Monday, June 30, 2008


Since I freeze leftovers on a regular basis, I am careful to keep track of when something is in danger of "expiring." A look around the freezer shelves revealed 3/4 package of fresh pasta sheets and a large container of "Sunday gravy." The refrigerator held a 2 pound container of ricotta that I had bought for a Father's Day party we couldn't attend, so the short ribs would wait for another day.

I love fresh pasta sheets. Even though we used to make our own crepe-like manicotti shells and the taste was wonderful, nothing beats the texture of this pasta. I happen to prefer manicotti over lasagna even with the ease of the no cook sheets. I like the way the filling sets up--more like ravioli. The recipe for the filling is very simple. You can top these with your own sauce or use one of my recipes. With the manicotti, I served a simple salad with a wonderful balsamic dressing, a new recipe that I tried for the first time. Buon appetito!

Manicotti - Makes 16
8 fresh pasta sheets, cut in half
1 1/2 lb whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup whole milk shredded mozzarella
1 egg
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
parsley, chopped

Lay the cut pasta sheets on waxed paper. Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, egg, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and parsley in a large bowl until well blended. Place 2 heaping spoonsful in the middle of each sheet. Gently roll, leaving seam on bottom. Cover the bottom of a 9X13 inch casserole dish with sauce. Place 10-12 manicotti in this dish. Cover the bottom of a second, smaller casserole dish with sauce for the remaining manicotti. Cover the manicotti with sauce and sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese. Cover each dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake covered for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Balsamic Dressing (from Sale, Pepe, Amore & Fantasia by Marcello Russodivito)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
12 tbs extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, and vinegar. Add the oil as you whisk briskly. Serve with your favorite salad.


My refrigerator is filled with defrosting meat; my kitchen sink holds a container of frozen sauce and a package of frozen pasta; but I'm obsessed with baking bread. I copied the recipe for "No Knead Bread" but don't have any bread flour. I also enjoy the kneading part, but figure I get to use my beloved Le Creuset Dutch oven for the recipe. But wait! During this morning's "blog walk" (I try to visit a dozen new ones a day), I saw the word sourdough starter and remembered the many "Friendship" loaves I've baked over the year. I Googled "sourdough starter" and the best hit was "Sourdough Baking: The Basics" by S. John Ross.

Most everyone has eaten sourdough bread, but you may not realize that sourdough bread is made without added yeast. Rather, it is made by creating a starter in which wild yeast grow. This is the way it was done in the years before you could pick up those little packets of yeast in the grocery store.

Making a starter takes about 1 minute. All you need is something to keep your starter in. This starter is a "live" thing which you will keep in your fridge and feed. It's a batter made of flour and water that becomes filled with living yeast and bacteria. Yummy, did you say? Well, yes, the bread it makes will be. The yeast and the bacteria form this symbiotic relationship; it's actually a thriving colony of micro-organisms. Did I hear science project? To make your bread, you blend some starter with some flour and you make dough. The yeast propogates and leavens your bread. Easy, peasy.

So, let's get that starter started:

STEP 1: get a wide-mouthed glass jar (or a small crock with a lid, or a Tupperware container, for heaven's sake)

STEP 2: blend 1 cup of warm water and 1 cup of flour

STEP 3: pour your starter into the glass jar

You're done! I didn't say this was rocket science! Now, keep the starter in a warm place (70-80 degrees Farenheit). This will allow the yeast to grow rapidly.

STEP 4: every 24 hours, feed the starter. Do this by throwing away half of it and then adding another 1/2 cup of flour mixed with 1/2 cup of water.

Within 3 or 4 days (though it CAN take as long as a week), you should start seeing lots of bubbles throughout. There should be a pleasant sour or beer-like smell. Your starter may begin to puff up as well. When is it done? WHEN IT DEVELOPS A BUBBLY FROTH. When that happens, put it in the refrigerator with the lid on. Then, aside from a weekly feeding, you just have to keep the "hooch" off it. Hooch is that layer of watery liquid, sometimes dark, that contains alchohol. It builds up in your starter when it's in the fridge. Just pour it off if your starter is wet, or stir it back in if your starter looks dry. Just don't worry about it.

