Yummy, Healthful Tuna Melts!

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I love tuna salad and I love cheese…what could be better than a tuna melt? It’s perfect :) Unfortunately, tuna melts have a habit of being pretty bad for you so I decided to find a way to make it healthier. I was able to use reduced fat mayo and light cheese to reduce the caloric value of this lunch. I also added a delicious, light coleslaw. My step-mom gave me the best coleslaw dressing recipe last summer and I have been using it ever since. The key to any tuna salad is the flaking of the tuna and the fine chopping of the celery and onion. I LOVE relish in my tuna but we were all out. (I have since bought some…).

Notice the finely chopped veggies:

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Then mix the flaked tuna, veggies and mayo:

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I used this amazing new bread from Trader Joe’s: Harvest Multigrain Batard. So good!

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Top with tuna salad and cheese and broil for a couple minutes:

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And enjoy!

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Ingredients:

1 can of tuna, drained and finely flaked
1 celery rib, diced
1/4 c. diced onion
2 tbsp. reduced fat mayo
4 slices of bread

Makes two servings.

Soup Week!

Last week was soup week! What a fun way to eat when it’s freeeeeeezing cold outside :) It all started when I asked my mom what she was craving….she wanted puree of anything. What a great idea! We can have tasty, healthy, comfort food all week. And really, it only took a small portion of my afternoon to make and package two different soups to last us the week. Let me tell you, what a nice change in the break room from my usual salad fare. I heart soup!

I made Cream of Broccoli Soup and Butternut Squash Puree. Both dee-lish!

The Cream of Broccoli Soup recipe can be found here at WeightWatchers.com. This soup is so amazing! It is healthy but still creamy and a little spicy. It definitely hits the spot on a cold day! I urge you to try it. Oh, and it’s super duper easy!

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs. uncooked broccoli, tough ends removed, stems and florets chopped
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 c. fat-free evaporated milk (I used fat-free half and half)
hot pepper sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste

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Combine onion and garlic in a pot with 1/4 c. of water. Simmer until onion is soft. 

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Add broccoli and broth to pot; bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until broccoli is soft and still green, about 8 minutes. 

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Remove soup from heat; puree until smooth using an immersion blender.

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Add milk and pepper sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve! 

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YUM! Doesn’t it look good??

For anyone who doesn’t like broccoli (I think you should – it’s soooo good for you) you will have to try this Butternut Squash Puree. It is so perfect for fall and winter. So comforting, a little savory, a little sweet…In a nutshell – perfect!

The Butternut Squash Soup recipe can be found here at WeightWatchers.com. 

Butternut Squash Soup
Ingredients:
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
12 oz. uncooked butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
1/2 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
1/2 fresh apple, peeled and cut into 2″ cubes
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

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In a large pot, combine broth, squash, onion and apple; cover and bring to boil. Uncover and reduce heat to low; gently simmer until squash is very tender, about 10 minutes.

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Puree soup in pot using an immersion blender. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Serve!

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SOO de-lish! Enjoy!

Drunken Pear Frangipane Tart

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OMG. You have to make this dessert. It is AMAZING! There are a few steps but it’s not too hard and comes together beautifully! I also found that you can save yourself time the day of your event by making the custard and poached ahead of time waiting until the day of to assemble and bake. OMG so easy!

I really just wanted a Pear Frangipane Tart but this one seemed so much better, what, with the added sophistication of alcohol, haha! The recipe is from foodnetwork.com and can be found here. In case you’re interested, Frangipane is a custard like filling made from almonds. I love anything almond; frangipane, marizipan…you name it.

First you make your Frangipane custard. Here are the ingredients:

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Use an electric mixer to cream your butter and sugar:

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You’ll need ground almonds. I ground my own:

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Then add the ground almonds, rum, egg, almond extract and flour. Beat until smooth and you have frangipane! At this point I put my frangipane in the refrigerator until it came time to assemble and bake the tart a few days later.

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Now it’s time to make the poaching liquid for the pears. Here are the ingredients:

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First, you need to peel your pears, keeping the stems intact. To be honest, I am not sure why the stems need to stay intact. I just followed the recipe :) If anyone knows, please let me know. Here are my wonderful pears: (I LOVE pears)

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You also have to prep your poaching liquid ingredients:

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Combine the raspberry lager, sugar, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla in a stockpot. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. 

