Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day #124 - Spicy Sausage & Peppers Penne

Tonight's meal was another quick and easy one. The recipe calls for hot Italian turkey sausage, but I couldn't find any at the grocery store when we went grocery shopping last weekend - so I opted for spicy Italian chicken sausage. The nutritional information is more favorable for the chicken sausage anyway - and I doubt it would have tasted any different. It was a really filling meal and the bell peppers add so much flavor!


8 oz Uncooked Penne Pasta
1 lb Hot Italian Turkey (or Chicken) Sausage (about 4 links)
3 Medium Bell Peppers Cut Into 1/4" Strips
1/2 Cup Coarsely Chopped Onion
2 Garlic Cloves, Pressed
1 Can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
1 can (8 oz) Tomato Sauce
2 tsp Italian Seasoning **See Note below
1/4 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

** Note: I keep a mixture of this Garlic Bread Seasoning on hand for occasions like this. It's the most fabulous mixture of ingredients and can be used on garlic bread, bread sticks, in pizza sauce, in other pasta sauces, etc.


Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until sausage is lightly browned and no longer pink. Remove sausages from the skillet; cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

In the same skillet, cook the bell peppers, onion and garlic over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until peppers are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add sausage, tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasoning mix. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.

Place pasta in a large bowl; pour sauce mixture over pasta, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Approximately For 2 Cups):

Total Calories: 330 cal

Total Fat: 3.5 g

Total Carbs: 40 g (2 carb exchanges)

Total Protein: 21 g

When paired with 1 piece of Francisco French Bread, 1 tbsp of Smart Balance Light Butter Spread, Sprinkling of the Garlic Bread Seasoning mentioned above, 2 cups of salad and a low calorie dressing, the total nutritional information is approximately: 450 calories, 4 g of fat, 57 g of carbs, and 23 g of protein.

Day #123 - Honey Mustard Pork Medallions & Orzo Pilaf

This is one of those meals you could easily work into your monthly menu planning. It's so easy and tastes so good! It would be fabulous paired with any kind of grain as a side - I pulled the recipe for the Orzo Pilaf from the back of the Orzo box. It can't get any easier than that!

I just have to add that I just finished eating leftovers for lunch - and it makes a fabulous lunch! Now I'm off for a walk around Bellevue! Enjoy!

Honey Mustard Pork Medallions:


1 Lb Pork Tenderloin
2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
1/8 tsp Red Pepper
1/4 cup Water
2 tsp Packed Brown Sugar


Slice pork loin into 1/4" slices. Mix all ingredients except water and brown sugar in a shallow bowl. Add pork; turn to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix water and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Remove pork from marinade and discard remaining marindate. Cook the pork in the skillet for 5 to 6 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink. Remove pork from the skillet and cover with foil to keep warm.

Reduce heat to low. Stir water & sugar mixture into drippings in the skillet. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Drizzle sauce over pork and serve.

Quick Orzo Pilaf


8 oz Dry Orzo
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Diced (1/2 Cup)
1/2 Cup Diced Red or Green Bell pepper
2-1/2 Cups Water
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube
1 Cup Frozen Peas & Carrots


In a saucepan, saute onion and bell pepper, about 3 minutes over medium heat, or until vegetables soften.

Add orzo, water and bouillon; stirring frequently, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in peas and carrots; cover and cook an additional two minutes, or until orzo is tender and peas and carrots are heated through.

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 4 oz Pork Loin):

Total Calories: 190 cal

Total Fat: 5.0 g

Total Carbs: 11 g

Total Protein: 26 g

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 1/3 Cup Orzo):

Total Calories: 210 cal

Total Fat: 1.0 g

Total Carbs: 41 g

Total Protein: 7.0 g

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day #122 - Szechuan Chicken

We decided to try something new and different with our dinner menu for the next two weeks. Everything you see posted for the next 14 days will be low in carbohydrates (2 carb choices or less). While Jim is the only diabetic in our house - I'm convinced we could all use a little diet makeover and this is a good starting point for us. And the meals we have planned look really fabulous! I can't wait to try them all.

This first one turned out pretty good - the flavors were good. My only complaint is that the chicken was too dry and I'm pretty sure it has to do with how they have you cook the chicken. Next time - I will have Jim cook the chicken on the grill to keep it nice and juicy.


1 tsp Minced Garlic
1 tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
1/2 tsp Salt-Free Lemon-Pepper Seasoning
1/2 tsp Crushed Fennel Seeds
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves (just a pinch)
1 Pound Chicken Tenders Cut Into 1/2" Slices
1 Tbsp Canola Oil
12 oz Bok Choy Cut Into 1/2" Slices
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)


In a mixing bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, lemon-pepper seasoning, fennel seeds, and cloves. Add the chicken. With your hands or a spoon, toss well to coat all the chicken pieces with the seasoning.

