Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Simple Steak Sandwiches!

This is a great simple meal that ends up on our dinner schedule more often than not! Jennifer bought us a grill pan as an engagement gift and it works perfectly when we don't want to turn on the grill!


1 lb steak (~1/2 lb per person)
Sandwich rolls (sub rolls)
Mozzarella cheese
Lettuce (optional)
Mayonnaise (optional)


1. Grill steak to desired doneness. Cut steak into thin strips (this can be done prior to cooking).
2. Place steak into sandwich rolls. Cover meat with desired amount of mozzarella cheese.
3. Toast sandwiches in toaster oven until cheese has melted.
4. Add optional toppings. Enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Velvet Roasted Asparagus Soup

This recipe came from a fabulous book Allison gave Nate for Christmas. We have loved everything we have made - thanks Allie! Here is another one of our favorites!


2 1/2 lbs thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream for garnish
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives for garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a heavy roasting pan, combine the asparagus pieces, leeks, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
2. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 35 mins or until the leeks are golden brown and the asparagus are tender.
3. Transfer the vegetables to a blender and add the broth. Process on high until completely pureed. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
4. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with sour cream and chives. Serve immediately.

Advance Preparation:
May be prepared up to one day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Reheat gently.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Apple-Glazed Lamb Chops

Welcome back, Grill!!! Woo hoo! That's right, it was so warm this weekend (mid 70s - yes!), that we did the only acceptable thing... fired up the grill! Following is one of our most favorite grill meals. Lamb chops can make this meal pricier, so buy them when they are on sale! Also, this meal recommends that you make a side dish of couscous - do this!! It makes the meal extra delicious!

Extra bonus: This meal is listed as low fat AND fast to make in our recipe book!!!


3 tbsp apple jelly
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp curry powder
Dash ground cinnamon
Dash ground red pepper
2 small red and/or green apples, cut crosswise in 1/4" slices
Lemon juice
8 lamb loin chops, cut 1" thick (~2 lbs)
Hot cooked couscous (optional)
1 tbsp snipped fresh mint


1. For glaze, in a small saucepan cook and stir apple jelly, green onion, soy sauce, lemon juice, curry powder, cinnamon, and red pepper over medium heat until bubbly; remove from heat.
2. Remove seeds from apple slices; brush slices with lemon juice. Set aside.
3. Trim fat from chops. For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place chops on grill rack over heat.
4. Cover and grill to desired doneness, turning and brushing once halfway through grilling. Allow 12-14 mins for medium rare (145 degrees) and 15 - 17 for medium (160 degrees).
5. Place apple slices on grill rack next to chops for the last 5 mins of grilling, turning and brushing once with glaze halfway through grilling.
6. Serve chops with grilled apples and, if desired, couscous. Sprinkle with mint.

Grilling for some people (like us) is not easy. We have definitely had some chops end up on our deck and have nearly lost a couple of apple slices through the grill rack; however, this meal is worth practicing your grill-skills! Opening and drinking a bottle of red wine as you cook helps (just keep it away from the open flame)! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!!

Nutrition facts per serving: 248 cal, 7 g total fat (2 g sat fat), 80 mg chol, 306 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 26 g pro
Daily Values: 1% vit A, 11% vit C, 2% calcium, 15% iron
Exchanges: 1/2 other carbs, 3 1/2 very lean meat, 1 fat

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sauteed Chicken With Five Easy Sauces

This is a recipe that we have fallen in love with! We have tried all of the different sauces except one. We put the chicken/sauce mixture on top of rice. For extra goodness, pair this with a salad - YUM!

Chicken with Pan Sauce


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 tbsp cold butter*
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (2) or onion
2 tbsp whipping cream

*read the recipe all the way through if you are concerned about adding this much butter. I am sure there are other replacements you can make. I would love to know what other people try!


1. Place each chicken breast half between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound the chicken lightly to about 1/4" thick. Remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. In a large skillet melt 1 tbsp of the butter of med-high heat. Reduce to medium. Cook chicken for 6 - 8 mins or until no longer pink, turning once. Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm.
3. Add wine, broth, and shallot to hot skillet. Cook and stir, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
4. Bring to boiling. Boil gently for 10 - 15 mins or until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup.* Reduce heat to med-low
5. Stir in cream. Add the remaining 4 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp at a time, stirring after each addition until butter is melted. Sauce should be slightly thickened. Season with additional salt and pepper. To serve, spoon sauce over chicken.**

*Note: It is important to reduce the liquid to 1/4 cup or the sauce will be too thin.