That's it for now. In a few days, I'll tell you how to proof the sponge and bake your bread.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I love roast chicken, but I don't love the mess it makes in my oven. Most every grocery store does their own rotisserie chicken now, but I always wonder what additives they use, so I was intrigued by a recipe I came across on a message board for a deli-style rotisserie chicken done in a crockpot. I must say the results were spectacular, though I had to adjust the cooking time. The "recipe" would fit on the head of a pin with room left over for the Declaration of Independence.

Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken
1 whole chicken, 3-5 lbs
olive oil spray
seasoned salt

Clean the chicken inside and out, then spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Spray the inside of the crockpot as well. Note: Do not put any water in the crockpot, but roll 3 or 4 wads of aluminum foil into 2”-3” balls and put them in the bottom of the pot. The chicken is going to sit on these. Place the chicken breast side down on top of the aluminum balls.

The chicken breast sits on the aluminum balls so that when the natural juices drain to the bottom of the pot, they stay in the breast instead of draining from the breast keeping it super moist! Cook on High for 3-6 hours (my 4 lb. chicken took 3 hours).

This chicken tastes remarkably close to one you would buy, precooked, in the deli section of your supermarket **NOTE** wrap a potato in foil and place them in the bottom of the crock pot to make the foil balls, then you have both chicken and potatoes cooked to perfection.

I'd much rather clean my crockpot than my oven and a roasting pan. The smell was incredible! I may never roast another chicken. I wonder if I could stuff it next time? Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Many people are afraid to try broccoli rabe (rapini) because they've heard that it's bitter. While it can have a bit of a bite, if prepared correctly it doesn't have to taste bitter. It's a wonderful vegetable, loaded with goodness, and it marries well with most pasta, but needs a sauce that is understated. In the winter, I enjoy it with turkey sausage and orrechiette. I wanted something that was a bit more "summery," so this recipe was born.

Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe - 2 to 3 servings
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and sliced very thinly
1 head broccoli rabe, washed and drained, roughly chopped
8 oz shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
8 oz spaghetti
1/3 cup olive oil
grated Parmesan cheese

In a heavy skillet, heat the 1/3 cup oil and add the thinly sliced garlic. Cook over low flame. You want to "toast" the garlic slowly. It will take between 15-25 minutes. Stir when it starts to brown. PATIENCE is required here to get that lovely, nutty flavor. Remove from oil when completely toasted. As the garlic toasts, bring a large pot of water to a boil; I add about a half teaspoon of sugar. Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water; cook for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and bring the water to a second boil and cook the spaghetti. About 3 minutes before the spaghetti is done, reheat the oil in the skillet and add the shrimp; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes until the shrimp are no longer opaque. Add the drained broccoli rabe to the skillet and toss with the oil and shrimp. Remove the pasta with tongs and add to the skillet; add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and cook over low heat, mixing the ingredients well (about 1 minute). Ladle into serving bowls, top each bowl with toasted garlic, and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


As much as I love salad, during the summer I enjoy trying something other than the usual mixed green salad or Caesar salad that we tend to eat night after night. I like something with my lunch--often a Boca burger or a Lean Cuisine panini. This slaw is just the thing and it takes 5 minutes to toss it together. It only gets better the next day or two.

Broccoli Slaw - 8 servings
1 (12 oz) bag broccoli slaw
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar

In a large bowl combine the slaw, apples, and raisins. In a measuring cup whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Pour over the salad and toss well. Refrigerate a few hours before eating.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I started using won ton skins for ravioli wrappers long before I ever saw a recipe for doing so, but there's no way to prove I was ahead of the curve. The same holds true for wraps, but there are no patents for food inventions or discoveries. I'll just have to be content with knowing this for myself.

In any event, a few years after I began fooling around with won ton wrappers, I began to notice recipes for their use. They are lower in calories than fresh pasta and, though they are a bit delicate, they taste delicious and are cooked in 5 minutes or less.