Set a wok or a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Place the chicken pieces into the pan so they are separated. Cook for 1 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook for an additional 1 minute until browned. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the bok choy and cook for about 2 minutes, tossing until the bok choy leaves are wilting. Add the broth and soy sauce.

Bring almost to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Serve and garnish with red pepper flakes if desired.

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 4 oz of chicken):

Total Calories: 156 Calories

Total Fat: 4 gm

Total Carbs: 3 gm

Total Protein: 28 gm

When paired with 1/2 a cup of brown rice and a side salad with light dressing - you have a fabulous meal for under 350 calories!!!

Day #121 - Steak & Pasta Salad

This one is pretty self explanatory. Jim grilled the steaks while I made the pasta salad (which consists of mini bow-tie pasta, diced tomatoes and orange bell peppers and mixed with your favorite low-fat Italian salad dressing).

Day #120 - Bean Dip & Strawberries

Jim and I went on a 23 mile bike ride today which means we also ate a late lunch when we got back. So - we kind of skipped dinner and snacked on some seven layer bean dip and strawberries with chocolate whipped cream while attending game night with some of our closest friends.


2 Cups (16 oz) Non-Fat Refried Beans
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
1 8 oz Package Nonfat Cream Cheese
1 Cup Nonfat Sour Cream
1 Jar Medium Salsa
1 Medium tomato
2 Cups Low Fat / Light Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Lettuce
1 Can (2 oz) of Sliced Black Olives
1/3 Cup Frozen Sweet Corn
1/3 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onions
1/4 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper
7 Green Onion Stems
Tortilla Chips or Celery for Dipping


In a bowl, stir the taco seasoning into the refried beans and spread along the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. in another bow, whip the cream cheese and sour cream together until cream and spread on top of the beans.

Spread salsa on top and sprinkle tomato, red onions and bell pepper (if using). Top with cheddar cheese, lettuce and finally with black olives, corn, cilantro and green onions. Refrigerate for one hour prior to serving.

Day #119 - Mediterranean Kitchen

If you are ever in the Kirkland area looking for a great place to eat - I highly recommend stopping by this small but fabulous place called the Mediterranean Kitchen. I've been told they also have a location in Seattle - but I have never been to that one. This is one of my most favorite places to eat. I am grateful for the fact that we moved 45 minutes away because otherwise - you would be seeing this awesome meal on my dinner blog all too often.

Pictured below if the Gyro Salad - it consists of romaine lettuce, pickled beats, radishes, cucumber, tomato, olives, the best Greek spices and FABULOUS tzatziki dressing - all topped with the most tender lamb meat you have ever eaten!

This last time we also splurged and got a side of their Greek Fries. If you are a French Fry fan - I highly recommend stopping by just for the fries. They add their special little Greek seasoning and top them with their tzatziki sauce, ketchup and some feta cheese. They are to die for!

But okay - I don't know the nutritional information - strictly by choice. I don't want to ruin a good thing by knowing how bad it really is for me. But just trust me - you should try it!!!

Day #118 - A Dose of Alzheimers

This is the one day I didn't note what we had for dinner. It will come to me eventually - and when it does - I will update this post to show it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day #117 - Thrown Together Shrimp

I'm beginning to think of myself as a culinary genius!

No really - I'm being serious. You can stop laughing now. I'm not claiming to be some sort of Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray knockoff, and I admit that most days, I resort to following someone else's recipe. But there have been many occasions where I have been able to throw together some pretty dang good meals with little or no effort.

Sometimes, I get these amazing ideas in my head while I'm at work, and I write them down so I won't forget them. Sometimes these ideas are food related - other times not so much. Today, while furiously plowing through a pile of junk on my desk, out of the blue - I had an AHA! food moment. It was after this moment that I called my husband and asked him to take the bag of shrimp out of the freezer - we were having shrimp tonight!

Now - my husband and daughter are fried shrimp kind of people. So I already knew I was going to batter and fry up a few to satisfy their needs. And then - after their bellies were full - I set out on a mission. My initial thought was to make a really yummy shrimp salad with a citrus dressing. But when I got home and saw the big tub of garlic staring at me in the fridge, I knew a shrimp salad just wouldn't do. In the end, I ended up just throwing together some of my favorite ingredients and flavors that we had in the fridge and came up with this delicious beauty of a dish (the picture doesn't do it justice).

The best part about this recipe, is the spinach. It soaks up of the flavor that gets left behind in the pan - it's really adds a bold flavor to this meal. You will LOVE it! I liked it so much - I made some more to take for lunch tomorrow!


