Saturday, August 31, 2013

Summer Farmers' Market Risotto

I was stunned with the incredibly summer-vegetable fresh taste of this dish!  I don't know if I got my hands on some wonderfully fresh vegetables or if this is simply a fantastic recipe, but whatever it was, it worked!!!

Colorful and quick this is a great dish to make as either a flavorful side dish, a vegetarian entree, or a midnight snack.  Every ingredient, however, is essential (at least in my opinion).  Gots to have that summer-fresh tomato, sweet corn cut off the cob, zucchini, fresh basil, and parmesan!  And on top of it all, isn't it pretty?


3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbsp butter or EVOO
2 green onions, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 small zucchini, quartered and chopped, about 1 cup
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)  note:  I rarely seed tomatoes...the flavor is in the seeds.  I did not seed this tomato.
1 ear sweet corn, kernels cut from cob (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese
1/4 cup torn fresh basil

Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan.  Reduce heat to low and keep hot.

In a large skillet, melt butter or olive oil over medium heat then add green onions, season with S&P, and then saute until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic then saute for 30
more seconds.

Add rice then stir to coat in butter/EVOO.  Add wine then stir until nearly absorbed by rice.  Add 1/2 cup broth then stir constantly until broth is absorbed.  Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until nearly absorbed before adding more.

When there's 1/3 of the broth remaining, add zucchini, season with additional S&P, then continue stirring.  When there's 1/4 cup of the broth left, add corn then continue stirring.  Add the tomatoes with the last batch of broth then stir until absorbed.

Take risotto off heat.  Stir in parmesan cheese and basil.  Add more S&P to taste.

Recipe Source:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Golden Grahams S'mores

Right after chocolate chip cookies and a complete selection of every Jello dessert ever made (per may father when I was about age 11/12, "OK, that's enough of the Jello desserts"), this was one of the very first sweet treats I ever made as a pre-teen.  I had forgotten how much I loved that crunchiness of the cereal contrasting with the creaminess of the melted marshmellow and chocolate, but many decades later, it all came back to me.

I saw a recipe a few weeks ago for Brownie S'mores which reminded me of this fun treat.  I was sure I could find my original recipe in my very first cookbook, a collection of Church Ladies recipes a neighbor gave me when I was a young first.  But, alas, it wasn't there.  But I'm sure the internet recipe I found is, if the exact, pretty darn close to the one I used oh so many years ago.

Six ingredients and just about as many minutes and this is ready.  If you're sitting in the warm/humid/August weather as we are here in Chattanooga, you'll definitely want to keep these refrigerated or they'll turn a gooey mess in minutes.


8 cups Golden Grahams cereal (12 oz box)
6 cups mini marshmellows (10 oz bag), divided
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup light corn syrup
5 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla

Butter a 13x9" pan.  In a large bowl, measure cereal.  In a large microwavable bowl, microwave 5 cups marshmellows, the chocolate chips, corn syrup, and butter uncovered for High for 2-3 1/2 seconds, stirring every one minute, until melted and smooth when stirred.  Stir in vanilla.

Pour chocolate mixture over cereal; quickly toss until completely coated.  Stir in one cup marshmellows.

Press mixture evenly into pan, using buttered back of spoon or spatula.  Let stand uncovered at least one hour, or refrigerate if you prefer a firmer bar.  For bars, cut into rows vertically and horizontally, into whatever size you like.  In warmer weather, keep bars loosely covered (with waxed paper in between if you are stacking them) in the refrigerated, or at room temperature during the cooler months.

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tomato Bisque Soup

I finally got around to revamping this recipe I mentioned a few weeks ago.  The original recipe was so laden with fat and calories, I just couldn't bring myself to eat it, much less post it.  While this recipe is by no means low-fat/low-calorie, it's a vast improvement from the original.  I greatly reduced the butter and I used half 1% milk and half half-and-half in lieu of cream.  The original recipe called for a miniscule amount of basil which I increased to a 1/4 cup, plus added more as a garnish.  The fresh basil really makes this soup, and is a great use of that abundance you may have growing in your garden.

TOMATO BISQUE SOUP (makes about 12 cups)

heaping 1/3 cup or scant 1/2 cup AP flour (2 oz)
4 Tbsp butter (2 oz)

Heat butter in sauce pan.  Add flour slowly while stirring constantly with a whisk.  Cook on medium/medium-low heat (#4 on my cooktop) for 5-10 minutes, until roux is caramel-colored.  Let roux cool to room temperature.  Set aside.

