have designed a very small one for a small price you can find here: link

Now, I do not like to read directions. Just ask my husband. So I decided the first thing I would "save" was some puff pastry I had baked from one of those frozen packages. Put it in the plastic bag that came with the FS, hooked it up to the machine, and watched in horror as ALL the air was sucked out of the bag, including ALL the air out of the PUFF pastry squares. Alrighty then.

I emailed my friend about my dismay. She was see, the DELUXE model allows you to STOP the vacuuming process at any point, allowing you to not end up with mush in the bag. I went back and read the instructions on mine and they casually mentioned that soft items had to be frozen first. Or, you could use the FoodSaver containers.

I trotted back to Tuesday Morning and proceeded to buy some of the containers in various sizes, brought them home, tried them out, and went back about three different times to buy more containers. Pretty much all my fresh food goes into them. I can keep produce for well over a week, sometimes up to a month. We especially loved saving our strawberries for several days; they tend to start going bad while on the way home from the grocery store.

So those of you out there who are tired of throwing away slimy produce, consider one of the food vacuum sealers on the market. There is even a very inexpensive one that is hand operated. I am considering buying one of those, too.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fake Asian-Style Fried Fish

A few weeks ago I was digging through my freezer for a quick meal and came upon the fish sticks left over from my little grandson's visit. I had refused to throw them away, but, FISH STICKS? I was desperate, so I cooked the fish and was shuffling through the refrigerator, looking for something to pour over them to make them edible.

Well, my favorite asian dish is flash fried fish with sweet spicy sauce. Whenever it is a special on the menu I order it. And, lo and behold, there was my jar of Maggi® Taste Of Asia™ Sweet Chili Sauce. I poured some over the cooked fish sticks and the result was magic!

I then moved on to using the last fillet of my Gorton's Premium Fillet Flounder (breaded) and it was excellent, more fish inside the breading than the fish sticks, but the crust and the fish were not related to each could cut the prepared fillet in half and just shake the fish part out!

So I perused my trusty Schwan's catalog and ordered the breaded blue hake fillet. The breading is very light and stuck tightly to the fish. This time I shared my invention with my husband, Larry, and he couldn't believe it was frozen breaded fish from a box and heated in the oven. It is amazing what the right sauce can do to dress up convenience food!

The rest of the dinner was cheater frozen peppers for stir-fry, instant rice and a bag of salad improved with fresh blueberries, cucumbers, slivered red bell peppers, and celery, topped with Annie's Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Salmon and Herbed Zucchini

I scored some ruby red wild Alaskan salmon at the grocery store and used a recipe I got on the internet some ten years ago. Essentially, you split the squash in half (I only had yellow squash and zucchini is better due to less seeds), brush it with honey, season with s&p and broil it til brown and bubbly on the surface. Put on a wooden cutting board to cool, then slice as thin as you can. Chop fresh mint and basil and mix with the squash and stir in some balsamic vinegar. This will be the 'bed' for the salmon.

For the salmon, season with salt, pepper, paprika, brush with honey (the honey can be microwaved to make it more liquid) and broil the salmon. Serve over the squash.

Hint: Once when I asked the fishmonger to 'skin' my salmon filet, he told me to cook it with the skin on, skin side down and remove the skin before serving....the salmon is more moist that way. Not to mention this way is a whole lot easier than trying to get that skin off the raw filet!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What's Happening in the Kitchen?

I like to cook. Actually, I like to try new recipes. I subscribe to several cooking magazines and our dinners are pretty much based on the current issue of whichever magazine was delivered most recently by snail mail, or in my email box. The only people at my dinner table are me and my husband, and he is happy with a different recipe every night, so we get along well.

My big problem is that I will make a dinner that is really good and then forget to ever make it again.....I have the attention span of a gnat. So this blog is going to be an attempt to permanently record each meal I make that bears repeating. I will try to include a photo of the finished plate for inspiration. I will also be including the recipe, or the link to the recipe if I got in online

Why should you read my blog? Well, hopefully you can use my ideas to help you figure out what to cook at YOUR house for dinner!