Thursday, August 26, 2010

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

12-15 small pickling cucumbers
2 cups cold water
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbl. sugar
1 Tbl. kosher salt
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
about 10 twists of fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, sliced

Scrub and rinse cucumbers.  Put cleaned cucumbers in a large ice bath(lots of ice) and let set for at least half an hour.  In a measuring cup add remaining ingredients except garlic and stir often to dissolve sugar and salt.  Remove cucumbers from ice bath, cut ends off and quarter lengthwise.  Put pickles in large gallon size ziploc type bag.  Add garlic and cold pickling mixture to bag.  Add fresh dill, jalapeno, citrus peels, or other flavor enhancers if you like. Refrigerate for 2 days before eating.  Will keep for 1 week after pickling is done.

I'm not a pickle fan, but I saw someone make some on t.v. and thought these looked easy enough and worth a try.  I'm SO glad I did!  What I did learn is that the ice bath is crucial to keeping the pickles snap crisp.  And they are!  I picked up these organic pickling cucumbers at our local farmers market.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Broccoli Salad

1 lg. head broccoli, cut into small pieces
6 oz. dried cranberries
1 pkg. chopped walnuts
1/2 cup reduced fat bacon pieces(such as Hormel)

1/2 bottle Maple Farms Fat Free Raspberry Dressing
1/2 bottle Maple Farms Fat Free Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 lg. clove garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp. sriracha sauce
1 tsp. reduced calorie soy sauce
1 packet stevia sweetener
3 packets True Orange

Combine salad ingredients in large bowl and set aside.  For the dressing, combine all ingredients in blender until smooth.  Pour over salad and mix well.  Let sit for at least an hour in refrigerator and serve.

I didn't realize Maple Grove had high fructose corn syrup listed in it's top ingredients.  Next time I make this I'll be trying another brand.  If you prefer a creamier broccoli salad you can also add light mayonnaise.  This is unbelievably high in anti-oxidants and fiber with just a little guilty but lower fat bacon.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to School

You can almost hear the sass in their attitudes.  Not kewl for mom to take back to school pictures.  

And someone asked who was going to take a picture of Mermaid so I stole this from her Facebook page.  Mermaid's friend on the left, and Mermaid on the right.  Already started school on the Central Coast.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spicy Peanut Shirataki Noodles (WW=4pts)

4 oz. sliced, cooked boneless skinless chicken breast (130 cal./2 fat/0 fib.)
1 package Shirataki Noodles (40/1/4)
1 Tbl.  Better n' Butter Peanut Butter (50/2/2)
1 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce (3/0/0)
1 tsp. Gourmet Garden Cilantro Blend(5/0/0)
1 tsp. minced garlic(use less if you're not a fan of garlic) (0)
a few drops each of sriracha sauce, sesame oil, and liquid Stevia(if you prefer it a little sweet) (approx. 10 cal)

Rinse noodles and squeeze out all liquid, set aside.  Spray a non-stick skillet with a light coat of non-stick spray and heat pan to medium heat.  Heat chicken breast slices in pan.  In a small bowl with a tiny wire whisk, combine the remaining ingredients.  Add a little water to bring the sauce up to 1/4-1/3 cup liquid.  Set sauce aside.  Add noodles to chicken and stir until noodles are heated through and "dry".  If you don't squeeze out all the liquid the noodles will taste gummy and feel slimey.  When noodles and chicken are heated through add sauce and mix well.  Let reduce a little until slightly thickened.  (238/5/6)=4 pts. on Weight Watchers.  Make without chicken(108/3/6) = 2 pts. (13 TOTAL carbs, 5 NET carbs)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Golden Butterscotch Blondies

1 stick butter flavored Crisco shortening stick (Or ½ cup shortening, ½ cup Nucoa marg.)
1 C packed brown sugar
½ C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp baking soda
2 ½ C all-purpose flour
1 package butterscotch chips
Gold Glitter Sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350' and spray a 9x13" pan with non-stick spray well, set aside.  Cream "wet" ingredients together(includes both sugars) until creamy and smooth.  Add flour and baking soda all at once and mix until combined.  Pour in butterscotch chips and mix.  Spread mixture evenly in 9x13" pan.  Sprinkle top with Gold Glitter Sugar.  Bake for approx. 23 minutes, until golden brown on top.  Let cool.  Use a knife and go around edge of pan to make sure bars are not stuck to pan.  Flip onto cutting board and cut into pieces.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blackened Chicken

6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves, pounded thin
3-4 Tbl. Olive or Canola Oil
2 Tbl. Paprika
1 Tbl. Cayenne Pepper(you can use less but we like a lot of heat)
1 Tbl. Dried Oregano
1 tsp. Salt(kosher or sea)
1 tsp. White Pepper
1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp. Ground Thyme

To De-Glaze Pan:
1 cup red wine
2 Rounded Tbl. Brown Sugar
1/2 Stick Cold Butter, Sliced into Tablespoons

Bring chicken up to room temperature, about an hour on counter.  Combine the spices together and spread evenly on the bottom of a 9x13" pan, reserving some.  Press each side into the spices until well coated and rub reserved spices into chicken.  Set aside.  Using a large non-stick skillet turn heat on to medium/medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, until pan is hot.  Add oil and when "ripples" start to appear it is hot enough.  Add chicken, spread out as even as possible.  If chicken doesn't fit well in pan you may need to do this in batches.  DO not move the chicken around, just leave it alone.  Cook about 7 minutes on one side.  Flip and do not move the chicken around again, it's tempting, but you can do it.  Turn heat down to low-medium.  Juices should run clear if you cut into it after about 5 minutes.  Put lid on and turn off heat.  Let rest about 10 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan. 

To De-Glaze Pan:
After removing chicken from pan, turn heat back up to Medium.  Add wine and scrape drippings and spices from pan while bringing the mixture to a boil.  Add brown sugar and let reduce by about half.  Remove from heat.  Add one pat of butter and mix until incorporated.  Add another pat and mix again, repeat until all butter is incorporated.  Pour over chicken if desired.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Favorite Salad Dressing

We love Melissa D'Arabian from Food Network's Next Food Network Star.   I've started making my own salad dressing for all of my salads now.  I use a lot less olive oil though, or even some homemade chili oil or white truffle oil.  It has SO much flavor!  Sometimes I'll throw in a splash of agave nectar or honey, even a packet of Stevia to have a sweetened dressing.  Play with your vinegars too!  Rice Vinegar is REALLY good.  I also use a golden balsamic almost daily, and champagne vinegar.  And try different mustard types, Jack Daniels is good, and there's a cranberry mustard that is really tasty too.  Just play, it's really hard to go wrong!  The soy sauce was a surprise, but I found it really does make a difference.  Yummmmm!



Mustard Vinaigrette:

  • 1 garlic clove, sliced in 1/2
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Small splash soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


3 cups mixed greens, the darker the better (not iceberg)

Rub the inside of a large wooden bowl with the garlic clove and then either discard it or save it for another use. Put the mustard in the bowl and whisk in the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce (a French secret!) vigorously for about 10 seconds to get a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle in the olive oil as slowly as possible with 1 hand while whisking as quickly as possible with the other hand to emulsify. Lay the salad greens on top of the dressing and toss just before serving.