1 Tbsp butter (1/2 oz)
scant 1 cup diced onions (4 oz)
1 cup diced celery (4 oz)
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cup (12 oz) tomato juice
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes with juice
1/4 tsp baking soda

2 cups water
1/2 Tbsp chicken base
2 cups chicken broth/stock

S&P to taste
crushed red pepper to taste (I like 1/2 tsp), optional
1 cup (8 oz) cream, half-and-half, or any milk, or a mixture of any of these
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Heat butter in soup pot.  Add onions and celery for about 5 minutes on medium heat (I like a bit of crunch left....cook to your preference).  Add garlic and basil, stir about a minute.

Add tomato juice and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and add baking soda.  Stir, then add the water and chicken base or chicken broth/stock.  Bring to a boil. 

When cool enough to handle, blend/puree in a blender or food processor to a consistency which suits your taste (I prefer a few chunks versus a completely smooth soup).

Bring soup back to a boil.  Have roux pan close by.  Add 4-6 ladles of the hot soup one ladle at a time, whisking to incorporate each addition.  When well-mixed, add entire roux mixture to the large pot of soup.  Whisk well until completely incorporated.

Remove from heat.  Stir in Parmesan and your choice of dairy product.

Garnish with additional grated or shaved parmesan and freshly sliced basil.

Recipe Source:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mojo Peach Pork Saute

I'm not sure what to say about this recipe or where to start.  This is a recipe Publix was demo-ing the other day.  Publix is a regional supermarket chain in the southeastern US. So if you're in the area, you're in luck.  If you're not, there may be a few extra steps to take. But in my opinion, it is well worth the effort.

Pork, peppers, and peaches are not at the top of my list of things that I just love.  But this recipe was so intriguing to me that I just had to try it.  And what an incredible combination this turned out to be!!!  

Several of the listed ingredients are Publix brands.  However, I did an internet search and these things are either available for purchase or you can find recipes for them (the mojo marinade and the spicy peach butter {which, by the way, is not hot-spicy but a cinnamon-seasoned puree with a touch of cayenne, with the consistency of something close to an apple butter}).  The recipe also calls for a 12-oz bag of fajita vegetable mix.  I used half of an onion cut into long slices, along with half a bell pepper and four mini red/yellow/orange peppers.

This curious blend comes together wonderfully!  In my opinion, I'd be carefully not to overcook any of this....I loved the crisp-tenderness of the onions and peppers and the firmness of the peaches (the recipe didn't dictate, so I peeled one peach and left the peel on the other.....they were equally perfect).  Although just of few minutes of cooking the pork slices sounds rather minimal....any longer and you'd have a tough chew.

I served this with steamed rice with some of the sauce drizzled on it, and a garden salad.


2 firm peaches, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh chives, coarsely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 lb pork tenderloin, sliced 1" rounds
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 (12 oz) bag fajita vegetable mix (freshly sliced peppers and onions)
1/4 cup spicy peach butter (found in the bakery department)
3 Tbsp mojo marinade

Preheat large saute pan on medium-high, 2-3 minutes.  Season pork with S&P; place oil in pan.  Add pork, cook 1-2 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove pork from pan.

Add fajita vegetables to same pan; cook 3-4 minutes or until peppers just begin to soften. Combine peach butter, mojo, lime zest and juice.

Add pork, peaches, and peach butter mixture to vegetables; cook and stir 1-2 minutes until sauce thickens.  Top with chives, serve.

Recipe Source:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Israeli Couscous Salad

This is the most often prepared pasta salad I make.  I enjoy every single element.  I serve it as a side salad or eat it as a snack.  It's a wonderful blend of texture and color and a contrast of the creamy feta and the tartness of the vinaigrette. 

When I first find this recipe years ago, it called for a basic vinaigrette for the dressing.  Some time ago, I started using "Garlic Expressions Vinaigrette" which I have found in several whole/natural food type markets.  It is found either in the produce department or with other salad dressings (it's wonderful on sliced tomatoes, on a Caprese salad, or even as a dressing on a sub sandwich).  I've made this salad using this dressing for so long, I don't think I would love it as much using a substitute! You can see the bottle or purchase the vinaigrete at


1 cup Israeli couscous, cooked (1 cup uncooked couscous added to 2 cups of boiling water, turn down, and simmer for about 15 minutes until most or all of water is absorbed.  Drain and let cool.
3/4 cup shelled edamame (if edamame are still in the shells, use 6 oz, cook according to directions and remove from can find shelled and unshelled edamame in your frozen or produce deparments)
1 small carrot (or 3-4 baby carrots), cut into small matchsticks
1 Tbsp freshly-chopped parsley
1/4 cup sliced black olives (or about 12 chopped Kalamata or oil-cured olives)
1/2 cup feta cheese (2-3 oz)
Basic garlic vinaigrette

Mix everything together.  I wait until serving time to add the dressing.

