A Culinary Tribute To Biggie…

15 Mar

It was all a dream, I use to read Cooking Light magazine… Rachel Ray & Nigella on the FoodTV screen. Hanging at Williams & Sonoma in the mall, getting my recipes and hanging them on the wall.

Way back then I had the George Forman from the infomercial, but never got the chopper from that one commercial.

Now I bake fish till the bubbles pop, pick my veggies from the best crop… And if you don’t know, now you know…Foodies, uh.

You know very well who you are, don’t let them hold you down, reach for the stars, you had a goal, but not that many… Cause you’re the only one I’ll cook halibut and penne…Juicy!

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My Meal Planning Follow Up

11 Dec

Well, I must admit that while planning my meals in advance was a great tool in helping me to stay organized, I didn’t quite stick to the plan the entire week.

However, I will say this was quite a learning experience and I think the more I attempt planning my meals, the more successful I will be.

A few of the things that thwarted my efforts were:

•Not having all of the ingredients in stock. While I was writing out my menu, I should have also been writing a grocery list. In the future I’ll try to have my plan written before Sunday so I can buy all of the ingredients for my menu when I go grocery shopping.

•Not making enough food for leftovers. Well, technically I did make extra food. However, my husband ate it for his lunch the next day. So going forward I will keep this is mind so that I’m not thinking dinner is in the fridge, when it isn’t.

•Not taking into consideration that we had plans for Friday and Saturday. I think my menu will always have a takeout or rotisserie chicken day. This will be for those days when there is a Parent Teacher Night, practices, Holiday parties or whatever is going on at the time. My goal is to write down a list of places that has quality takeout that I can buy when I truly have no time
to cook. I am not a fast food fan so I’m thinking that my favorite grocer’s (Wegmans) salad bar, the rotisserie chicken dinner special sold at Whole Foods and the Thai restaurant that we enjoy, will all be on that list.

So, hopefully my next Menu Planning attempt will be even better. Of course, this experience was not a failure by any meals. I did manage to adhere to the following menu on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday I switched it up and opted to serve a grilled chicken salad instead. I did this because I realized that Meatloaf takes too long to prepare the day of. However, later that night after the kids were in bed, I made the turkey meatloaf and it was served on Wednesday. On Thursday we did have the Quesadillas with various leftovers. On Friday & Saturday we had social events so I did not cook.

So all in all I think it went fairly well and I look forward to planning more often. Below are a few of the pictures I manage to snap of the dinners. Hope my experience helps you and I would love your feedback or ideas on how you plan out your weekly meals.

•Beef & Broccoli Stirfry
~~I used beef short ribs (which I cut into 1/2 inch cubes) for this dish because it cooks quickly and is quite tender.

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•Grilled Chicken Salad
~~As you all know, I love making salads. They are quick, healthy and easy to make. Plus it’s a great way to add in lots of vegetables.

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•Turkey Meatloaf
~~Making your meatloaf the night before allows all of the flavors to combine so that it’s perfect when you serve it the next day. It also makes it easier to cut.

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A Failure To Plan Is A Plan To Fail…Time For Me To Plan My Meals.

5 Dec

Believe it or not, I’m really bad at planning my meals for the week. Which, usually leads to me trying to figure out what’s for dinner as I’m driving home from work. Even worse, that leads to me having to stop at the grocery store on the way home because I’m usually missing one or two ingredients. Having to go to the grocery store at the last minute usually ends up costing me more money and time. I try to work out 5-6 days per week. So if I have to stop at the grocery store then I am usually unable to workout and still have time to cook dinner.

So this week I’m going to try and plan for the week. Do you plan for the week? What’s on your dinner menu this week?

My Menu For The Week:

Sunday~ Shrimp Al forno with mashed sweet potatoes and spinach. Monday~ Beef & Brocolli with bean sprouts.
Tuesday~ Turkey meatloaf with mushrooms and yellow rice.
Wednesday~Hopefully leftovers with a garden salad.
Thursday~ Quesadillas with cheese and whatever is left in my refrigerator.
Friday~Naan Pizza and Salad.
Saturday~Turkey Meatballs & angel hair pasta.

I have high hopes for following through. I will update everyone and let you know how the week goes. I must say that by just writing down my plan I feel like I’m already ahead of the game. Sunday’s dinner plan was done earlier than usual because I had planned for it. I also took out the beef and the ground turkey for Tuesday and Wednesday’s dinner. This way both of those items will be defrosted when I choose to use them. So, cheers to starting off the week with a plan.

BTW, if you are one of my cherished subscribers please also consider liking my Facebook page www.facebook.com/pennylovesblog I also appreciate all of your shares and retweets. As always, Bon Appetit!

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Adding Extra Nutrition To Your Favorite Foods: Ground Turkey With Spinach, Onion & Peppers

15 Nov

This post is not necessarily a recipe post. My purpose today is just to give you an idea about how you can make a few tiny changes and instantly make
your food more healthy and nutritious.

Today’s example is Ground Turkey. I often use ground turkey in lieu of ground beef. I find the 93 percent fat free (93/7) ground turkey to be as juicy and flavorful as the 80 percent fat free (80/20) ground beef. However, the turkey has less fat, cholesterol and calories. While, in my opinion, having all of the taste. I know there is also 93/7 ground beef but I find the 93/7 ground beef to rather dry for most of the recipes I use. I also just prefer the sweetness of the turkey.