**For the last step, I usually return the chicken to the pan and coat them with the sauce there. This gives them a minute to soak up some of the sauce.

Sauce #2: Balsamic-Caper Sauce

Prepare as above, except stir 2 tsp balsamic vinegar and 2 tsp drained capers into finished sauce.

Sauce #3: Lemon-Herb Sauce

Prepare as above, except stir 2 tsp fresh lemon juice and 2 tsp snipped fresh thyme, chervil, or parsley into finished sauce.

Sauce #4: Mushroom-Tomato Sauce

Prepare as above through Step 1.

In a large skillet, cook 1 cup sliced fresh shiitake, porcini, or button mushrooms in 1 tbsp of butter over med heat until tender. Remove mushrooms from skillet.

Continue as directed in Step 2, using the same skillet.

Along with the cream, add cooked mushrooms, and 2 tbsp snipped, drained, oil-packed dried tomatoes. There will only be 3 tbsp of butter to add in Step 4.

Stir 2 tsp snipped fresh basil or parsley into finished sauce.

Sauce #5: Mustard Sauce

Prepare as above, except stir 1 tbsp snipped Italian parsley and 2 tsp Dijon-style mustard into finished sauce.

Nutrition Info: Per breast half + 2 tbsp sauce all variations: 325 cal, 20 g total fat (10 g sat fat), 117 mg chol, 444 mg sodium, 2 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 27 g pro
Daily Values: 14% vit A, 1% vit C, 3% calcium, 6% iron
Exchanges: 4 very lean meat, 4 fat

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rosemary Pork Chop Skillet

This recipe is really light and yummy! We usually eat this as a one dish meal (plus it is listed as "low fat" in the cookbook - yay!). We have only made this with the fresh herbs that it lists; however, if anyone tries this and replaces them with dried, I would love to know how it turns out!


1 pound boneless pork chops, cut 1/2" thick
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups peeled and cubed (1") winter squash (butternut, banana, spaghetti, and/or acorn)
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
2 tsp snipped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup orange juice
2 med zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1" pieces
1 tsp snipped fresh sage

1. Sprinkle cops with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. In a 12" skillet heat oil over med-high heat.
2. Brown chops ~4 mins, turning once.
3. Combine squash, onion, and rosemary; spoon squash mixture over chops.
4. Pour broth and juice over squash mixture and chops. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 mins.
5. Add zucchini and sage. Cook, covered, ~5 mins more or until chops are done (160 degrees).
6. Using slottled spoon, transfer chops and vegetables to a serving platter. Cover, keep warm.
7. Bring reserved juiced in skillet to boiling; reduce heat.
8. Simmer, uncovered, ~5 mins or until liquidf is reduced to ~1/4 cup. Spoon over chops and vegetables.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 220 cal, 8 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 63 mg chol, 411 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 24 g protien)
Daily Values: 111% vit A, 49% vit C, 7% calcium, 11% iron
Exchanges: 1 starch, 3 very lean meat, 1 fat

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bistro Beef & Mushrooms

This is a yummy dish that goes great with a plain baked potato and sauteed asparagus. This is relatively easy to make and is great for those nights when you don't want to do too much cooking!


4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (1 pound)
1 tbsp Dijon-style mustard or coarse-grain brown mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
2 four-ounce packages sliced crimini, shitake, or portobello mushrooms (3 cups)
1/3 cup dry red wine or sherry
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp snipped fresh thyme or (approx) 3/4 tsp dried thyme


1. Trim fat from steaks.
2. Spread mustard evenly over both sides of steaks.
3. In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat.
4. Add steaks; reduce heat to medium. Cook to desired doneness, turning once. Allow 7 - 9 minutes for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees). Transfer steaks to a serving platter; keep warm.
5. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to drippings in skillet.
6. Add mushrooms; cook and stir for 4 mins. Stir in wine, Worchestershire sauce, and thyme.
7. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 mins. Spoon over steaks.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 231 cal, 13 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 52 mg chol, 115 mg sodium, 3 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 21 g pro
Daily Values: 2% vit C, 2% calcium, 17% iron
Exchanges: 1/2 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I think Brussels sprouts have gotten a bad rap over the years (though they are a little stinky while you cook them). The most important thing to remember is use FRESH ones. Thanks to Jennifer for giving us another great way to make these!!