NOTE: I prefer oil-cured olives in my salad.  If I am going to have leftovers, I keep the olives separate.  Otherwise, the olives with "stain" the edamame and couscous.  This doesn't affect the flavor, but the presentation is not as pretty.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Shrimp and Dill Salad

This is my Go-To Summer Salad.  And also where I learned the delectable art of roasting shrimp.  This salad is so lucious, from the shrimp to the dressing.  A perfect meal for a hot, humid summer day.  I make it over and over during the warm months.

Roasting shrimp, regardless of the size, brings a whole new dimension to the flavor of shrimp.  I'll never boil shrimp again.  The celery and onion bring a delightful crunch, and the dressing is a swirling flavor of orange zest and fresh dill.

I have made this salad using jumbo shrimp (12/15s) to the small 51-60s.  For the cost, I'd just as soon go with the smaller size without any sacrifice of flavor.  The larger shrimp might make a prettier presentation plated on a leaf of lettuce, but I think these smaller ones look just as good, knowing, that is, just how wonderful they taste.

SHRIMP and DILL SALAD (serves 2-3)

1 pound uncooked shrimp, any size, shelled and deveined
olive oil
coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely minced celery
2 Tbsp finely minced red onion
2 Tbsp mayo
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 Tbsp freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh dill

Turn your broiler on high.  Drizzle shrimp with olive oil and black pepper.  Broil for 3-8 minutes, depending on size of shrimp (for the 51-60s, mine cooked in 3 minutes, stirring halfway in between).  Don't overcook or the shrimp will be tough instead of supple.  Let cool to room temperature, or chill until ready to dress.

Mix the mayo, juice, zest, and dill.  In a separate bowl, mix the cooked shrimp, celery, and red onion.  Add dressing and mix.  Refrigerate until chilled.  Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Recipe Source:  Adapted from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Almond Lace Cookies

I have been on a real baking kick this week.  I guess I'm trying to make up for not cooking for Jim's office since he was working out-of-state for several months without coming home.  I'm trying to make one or two treats for him to take with him each week.

This was a recipe I found in Ladies' Home Journal years ago.  I love the thin, crispy wafers with the oatmeal giving it a chewiness and the snap of the almonds.  Again, just a handful of ingredients.  The recipe says this recipe will make about 4 dozen cookies, but I got 7 dozen out of my batch.  I'm not sure why the discrepancy but that's just more for a big office, right?

Since we're still in the humid summer months, I would keep these refrigerated.  Keeping them at room temp causes them to become pretty sticky.  But if you prefer a chewier treat, that's the route you should take.


1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 325F.  In a large bowl combine oats, sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder.  In a separate bowl whisk egg, butter, and vanilla, then add to the dry ingredients.  Add the almonds and stir until evenly distributed.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil; spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.  Drop level teaspoons of dough, 3" apart, on prepared sheet; flatten slightly.  Bake until golden brown 9-11 minutes.

Let cookies cool completely, then peel from the foil.  Repeat with remaining dough.  

Recipe Source:  Ladies' Home Journal, June 2002

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sugar Nut Pastries

I'm not sure what to say about these incredible little bites.  Except that these are some incredible little bites!  Just six ingredients and they absolutely melt in your mouth.  How could they not?  Butter and powdered sugar.  And my favorite nut of all, the pecan.  Put these on your holiday cookie menu and make everyone happy!

SUGAR NUT PASTRIES (makes about 3 dozen)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for coating
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecan

Cream the butter and 1/4 cup sugar together in a mixer.  Add the flour, vanilla, and salt and beat to combine.  Stir in the chopped pecans.  Chill the dough, covered, for at least several hours.

Preheat the oven to 300F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.  Form the dough into walnut-sized balls (about 1" or 18 grams) and place on the baking sheets.  Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  While the pastries are still warm, roll in powdered sugar.