12 Jumbo Prawns (Shelled & Deveined)
4 Cups Fresh Spinach
4 tsp Minced Garlic
Juice From 1/2 Fresh Lemon
1 Tbsp Butter (I used Smart Balance - Light)


Melt 1/2 the butter in a saute pan and saute garlic until just browned. Add shrimp and cook for 1.5 minutes. Turn shrimp and cook for an additional minute. Add most of the lemon juice to the pan and continue to cook shrimp for an addition 30 to 45 seconds. Remove shrimp from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add remaining butter and then add spinach. Top spinach with remaining lemon juice and stir. When spinach is completely wilted, remove and plate. Top spinach with shrimp and enjoy!

Nutritional Information (Approximately For 6 Shrimp & 2 Cups Wilted Spinach)

Total Calories: 164 cal.

Total Fat: 2.5 g

Total Carbs: 6 g

Total Protein: 29 g

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day #116 - Tacos

Kayla has been DYING for tacos ever since her surgery. They are her all time favorite and it was torture for her not being able to eat tacos of all things! So - tonight we had tacos. Quick and easy - just the way I like it. You can find the recipe and nutrition information here - however - tonight's tacos are a little healthier than the previous version.

I ran into these bad boys at the store last time we went grocery shopping and had to try them:

Here is the breakdown between your regular soft taco sized tortilla and these Carb Balance fajita sized tortillas:

<-- Taco Size Flour Tortilla

Fajita Sized Whole Wheat Tortilla -->

You Do The Math!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day #115 - Quiznos

I worked from 6:30 am until 5:15 pm today, I'm either coming down with a nasty cold or my allergies have suddenly gone into overdrive - I'm not quite sure which it is, and I'm sick and tired of the rain already! I am here to introduce to you today: Negative Nancy!

I have struggled all day to be in a good mood - I blame this nastiness that is going on in my sinuses. If it's allergies - then I must have developed a resistance to every allergy medication out there because nothing I am taking has helped. If it's a cold - then it better run its course fast because I don't have time to deal with this kind of crap. My ears are plugged and it feels like my head is stuck in the clouds. My throat is dry and scratchy and every time I tried to answer the phone at work today, I got laughed at on the other end. Oh - and last night - I know you have all experienced the one-nostril nose plug!

You know - where depending on which side you are currently sleeping on - one side of your nose is ALWAYS plugged. It starts out on one side of the nose and then you flip and lay on your other side, only to feel all the pluggedness giving way to gravity and draining to the other nostril, and before you know it - you are just one plugged up mess. Yeah - and if you're lucky enough to actually fall asleep - you wake up in the middle of the night with snot trails all up your cheek and and down the side of your face. It's fabulous - welcome to my world right now.

Anyway - now that I have completely grossed you out - let me tell you what we had for dinner tonight! My husband wanted to cook the salmon that we took out of the freezer over a week ago and never used. That is - until I pointed out to him the current color of the salmon and the fine print that says: "use immediately after thawing". As in - you better cook it the same day. The salmon ended up in the garbage. Sad.

Our fridge is empty - our food supply in the pantry is slowly dwindling down. I can use this as an excuse for not cooking tonight - but in all reality - I was just in a piss-poor mood and didn't feel like playing chef / waitress to my family tonight. So - we headed out to Quiznos because in an attempt to get back to eating healthy again - I knew they had this:

The Honey Bourbon Chicken Sandwich:

This sandwich is my all-time favorite. Not just because it tastes absolutely fabulous (a little sweet and a little spicy), but because a small sub has just 315 calories which will allow you to grab a bag of chips if you need a salt kick. Or - you can splurge and get the regular sized sandwich which still only has 520 calories and is much more filling and satisfying.

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 1 Regular Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread):

Total Calories: 520 cal

Total Fat: 8 g

Total Carbs: 76 g (21 g from sugar)

Total Protein: 29 g

Day #89 - #114

I realize I haven't been the most faithful blogger by any means - even after rededicating myself to my goal in my last post - I have still managed to fall behind. The last dinner I posted was on March 28th - which puts me exactly 28 days behind!!! Yikes! Where has the time gone???

I'm going to attempt to get caught up - but there are some huge gaps where I can't remember what we had for dinner - but it's not entirely my fault - so cut me some slack! Be prepared - however - because this post is gonna be a long one!

Sunday April 25th: Easter Dinner (Day #114)

We all managed to get together for Easter at my parent's house this year - All 12 of us! It was fabulous! We pigged out on ham, funeral potatoes, homemade rolls, salad, corn on the cob, pickled beats, and cherry pie! Can't beat that! However - I'm paying for it all today! It's back to the healthier way of eating for sure!

