Sunday, March 15, 2009

Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Sammiches

The house smells so friggin' good right now...I have had a pork tenderloin cooking away in the crock pot all day. I am hungry for BBQ pork sandwiches - and have no idea why. They aren't something that I seek out to eat, but oh well! It gave me a chance to bust out the seldom-used crock pot.

I found a recipe on allrecipes.com that looked interesting - the pork gets cooked in a mix of coffee, whiskey, broth, worchestershire sauce and garlic, then gets drained, shredded, sauced and cooked come more. We're going to have the sandwiches on whole wheat rolls with fries (sweet potato for me, regular fries for Norm) and a salad.

Here's the recipe. I halved it for the two of us...and we'll still probably have enough for another meal. I have a feeling this will be revisited for tailgating when football season starts!

Slow Cooker Barbequed Pork for Sandwiches
(Source: allrecipes.com)

2 1/2 pounds boneless pork roast
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups strong brewed coffee
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
10 cloves garlic (i just used about 2 tsp of miced garlic since that's what I had)
3 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1 small onion, diced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 (12 ounce) bottles barbeque sauce (I used about a 1/2 a bottle)


Season the roast with salt and pepper. Place the seasoned roast, coffee, Worcestershire sauce, bourbon whiskey, garlic, beef broth, water, onion, and red pepper flakes in a slow cooker set to LOW. Cook 3 to 4 hours. Scoop garlic cloves out of the cooker and mash with a fork; return the mashed garlic to the slow cooker. Cook another 3 to 4 hours. (*** note, since I used minced garlic I didn't have to do this...I just let it cook for about 7 hours or so)

Transfer roast to a large cutting board, and discard liquid. Shred the roast into strands using two forks, and return meat to the slow cooker. Stir in the barbeque sauce, and continue cooking on LOW for 1 to 3 hours.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Broiled Tilapia with Yogurt and Parmesan

This was fantastic! I really liked the marinade/sauce that this made. It was excellent on the fish...I will definitely make this again. I actually had to improvise from the original recipe as I didn't have all of the spices on hand (which is actually quite unbelievable given the amount of spices in the cabinet right now). Here is the original recipe (lifted from a Weight Watchers message board, but it's from Whole Foods) with my adaptations. I served it with barley and sauteed squash, zucchini and peppers.

Broiled Tilapia with Yogurt and Parmesan
(Source: Whole Foods)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise (I used Kraft reduced-fat olive oil mayo)
2 tablespoons Greek style yogurt or sour cream (used plain ol' non-fat yogurt)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (1 T whipped butter, melted)
Juice and zest of one small lemon (about 2 tablespoons juice) (used less than 1/2 of this)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (used 1 T fresh basil and 1 tsp of an Italian seasoning blend in place of all of these spices)
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (6 to 8 ounce) farm-raised tilapia fillets

Combine 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese with remaining ingredients (except fish). Coat fillets with mixture and place in baking dish or shallow platter and let marinate for 15–20 minutes. Preheat broiler. Place fillets on a foil-lined broiler pan. Spoon a few tablespoons marinade on top and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Broil 4–6 inches from heat for 5–8 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. The fish is ready when it flakes easily with a fork.

Creamy Shrimp Pasta

I found this recipe on the McCormick Web site...the original calls for chicken. I thought it would be great with shrimp as well, so that's what I made it with. It was good...not great...but tasty enough. It definitely needs some more flavor. Maybe next time I'll doctor it up a bit and add some minced garlic, maybe some freshmore parmesan, etc.

I also added some more veggies. I had a plethora of fresh veggies in the fridge, so I thought I'd add some color to the mix - even if you can't see it in the picture! I sauteed some mini bell peppers, a handfull of chopped mushrooms and some onion and seasoned them with some salt, pepper and a dash of white balsamic vinegar, and added to the pasta before I put the sauce on it. Oh, and I added a wedge of garlic and herb light laughing cow cheese, jus for kicks.