NOTE:  Due to the warm humid weather, I keep these refrigerated.  Leaving them out, they tended to stick together and the powdered sugar kind of melted.

Recipe Source: Cooking with Corky's Cookbook, p. 226

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lemon Pound Cake

This is just about the most perfect sweet treat.  Need a dessert to make for the office, for guests, or just for yourself, you can never go wrong with a pound cake.  It's perfect for a morning coffee break or an evening sweet-tooth.   This is Baking 101.  Easy to make and you can pretty much count on it coming out perfectly every time.

I usually make a glaze to drizzle over the cake but this one will be traveling to North Carolina tomorrow so I decided to leave it plain.  Again, simple, easy, perfect.


3 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
3 cups sugar
6 eggs at room temp
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2-4 lemons, depending on how juicy they are)
1 1/4 Tbsp grated lemon peel
1 cup sour cream
Glaze, optional:
1 cup confectioners sugar
 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease tube or bundt pan.  Dust pan with flour; tap out excess (or use a cooking spray made for baking, like Pam).

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl.

Using a stand-up or electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl at medium speed until fluffy.  Gradually add sugar and beat 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating just until combined after each egg is added.  Beat in lemon juice and peel.

Using a rubber spatula, mix in dry ingredients.  Mix in sour cream.  Pour batter into prepared pan (batter will be thick).

Bake cake until toothpick or tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Let cake cool in pan on rack 15 minutes.  Cut around cake in pan.  Turn out cake.  Carefully turn cake right side up on rack and cool completely.

For glaze:

Whisk lemon juice into confectioners sugar.  Drizzle over cake.

Recipe Source:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tropical Parfait

I ran across this idea the other day and thought what a wonderful, healthy, refreshing summer snack.  And I was right!  I'm not a big yogurt fan, but this just looked too good and too easy not to try.  Right again.

No recipe, no cooking (except for toasting the coconut).  A wonderful blend of textures and color....the creaminess of the yogurt versus the crunchiness of the kiwi seeds, almonds, and coconut (or don't taste the coconut for a chewier texture).  And a beautiful presentation.


one container of pineapple Greek yogurt
1 kiwi, peeled and cubed
1 mango, peeled and cubed (ripened mangos tend to fall apart a bit....for a perfect presentation, use the slices of mangos found in jars in your produce department)
sliced almonds
coconut (to toast, place a bit on aluminum foil, bake in a 350F oven....check and stir every 2-3 minutes until brown)

Layer starting with the yogurt on the bottom, followed by the mango and kiwi, top with almonds and coconut.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Goat Cheese, Avocado, Radish Crostini

Holy Smokes!!!  I stumbled across just about the easiest, most delicious little appetizer I have had in some time.  It's quick with just five ingredients and did I mention easy?!!!
I wish I could remember where I ran across this gem because they have got to have some other wonderful ideas.  

I generally keep crostini on hand in the freezer for different snacks.  I use a good quality baguette (we have Panera here) and I have used the regular French baguette and also the whole grain baquette.  I slice the baguette somewhere between a 1/4" and a 1/2", put the slices on a foiled-lined baking sheet (for easier clean-up) and brush them with a bit of olive oil.  Bake for about 10 mintues at 350F, then turn them and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

I don't have amounts for the ingredients.....make as many or as few as you like.  And please don't substitute dried dill for the fresh....the fresh makes all the difference.


prepared crostini
radishes, sliced paper-thin (by hand or mandolin)
goat cheese
avocado, thinly sliced
fresh dill, chopped
S&P to taste

Spread the crostini with the goat cheese.  Place sliced avocados then radishes on top.  Sprinkle with dill.  Season with S&P if desired.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I decided the other day to make a cookie box for the group at our local small town post office.  They get lots of gifts at Christmas time, so I thought I'd give them a little Christmas in August.  I have a batch of my favorite Espresso Mint Cookies (see 8-14-12 post) ready and now I just need to come up with something with nuts.

I ran across this recipe the other day.  The blogger used margarine instead of butter stating the margarine results in a chewier cookie.  Since this recipe makes a relatively small batch, I thought I'd make two batches, one using butter and one using margarine.  I also had some light brown sugar and dark brown sugar.  So the first batch I made used margarine and light brown sugar and the second batch used butter and dark brown sugar.