Tuesday April 5th - Saturday April 23rd (Day #96 - #113)

Somewhere during these 19 days - I managed to cook a few good meals. What exactly they were - I couldn't tell you because A) I didn't take any pictures. B) I didn't write them down like I promised myself I would start doing. and C) I'm just a flat out Slacker - with a capital S! Sorry!

Monday April 4th: Sympathy Nothing (Day #95)

**sigh** I'm discovering there are a lot of days where my family doesn't really eat dinner! For one reason or another - we just don't eat the last meal of the day!! This week - is the start of Spring Break - and unfortunately - my poor little Kayla Bug is spending her spring break recovering from surgery! You can read about her ordeal here!

Needless to say - since Kayla couldn't eat - we didn't eat either! Except - I'm pretty sure Jim and I snuck in a few bites of ice cream while Kayla was taking a mini nap.

Sunday April 3rd: Popsicles (Day #94)

We got back from Spokane in the late afternoon - just in time to pick Miley up from this hell-hole of a kennel we took her to for the weekend. I will NEVER take her to that kennel EVER again. I don't think she pooped the entire time she was there! Don't get me started! Anyway - by the time we picked up the dog, got home, unpacked, took the dog to the dog park so she could get some exercise after booked couped up in a stupid kennel all weekend without ANY walks or ANY form of exercise - we were exhausted and called it a day without eating dinner. Actually - I think we all had a Popsicle somewhere during the evening. It's the dinner of champions!

Saturday April 2nd: Papa Murphy's Pizza (Day #93)

We were in Spokane - visiting various people and places we love. Since we didn't have a whole lot of dining options, we grabbed a couple of pizzas and cooked them at my Grandma's house. Pretty easy.

Friday April 1st: Trail Mix From Costco (Day #92)

A few months ago, we bought tickets to a concert for this night. The plan was to get all snazzied up and head to Seattle for a night of fine dining and then the concert. Unfortunately - things didn't exactly go as planned and we ended up not eating dinner at all and we just barely made it to the concert in time for it to start! You can read about our fiasco here!

What I didn't mention in that post - is that during the car ride to Spokane, we all snacked on Costco trail mix cause we were kind of starving.

Thursday March 31st: Chili and Cornbread (Day #91)

The last time we made a batch of chili - we had a TON leftover. So - we filled the freezer with containers of homemade chili. We also bought this really HUGE bag of cornbread mix from Costco that has been sitting in our pantry for the last 12 months. What are you supposed to do when you have a TON of chili and a TON of cornbread mix??? Eat chili and cornbread - duh!

Again - this is a recipe I have posted once before and can be found here!

Wednesday March 30th: Manicotti (Day #90)

The last time Jim surprised me and made Manicotti for dinner, the recipe made so much, he made a smaller dish and stuck in the freezer for another meal down the road. Tonight was a freezer meal kind of night! I was kind of skeptical to try manicotti after it had been frozen - but in all honesty, I couldn't even tell it had ever been frozen! It tasted just as fresh and delicious as it did the first time!

For the recipe and nutrition information for this Manicotti recipe - you can find it on my original post here!

Tuesday March 29th: Chicken Bruschetta Pasta (Day #89)


1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Strips
1/3 Cup Reduced Sodium Organic Chicken Broth
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tub (10 oz) Philadelphia Original Cooking Creme
2 Cups Grape Tomatoes
2 Cups Hot, Cooked Bow-Tie Pasta
12 Fresh Basil Leaves, Torn


Cook chicken in a large, non-stick skillet on medium heat for about 5 or 6 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and garlic powder and let cook an additional 3 minutes.

Add cooking creme and tomatoes , cook and stir for 3 minutes.

Stir in pasta and top with basil!!!

This is probably one of the most simple meals I have ever made in my entire life. Only cold cereal and toast can top this in the easy category. If you haven't tried the new Philadelphia cooking cremes, I would recommend it. They seriously make cooking simple and really yummy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day #88 - Pecan Crusted Salmon

This salmon recipe is so simple and extremely quick! The potatoes took the longest to cook and that only took 25 minutes! I've never had salmon with any kind of "coating" so this was new for me. I usually like it grilled and plain with maybe some salt and pepper. But this was REALLY good - The pecans give it a little crunch and there's a slight hint of something sweet! It was fabulous!


2 Salmon Fillets (6 oz each)
2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Finely Chopped Pecans
1/2 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper
3 Tbsp EVOO


Cut salmon fillets in half so you have a total of four 3 oz portions. Place the salmon fillets in a large resealable plastic bag. Add milk, seal bag and turn to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes and then drain.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, combine the pecans, flour, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Coat fillets with pecan mixture, gently pressing into the fish.

