Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cumin Dusted Chicken with Guac Sauce

Last night we had a very good dinner-- Cumin Dusted Chicken with Guacamole Sauce that I adapted from Cooking Light. First, I made the guacamole sauce by mashing one ripe avacado with 1 finely chopped scallion, 1/4c. chopped parsley, 1/4c. light sour cream, 2T. fresh lime juice, 1/4t. lite salt, 1/8t. freshly toasted and ground cumin, and 1/8t. cayenne pepper.
Next, I preheated the oven to 400*F and made a spice rub for the chicken using 1T. brown sugar substitute, 1t. freshly toasted and ground cumin, 1/2t. lite salt and 1/2t. freshly ground black pepper. I pounded the chicken to an even thickness and sprinkled the spice rub on top.
I preheated a skillet over medium heat and sprayed it with olive oil spray before adding the chicken. I cooked the chicken for 3 minutes on each side, then put it in the hot oven for 7 minutes. I served it with salad and raw sugar snap peas (not pictured). It was very good! I have lots of leftover guacamole sauce that will be great on fish as well. We're having flank steak with mushrooms tonight, so I'll have to take the guac to work with me tomorrow.
I made a fabulous soup for lunch today-- Spinach and Sausage Soup (also adapted from Cooking Light). I started by browning 10 oz. of sweet italian turkey sausage in a large saucepan with olive oil spray. Next, I added one onion (chopped) and 2t. minced garlic. I cooked this for 3-5 minutes, and added 1t. dried oregano, 1/2c. water, 1 can white beans (drained and rinsed), 1 can low sodium chicken broth, and 1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes. I let it simmer for about 10 minutes, then I removed it from the heat and added 2c. spinach and 1T. chopped fresh basil. I served it in a small bowl with a bit of grated parmesan on top.
The rock on the fireplace in the new house is done and it looks beautiful. Not long now!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ralfie's first haircut

Ralfie got his first haircut today. He looks so different-- he went blonde! The groomer trimmed away all of his dark ends. He's looking more and more like a Shih Tzu. Below is a picture of Ralfie before his haircut and a picture of Ralfie after his haircut. When we brought him home, Charlie didn't recognize him. He arched his back and hissed at his little buddy. It didn't take him long to recognize our little pup and they were back to their usual shinnannigans.

Ralfie before his first haircut.

Ralfie after his haircut.

Dad, Tyson, Ryan, Morgan, Uncle Jim and Matt worked really hard today getting the big stuff moved. This next week is the last week my parents and Ryan will have in the Shelley house. Not much left to do now. Next weekend (not this weekend like I thought), they will be moving to our house. Fun fun!

Tonight I made Sloppy Joes from the LA Weight Loss cookbook. They were much better the last time I made them because I had fresh tomatoes. I had to use canned tonight and it wasn't as good. Next time, I'll be sure to have those fresh tomatoes. I gave the dish more flavor by adding some BBQ sauce and served it with Buddy's Salad. Here's a head-scratcher for you... Tyson says he doesn't like garlic, but he loves Buddy's Salad which is LOADED with garlic. His tastebuds are slowly starting to expand. Yeah! Charlie waited next to the garage door while I cooked and Mocha played with a kitty treat on the kitchen table. One of her favorite games is to jump on the table and see how far she can move the tablecloth without falling off. We have to be really careful about what we set on the table!

Sloppy Joes cooking in the pot. Made with ground turkey, tomatoes, and green peppers.

Charlie waiting to play in the garage-- one of his favorite winter activities.

Sloppy Joes and Buddy's Salad for dinner. The bread is sourdough.

Mocha caught playing on the table. Silly kitty.

This last week, I went to BYU for another panel. Linda and I were quite adventurous in our dining choices. We had Mexican for lunch on the way down (tortilla soup), wonderful Italian at Ottavio's (caprese, salad with vinaigrette, and shrimp scampi over angelhair pasta), French dips for lunch the next day, and Peruvian for dinner (with chicha mirada of course). Linda told me she hoped there wasn't a civil war in her tummy. She's a very nice lady that is easy to work with and even more enjoyable be around. I love working with her. Well, that's enough for now! TTFN!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Do the Amish buy vanilla pudding? (Potstickers Recipe)

I recently got a starter from a friend for 'Amish Friendship Bread'. It makes a dense, moist bread that is more like a cake. It was very easy to manage and I reduced the fat by using skim milk and replacing half of the vegetable oil with applesauce. For several variations, go to . They all sound good! However, looking at the recipe made me wonder whether or not the Amish would buy instant vanilla pudding. After reading bit on the internet, I have concluded that those in an Old Order Amish community would not buy instant vanilla pudding, but those in the Beachy or New Order Amish communities might. Very interesting!