I often use 93/7 ground turkey for tacos, pasta sauce and even pizza toppings. Another thing I do is sneak in extra vegetables into my ground turkey. Sure you probably wouldn’t expect spinach in your burrito, taco or pasta sauce but…why not? Spinach takes on whatever flavor it’s paired with and it’s a superfood. Yes, spinach is a superfood! It’s high in protein, low calories, high in Vitamin A & J and a great source of folic acid. That’s just a few of spinach’s benefits and it taste good. When I make ground turkey I usually add in about 1/2 a bag of spinach.

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Yes, half a bag of spinach sounds like a lot but it quickly cooks down. I also always add onions and peppers to my ground turkey mixture. I always try to make my food as colorful as possible. Colorful foods are usually high in nutrition. Of course, that’s excludes skittles. Lol.

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I also like to sometimes put this mixture on top of beans and then add cheese on top. This is great as a dip with tortilla chips or just as a yummy entree.

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This can be made early in the week and used later for whatever dish you prefer. So try it and let me know what you think. Bon Appetit!

Savory & Juicy Salmon

9 Nov

Tonight I thought I would make salmon for dinner. However, I wanted to change it up a little. I wanted it full of savory flavor with a light sauce to keep it juicy. Typically, I either make it on the grill or throw it in the oven. Both produce great results. However, tonight I thought I would try a slightly different cooking technique. If you want to try this recipe you will need the following:

Preheated oven to 425%

SALMON:
1lb salmon
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon *Basting Oil
1 Tablespoon mixed seasoning (pepper, salt, herb blend)
Parmesan Cheese

SAUCE:
1/3 Cup Broth
1/2 Tablespoon Flavored Butter
1 Pinch of your favorite seasonings

Take 1lb of fresh salmon and lightly seasoned it Wegmans basting oil, lemon & garlic seasonings & cracked pepper.

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Then put 1TBS of Olive Oil in a skillet & once it was hot put the salmon in the skillet. Cooked the filets for 1.5 minutes on either side.

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Take the salmon out of the pan & placed on a aluminum foil (feel free to use your favorite casserole dish or oven pan, I was in a hurry. Lol) sheet. Topped each filet with Parmesan cheese. I used enough to just cover each filet.

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The filets were put into the 425 degree oven and cooked them until they were firm and flaked easily, between 10-12 minutes.

While the fish is cooking take 1/3 cup of chicken broth and added 1/2 tablespoon of shallot & garlic flavored butter. I also added a pinch of lemon pepper & Montreal steak seasonings. This was stirred & then microwaved for 30 seconds or until piping hot.

Once the salmon is done, pour the sauce on top and viola, this entree is done.

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The salmon was served with quinoa and corn on the cob.

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Lavash Vegetable & Hummus Wrap

29 Oct

Try this for a quick healthy snack or meal.


1 Lavash Wrap (can use tortilla wraps)
2 Tablespoons hummus
10 Spinach leaves
1/4 cup of shredded carrots
1/4 cup of long cut cucumber
1/4 cup of flavored feta

Place the wrap on a plate or wax paper. Spread the hummus evenly on the wrap. Lay the spinach leaves until they cover the hummus. Add the cucumbers and then the carrots. Finally spread the feta on top of the vegetables. Add another dollop of hummus & spread over everything.

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Then carefully roll the wrap. Lightly press down upon the wrap so that all of the ingredients are packed together.
Then cut the wrap into 1 inch segments. Which will sort of resemble pinwheels.

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This is great as a lunch entree, appetizer, snack or along with whatever you are serving for dinner. Bon Appetit!

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Salad September: 1 Salad, 2 Options.

10 Sep

I want to take this time to give a shout out to all of the vegetarians! You really inspire me. Not to be a vegetarian, but to look for more non meat and less meat options.

Make no mistake, I have no qualms against meat. While, I don’t eat pork and red meat makes only rare appearances in my kitchen, I do enjoy a steady diet of turkey, chicken and seafood.

Especially, seafood! I could probably eat seafood everyday of the week. However, my preference for fresh seafood tends to exhaust my budget so I try to limit it to 2-3 times per week.

So back to vegetarian food. I like to use ideas from vegetarian cooking in my own recipes. Which, brings me to this salad. It started out being a strictly vegetarian, actually vegan, salad. It’s chock full of veggies, nuts, tofu and seeds. What you won’t find in the initial salad is cheese, meat, eggs, creamy dressings or anything that have originally had a face on it.

Of course being the carnivore that I am, I did end up adding 3 succulent shrimp. The point is the salad can be enjoyed either way and be just as delicious.

RECIPE:

8oz Chopped Romaine

4oz Herb Roasted Tofu (any flavor will do, just pick a firm tofu from your favorite grocer)

4oz Edamame/Corn/Black Bean mixture (use whatever you have on hand. Kidney beans are great)

2oz Almonds/Sunflower/Pumpkin seed mixture (Use what ever nut mixture you already have)

4oz Shrimp (Omit for vegetarian version)

2oz Cubed Sharp Provolone (Omit for vegetarian version)

Top lettuce with ingredients and add your favorite dressing. I like a tangy balsamic. Enjoy!

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