In a large skillet, brown salmon in oil over medium-high heat. Transfer to a baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Nutrition Information (Approximately For a Single 3 oz Fillet):

Total Calories: 275 cal

Total Fat: 15 g

Total Carbs: 9.5 g

Total Protein: 22 g

We added some baby golden potatoes and steam broccoli to our meal which added about 110 calories, 0 g fat, 15 g carbs, and 4 g protein. It was a great dinner!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day #87 - Cabbage Rolls (Golubtsi)

A while back I asked my friends for some new dinner ideas and tonight's dinner was an idea my friend Lesley recommended. I have been looking online for a good recipe, but couldn't bring myself to just pick one and make it. This was actually about a month ago that I asked for dinner ideas - maybe longer.

After the idea of cabbage rolls was introduced, I went out and bought a head of cabbage thinking I would make them that same week. From this experience, I have learned that a head of cabbage (if properly stored) can last for over a month without going bad. The other day, she sent me a link to a recipe online - so I took it and ran with it. I had to assess the cabbage situation because I wasn't sure if I would need to run to the store - and lo and behold - the head of cabbage was still green and intact! I was amazed!

I made a few adjustments to this recipe to make it more "me" - but it turned out really good! I was skeptical about the girls liking it because of the cabbage - but they all loved it and had seconds!

The recipe is really easy - the only setback is that I didn't realize it had to bake in the oven for an hour after putting it all together - so we were in a bit of a time crunch to get dinner eaten before Jim had to take the girls to the ferry. But we made it and they scarfed some food down and they were on their way. Now I'm home alone - blogging and doing laundry so I don't have to go to work nekkid tomorrow.


1 Head of Cabbage
2 lbs Ground Turkey
1-1/2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
1/2 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Dried Parsley

1 Can Crushed Tomatoes (I ran mine through the food processor to make a puree)
1 Can Tomato Sauce (8 oz)
2 Tbsp Ketchup
1 Onion Chopped
1-1/2 Cups Plain Low-Fat Yogurt
2 Cups Water


Core the cabbage leaving it whole. Boil in a large pot of water until the leaves separate easily. Drain leaves and let them cool while you prepare the filling.

Combine the meat, rice, onion (1/2 medium onion), salt, pepper and parsley. Place about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture onto each cabbage leaf. Fold edges over and roll up. Place in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Continue until you use up the hamburger mixture and cabbage leaves.

Saute chopped onion in a little EVOO until translucent. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, ketchup and water. Mix well and bring to a boil. Add about 1/3 of a cup of the sauce to the plain yogurt to temper it and then add the sour cream mixture to the sauce. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls.

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or so.

Nutrition Information (Approximately For One Cabbage Roll & 1/4 Cup Sauce)

Total Calories: 149 cal

Total Fat: 5.62 g

Total Carbs: 9.76 g

Total Protein: 12.33 g

What Do You Do With 5 Lbs of Fresh Strawberries?

Strawberries are on sale at Albertons this week - 1 lb cartons 2/$5 - or - a 5 lb carton for $7.99. If it were just Jim, Kayla and myself, I would have gone with the smaller 1 lb cartons - but since we have Jim's girls - I splurged and went for the big carton.

We all slept in pretty late this morning - so I decided to make "brunch" for everyone to enjoy when they woke up. This is what I did with 5 pounds of fresh, yummy strawberries:

Strawberry Belgian Waffles

Strawberry Pop Tarts (homemade)

Jim is a big pastry snob - and he LOVED these homemade pop tarts.

Day #86 - Tacos

I know - I'm way behind on my dinner blogging. I feel completely horrible and even more horrible that I can't remember what exactly we had every night. I apologize for being so lazy with the blogging - I promise daily posts this next week WITH recipes and nutrition information (if available)! There are about 10 posts below to get you all caught up on the latest happenings in the Brown Kitchen - ENJOY!

My parents invited us over for dinner and games tonight. We had some really good tacos followed by pumpkin pie that Jim made!

Day #85 - Arby's

Because of one reason or another, we haven't had Jim's girls at our house in over a month. So we decided to go and get them this weekend. Jim picked me up from work around 6:00 and we headed to the ferry - only to learn that the ferries were running about an hour behind. We usually wait until we get the girls and either eat out with them or wait until we get home to eat . But, given the hour wait we had ahead of us, instead of waiting for them and eating at 9:00, we ran to Arby's and grabbed some dinner while we waited. Shame on us - I know.

Day #84 - Manicotti

We were supposed to have salmon for dinner tonight - so I was completely in shock when I walked in and smelled garlic, basil, parsley, tomatoes....all the ingredients commonly found in Italian food dishes. And I was even more shocked to see that Jim had taken it upon himself to improvise with dinner and made Manicotti! It was probably the best manicotti I have ever had - it was perfect in every way!