Things are also coming along for my parents and their new house. The painting got done yesterday and the mantle is up above the fireplace. Floors and cabinets are next. I'll take some pictures and post them once everything is done. Ralfie loves running through the house. The other day, he found a piece of sanding paper and was so proud of himself. He didn't try to chew on it very long. Must not have liked the texture.

Happy belated Chinese New Year! I arranged for us to order in Chinese food at work for lunch and made some yummy Potstickers I found at Food Network. The filling consisted of 2c. nappa cabbage (wilted with 1 1/2t. salt and drained), 1/2lb. ground pork, 2T. ginger, 1 1/2T. garlic, 2T. soy sauce (reduced sodium), 3T. toasted sesame oil and 1 egg. I cheated and bought wrappers at the grocery store. Once the dumplings were filled and sealed, I cooked a pan full in a skillet over medium high heat with 1-2T. vegetable oil (depending on pan size). After 3 minutes, I added 1c. water and clamped on the lid. I steamed the dumplings for 7 minutes. They came out perfect! I also made a dipping sauce using 1/3c. soy sauce (low sodium), 1/3c. Rice vinegar, 1t. toasted sesame oil, 1 scallion sliced thin, and 1T. Sambal (garlic chile paste).

I have to go out of town tomorrow, so there won't be any posts for a few days. Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mama Mia Pizza-ria!

I made thin-crust pizza last night. Yummy! For the dough, place 2t. yeast (1 packet) in 1 cup of warm water with 1t. sugar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add 2T. olive oil and 1t. kosher salt. Slowly stir in 2c. bread flour until a stiff dough forms (about 5-8 minutes, I use my kitchenaid mixer). Cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.

FOR A THIN CRUST, divide the dough in half and place on a greased 12" pizza pan. Spray the top and your hands will olive oil spray. Working from the middle out, spread and stretch the dough to cover the entire pan, then poke with a fork every inch or so. Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 10-12 minutes, or until it just begins to brown. Take out of the oven, top with toppings, and slide directly onto the oven rack. Continue to bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. You may use the other half of the dough, or freeze it. If frozen, place in the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it. You may need to let it rest for 30 mintues at room temperature to be able to stretch it to the pan.

FOR A THICK CRUST: Place entire ball of dough on a greased 12" deep dish pizza pan or on a half sheet pan. Spray the top and your hands with olive oil spray. Spread and stretch the dough to cover the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes. Bake in preheated 350*F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Remove from oven, top with toppings, then return to the oven by sliding directly onto the oven rack. Continue to bake another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.

I use the tomato sauce with garlic, basil and oregano as my sauce, and I use a basting brush to 'paint' it onto the crust. Ty's favorite toppings are pepperoni, black or green olives, and mushrooms. My new favorite is pesto sauce, parmesan/mozzarella cheese, roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, spinach, green olives and green peppers with fresh tomato on top.

Enjoy your pizza!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fish with Lemon-Parsley Sauce

Another great recipe I created this weekend.... Fish with lemon-parsley sauce. I used salmon, but other fish would work, too. I started by melting 1T. butter and 2T. olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. While it was heating, I rinsed the fish and cut it into two portions, then dried with paper towels and sprinkled with lite salt and pepper. Then I placed it in the pan, presentation side down, for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, I flipped it so that the skin side was down and cooked another 2 minutes. Then I added the zest of 1 lemon along with the juice and 1/2c. water (white wine would also be good). I clamped the lid on and let it steam for 7 minutes, or until the center of the fish flaked easily. Once cooked, I removed the fish and added the parsley to the pan. I cooked this over medium heat until slightly thickened. I arranged the fish on a plate with steamed broccoli and thin slices of lemon, then spooned the sauce on top. The fish was moist and flavorful. Yummy!

I'm pretty sore from shoveling this weekend. We got a lot of snow! When we got home from work on Friday, Tyson and I shoveled a 3-4ft tall drift out of the driveway. The next day (Saturday), we had the pleasure of scooping another 3-4 inches up, and Sunday, yet another 2-3 inches. This morning I woke up to.. you guessed it.. more snow! We're supposed to get a break from the white stuff for a few days (thank goodness). Ralfie loves it. He buries his face in it and walks around. When he comes inside, he looks like a little mountain-man with snow all over his face and beard.