This recipe for wild mushroom ravioli with a simple tomato sauce is taken from Weight Watchers' Dining for Two cookbook. My only changes are in the sauce which is indeed simple, but exceedingly tasty. Leftovers make a wonderful bruschetta topping with the addition of some shredded mozzarella. In fact, I am making a loaf with the leftovers to freeze and use at a future time. I would recommend this sauce on any fresh pasta if you don't want to put the energy into making the ravioli.

Wild Mushroom Ravioli in Simple Tomato Sauce - 2 servings
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3/4 lb shitake mushrooms, very thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped (about 5 tbs)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper
10 won ton wrappers
3/4 lb plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
5 sun dried tomatoes, reconstituted and chopped fine
1 tbs fresh chopped basil
2 tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tsp oil in a nonstick pan and add the mushrooms, 1 tbs of the onion, and 2 tbs of the garlic. Cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the wine and simmer until liquid evaporates--about 8 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat to cool.

Arrange wonton wrappers on waxed paper and spoon 2 tbs cooled mushroom mixture onto center of each. Moisten all around edge of wrapper with water and fold into triangle and seal edges. Place ravioli on a baking sheet and cover with a damp towel while you bring a pot of water to a boil and make the sauce.

Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in same nonstick pan and add remaining onion and garlic, cooking about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup of wine, the tomatoes, and the tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, when the water comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add ravioli. Cook at a simmer, not a boil, for 5 minutes. Drain with a slotted spoon and top with sauce and cheese.
Per serving (5 ravioi, 1/3 cup sauce, 1 tbs grated cheese): 296 caolories, 10g fat, 5 g fiber

Friday, June 20, 2008


When I shopped yesterday, I only picked up one carton of mushrooms instead of two, but I really wanted to make this dish tonight so I had to use--GULP!--canned mushrooms. It still turned out delicious, but I wouldn't do it except under extreme duress.

I love pasta and have tried hard to love whole wheat pasta. I've tried so many different brands it makes my head spin. Unfortunately, I have not fallen in love. In a desperate attempt to try to eat pasta more healthfully, I tried the new Ronzoni Smart Taste which has 6 grams of fiber in each serving. It was good. Of course fresh is better, but this is something I can live with since I miss eating pasta as often as we did in the past.

This recipe will feed 4 people who eat like birds, or 2 with normal appetites and you'll have a bit left over. Since it is lowfat and loaded with vegetables, eating a double portion isn't so bad. If you use regular pasta, the nutritional information per serving is: 231 calories, 3g total fat (1g saturated fat), 29g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 21g protein, 145mg calcium); it would be lower in calories, fat, and carbs and higher in fiber using the Smart Taste. It was a snap to make, so it's a good choice for weeknights.

Creamy Spinach Florentine
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs flour
1 cup skim or 1% milk
1/2 cup beef broth
3/4 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
4 cups hot cooked penne or other medium-sized pasa
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and add the chicken, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 6 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk and the broth, then bring to a boil, stirring as the mixture thickens. Stir in the spinach and grated cheese and return to a boil. Add the drained pasta, lower the heat, and cook for another minute until the pasta is coated with the sauce.

This was absolutely delicious and filling--I ate a portion and a half!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


There are very few restaurants that prepare this classic in a way that I like. Most offer a flour-dredged chicken cutlet in some "add on" dark brown sauce. Some use mushrooms, which I prefer, but many do not. Most often the taste of the Marsala wine overwhelms everything else. It's just the kind of dish that you have to play around with yourself. I serve my chicken Marsala with rice, but you may substitute pasta (no tomato sauce!!! put the serving over the pasta) or even mashed potatoes.