Day #83 - Hamburgers on the Grill

It was beautiful out today - so Jim busted out the grill and made some fabulous hamburgers! Dinner tonight has really made the anticipation for summer greater! I can't wait for more blue skies and sunny days!

Day #82 - Olive Garden

Today, I ended up having Kayla with me at work for half of the day. She had a doctor's appointment with an Ear, Nose & Throat specialized who just happens to be in the medical tower at the hospital. Jim also had a job interview in Seattle - so he dropped Kayla off on his way to the interview and she got to spend the afternoon with me. We found out from her doctor's appointment that she needs to have her tonsils and adenoids removed. We're hoping this will help decrease the occurrence of ear infections and also her heavy breathing / snoring. Unfortunately - she will be spending the entire week of Spring Break recovering from this procedure. Poor girl.

Jim's interview went well and now we just get to play the waiting game. On his way to pick us up - he suggested we go to Olive Garden since we all had a really hectic and kind of stressful day. So we did - and it was just as great as always.

Day #81 - BBQ Chicken

Jim made this amazing BBQ chicken with homemade BBQ sauce. It was so good and even better in my salad for lunch the next day.



Day #80 - Leftovers

We had a bunch of leftovers in the fridge tonight - so we decided to make the most of it and used what we already had on hand. It worked out pretty well - and the dishes were minimal. That's my kind of cooking!

Day #79 - Shake 'N Bake

We picked up Kayla from spending the weekend at her dad's tonight. One of her favorites for dinner is Shake 'N Bake chicken with mashed potatoes and corn. So we made her favorite as a "welcome home" meal.

Day #78 - Arby's

Today Jim and I spent the day cleaning the house from top to bottom. It was a lot of work. When it came time for dinner, we both looked at each other, completely exhausted. Not wanting to mess up our perfectly clean kitchen - we decided we deserved to eat out tonight. So we did - and it was good.

Have you ever had the French Dip from Arby's? It's actually quite FABULOUS and the sandwich alone is only 500 calories (and very filling). Take off the cheese and it's 445 calories. Not bad for eating out!

Day #77 - Questionable

I've recently come up with a way to remind myself what we had for dinner each day because if I can't get around to blogging about it right away, I have a tendency to forget. I normally have my menu planner to go off of - but this day, we strayed from the menu for some reason and I can't remember what we ended up eating. How sad is that?

Anyway - it was probably something good. If I remember down the road, I will update this post. I guess I now have more motivation to stay caught up so this doesn't happen again. Poop!

Day #76 - Turkey Kielbasa

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sometimes I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to trying new foods. I was really tempted to try and put together corned beef tonight for dinner - but my nerves got the best of me and we resorted to turkey Kielbasa with Sauerkraut - which was just as delicious and enjoyable.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day #75 - Oven Fried Chicken

A long time ago, we had this oven fried chicken while we were visiting Jim's parents. It was this recipe that made me want to buy the cookbook the recipe came from. It's a really easy and healthy way to give chicken that crunchy exterior you get with fried chicken, but without all the grease and artery clogging nastiness. Have I mentioned that I love having a husband who can cook???


1 Box Melba Toast, Broken Into Large Pieces
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Large Eggs
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt & Pepper


Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and place a large wire rack on top.

Process the Melba toast in a food processor into large pieces. Toss the crumbs with the oil and spread in a shallow dish. Whisk the eggs, mustard, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, and cayenne together in a separate shallow dish.

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip it into the egg mixture, then coat with the Melba crumbs. Press on the crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the breaded chicken on the wire rack.

Bake until the center of the chicken registers 160 degrees, about 25 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 6 oz of Chicken):

Total Calories: 224 cal

Total Fat: 2.5 g

Total Carbs: 17 g

Total Protein: 34 g

Enjoy! I'm about to hit the elliptical while we watch Survivor! I'm glad Russell is gone!!!

Day #74 - Chicken Noodle Soup

Jim was feeling ambitious when we were making our menu for the next couple of weeks. Tonight, he made chicken noodle soup from scratch - chicken broth and all. It was REALLY good and tasted even better when I took some leftover soup for lunch today. There was a TON left, so I'm going to try freezing it - we'll see how that goes.

Chicken Broth:


1 Fryer Chicken
10 Cups Water
1 Large Onion, Sliced
1 Large Carrot, Sliced
1 Celery Rib, Sliced
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper


In a large soup kettle or dutch oven, combine all ingredients. Slowly bring to a boil over low heat. Cover and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes or until the meat is tender. Skim the surface as foam arises.

Remove the chicken and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skin and bones. Chop the chicken and set aside.

