Sunday is the day when among other things I like to try and prepare meals for the week. I know myself enough to know that when I don’t have healthy food prepared, that’s when I’ll tend to indulge in whatever is handy and that isn’t always so healthy. So, since it was a lazy Sunday anyway, I ran to the market late afternoon for a few items I needed and came home and proceeded to cook. So, beware….this is a long post….
First up was to feed Terry, who had requested spaghetti for dinner. I like to make that because it is an easy and hearty meal. I kind of change it up a little depending on how much effort I feel like putting into it. I went pretty mainstream today. And the “recipe” for this really doesn’t have measurements, because I just throw stuff together, so the amounts I’m listing here are best guess.
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
1 lb (or more) lean ground beef
1/2 lb mild or hot ground Italian sausage (when I can’t find ground, I buy links and cut them open and throw away the casing.)
2 or more fresh garlic cloves, minced or pressed (I love my Pampered Chef garlic press and typically use that)
2 TBSP olive oil (optional, but I like the bit of flavor it adds)
2 cans Hunts Spaghetti Sauce (sometimes I use a jar of sauce like Newman’s Own “Sockarooni” and just one can. I like to use the Hunts because it is inexpensive, but works just as well as the more expensive sauce in the jar) — today I used one can of Zesty & Spicy and one Italian Sausage.
8 oz (or more) (uncooked weight) spaghetti noodles
Salt, pepper, dried oregano and basil, Adobo seasoning or garlic powder, sugar or Splenda, (add red pepper flakes too, if you want it spicier).
Cook the spaghetti in the usual way. [I have to note that one of my favorite kitchen gadgets is this plastic container that Mom bought off of QVC and gave to me for my b-day last year. It’s called “Pasta & More” cooker and oh, I love that thing for cooking pasta. No more waiting for the water to boil….you just throw the pasta in, cover it with water and microwave for about 20 min. It comes with a strainer lid and also a storage lid and steamer basket so you can do veggies too….Thanks again Mom!]
So, while the pasta is cooking in the microwave (or on the stove) I make the sauce. Brown the garlic with the ground beef and ground sausage in the oil olive in a large sauce pot on the stove. Drain off any fat as you cook. When almost done, add the seasonings to taste. Then add the cans of sauce and stir. It is critical to taste and then add more seasonings accordingly. I think that the dish actually tastes better the next day or so as the seasonings meld together. At this point you can put a lid on it and simmer for at least 30 min, but longer if you like. Serve over the noodles, or we like to just mix the noodles in. Top with a little grated parmesan if you like. Easy!
Now to something for me to eat either for lunch or dinners this week. I still have some of the white bean and tuna pasta salad left, so I’ll probably eat that tomorrow for lunch and have this next dish for dinner. I adapted it from a Weight Watchers (WW) recipe.
Curried Hawaiian Chicken with Pineapple and Rice
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite-size pieces (I had some breast tenders in the freezer that I used. I like to just partially thaw it in the microwave and that makes it easier to cut into bite-size pieces)
2 tsp sesame or peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
2 TBSP minced shallot
2 TBSP curry powder
Adobo seasoning or garlic powder, Splenda/sugar and salt/pepper to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, minced (As I’ve mentioned before I like to use freeze dried, especially because it seems like I buy a bunch of cilantro, use a little and a week later end up throwing away the slimy remains. BUT, there is another marvelous product called “Dorot,” which is essentially frozen cubes of herbs. I get them at Trader Joes and they come in these little packages and you just pop out however many of the frozen cubes you want. In this recipe I used four)
20 oz pineapple tidbits + juice (using the juice makes it a little thin, so up to you if you want to omit the juice)
1 cup light coconut milk
6 oz nonfat, plain Greek yogurt (I added this as a last minute idea to thicken it up a little)
Brown the chicken in the sesame oil with the garlic and cilantro. Add the curry powder and other seasonings. Add the coconut milk and pineapple. Partially cover and simmer for 30 min. Stir in Greek yogurt before serving. Makes six servings. Serve over brown rice. I LOVE the packages of Birds Eye® Steamfresh brown rice you can find in the freezer section. I seriously don’t mind cooking my own rice from scratch, but you know sometimes you just don’t want to mess with that. These packages take about four min to cook in the microwave and it makes two cups. I just went ahead and stirred it all into the dish before storing in the refrigerator. Just makes it easier for reheating.
If I don’t have something for breakfast around 7 or so, before I go to work, I am starving by 10 a.m…….plus eating breakfast is the key to a healthy lifestyle, right? But, I can only eat a yogurt for so many days, despite how awesomely good the Chobani brand is. And cereal, I don’t know, it just doesn’t stick with me….so, I’ve been making these different frittata and other “egg bake” dishes. Really pretty easy to make and so simple to reheat and just plain good to nosh! Last week I adapted a WW recipe to make a Spinach, Mushroom and Cheese Fritatta. Here’s the recipe:
2 large eggs, beaten
2 egg whites, beaten
1-1/4 cup egg substitute (this is what I used when I made it last week. Today I only had 1/2 cup of the substitute left, so I used that and two large eggs.)
2 tsp butter or margarine (I pretty much got away from margarine several years ago. I use Land o’Lakes spreadable butter or the Safeway version of it and find you don’t need much to just add good flavor and so much better tasting than margarine or those horrible fake margarines like Smart Balance.]
1/4 cup chopped shallot
1-2 cups chopped baby spinach
1/2 – 1 cup fresh brown or white mushrooms, chopped
2/3 cup 2% milkfat/lo-fat shredded cheese (I used Mozzarella)
Preheat oven to 350. In an ovenproof saute pan, saute the shallots, spinach and mushrooms in the butter (stir occasionally) until the spinach begins to wilt and mushrooms start to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour over beaten eggs/egg substitute. Season with salt/pepper. Cook on stovetop for about 3-5 min, just until eggs begin to set. Sprinkle top with cheese and move pan to oven and bake for approximately 15-20 min until set and lightly brown on top. Cut into four wedges to serve. [IMPORTANT NOTE OF CAUTION: Use a pot holder to remove pan from oven and LEAVE the pot holder on the handle as it cools. I did not remember to do this today and hence I have a nice little burn on my left hand from carelessly attempting to move the pan as it sat on the countertop.]
Finally, Terry also requested some tuna salad to accompany his fresh loaf of Franz white bread as sandwiches this week. I think everyone probably has a version of tuna salad/spread that harkens back to what they ate growing up. I know that’s pretty much how I make mine. I vary it a little sometimes using sweet pickle relish (as I did tonight) and sometimes using dill relish. I always add a little onion, red or sweet yellow, and I never add celery or hard boiled eggs, as I know some people prefer. The only thing I did different tonight was chop up a couple of those little peppadew peppers and threw them in.
2 cans solid white tuna, drained
1/2 cup light or regular mayo (I used light tonight)
1-2 TBSP sweet or dill pickle relish
2 thin slices of red or sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
2 Peppadew peppers, chopped (optional)
Throw everything into a bowl or resealable container and mix together with a fork to flake tuna. Enjoy cold on white or whole grain bread, in a pita pocket, on sandwich thins, crackers….etc. Or serve as a grilled sandwich adding thin slices of cheddar or other cheese.