1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves.
3. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly.
5. Sprinkle with more kosher salt (I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Herb-Mustard Marinade

We use this marinade to coat pork chops which we place in a roasting pan and bake at 425 degrees for 25 mins. The recipe book where we found it states that you can also use it on grilled chicken. Just coat the poultry with the marinade during the last 10 minutes of grilling.

In addition, though the recipe calls for fresh parsley, we have replaced it with dried (fresh can be a little pricey) and it tastes the same to us! Just remember the exchange of fresh to dried herbs:
1 tbsp of fresh = 1 tsp of dried


2 tbsp creamy Dijon-style mustard blend
1 tbsp snipped fresh parsley
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 tbsp water
1/8 tsp ground red pepper


1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Easy!!! Woo hoo!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Olive Chicken with Herbs & Lemon

This is another great recipe sent to me by Allison. Here is what she wrote:

"Ok - this is quite possibly the simplest and yummiest meal I've ever put together. I didn't measure anything - just estimated, threw it together and let it sit while I heated the skillet and browned the garlic and onions."


1 chicken breast (the full heart shaped piece!) sliced or chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup fresh green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
~1/4-1/2 cup red onion, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt (to taste)
Ground pepper (to taste)
Dried basil (~3 tbsp)
Ginger powder or fresh (~1 tsp)
Olive oil


1. Marinate chopped chicken in olive oil, basil, ginger, salt, pepper and lemon zest.
2. Heat skillet on med., then brown onion and garlic in olive oil
3. Add chicken to skillet.
4. For the last 3 minutes, add olives (to warm, don't add to early so it doesn't absorb raw chicken juice)
5. Serve like stir fry: over rice, next to noodles or as the center of a grilled sandwich!

Thanks for sending me this yummy dish!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sicilian Penne w/ Swordfish & Eggplant

This is a recipe I found on the Food Network. I was a little leery at first, but after we finished making it, we LOVED it! This recipe is 4 - 6 servings and we always have a ton leftover which is why I think it makes a great recessipe - just be careful microwaving fish at work! :) We were able to find frozen swordfish at Trader Joe's that were relatively inexpensive.

**Please note that Japanese eggplant is different from American eggplant. American eggplant is typically what you find in grocery stores. Japanese eggplant is much smalller and thinner. We used American eggplant for ours because we couldn't find the Japanese one. Since we have yet to use the Japanese eggplant, I cannot comment on the taste difference; however, we really enjoyed this with the American one. If you choose to make this substitution, one American eggplant is sufficient!**


1 pound penne pasta
1/3 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/3 cup
4 Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed, cut lengthwise, then into squares
1 pound swordfish steaks, skins removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup white wine
2 cups halved teardrop or cherry tomatoes (red, yellow, or a blend)
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground pepper


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to pkg instructions. Drain pasta.
2. Meanwhile, place a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, and 1/4 cup parsley.
3. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 1 - 2 mins. (I always found the wording "fragrant" a little odd because, believe me, it is frangrant as soon as it hits the skillet!) :)
4. Add the eggplant and cook until tender, about 5 mins. Remove eggplant mixture from the pan and set aside.
5. Season the swordfish cubes with salt and pepper.
6. Using the same pan, over med-high heat, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and cook the swordfish until opaque, about 5 mins.
7. Add the white wine and cook until almost evaporated, aboiut 2 mins.
8. Turn off heat.* Add tomatoes, eggplant, cooked pasta, the remaining 1/3 cup parsley and stir.
9. Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.** Stir to combine.

*I usually do not turn off the heat at this point, as I like my tomatoes a little more cooked.

**This is another step I typically do not do , as there is usually enough of a sauce to evenly coat the food.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Simple Veggie Sides

Many of our side dishes are cooked in the same way... and they are delicious! For best results, use fresh, not frozen, veggies! Here are a few variations of the same theme:


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Wash asparagus and trim ends.
3. Spread out the asparagus evenly on a baking sheet (or in a pan).
4. Lightly drizzle olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.
5. Bake for ~15 minutes, rotating occasionally.
6. (optional) When finished, lightly drizzle 1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette over asparagus for another variation.


Keep Step 2
3. Heat skillet to med. Place asparagus and 1 - 2 garlic cloves in a pan.
4. Lightly drizzle olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.
5. Saute to taste.