Strain broth through a cheesecloth-lined colander, discarding vegetables and bay leaf. Refrigerate broth for 8 hours or overnight. Remove fat from the surface.

Chicken Noodle Soup:


10 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Large Carrots, Sliced
2 Celery Ribs, Sliced
1 Large Onion, Chopped
2 Cups Egg Noodles
Cubed Chicken
1 Cup Frozen Peas (optional)
1/2 Cup Frozen Cut Beans (optional)


Place broth in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add sliced carrots, celery and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add egg noodles and chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 minutes. Stir in frozen peas and cut beans (if using). Cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until beans and noodles are tender.

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 2 Cups of Soup):

Total Calories: 225 cal

Total Fat: 7 g

Total Carbs: 16 g

Total Protein: 18 g

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day #72 and #73 - Homemade Lasagna

When I was growing up, I used to really look forward to Sunday evenings. We usually had a really nice dinner, like one of those meals that is usually reserved for special occasions. We didn't have dessert very often - but if we did, it was usually on Sundays while we were all sitting down to watch the Sunday night movie that was one TV. I'm probably the only one who remembers those movies, but it was something I always looked forward to.

Anyway - I have decided that I want to set aside one night a week to create these kinds of memories for Kayla. I just need to pick a night.

Anyway - Sunday night, we had all the fixings for Lasagna that's what we made and it was SO dang good. We had leftovers for dinner tonight!

Our fabulous dinner was washed down with these AMAZING chocolate fudge brownings topped with chocolate ganache and some vanilla ice cream.

Lasagna Ingredients:

Chunky Tomato Sauce:

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, Minced
1 lb Extra Lean Ground Beef
1 tsp Salt
6 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
28 oz Crushed Tomatoes
28 oz Diced Tomatoes
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Sauce Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 tsp salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes with the juice, oregano and red pepper flakes. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a separate pan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook, stirring to break up the clumps, until no longer pink. Add meat mixture to tomato mixture and cook about 5 minutes.


15 oz Ricotta Cheese
1-1/4 Cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1/4 tsp Dried Basil
1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
6 Cups Tomato Sauce (See Recipe Above)
12 No Boil Lasagna Noodles
4 Cups Skim Milk Mozzarella, Shredded


Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the Parmesan, the basil, egg, salt and pepper until well combined.

Spread 1/4 Cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Place 3 noodles on top of the sauce and drop 3 Tbsp of the ricotta mixture down the center of each noodle, then spread it to an even thickness. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the mozzarella. Spoon 1-1/2 cups of the tomato sauce evenly over the cheese. Repeat this layering two more times.

For the final layer, place the 3 remaining noodles on top. Spread the remaining 1-1/4 cup sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and then the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Spray a large sheet of foil lightly with vegetable oil spray and cover the lasagna. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese is browned and the sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day #71 - BBQ Ribs

My parents invited us over for dinner tonight. We ate some good food and worked on our Christmas cards (these were supposed to be for last year, but we didn't get them done in time to get them out - don't hate). Anyway - we had some yummy BBQ ribs with baked potatoes and Caesar salad. It was REALLY good - dinner always tastes better when someone else makes it.

Day #70 - Pizza Hut

I know we just had pizza the other night - but we had many reasons to celebrate this Friday - so we caved and went to Pizza Hut for dinner. It's Jim's all-time favorite place to eat - something about childhood memories or something like that. The funny thing is - we had to wait almost an hour for our pizza because the waiter gave the first pizza to the wrong table. So they had to make another one. As a result - we got our meal for free. It can't get any better than that!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day #69 - Leftovers

Tonight is the last night we will be spending with our house guest. So we thought it would be the perfect evening to clean out the fridge and have leftovers. There were a TON of leftovers from this weeks dinners - I think between the four of us, we pretty much cleaned out the fridge. It was pretty nice! I'm looking forward to life being normal again.

Day #68 - Pizza

We were going to make homemade pizza tonight - Jim even had some homemade dough made for the crust. Then I realized - we didn't have any sauce, cheese or veggies for the pizza. So instead of buying all those ingredients, we decided it was the same price and much easier to grab a pizza from Papa Murphy's. So that's what we did - and it was fabulous!

Day #67 - Boston Baked Cod

I have always been a little hesitant about buying fish. I stick to the ones I know and trust - usually salmon and halibut. But when I saw these awesome looking cod fillets at Costco - I couldn't resist and bought a bag. Jim's chef skills are really being put to the test this week with new recipes. The cod was cooked perfectly and tasted great!


