Sunday, November 29, 2009 pictures

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hey, remember me?

It's been a while. It's Nanowrimo, so I'm a bit distracted. I'm cracking out the words though. 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It's an undertaking, that's for certain. I'm keeping pace mainly by ignoring the internet. It's shocking how much time I waste on this dang Mac.

But I have been cooking a little so I thought I'd share. It was pizza night the other night in our house and that does NOT mean a phone call to Double Dave's or Pizza Hut. It means I make a whole wheat crust that we love, love, love and top it with whatever is on hand. We went simple this week with a little Margherita Pizza and enjoyed every bite.

If you've never made your own crust and are intimidated, don't be. It's the easy-peasy! It's made especially easy if you have a food processor, but even if you don't there's nothing complicated about it. AND you get to make your crust YOUR way - thick, thin, flat edges, rolled edges, one big pizza four little ones...whatever. You're in control. And we all know that I like to be in control! =)

The only thing you really need to make this crust is a bit of time. It's not "hands-on" time, but you do need to let it rise. Other than that...minutes of effort for a very tasty and healthy base for whatever type of pizza you love.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

To make 12 ounces dough:
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons), such as Fleischmann's RapidRise
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2-2/3 cup hot water (120-130°F)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

To make 1 pound dough:
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons), such as Fleischmann's RapidRise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup hot water (120-130°F)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.
3. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack;
preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Roll and top the pizza as desired
(we suggest a 13-inch circle) and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp
and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve immediately.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per 12 ounces: 766 calories; 12 g fat (2 g sat, 8 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 142 g carbohydrate; 26 g protein; 16 g fiber; 1,882 mg sodium.

Per 1 pound: 1,032 calories; 18 g fat (3 g sat, 12 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 189 g carbohydrate; 33 g protein; 21 g fiber; 2,509 mg sodium.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I've never met a crustacean I didn't like -

It's true...crab, lobster, name the crustacean and I'm game. I love them. So anytime I find a recipe that's simple, full of fresh ingredients and quick it ends up on my menu. There are bonus points if I think the weeone will love it too. Tonight's dinner fit that bill in many ways. I'd had a cookbook open on the kitchen counter this morning to this Garlic-Basil Shrimp recipe and the weeone passed it saying, "yuummmyyyy...can we make that?" Music to my ears.

So dinner started with me cooking shrimp in a skillet with olive oil. Then I halved grape tomatoes and chopped basil-

A little more olive oil in the pan and the garlic went for a swim with a bit of crushed red pepper and white wine....yummmmm.....

The tomatoes and basil got a quick cook in the sauce....

Then the shrimp went back in to get heated through.

And finally, it all came to rest on a bed of orzo pasta. Perfection, that's what this dinner was. It tasted as fresh as the ingredients were and was as garlicky as the weeone and I both like.

Garlic-Basil Shrimp
from So Easy by Ellie Krieger

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp (20 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups cooked orzo pasta, preferably whole wheat

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, then add the shrimp and cook, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer witha slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the oil remaining in the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and basil and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Return the shrimp to the pan and cook just until heated through. Serve with the orzo.

Makes 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup shrimp mixture and 3/4 cup orzo

Per Serving: Calories 380, Total Fat 10g (Sat Fat 1.5g, Mono Fat 5.5g, Poly Fat 2g), Protein 35g, Carb 35g, Fiber 4g, Cholesterol 215mg, Sodium 490mg

Sunday, November 8, 2009

He's a pepper, she's a pepper...wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too!

Remember that old Dr. Pepper commercial? I'm singing it in my head now which means it will be there for a while. Of course all it will take to erase it for me is for one of you to say something that reminds me of a song and I'll be off...singing that tune for a bit as well.

This week I didn't do a whole lot of cooking thanks to all sorts of things, the biggest of which is that weeone has successfully mastered riding her bike with no training wheels!!!! WOOOHOOO! and WHEEEEEEEEE! It's about time, but I'm thrilled for her. So there was LOTS of bike riding in our world this week.

Look at her go!!! I was a proud mom, that's for sure!

So now we've purchased a new bike for her that's a bit bigger and will give her some knee room and I've ordered a bike for myself, so we can ride bikes to school! It's a really cool thing at school to clip your bike helmet to your backpack - it's tells the world that "I ride to school," and "I'm cool." She's cool.

We did have to eat, though. And eat we did. I am a huge Ellie Krieger fan - love her previous cookbook and have posted multiple recipes on this blog by her. She has a way of taking favorites and making them really healthy, hearty and tasty. Well, Ellie's latest cookbook, So Easy came out and I'm already a fan. First up? Tri-color Pepper Steak. We like Asian food in this house, but typically we go out to eat when we want it or order in. I just haven't successfully made Asian food at home yet, but this recipe seemed straightforward, simple and didn't dirty a lot of pots (You know how I hate the 5 pot/pan dinner!).

The verdict? A keeper. Simple, and quick, this pepper steak is light on the rice, heavy on the veggies and perfect on the beef. It leaves you not feeling deprived, but feeling like you got exactly what you wanted and your body needed. The wine adds a great depth of flavor, so definitely add it. Plus, then there's an open bottle calling your name. You really shouldn't cook with wine without drinking some along the way too!

You start here -

Get to here -

But end up with this -

Tri-color Pepper Steak

4 teaspoons canola oil
1 1/4 pounds top round, London broil or flank steak, thinly sliced
5 large assorted bell peppers (such as a mixture of red, yellow and green; about 2 pounds total)
1 large onion, slice into half moons (about 3 cups)
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3/4 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
3 cups cooked brown rice

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet over meidum-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meant with its juices to a plate.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the peppers are softened and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes more.

Return the beef and juices to the skillet and add the broth, wine, soy sauce and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and cook untnil the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Serve over rice.

Makes 4 servings

Serving Size: 2 cups pepper steak plus 1/4 cup sauce, 3/4 cup brown rice

Per Serving: Calories 540, Total Fat 14g (Sat Fat 4 g, Mono Fat 6.5g, Poly Fat 2g), Protein 39g, Carb 55g, Fiber 7g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 410mg