Honestly, I couldn't tell any difference between the texture or the taste.  So I'd use whichever you have on hand.  I think the oatmeal gives either batch that wonderful chewiness.  Anyway you go, you'll have a cookie just about anyone will appreciate.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Beat together butter/margarine and sugars in a large bowl until combined.  Add egg and vanilla then beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt and then add to wet ingredients in 2 batches, mixing until just combined before adding the next batch.  Add oats and chocolate chips then mix until just combined.

Drop 1 1/2 Tbsp of dough onto cookie sheets then flatten slightly with fingertips and bake for 8-12 minutes (mine went for 12 minutes.....I rotated the cookie sheet at 8 minutes then baked for another 4 minutes) or until golden brown around the edges and set on top.  Rap baking sheet against a flat surface to deflate cookies then let cool for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Southwestern Caesar Salad with Spicy Shrimp

Hi Everyone!  Thanks for your patience!

After a few days of a wee bit of over-indulgence, I felt I needed to get back on track tonight.  I didn't want to make a trip to the store so I pulled out this recipe for which I had everything on hand.  Just a few ingredients, quick, and easy-peasy.

You know I love my roasted shrimp and here's a bit of a twist.  With just a touch of chili powder, my favorite shrimp was easily transformed.  The shrimp alone will make a great meal.  And even though it's August and I hate turning on the oven, these roasted shrimp only took about 3-4 minutes.

Next time I will use those beautiful tri-colored tortilla strips I can find in packages in my local produce department, just to add a bit of color.  I used large (21/25) shrimp and only used five per serving.  A perfect, light dinner for these hot, humid, nearing-the-end-of summer days.


4 corn tortillas (5")
2 tsp EVOO
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup light mayo
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced or 1 tsp anchovy paste
1 large head romaine lettuce (1 1/2#), cut into 1" pieces

Preheat oven to 375F.  Place tortillas on a baking sheet.  Brush both sides with 1 tsp oil; sprinkle with 1/2 tsp chili powder, and season with S&P.  Bake until golden brown and crisp, turning once, 8-10 minutes.  Let cool, then break into pieces.

Heat broiler.  In a large bowl, toss shrimp with remaining teaspoon each oil and chili powder.  Season with S&P.  Lay shrimp flat on a broiler pan, and cook until browned and opaque throughout, turning once, 3-4 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, lime juice, Parmesan, anchovies, and up to 2 Tbsp water to desired consistency.  Season with S&P.

To serve, toss lettuce with dressing.  Divide among plates and top each with shrimp and broken tortillas.  Garnish with more Parmesan.

Recipe Source:  "Everyday Food: Light" cookbook

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Brief Hiatus

The Girls and I have a few projects to tackle so I'll only be in the kitchen the next few days cleaning.  I did make a new Tomato Bisque soup yesterday, but I'm not happy with the way it turned out so I'm going to retry making it again on Monday.  Thanks for your patience.....I'll see you in a few days!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fried Green Tomatoes with Garlic Basil Aioli

Now here's a mighty-fine, gussied-up version of southern fried green tomatoes!  I am a big fan and probably have had no two prepared quite the same.  The traditional version is basically rolled in flour, then dipped in egg, and then cornmeal.  This includes the addition of herbs and cheese.  And the aioli is the perfect accompaniment. 

The most important thing is to get fully-green tomatoes without a hint of ripening.  This will keep the slices firm and not allow the coating to become soggy.  And help to make them a very special treat.


1/4 cup EVOO
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp minced garlic
3 egg yolks
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

4 medium green tomatoes, ends removed and sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
3/4 tsp pepper, divided
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs

To prepare the aioli, combine the olive and vegetable oils in a measuring cup.  Set aside.  Place the garlic, egg yolks, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, S&P in a blender.  Pulse the ingredients until combined.  Slowly pour the oil through the opening at the top of your blender (the speed should be on low).  After the ingredients are well-blended and creamy, use a spatula to scoop the aioli into a small bowl.  Fold in the fresh basil and oregano.

To prepare the tomatoes, combine the cornmeal, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, dried basil, and dried oregano into a medium-size bowl.  Set aside.  Combine the flour the remaining S&P into a second bowl.  Set aside.  Whisk the eggs together in a third bowl.

First, dip the tomatoes in the flour mixture, coat completely.  Then coat the tomatoes in the egg.  Finally, dredge the slices in the cornmeal mixture and coat completely.

Pour about 1/4" of oil into a large skillet, set over medium heat.  After the oil is ready, add in the tomatoes in batches.  Fry the tomatoes until golden brown on one side for about 3-4 minutes.  Flip the tomatoes and cook until brown on the other side.  Remove the slices from the oil and drain  on paper towels.  Serve immediately with aioli.