Arlene's Chicken Marsala
1 Tbs canola oil
3/4 - 1 lb boneless chicken cutlets or tenders
2 medium shallots, chopped
1 Tbs flour
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup Marsala wine
2 cups sliced white mushrooms
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken and saute, turning as needed, until lightly browned (4-5 minutes). Transfer to a plate. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually stir in the broth and the Marsala wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens (about 2 minutes). Add back the chicken and juices, reduce the heat, and simmer about 3 minutes. Serve with the rice (or pasta or potatoes). Serves 2.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I can't say that I love street food--not in America anyway--but I make an exception for sausage and peppers. It doesn't matter that I seldom eat green peppers or that it is clearly grease that is being absorbed by my roll. I still love the kind of sausage and pepper hero that you get at the Italian feast or on the boardwalk.

I draw the line at cooking that kind of sausage and peppers. When I'm making the dish for a party or cookout, I use regular pork sausage and let the calories be damned. But I enjoy this dish on a regular basis by substituting a good turkey sausage (I prefer Jennie-O and Perdue, the latter being harder to find). With a few little additions, you can really ramp up the flavor. I sometimes serve this over pasta; sometimes on a good piece of Italian bread; or, just plain with a salad and/or another vegetable. If you haven't already tried turkey sausage, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

One of my additions is tomato paste. I no longer buy this staple in cans. I was forever using 1 or 2 tablespoons, wrapping the leftovers, then discovering it weeks (months) later desiccated and nasty. Now I buy the double concentrated tomato paste in a tube. You use what you need and it lasts in the refrigerator for quite a good while. That and the anchovy paste in a can are two of my favorite food finds.

Sausage and Peppers, My Way
1 lb turkey sausage, sweet or hot
1 tbs olive oil
3 large RED peppers (the green ones are too bitter!)
1 very large Vidalia or Spanish onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs Marsala wine
2-3 leaves of fresh basil, julienned

Seed and slice the peppers; slice the onion into rings; mince the garlic. Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute; add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring, about 15 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Add the turkey sausage to the pan and brown. (I like to cut the browned sausages into 4-6 pieces each, but you can leave them whole.) Return the onion and pepper mixture to the pan over medium heat and add the 3 tbs Marsala wine and the 2 tbs tomato paste and stir to combine. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 5 minutes to meld flavors. Sprinkle with 2-3 leaves of fresh basil. Very fragrant and very tasty and only 30 minutes from start to finish.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I confess! I'm a magazine junkie. In addition to the many cooking, quilting, health, and fashion magazines I subscribe to, I also pick up others at the grocery store or the quilt shop. I started subscribing to so many because I had a habit of bringing one home only to discover I'd already bought it. All this is leading up to last night's dinner. While grocery shopping this weekend, I picked up a copy of the July issue of Family Circle. The only recipe I clipped was for a very simple moo shu chicken. I just happened to have some poached chicken in the fridge as well as a bag of cole slaw mix and some hoisin sauce. The other ingredients were staples. Since it was too hot for ravioli, I whipped this up in no time flat and it was delicious. With some brown rice that I dressed up with crushed pineapple and sliced walnuts and some stir fry veggies, it was a delicious and easy dinner. I used flour tortillas for the pancakes and they worked just fine. Larry was happy to see lots of leftovers and is looking forward to a repeat performance for lunch tomorrow. This one will definitely be in the permanent rotation.

Moo Shu Chicken - Makes 10 rolls
1 tbs sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
10 oz shredded coleslaw mix
8 oz shredded carrots
4 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbs soy sauce
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (you could use a rotisserie chicken)
10 flour tortillas (6")

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic, coleslaw mix, carrot, and scallions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir in the hoisin sauce and soy sauce and cook 2 minutes. Add the chicken, stirring to combine well, and heat through.

To serve, heat the tortillas (sandwich between 2 paper towels and microwave about 20 seconds). Spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture down the center of the tortilla. Fold bottom in and roll.