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Then add your pears, reduced heat to a simmer and uncovered until pears are fork tender, about 20 or 30 minutes. Be sure to rotate pears during poaching process for even coloring.

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After I poached the pears I put them in fridge too. How easy! You can make both the frangipane and the pears ahead of time and simply take them out when it’s ready to assemble and bake.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

 

Roll your pre-made piecrust and fit into a removable bottom tart pan. Set aside in the fridge.

Spread your frangipane evenly into your unbaked, chilled tart shell.

Slice each pear in half lengthwise; remove the core and stem. Place each half, cut side down, on a cutting board and slice crosswise into thing slices. Arrange the pear slices on the frangipane. 

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Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until shell is golden brown and the frangipane is puffed and brown.

In a saucepan, melt the apricot jam and brush the top of tart with a pastry brush as soon as it comes out of the oven. Cool to room temp before slicing.

And, viola! You have a beautiful, amazing, yummy Drunken Frangipane Tart! Makes me hungry just thinking about it…

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Thanksgiving Dinner

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Thanksgiving this year was amazing. I am so lucky because I got to have not one but two dinners! I went to my dad’s on Thursday and hosted at my house on Friday. I love my dad and stepmom’s Thanksgiving dinners, they are just such good hosts! Also, every year we have a “beautfiul” plate contest and I usually win :D

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Here’s my “beautiful” plate :) I am impressed by my stepmom Karen – this year our meal was almost completely gluten free and vegan (minus the turkey)! And you would never know! The food was amazing.

This year was also different because for once there were not one, not two, not three, but FIVE men! Usually us ladies dominate the family dinners, haha! Grandpa isn’t pictured but here are the rest:

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What a bunch of handsome guys!

 
Most everything went well but I did have one snafu – I mistakenly reversed my work schedule and realized Thursday night that I was scheduled to work 9-5 on Friday! I was horrified. How would I possibly host Thanksgiving while I am at work? Well, I am so lucky because my sweetie Harvey (pictured at the top) saved the day! He got up early with me and went over all the recipes, front to back. He even came up with his own time table! When I got home I was thrilled to find everything going as planned, Harvey working hard in the kitchen and my wonderful grandparents, mom and brother chatting and looking at my brother’s Vietnam and Laos vacation photos in the living room. What’s even better is that my grandparents said the cheeses I chose were decadent and they couldn’t stop eating them! I love cheese and I love to share my favorites with other people. I am so glad they appreciated the Unexpected Cheddar, Belletoile Triple Cream Brie and Honey Goat Log that I love so much! 

The menu for dinner was beautiful and only slightly extensive. I saved myself (er, Harvey) a lot of time by prepping earlier in the week. Here’s what we had:

Roast Duck with Pinot Noir Pan Gravy
Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic
Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Drunken Pear Frangipane Tart
French Vanilla Ice Cream

I was able to make the Rice Pilaf, Cranberry Sauce and Fragipane Tart ahead of time so we only had to worry about the Roast Ducks (there were two) and the two veggie dishes on the day of. 

As you can see, we strayed from the traditional turkey and went for the duck. I have to say this was my mom’s idea. And what a good one it was! It was great to have something different, try out a new recipe and I look forward to making duck again :)

The one regret I have is I can only share a few of the dishes with you. Because I ended up having to work on Friday (the day of our Thanksgiving dinner) I do not have any photos of the Roast Duck or Green Beans. I will provide links to all the recipes below. I also don’t have pictures from the dinner. This makes me so sad! A combination of being overly exhausted and super busy does not lend itself well to taking photos :( I hope you can imagine how beautiful our meal was and how much fun we had! Thank you so much Harvey for all your hard work! You truly saved the day :D

Roast Duck - Ina Garten
Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic – The Neelys
Sriracha Glazed Baby Carrots - The Brokeass Gourmet
Wild Rice Pilaf - MyRecipes.com
Cranberry Orange Sauce - The Wednesday Chef
Drunken Pear Fragipane Tart - Foodnetwork.com

Fluffy Omelettes and Fresh Herbs

Wow, it’s been some time since I last posted. Just over a month. Things have been so busy around here, what with Thanksgiving, my birthday, other engagements and Christmas and Hanukkah are upon us! So much cooking to do and so little time to blog, let alone remember to take photos, haha! At least I’ve remembered a few times…let’s see if I can remember what I did :)