Recipe Source:  David Venable

Monday, August 5, 2013

Portobello Mushroom Tuna Melt

This was the first "Cooking Yourself Thin" recipe I ever tried and I think I made it just about everyday for a couple of weeks.   Being a lover of mushrooms, melted cheese, and summer tomatoes, this is a natural for me.  Two of these babies are just over 500 calories but I usually just eat one along with a couple of extra slices of tomatoes.  It's a perfect small meal or even a snack.

I found that I like to add balsamic vinegar to the tuna mixture for an extra depth of flavor.  If you're a mushroom lover, also, try this now while those wonderful summer tomatoes are available and add a thick slice on the top!


4 Portobello mushrooms, stemmed, gills removed
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 (5 oz) can albacore tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
balsamic vinegar to taste, optional
4 thin slices Swiss cheese
4 slices tomatoes
1/2 cup mixed baby greens

Preheat the broiler.  Brush the mushrooms with 1 Tbsp oil.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet (lined with aluminum foil for easier clean-up) and broil, turning once until softened and cooked through, 6-10 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, in a bowl, combine tuna, celery, parsley, lemon juice,  balsamic vinegar (if using), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and remaining oil.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven.  Divide tuna mixture among mushrooms and spread evenly in caps.  Top each with a slice of cheese and broil until cheese melts and browns, about 2 minutes.  Top each mushroom with a tomato slice and 2 Tbsp greens.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing

It's Christmas in August!  Isn't this festive looking?  OK, maybe the red tray and green placemat help just a tad, but this is a great salad, holiday or not.

Another selling point, you can easily prepare the ingredients the day or two before and then put it all together in minutes.  I like to keep my green beans whole, but you could certainly cut them to the size you prefer.  Just  cook the green beans to your liking, I like mine crisp-tender, but you may prefer them more tender or crispier.  And while the leftovers are not as vibrant looking as when freshly made (the dressing will discolor the feta a bit, the green beans don't hold the bright green color, and the bacon will lose it crispness), the taste is every bit as good as the first time around.


1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut to your liking
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 1/2 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
2 oz feta cheese
4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 1 tsp salt.  Cook green beans to your liking, 5-10 minutes.  While they cook, prepare a large bowl with ice water.  Immediately drain the beans into a colander (or scoop them out with a slotted spoon) and place them in the ice water to stop the cooking and ensure a bright green color.

Drain the beans and pat them dry.  Toss in bowl with the tomatoes.

For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, S&P, and garlic powder.  Pour the mixture over the green beans and toss to coat.  Cover the bowl and chill for 1-3 hours before serving.

Stir in the feta cheese and bacon right before serving. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Green Chili and Chicken Enchilada how does one not oversell something?  Because I have to tell you, this may very well be the best enchilada I have ever had in my life.  Really.

I don't know if it's the lime or the poblano sauce that makes such a difference, but it is absolutely delicious!  And if you can't top the's a "Cook Yourself Thin" recipe, meaning lower fat/calories!

I would call this a "deconstructed enchilada."  Instead of rolled up, these "enchiladas" are served flat.  And since, for the moment, it's just me...I quartered the recipe and only used 2 tortillas.  I wish I had made more.

I really urge you to try this recipe.  And don't forget the lime...the juice just sends this over the top.


2 roasted polano peppers, peeled (place under broiler until skin chars, let cool, remove skin)
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, washed, stems discarded
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tsp garlic
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
12 corn tortillas
1 cup canned nonfat refried beans
3 cups of leftover roasted chicken, shredded
3/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheese (Mexican-style, Jack, cheddar)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425F.

Lightly oil a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray or 1 tsp olive oil.  In a food processor or a blender, combine the roasted and peeled peppers, cilantro, garlic, lime zest and juice, chicken stock, S&P and puree until smooth.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the prepared dish.  Top with a layer of 6 overlapping tortillas.  Spread refried beans evenly over the tortillas.  Top the beans with the shredded chicken mixture, and add 1/3 of the sauce, followed by the remaining 6 tortillas.  Pour the remaining sauce over the tortillas.  Cover with foil.

Bake the enchiladas until they begin to bubble on the sides, about 20 minutes.  Remove the foil, sprinkle cheese and scallions on top.  Continue baking until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes more.  Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Recipe Source:  Cook Yourself Thin, episode: Jessica