(Per roll: 190 calories; 5g fat (1 g sat); 12 g protein; 25 g carb; 3 g fiber - Family Circle)

Monday, June 9, 2008


"Why are you making hummus when you can buy it already made?" Larry asked. He just doesn't get it. It's not that I dislike the hummus we've bought in the past, it's just something that I figured would taste better freshly made. I especially like the roasted garlic hummus--I like just about anything with roasted garlic in it--so decided that would be my first attempt. I looked at a number of recipes and most were basically the same, so I kind of put them together and this is what I ended up doing:

Roasted Garlic Hummus
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves roasted garlic
21 oz canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs tahini (sesame paste)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbs chicken broth (if needed to thin the mixture)

I made this in the blender, but learn from my mistake. It was a pain. Next time I'll use the food processor. It's just as easy to clean and I would have been done in half the time.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet and saute the onions until they're soft--about 5 minutes. In the food processor, puree the chickpeas, roasted garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt and pepper with the onions. Refrigerate covered until chilled.

The hummus was delicious on these crackers, but equally delicious as a raw veggie dip.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Despite the fact that I adore the taste of anise--in liqueuers, in biscotti, in toroni--I have never cooked with fennel; that is, not until tonight. As some of you may have noticed, I prefer making my risotto in the microwave to standing over a pot for 25 minutes. Since I had never worked with fennel before, I decided to follow the cooking method precisely.

Lobster Risotto with Fennel - 2 servings
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 small fennel bulb, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
5 roasted garlic cloves
1/2 cup arborio rice
3 tbs cognac
1/2 lb cooked, shelled lobster meat
2 tbs light cream
3 leaves fresh basil, julienned

Bring the water and the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat and keep it at a simmer. Melt the butter in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add the fennel and shallot. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted garlic cloves. Add the rice and cook about 2 minutes. Add the cognac and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth and cook, stirring, until the broth is almost completely absorbed. Continue to add the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and adding next 1/2 cup only when previous liquid is absorbed. This cooking process should take between 20-25 minutes from the first addition of broth. When all the broth has been absorbed, stir in the lobster meat and the cream and cook, stirring gently, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve immediately.

(adapted from Dining for Two, Weight Watchers Publishing Group, 2004)
It was exquisite, though a small portion. Next time, I'll make it in the microwave and add the sauteed fennel with the lobster and cream.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


It's just too hot to cook today, but there's plenty in the archives to keep you busy. Be sure to come back tomorrow. On this week's menu: lobster risotto; wild mushroom ravioli with tomato sauce; hummus; chicken piccata; and more!

Friday, June 6, 2008


As if I don't already spend too much time on the computer (ask Larry), there's now another reason to sit for hours: the Foodie Blogroll (see below). This is so exciting! A way to link to other foodies who blog. I've only visited about 10 new blogs, but I know this is going to be totally addicting! And here I thought I was the only one obsessed!


I probably eat more dessert when I'm "on program" than I do when Weight Watchers is just a distant memory. While there are some decent frozen or ready-made cakes with low points, they are either too small, too expensive, or just a tad off in taste.

I've experimented with cake mixes before, replacing the fat and eggs with everything from apple sauce to pumpkin to diet cola. None of those produced the right taste and texture. On a mission now, I dragged out all my old healthy eating cookbooks, combed through my own recipe files, and searched the web for ideas. A few recipes mentioned yogurt, so I thought I'd give it a try. The batter it produced still looked too thick, so, in a moment of inspiration, I added a magic ingredient: water! The result was a moist, delicious chocolate cake that tastes as good as any mix cake I've ever had. The photo shows a small "2 smile" square. Double it if you can spare "4 smiles."


1 box chocolate or devil's food cake mix

2 cartons nonfat raspberry yogurt

1/3 cup warm water

Combine the cake mix and yogurt. Mix well. Add water a little at a time to thin out the batter. Spray a 9 X 13 inch cake pan with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean). Cool, then cut into 24 squares.

