Friday, July 30, 2010


I made 'beefy tomatoes' (think stuffed peppers, only tomatoes) tonight. It looked so good in the pictures! I have no idea what happened. It wasn't the worst thing I had ever made, but it definitely wasn't the best either. I don't know that I would make this dish ever again. I didn't even ask my husband to grade the dinner tonight.

I wasn't going to make a post about this dinner at all, but I promised myself that I would blog about everything I've made--not just the good stuff.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Edition: Pasta Primavera

What's Needed:
1 tsp. olive oil
2 onions, finelly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green, red, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced (I use frozen pepper strips instead of fresh)
1 medium cucumber, diced (or you can use zucchini)
1 C. coarsely chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 C. low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. parsley
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
3 C. hot cooked penne or medium pasta shells
1/3 C. shredded smoked provolone (or other smoked cheese)
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat hte oil. Saute the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and zucchini until the onions are golden, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, salt, parsley, and oregano. Bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

4. Pour over penne, then stir in provolone and Parmesan.

Husband's Grade: C
PointsPlus: 6 points (1.5 C. pasta and veggies)

Inspired by: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Edition: Chicken and Peaches

One of my favorite Food Network chefs is Rachel Ray. When I really started cooking, I tried her recipes the most. The were easy enough that I didn't feel overwhelmed cooking them, and very delish and fast.

Cue this evening. My husband and I had watched a newer episode of 30-Minute Meals on Food Network. She was making this dish. I honestly wish I had a picture of what I made tonight because it was beautiful!

Since I didn't modify the dish at all (ok--I took the hotsauce out because my 17 month old can't handle it and I used chicken breast only, and not thighs), I'm simply going to link you to Food Network's recipes. It was a LOT of work (I've never had that many pots and pans going at one time), but it was WELL worth it!

Note: This is not for the faint of heart. Something this good, comes with a point price!

Chicken and Peaches recipe:


Sweet Onion Potato Au Gratin recipe:

Husband's Grade: B
WW Points: Chicken: 10 points (1 breast, 4 peach quarters)
Potatoes: 10 points (1/4 of the casserole)

French Dip

Crockpot cooking again, since I was doing curriculum work in the district office this week. My crockpot cooks on the hot side, so my beef was a little overdone. If this happens, after shredding it, simply put it back in the crockpot with a little au jus and it will moisten right up again.

What's Needed:
1 boneless beef sirloin tip roast (about 3 lbs.), cut in half
1/2 C. water
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
12 cruisty rolls (5 inches)

1. Place beef in the crockpot.

2. In a small bowl, combine the water and dressing mix; pour over beef. Cover and cook for 8-10 hours on LOW, or until meat is tender.

3. Remove beef and shred using two forks. Serve on beef buns with juice.

Servings: 12

Note: If you like your beef hot, add 1 can (4 oz.) diced jalapeno peppers, drained to step two.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 6 per sandwich (bread included)

Inspired by: Everyday Light Meals

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Edition: Tacos and Salsa

If you have your ground beef pre-cooked and in the freezer, the time to prepare this meal is cut in half. Prepare the salsa first so the flavors have a chance to blend together.

What's Needed:
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 C. finely chopped fresh cilantro (or 1/8 C. dried cilantro)
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 T. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper

1. Place the fresh tomatoes in a strainer or colander in the sink; drain 20-30 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, combine fresh tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place plastic wrap over the bowl. Place in fridge until ready to use.

What's Needed:
4 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
16 taco shells
Cheddar Cheese (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)

1. In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat the oil. Saute the onion and garlic until onion is translucent, 6-8 minutes.

2. Stir in the cumin, oregano, and paprika. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink, 8-10 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

4. Taco building:
Divide beef among the taco shells. Top with lettuce, cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream.

Husband's Grade: A
2 tacos with everything (cheddar cheese, sour cream, lettuce and salsa) 6 points
2 tacos (cheddar cheese, lettuce, and salsa only) 6 points
2 tacos (salsa and lettuce only) 3 points

Inspired by: WeightWatchers Complete New Cookbook

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Edition: Tamale Pie

Very quick to put together. This is one of my go-to meals when I need something in 20 minutes or less :)

What's Needed:
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef, cooked
1 envelope Onion Soup Mix
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 C. water
1 Can (15 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 package (8.5 oz) corn muffin mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onion--about 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in the pre-cooked ground beef, let heat about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in soup mix blended with tomato and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.Reduce heat to low and stir in beans. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Turn into 2 quart casserole dish.

4. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions. Spoon evenly over casserole.

5. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes or until corn topping is golden and filling is hot.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 9 points for 1/6 of the casserole

Summer Edition: Smoked Turkey Mini-Panini

As I was preparing this meal, I realized that I had sliced the ciabatta bread wrong. Instead of having long, wide pieces, I had tiny slices of bread. That is why I'm calling this a mini-panini. 2 mini-paninis = 1 serving.

What's Needed:
1/4 lb. thin deli-sliced smoked turkey
1 red bell pepper OR 1 tomato
5 slices mozzarella cheese
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
8 large basil leaves
14 slices Ciabatta bread(I highly recommend Panera Bread's Ciabatta)

1. If you are using red bell pepper:
spray the broiler rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the broiler. Broil the pepper, turning occasionally until charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Place in a paper bag and fold closed. Set aside 15 minutes to steam. Peel, seed, and slice pepper into thin strips.

1. If you are using tomato:
slice tomato into thin slices.

2. In a quart-size ziploc bag, combine vinegar, rosemary, and water. Add pepper or tomato. Seal the bag, squeezing out the air; turn to coat the pepper. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain and discard the marinade.

3. To assemble sandwiches: layer the turkey, pepper, basil leaves, and 1/2 a slice of mozzarella cheese.

4. If you have a panini press: place sandwiches in the press and cook until sandwich is lightly brown and cheese is melted.

4. If you do not have a panini press: put sandwiches in broiler. Broil until sasndwich is lightly toasted and cheese is melted.

Serve hot!

Husband's Grade: A+ :)
WW Points: 7 (2 sandwiches)

Inspired by: WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Quesadillas and Corn Salad

What I once thought was difficult will now be a go-to meal in the Garcia house when I need something quick and easy to prepare.

What's Needed:
Corn Salad:
1 C. thawed frozen corn kernels OR 3 medium ears of corn--kernels cut off the cob
1 C. thawed frozen bell pepper strips, diced OR 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 C. diced cooked chicken breast (I bought a package of pre-cooked chicken)
1 C. shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 C. thick-and-chunky salsa
6 (medium) flour tortillas
1/3 C. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. In a medium bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Stir well; set aside.

2. In another medium bowl, combine chicken, lettuce, and salsa. Stir well to mix.

3. Divide chicken mixture among 3 of the tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with the 3 remaining tortillas.

4. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. One at a time, cook the quesadillas until lightly browned, 3 minutes on each side. Turn carefully with a wide spatula.

5. Cut quesadillas into quarters. Arrange 3 quarters on 4 plates. Serve with the salad on the side.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 8 (3 quesadilla quarters and 1/2 C. salad)

Inspired by: WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Edition: Beef Stir-Fry

I must say, this stir-fry turned out almost as good as a Chinese restaurant, with decidedly less points. DH graded the meal a 'B', because it was 'good' despite his definite dislike of Chinese food.

What's Needed:
2 T. dry sherry
2 T. dark soy sauce
1 T. ginger
1 tsp. powdered garlic
1 tsp. Asian (dark) sesame seed oil
1/2 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into strips
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 T. vegetable oil
4 C. broccoli florets
1 C. bell peppers, cut into strips
Optional: 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. Prepare the marinade: Combine sherry, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame seed oil, and (if you want some heat) crushed red pepper in a gallon-size ziploc bag. Add the beef. Seal the bag, squeezing out the air. Turn to coat the beef. Refrigerate about 1 hour.

2. Drain the marinade into a measuring cup; add enough water to make 1/3 C. liquid. Add the cornstarch and stir until it dissolves.

3. Heat a large skillet or wok with a lid over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and beef; stir-fry until beef loses its red color. Remove beef with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.

4. Reduce heat and add the broccoli and bell peppers. Stir-fry three minutes, then cover/steam 1 minute.

5. Add the beef to the skillet and add the marinade. Increase heat to high and stir-fry until the sauce thickens, 2-3 m inutes.

Serve with brown rice. Makes 4 servings.

Husband's Grade: B
PointsPlus: 8 (1/2 C. brown rice; 1/4th of the stirfry)

Inspired by: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook