Sunday, March 25, 2012

Turkey Breakfast Strata

Make this recipe Saturday night and sunday morning breakfast is easier than ever.  Serve with fruit for breakfast or a salad for lunch. 

I found several recipes similar to this one that called for various kinds of sausage.  I wanted to keep it healthier and decided to make my own turkey sausage.  I followed the herbs through the rest of the dish as well.  This was delicious!  It makes 8 generous servings at 10 WWPP each.

Turkey Breakfast Bread Pudding

8 oz. ground turkey
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 oz. day old bread (I used about 3 oz of left over french bread and 3 oz of regular whole wheat sandwich bread)
2.5 cups fat free half and half
8 eggs
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1.5 tsp kosher salt
2 tomatoes, diced, seeds and liquid removed
8 oz. Swiss cheese, grated
4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

Brown turkey in the olive oil.  Add 1 TBSP each of the sage and rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cut the bread into half inch pieces.

Mix the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, and remaining sage and rosemary.

Spray a 13 by 9 inch glass casserole dish with non-stick spray.  Layer half the bread, half the turkey, half the tomatoes and half the cheese.  Add a second layer with the remaining ingredients.  Slowly pour the egg mixture over the top.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover and bake 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chicken Jambalaya

This recipe takes a little help from a box of Zatarain's Jambalaya mix but I added personal touches to make it my own.  If you like your Jambalaya spicy you're gonna want to add some kick to this one.  If I were making it for a spice loving crowd I would have added a few dashes of hot sauce.  Omar doesn't like spicy food so I toned it down a bit for him.  Don't worry, there is still plenty of flavor, its just on the mild side.

Chicken Jambalaya
1 box Zatarain's Jambalaya
1 lb. Chicken breast
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup rice
8 oz. tomato sauce
2.5 cups water
1 TBSP vegetable or canola oil
salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste
4 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet with a lid.  Cut chicken into small bite size pieces.  Brown the chicken in the oil.  Add the onions and peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes.

Add the water and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil.

Add the contents of the Zatarain's box and 1/2 cup of rice.  Stir.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Taste and decide if you need salt, pepper or hot sauce and make the necessary adjustments.

Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

The whole dish is 49 WWPP.  It makes 8 cups.  That's only 6 points per cup!  Serve with a 2 point salad and you've got a delicious and low points meal.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie

Yesterday I could not decide what to make for dinner. I spent my lunch hour eating at my desk perusing recipes on  I found Prince William's favorite Cottage Pie which looked delicious, but weighed in at 22 WWPP per serving.  Given the anticipated serving size I felt reasonably sure I would be plenty full on half a serving for 11 WWPP, but something told me to keep looking.  A few recipes later I saw sweet potatoes.  That's when it hit me.  I decided to make my own "Thanksgiving" version of Shepherd's Pie using ground turkey with onions and spinach in place of the traditional beef and sweet potatoes on top.  Prince William's version also had cheddar cheese on top.  And since cheese is ALWAYS a good addition and I LOVE blue cheese with sweet potatoes, I went with Gorgonzola.  Check out my "recipes" page for this and other recipes.

The entire 13 by 9 inch dish came out to only 66 WWPP.  I decided to call it 6 servings at 11 WWPP each which was a very generous portion.  I served it with a salad of mixed greens dressed with my Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette (also on recipe page) which is similar to the one in my last post, but better.  It was so delicious and even better for lunch the next day! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dinner at home with friends

Tonight my friend Rochelle is coming to dinner.  I was planning to make spaghetti with ground turkey, but since I have company I decided to turn it up a notch.  Also with only 1 pound of turkey in the fridge, I wanted to make sure there were plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow and lower the points a bit.  Here's what I came up with:

Suzanne's Turkey Bolognese

2 TBSP olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
1 jar marinara or homemade tomato sauce*
3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet and brown the mushrooms without salt.  Don't skip this step or your mushrooms will lose flavor and texture.  It takes about 10 minutes, but you can use the time to prep your other veggies.  Once the mushrooms are brown, add the onion and peppers and saute for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and the peppers begin to get tender.

Move the veggies to one side of the skillet and add the ground turkey.**  Brown the turkey then mix the turkey and veggies together.  Add the sauce, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer the sauce until your pasta is cooked.  Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and toss just before serving. 

1 cup of pasta with 1 cup of sauce is 10 WWPP.

*Normally I like to use my own homemade sauce, but I didn't have any in the freezer so I cheated a little with a good jarred sauce from the grocery store.  I used Classico's Tomato and Basil Marinara.  I'll post my recipe for homemade sauce soon.

**You could take the veggies out to brown the turkey, but I don't have room on my counter and it just dirties another dish so I just move them over to the side while the turkey browns. 

I served my Turkey Bolognese with a mixed green salad with a simple balsamic vinaigrette:

1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper

Whisk in a big bowl and toss with salad greens.

Makes 3 servings at 2 WWPP each.  I always alter my oil to 2tsp./serving and 1 tsp./serving of vinegar.  When it's Just Omar and I, I use 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar and 4 tsp olive oil.  To be honest, I don't always measure, but I try to get 2 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar.

I hint for taking salads to work: Put your dressing in the bottom of the container.  Place your salad greens gently on top plus any toppings you like.  When you're ready to eat your salad, toss it all together.  This keeps your salad from getting soggy and wilted and prevents having to carry the dressing in a separate container.  It really works!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Michael Ciarello at the food cart + Veggie Caponata sandwiches for dinner

Johanna, Machina and I went to the Steaks & Frites cart for burgers on Wednesday for lunch.  The burger was nothing to blog about, but standing online waiting for his burger was Food Network Star Michael Ciarello.  And he is just as good looking in person!  I tried not to stare, but I'm not sure I was successful.  Man, I love New York!

Another reason to love New York....Amy's Bread!  To the dismay of my WW journal, Amy's bread is ON MY BLOCK in Hell's Kitchen and offers a wide selection of fresh baked breads and pastries every day.  Luckily, the line is always out the door and down the block and I'm not willing to wait in line unless I really need something. Okay, need is a strong word, but I was making Veggie Caponata sandwiches and wanted some good sour dough bread on which to serve them, so to Amy's I went.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I also got a loaf of Rosemary Bread for pre-dinner snacking with olive oil.  LOL What can I say?

My next stop was the cheese shop across the street for some fresh mozzarella.  And again in the interest of full disclosure, the cheese shop was followed by a visit to the wine store next door.  But I digress.....

So back at home, I got to work on the Caponata.  Here's the recipe:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with their juice
2 TBSP capers, drained
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add chopped onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggplant and cook another 5 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and cook another 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and oregano and cook for 20 minutes until the mixture has thickened and the veggies are tender.  Add wine, capers, salt and pepper.  Serve on sourdough bread with fresh mozzarella cheese.

Next time I make this, I'm going to add olives.  I would have added them this time, but I was out :-(  I think this would also make a good pasta sauce or side dish to a meat or lamb dish.  Some feta cheese sprinkled in would be good too!  Another idea I had for next time is to make extra to use in a breakfast frittata sometime.

The whole big pan of it is only 12 WWPP so it's a great points deal.  I would say it made about 6 cups.  I made 4 sandwiches plus a big scoop of caponata on the side of each sandwich.

Tomorrow night: Turkey Bolognese!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A new spin on my blog.....

A lot has happened since I last checked in. I met a wonderful man and we married on 11/12/11, I got a job at the National Audubon Society as the Administrative Assistant to the Legal Department, I've lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers, and life in NYC is still awesome! I'm still teaching private music students, mostly piano right now, in addition to my "day job" and I cook a lot. Which brings me to the new spin on my blog. I often post my meal creations on facebook with great response from people who want the recipe so with my renewed interest in food and cooking, I'm going to try blogging about food for a bit and see how it goes. Any of you who know me know that food is one of my very favorite subjects.

Did I mention that my kitchen has about 18 inches of counter space and room for only 1 person to stand? It's a challenge, but I still manage to create tasty and healthy meals that my husband loves. Hopefully, you will love reading about and making my recipes in your kitchen. I'll try to include tips and tricks for working in a small kitchen and favorite kitchen gadgets I like too!  Oh, and weight watchers points when I know them.

Sunday night for dinner I made Giada's Turkey/Pancetta Meatloaf (4 servings, 7 WWPP/serving).  I didn't make the sandwiches in the recipe, just the meatloaf.  With it, I served Giada's Carmelized Fennel and Pancetta Salad (2 servings, 5 WWPP/serving).  *I used 1/2 the oil  and less vinegar in the salad recipe to cut down on points.  While my husband loved this recipe, I don't think I will serve the 2 things together again.  It was very rich. 
Tonight we had the leftover turkey meatloaf.  To go with it, I created a mixed green/potato salad.  I boiled some red potatoes and tossed them with homemade vinegarette (recipe below) then added some mixed greens and tossed it all together. It was really good. The warm potatoes wilted the lettuces slightly and was quite tasty!  I used about 10 oz of potatoes and all of the dressing below for 2 servings at 6 WWPP each.  Will make this one again!

Garlic Red-wine vinegarette
1 tsp. dijon mustart
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove grated
1/2 small red onion finely chopped
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP olive oil

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

A note on the creation of this recipe: I intended to use 3 tsp. red wine vinegar, but I ran out so I added a lemon juice instead.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did and I hope you'll follow my blog and send the link to your friends. I'm looking forward to sharing what's going on in my kitchen and my life in NYC.