Simple, but delicious and inexpensive.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I've already posted my recipe for basic microwave risotto, but in combing through my recipe files, I came across this dish that I adapted from an old Weight Watcher cookbook. I always write comments and changes in my cookbooks and files, so I was happy to read that I'd rated this recipe a "10." After having it for dinner tonight, I added another comment: "No one would ever guess that this dish is a lightened version. Served with a simple salad and steamed broccoli, it was delicioso.
Shrimp Risotto (A Quick, Easy Microwave Recipe) - 2 servings
1/4 cup chopped shallots (you can substitute Vidalia or sweet onion)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
3 ounces of Arborio (or other short-grained Italian) rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I use fat free)
1/2 large, ripe tomato, diced finely
8 oz shelled and deveined large/extra large shrimp, quartered
1 tablespoon each of Olivio and grated Asiago (or Parmesan) cheese

In a shallow microwave-safe casserole dish, combine the shallot, oil, and garlic. Be sure to stir to thoroughly coat, then microwave on high for 1 minute. Add the rice, stir to combine, and microwave on high for another minute. Add the broth and tomato, stir to combine, and microwave on high for 12 minutes, stirring at the halfway point. Add the shrimp and microwave on high for another 3 minutes. Add the butter and cheese, stir well, and microwave for 1 more minute. Optional garnish: lemon slices, parsley.

I have moved this recipe to a prominent location in my collection so that I will not forget it again. I've made it with chicken breasts as well as shrimp (8 ounces of boneless, skinless breasts cut into 1 inch pieces). I prefer the shrimp and plan to serve it at my next dinner party. It's that good.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Forget about buying those frozen egg muffins in a box. They cost over $3.00 each and they usually taste like cardboard. My Egg McD's are easy, cost effective, take just a few minutes to prepare, and can be made ahead and reheated with no loss of flavor. I call it the Egg McD--original, huh?

1 English muffin, toasted (if you're weight watching, use a light muffin)
2 slices Canadian bacon (the cooked kind)
1 slice cheese (I use 2% cheddar)
1/4 cup egg white product

Grease a small custard cup and pour in 1/4 cup of egg white product (HINT: store brands taste the same for half the price). While you toast the English muffin, place cup of egg white product in microwave and nuke for 30 seconds to 1 minute (until you get a nice, round egg). Place half the cheese slice on each muffin half and top with a slice of Canadian bacon. Place in microwave for about 15 seconds to melt cheese. Place "egg" on top of one half and enjoy. If you make ahead, wrap in a slightly damp paper towel and reheat for about 15 seconds.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I adore sweet potatoes and that makes me angry because I never tasted one until I was almost 40. I just didn't think something orange would taste good. I love them baked and garnished with a mix of butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. I enjoy them mashed and topped with toasted pecans. I don't like those awful marshmallow creations that you see at Thanksgiving. But I may have found a new favorite last night: baked sweet potato fries. They are very simple to make.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into fry sticks
butter or olive-flavored cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray of choice. Place sweet potato fries in a single layer and spray with more of the cooking spray. Season generously with garlic powder and sea salt. Bake 25 minutes, flip over, and bake and additional 15 minutes. To crisp, place under the broiler for a few minutes; watch carefully so they don't burn.

They are wonderful with pork or chicken, hamburgers or hot dogs. I'd even eat them by themselves.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Summer's bounty is almost here. I was able to pick up several pounds of gorgeous tomatoes at a farmer's market yesterday and couldn't wait to use them. Since we'd had a late lunch, I just needed something light last night and decided to marinate some tomatoes and make bruschetta. The marinade is a delicious salad dressing, so you may want to double the recipe. The only bread I had was some Weight Watcher pitas which I cut into triangles and toasted. I'd recommend a baguette or semolina bread or any favorite loaf really, Slice thinly, toast in the oven briefly, and spread this elixir over the slices. Mmmmm! it's summer!

Marinated Tomatoes
2-3 lbs tomatoes (I used Beefsteak, but you can use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes for a salad)
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs onion, minced
1 tsp sea salt
sprinkle pepper
1 tsp dried basil (or chopped fresh)
1 tsp dried parsely (or chopped fresh)
Optional: grated Asiago cheese

Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick and place in single layer. Combine all other ingredients and pour over tomatoes. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

For bruschetta: instead of slicing tomatoes, chop them roughly, then pour marinade over them. Top each slice with grated Asiago cheese.