This particular  morning, back in November, Sydney came over for breakfast. I am not that great at making omelettes. They always seem to turn into scrambles! I don’t know the exact reason but I am always trying to figure it out. This day I wanted to make a nice fluffy omelette. Upon googling I found Emeril’s recipe.  I made a few changes since I don’t normally have heavy cream around. I used milk, feta cheese and fresh herbs (basil, sage, mint and green onion) from the garden. The original recipe serves one and we were three; me, my mom and Sydney. To keep it light I upped the eggs to 5 instead of 6.

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Ingredients:
5 eggs
3 tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
2 pinches ground pepper
1/4 c. light feta cheese
2 tbsp. butter

Here’s how it went:

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Blend eggs, milk, salt and pepper until very frothy. About one minute.

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Chop your fresh herbs and chop or grate your cheese.

Heat a large saute pan over heat and add butter. Swirl butter around hot pan. Once hot and bubbly, add egg mixture the to the pan. Use a rubber spatula and stir constantly and scrape sides down. You want to evenly cook the mixture. After about 30 seconds the mixture should look like wet scrambled eggs. Use the spatula to smooth the mixture evenly across the pan. Cook until almost set, about 10 – 15 seconds longer then top one half of the omelette with your fresh herbs and cheese. Using the spatula, fold the omelette in half and slide out of the pan onto a plate. Cut into 3 wedges and serve! Yum!

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This omelette was so beautiful and so tasty; just ask my mom and Syd!

Zucchini Fritters

This is a quick one – I’ve got a million things on my to-do list today but I MUST share this yummy recipe we had last night! I made Lebanese Eggplant stuffed with Beef, Feta and Walnuts from my new Weight Watchers Cookbook – I Heart Leftovers. (super yummy) I won’t be sharing that, at least not today. But at the last minute, realizing we needed a side, I looked in my fridge and saw 4 small zucchinis calling out to me. I didn’t want to make yet another bowl of steamed or sauteed zucchini. So overdone in my household. I did a quick google search. Zucchini pancakes and fritters kept coming up and catching my eye. Fitters it was.

I used this recipe from Simply Recipes. Amazing! And easy! Only difference, I didn’t have scallions so substituted a 1/2 tsp. of onion powder. And instead of a 1/2 c. of olive oil, I used 1/4 c. of canola oil. And lastly, I garnished with goat milk yogurt instead of plain yogurt or sour cream. End product is fantastic! You should really try this at home. Also, zucchini is super easy to grate and this is unbelievably quick.

Corn and Green Chile Frittata

I love frittata! Frittatas are the most convenient breakfast: super easy, perfect for at home or on-the-go, and delicious! Also very tasty, healthy and protein packed. I have a thing for hot breakfast, especially when the weather cools. And it certainly has! A whopping 45 degrees this morning:

I have made several different frittatas but I always go back to this one. The recipe is from my Weight Watcher’s Momentum Cookbook. The book is a little dated and the plan has since changed, but the recipe stands out. I think it’s the corn that gives it the perfect flavor. You get a little savory, a little sweet and little tart. I love to pair frittata with toast and fruit salad.

Here are the ingredients:

1. Whisk together the eggs, corn, chiles, milk, thyme, salt, black pepper and pepper sauce in a large bowl.

My beautiful halved tomatoes:

2. Set a skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray. Add the egg mixture and place the tomatoes on top. Cover and cook until eggs set, about 15 minutes.

The end product is beautiful! Cut into 4 pieces and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. I love that I can save the pieces in the fridge and bring them to work each day :D

 

Corn and Green Chile Frittata
Prep: 10 min. Cook: 15 min. Serves: 4

6 eggs
1 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 (4 oz) can chopped mild green chiles, drained
1/4 c. fat free milk
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 dashes hot sauce (I used sriracha)
12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Whisk together the eggs, corn, chiles, milk, thyme, salt, black pepper and pepper sauce in a large bowl.
2. Spray a medium nonstick skillet with nonstick spray (I use a regular NOT nonstick skillet, works just fine) and set over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and sprinkle with the tomatoes. Cover and cook until the eggs are set, about 15 minutes. Cut the frittata into 4 wedges. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!