Creamy Chicken Penne
(Source: McCormick Web Site)
8 ounces uncooked multigrain penne pasta
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen small broccoli florets
1 cup fat free half-and-half
4 ounces Neufch√Ętel cheese (1/3 less fat than cream cheese), cubed
1 teaspoon
McCormick® Oregano Leaves
1 teaspoon
McCormick® Rosemary Leaves, finely crushed
1 teaspoon
McCormick® Thyme Leaves
1/2 teaspoon
McCormick® Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt from
McCormick® Sea Salt Grinder
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (I used about 1/2 lb of cooked shrimp)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding broccoli during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain well.
Meanwhile, bring half-and-half to simmer in small saucepan on medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cream cheese, oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder and sea salt; whisk until cheese is melted and sauce is well blended. Add chicken; simmer until heated through.
Place pasta and broccoli in large serving bowl. Spoon sauce evenly over pasta mixture. Toss gently to coat well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Crab and Avocado Salad

A quick lunch favorite. This is adapted from a South Beach Diet recipe, I usually just toss in whatever veggies that I have on hand. It's pretty versatile. I have it over lettuce here, but have also made it into a wrap, or on english muffins for an open faced sammich.

Here's what I do (amount are total estimates!)
1/2 a pack of imitation crab (this time I used a flaked crab and shrimp combo)
1/2 an avocado, diced
1/4 of an onion, diced
1/4 of a red pepper, diced
a squirt of lime
cilantro
salt, pepper, garlic
olive oil mayo

Mix all together and serve.

Moroccan Chicken with Roasted Veggies

Another weight watchers message board find. The spices were amazing...so flavorful and a nice change of pace from the same ol' same ol' that we seem to be having. I used chicken tenders instead of breasts, so I had to reduce the cooking time a bit (to about 15 minutes). I also added some eggplant, red bell pepper and onion to the carrots, and tossed them with a little cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, garlic, salt and pepper.

I cooked some barley in chicken broth and added a little bit of the sames that were used on the chicken. This was excellent leftover the next day for lunch. I think this will be excellent grilled this summer.

Moroccan Chicken and Roasted Carrots
(Source: weight watchers message board)

4 (4 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
4 carrots


Mix all spices with the oil to make a paste coat each chicken breast. Cook on a sheet pan, in a single layer, at 450 degrees x 20-25 minutes or until done. You may also add a lemon during roasting cut in quarters for added flavor.

For the carrots cut up carrots in 2 inch segments coat with a tsp EVOO add coarse salt and roast on the same pan as the chicken till done.

Veal Marsala

Another easy recipe....I'm surprised I haven't posted it before. I think I originally lifted it off of a weight watchers message board or something. I make this quite a lot, sometimes with veal, sometimes with thinly sliced chicken breasts or tenders. Either way, it's a quick and delicious meal that would even be fit for "company". Actually I have made this for when our parents both came over for dinner once.

We love it with garlic mashed potatoes and a some steamed green beans on the side. For those that don't like the butter spray - I think the original recipe called for 2 T butter.

Veal Marsala
1 lb thinly sliced veal
1/4 C flour (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic salt)
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 C marsala wine
Butter spray.

Put flour in a shallow dish. Dredge veal pieces in flour to coat. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat, coat with cooking spray and spray with butter. Add veal. Cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip veal and spray with a little more butter. Add mushrooms and shallot around veal. Cook another 2 minutes until veal is browned and mushrooms and shallot have started to cook. Add marsala wine and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes until wine has reduced and veal is cooked thru.

Beef Stroganoff

Every once in a while, I get a craving for beef stroganoff. I have tried quite a few different recipes, looking for the perfect one. I came across a post on chowhound.com on how to make it tasty every time.

It's so easy it's a crime - although I did modify slightly to reduce the amount of oil used. And I don't use sliced beef sirloin or tenderloin. I grew up on ground beef stroganoff, so that's how I make it now...maybe some day I'll try it with thinly sliced beef, but this is so good, I can't imagine that that day will come any time soon! We have this served over whole wheat egg noodles and salad on the side.

Beef Stroganoff
(Source: chowhound.com)

1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
1 T olive oil (I used a mushroom infused oil)
1/2 an medium onion, sliced
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
1/4 C sherry (or other liquid)
1/4 C beef broth
1/2 C reduced fat sour cream (or more if it needs it)
a dash of worchestershire sauce
salt, pepper, garlic

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Season meat with salt, pepper & garlic to taste. Add to pan, and brown. Empty meat onto plate. Add 1T olive oil, add onions 1st, then mushrooms. Season with salt & pepper, saute till almost done, empty on plate. Deglaze pan with sherry, cognac, brandy, red wine, some kind of liquor. Ignite or let alcohol burn off, add beef broth and worchestershire sauce, and simmer a couple of minutes. Add meat & veggies back to pan on low heat to warm. Add sour cream, DO NOT BOIL, stir well, just enough to meld and warm up. To avoid curdling, sour cream should be room temperature. Serve over rice or noodles.