Monday, June 1, 2009

On the Menu

At this time, my fridge is full. My plan is to make the most out of my left-overs. We grilled a lot of extras this week-end so I wouldn't need to use the oven so much this week. I have left-over grilled chicken, steak, pork and a few hotdogs. I also have chourico and peppers. Here are a few ideas of what to do with them.

Rice dish

Pasta dish

Pizza strips

Sandwich wraps

Grilled meat, mashed potatoes, vegetable

Friday, May 29, 2009

Made from Scratch - 'Catalina' style Salad Dressing

My son, Joshua, has always loved the 'Catalina' style salad dressing. Once, when I ran out of it, I decided to search for a recipe to make my own. Since then I've been making my own salad dressings (Italian, Asian, honey-mustard...). There are so many great recipes out there, and it's pretty simple to do. Plus I like to know what's in my food, and with making your own you can do this. Salad dressing can also be very high in sodium, and this way you can also control that.
After trying quite a few different 'Catalina' dressing recipes (some with quite a long list of ingredients), I came across this one. It has the fewest ingredients of all the recipes I've tried, and I feel has the best flavor. Sometimes less is really more. This recipe came from Recipezaar. If you go to this link, the recipe says 'E-Z French Dressing'. When I think of French Dressing, I think of the thick orange stuff (what makes that orange color, anyway?); this is not like that at all. I also make only half of the recipe as posted there. My recipe makes enough to fill a 12 oz cruet bottle.

Catalina-style salad dressing

1/2 cup corn oil (or any other salad oil)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in cruet bottle; shake well to combine.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Feed the Freezer - Bite-Size Soup Meatballs

This is one of my favorite 'feed the freezer' recipes. Like most of my recipes using ground meat, I use a combination of ground beef and ground turkey. Making these can be very time consuming, but having them in the freezer can actually be a big time 'saver'. I take a day that I have a lot of time, put on some good music, and pour a good glass of wine.
A soup can be put together in little time with these meatballs. They're also good in sauces for pasta and subs.

Soup Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp instant minced onion
1tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tsp seasoned salt

In large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.
Shape into 3/4" balls; place on cookie sheets.
Bake in a 350' oven for 20 minutes.
Keep meatballs on cookie sheets and when they are cooled place sheets in freezer.
When meatballs are frozen solid place in freezer bag.
They will be individually frozen so you can take out and use as little or as much as needed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fast Food - Pizza Strips

Although I love cooking, there are days that are just too busy to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And there are those days when my kids have friends over unexpectedly, and I need to stretch a meal and make sure it's kid-friendly. I try to always keep pre-baked pizza shells in the freezer (they also keep well for awhile in the fridge). I always have containers of pizza sauce in the freezer, and shredded cheese in the refrigerator. For toppings, I use whatever is on hand. I've combined pizza sauce and salsa, added Mexican blend shredded cheese, and topped with taco meat and sliced olives. Broccoli and pepperoni... sausage and peppers... There are lots of options and I never seem to have a problem putting a good pizza together with whatever I can find in the house, without having to make a shopping trip. I like to use the large, rectangular (18"x12")? prepared pizza crust. My local market sells them 2 in a package for $6.00. A pizza made with one of these serves 4-6.

Pizza Strips

1 large, rectagular (18"x12") pizza crust
2 cups pizza sauce
2-3 cups shredded cheese
desired toppings
olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 375'.
Brush bottom of crust with oil; turn over.
Assemble pizza; sauce, cheese, toppings.
Place on large cookie sheet turned upside down.
Bake for 10 minutes on bottom rack.
With pizza cutter, cut pizza in half to make 2- 18"x6" pieces; cut each of these into 9- 6"x2" strips.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

400 Calorie Meals - Tomato Sandwich and Cole Slaw

I've really been trying to eat healthier and watch my calorie intake. It can be very difficult at times, especially when cooking for the family. I have found, though, that it's mostly a matter of looking for healthier alternatives and portion control, and making sure you have these ingredients on hand at home to put together a healthy meal. There really are a lot of options to choose from out there. For awhile I was really doing well, eating 5 - 400 calories meals a day (every 4 hours). This really did make a big difference and I felt great, but unfortunately I slipped back into a less healthy way of eating. I'm challenging myself to get back to that. Maybe if I post recipe and meal ideas here and see them, it will inspire me to get back on track.

Toasted Tomato Sandwich and Cole Slaw

Bread - (100 calories)
1 tsp mayonaise - (35 calories)
1 tsp honey mustard (or any preferred mustard) - (10 calories)
I large slice tomato - (free food)
thinly sliced onion - (free food)
1 slice American cheese - (100 calories)
1 cup cole slaw - (100 calories)

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a low-calorie bread. It can be a little pricey, but I'm the only one in my family who eats it so I put it in the freezer and just take slices out as needed.
I combine equal parts mayonaise and mustard to make sandwich spread. I like mayonaise on my sandwiches, but mustard is alot lower in calories, so combining them makes more spread and lowers the calories (and it also tastes good).
The tomato and onion have too few calories to even count, and they're good for you.
I listed 100 calories for the cheese. This is for pre-sliced cheese, which comes fairly thick. If you have it sliced thin at the deli, you can reduce the calories even more.
I spread mayo/mustard combination on bread first, then layer tomato , onion and cheese. Place another slice of bread and toast.
Served with cole slaw and bottled water, this is a filling meal with less than 400 calories.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Portuguese Sausage Stew

Although my husband is full-blooded Portuguese (I'm French), this is the only Portuguese dish I've ever learned to make. This morning, here in Rhode Island, it's very raw and cold outside; a great day for this dish. With Summer coming and warmer weather on the way, I try to spend these cooler days making comfort food (and that's just what this is). I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does :)

1 lb Portuguese sausage (chourico or linguica)
2 cans red beans (kidney, pinto...)
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups diced carrots
3 cups diced potatoes (red potatoes are best)

Cut up sausage into bite-size pieces (I usually tear mine apart for a more 'rustic' stew).
Add beans (do not drain), crushing half of the beans (this is what makes the stew thick).
Add water (I use the cans that the beans came in to measure the water, and use about 3).
Bring to a boil; lower heat and let simmer for about 1/2 an hour.
Add pepper, carrots and potatoes; let simmer for another 20 - 30 minutes.
This makes about 6 servings.
Great served with toasted French or Italian bread.

Menu Plan 5/18 - 5/24

Monday - Portuguese Sausage Stew

Tuesday - Pasta with Grilled Chicken and Broccoli

Wednesday - Home-made Turkey Sausage, Peppers, Onions (On Rolls, Pasta or Rice?)

Thursday - Left-Over Buffet

Friday - Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Fries

Saturday - Italian Wedding Soup

Sunday - Fill the Grill (Great idea from Amy at The Finer Things in Life), Baked Beans, Baked Potato, Cole Slaw
For more great menu plans, go to I'm an Organizing Junkie