2 slices high-quality sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm, quartered
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Baked Cod:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 medium shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced very fine
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
2 skinless cod fillets (each about 1 pound), cut in half crosswise


To make the topping: Adjust one oven rack to the upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heat source) and the second rack to the middle position; heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pulse the bread in the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade until processed into fairly even 1/4-inch pieces about the size of Grape-Nuts cereal, about ten 1-second pulses.

Spread the crumbs evenly on a rimmed baking sheet; toast on the lower rack, shaking the pan once or twice, until golden brown and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.Toss together the bread crumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; set aside.

To make the cod: Increase the oven setting to broil. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat until the foaming has subsided. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallot and garlic and saute until slightly softened, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon juice, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and swirl to incorporate. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Season the cod liberally with salt and pepper. Fold the thin tailpieces in half to increase their thickness. Place the fillets in a shallow 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and pour the melted butter mixture over. Broil until the fish is completely opaque when gently flaked with a paring knife, 14 to 15 minutes. Baste the fish with the pan drippings and top with the bread crumbs. Continue broiling until the crumbs are golden brown, about 1 minute. Using a metal spatula, transfer the fish to individual plates and pour the basting juices around the edges of the fish (not on top, or the bread crumbs will become soggy). Serve immediately.

Day #66 - Bruschetta Chicken

I'm starting to get used to the idea of having a "stay-at-home-husband" these days. I have come home to a wonderful home-cooked meal every day this week. It's been so nice - I'm not sure I want him to go back to work.

Tonight - we had Bruschetta Chicken served over whole wheat linguine noodles and steamed green beans. It was a pretty fabulous dinner - my husband is the BEST!


1/2 Cup Flour
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup Dry Bread Crumbs
1 Tbsp Melted Butter
2 Large Tomatoes, Seeded & Chopped
3 Tbsp Minced Fresh Basil
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper


Cut chicken breasts in half and pound flat.

Place flour eggs in separate shallow bowls. Combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and butter and place in another shallow dish. Dip chicken in flour, then in eggs and finally in the bread crumb mix, turning to coat. Place in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

Loosely cover the baking dish with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 to 1 minutes longer until the top is browned.

While chicken is baking - in a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over the chicken and return to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until tomato mixture is heated through. Serve over warm noodles (optional).

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 4 oz Chicken with tomato topping):

Total Calories: 380 cal

Total Fat: 14 g

Total Carbs: 19 g

Total Protein: 42 g

Day #65 - Red Robin

Another lady that I work with has owned her own Transcription business for many, many years. Recently she purchased a digital dictation / transcription system to make her life easier. She hired Jim to help her get the program set up. So we headed over to her house on Sunday morning. It ended up taking until about 9:00 that night to get it set up. It was crazy - but she treated us to dinner at Red Robin (of course!).

Day #64 - BLT's

I have coworker who is moving to Oregon - well let me rephrase that - she was supposed to be moving down to Oregon, but changed her mind at the last minute. To make a long story short - she has been staying at our house for the last week so I haven't really had time to blog about our meals. So today I'm playing catch up - I apologize for the lack of blogging.

Saturday night it was just Jim and myself for dinner. We spent the evening putting together a puzzle and then had BLT's for dinner. It was simple.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day #63 - Chicken Fried Rice

My dad makes the best fried rice in the Universe and my goal in life is to make a fried rice that is as good as his before I die. Tonight I attempted and it was good - but not as good as his.

I bought a HUGE bag of brown rice from Costco a LONG time ago - and it's been staring at me in the pantry for the last couple of weeks. So tonight's meal was planned to try and use up some of the brown rice.

It was really simple to make - and it actually tasted really good - but I still can't get it to taste like my dad's!!!


1 Cup of Brown Rice
2 Cups of Water
1 Tbsp Butter
3 Eggs
3 Slices Bacon
1 lb Chicken Cooked & Cut Into 1/2" Pieces
1 Cup Frozen Peas
2 Tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Rinse rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Add rice to boiling water and boil for one minute. Turn the heat to low and continue to let rice cook (covered) for 30 minutes.

Cut bacon into 1/4" x 1/2" strips. Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat. About half way through cooking the bacon, add the egg and scramble. Don't forget to keep an eye on your bacon so it doesn't burn. When the eggs and bacon are both done, remove from the pan and set aside (save the grease from the bacon in the skillet).

After cooking the rice for 30 minutes, heat up your skillet with the bacon grease - there probably won't be enough bacon grease to get your rice all nice and fried, so I added 1 Tbsp of a healthy butter substitute to help the process. When the butter is melted, add rice and allow to cook and brown. Stir occasionally to keep from burning. Add Tamari sauce or Soy sauce and mixed. Add frozen peas and chicken pieces and cook for another one minute.

Add the bacon and egg mixture and cook long enough to heat through. Serve and Enjoy!