*Thanks to Jennifer for this one! It is excellent! I didn't even know I liked cauliflower or Brussels sprouts (next recipe) until she made them for me.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Wash and cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
3. Spread cauliflower evenly in a baking pan.
4. Lightly drizzle olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.
5. Bake for ~60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Brussels Sprouts

*Thanks again to Jennifer for this one!

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Wash and cut Brussels sprouts in half.
3. Spread out evenly in a baking pan.
4. Lightly drizzle olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.
5. Bake for ~60 minutes, stirring occasionally.


*Thanks again to... Jennifer!

1. Wash and remove the tough center stalks of the kale.
2. Heat skillet to med. Place kale and 1 - 2 garlic cloves in a pan.
4. Lightly drizzle olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.
5. Saute to taste.

In addition, we use this style of cooking with frozen carrots and broccoli we keep on hand for something quick and simple! As you can see, this works for lots of yummy veggies. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nital's Famous Salad Dressing

Allison and Nital made this for us one time and we loved it! It is a really light dressing that is perfect when you are in the mood for a great salad. Allison makes the dressing in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup (and the ingredients are written to match) so that it is easy to pour when you are finished.

I loved the instructions she sent me, so I am keeping them (see below)!


3 heaping tbsp of horseradish mustard (good brand: Maille)
pour balsamic vinegar over mustard to 1/2 cup mark
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
3-4 quick shakes of garlic powder
3-4 quick shakes of salt
17 cranks of pepper grinder (start with 10, add to taste)
1 tbsp of lime juice (optional)


Stir like a crazy woman (or man) and enjoy!

Allison wrote, "We prefer this dressing over a simple salad of lettuce, red onions, tomatoes and croutons."

Thank you both for sharing your recipe!

Jennifer's Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Asparagus Pasta

This recipe is one of our favorites! Jennifer made it for us one time and we end up eating it at least once every other week. It is easy to make and super yummy! The sun-dried tomatoes must be the ones that are in the jar of olive oil. Trader Joe's sells a jar where the tomatoes are already cut julienne style. The chicken is not necessary but it makes a great meal.


8 oz penne pasta
1 pkg asparagus, cut into penne pasta sized pieces
~20 pieces sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, cut into penne pasta sized pieces
olive oil
1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken breasts
bread crumbs


1. Saute breaded chicken in a little bit of olive oil, turning once so it is fully cooked.
2. Meanwhile, bring water for pasta to a boil.
3. Remove chicken from pan and place somewhere to keep warm.
4. In same pan add a little more olive oil and some oil from the sun-dried tomatoes container (this will end up coating the pasta as a sauce).
5. Saute asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes on med. heat. Cook to taste.
6. Drain pasta and add to pan with asparagus and tomatoes. Stir until pasta, asparagus, and tomatoes are well blended.
7. Serve with chicken!

We have found that we like this meal with chicken that is thinly sliced.

Thanks, Jennifer, for this great recipe!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Add Your Own?

Interested in adding your own yummy recipes here? Email me the recipe so I can add it!


Chicken Cacciatore

AKA: Kitchen Catch A Tory (as Allison and I used to call it...) :)

This meal is pretty simple (and cheap) to make and can last for a week as leftovers - YUM! We have always made this meal in an electric skillet, so that is how I have written this recipe.


1/4 cup oil
8 - 10 skinless chicken thighs
flour w/ little bit of salt & pepper
1 med onion, cut in pieces
2 green peppers, cut in pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5 oz
2 cans tomato sauce, 15 oz
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup cooking sherry


1. Heat 1/4 cup oil in skillet ~250 degrees. (We use EVOO)
2. Dip chicken thighs (~8 - 10) in flour w/ little bit of salt and pepper. The chicken should be skinless and we use boneless ones, too.
3. Brown chicken in oil (cook 15 minutes on each side). Remove chicken
4. In same pan cook 1 med. onion (cut in pieces), 2 green peppers (cut in pieces), 2 cloves garlic (minced) until tender, but not brown.
5. Add 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz), 2 cans tomato sauce (15 oz), 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 pepper, 2 bay leaves, 1/4 cup cooking sherry.
6. Return chicken to skillet.
7. Simmer approx 15 mins. Turn chicken and cook another 15 mins.
8. Serve with rice!

For this meal we usually make about 3 cups of rice and serve it by placing the cacciatore mixture over top of it.