Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Who knows what day we are on now?

It is amazing how quickly a few days (weeks) can go by. Lots of exciting things happening in the Summy house these days. I will post details of the happenings at a later date but I will say now that I don't think I can juggle anything else right now. Life is just about as hectic as I would like it. So today I blinked and weeks 9 - 11 had come and gone and I have been super neglectful on the blogging. In fact I realized this past weekend that I am going to have to revamp the cooking challenge. Swimsuit season is quickly approaching and therefore diet season is upon us (again!). I don't know about you, bloggy friends, but I have put on a few pounds since I started this challenge. Not that my meals have been all too fattening, but they have just been delicious (tooting my own horn just a bit)! My family has rediscovered our love for eating (firsts and seconds of) delicious home-cooked meals and our waistlines are paying the price. So I am going to sum up the last couple of weeks of meals and then I will start fresh with my new challenge on the next post. The main change will be that the meals will have to obviously all fit in our diet so I don't think I can stick to the "something new and different every night" rule. It is hard enough to find diet food that is edible must less dealing with the added task of not repeating anything. But more on that later..... Lets finish up talking about some of these beauties the put me the condition that I am in!

Slow Cooker Pulled pork tacos
Giada's peanut butter granola bars
Spanish chicken and rice
Gina's Chicken Divan
Fusilli alla Caprese
Three Cheese Calzones
Garlic Pork with cilantro lime rice
BBQ pork tenderloin and homemade mac and cheese

Are you hungry? I sure am.... I started my diet today and just thinking about all of this food is making my mouth water like crazy.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos (Real Simple magazine)
I was heading out of town for a girls weekend and was able to load this little dish into the crock pot for Steve and the kids before I left town. I love the feeling of "cooking" dinner when you are not even home. It feels like something straight out of the Jetsons. "Modern" technology is so cool.

2 cups store bought salsa, plus more for serving
2 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP dried oregano
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (Yes! Cocoa...I thought that was so weird!)
Kosher salt
1 (2.5 lb) boneless pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
18 corn tortillas
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 lime, cut into wedges

In a 4 to 6 quart crock pot, combine the salsa, chili powder, oregano, cocoa, and 1 tsp salt.
Add the pork and turn to coat.

Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
25 minutes before serving, heat the oven to 350º. Stack tortillas, wrap them in foil, and bake until warm, about 15 min.

Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred the pork and stir into the cooking liquid. Serve with the tortillas , cilantro, sour cream, lime, and extra salsa.

Giada's peanut butter granola bars
We had to go out on Thursday night so I wasn't able to cook a 5th meal for the week. So before I left town I whipped up a batch of these delicious beauties. A healthy snack for the road. Not sure it will count for a dinner, but it is a recipe nonetheless.

2 egg whites
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar (if using splenda 2.5 TBSP)
1/4 cup honey
4 to 5 TBSP butter, melted
2.25 cups oats
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 almonds (optional for me as I don't do nuts)

Preheat to 350º. Spray pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper and spray the paper. Beat egg white until frothy. Add peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, and butter and stir.
Add oats and chips (and almonds if desired).
Spread into prepared pan and bake about 20 min or until the top and edges are golden brown.

Spanish Chicken and Rice (Real Simple magazine)
This meal was only so-so for me. The wine gave it too strong of a flavor. I have heard chefs say that you should only cook with a good wine that you love because cooking really brings out the flavor. This recipe calls for Sauvignon Blanc and I am just not really a fan of that wine. If I cook this again, I will probably just substitute chicken stock for the wine.

1 TBSP olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 2.5 inch pieces.
Kosher salt
1 med onion
1 green bell pepper sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, including liquid
1 cup long grain white rice
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over med heat.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook until golden brown, 2 min per side.

Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 min. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 min. Add the wine, tomatoes, and their liquid, rice, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 20 min.
Stir the peas into the rice and chicken and cook, and sprinkle with the parsley.

Gina's Chicken Divan (Skinnytaste.com)
My friend Beka turned me on to skinnytaste.com and I immediately fell in love. This blog makes me so happy! Delicious lighter recipes complete with beautiful pictures of everything. Love. Love. LOVE it!

1-1/2 lbs broccoli (3 large heads) chopped
24 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 18 oz cooked)
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp shallots, minced (onions would work too)
4 tbsp flour
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1 cup fat free milk
2 oz dry sherry (white wine would work)
6 oz shredded reduced-fat swiss
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
cooking spray

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and blanch 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Using a grill pan or Forman grill, saute chicken on medium-low heat on both sides until browned, and just about cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a cutting board. When cooled, slice chicken into bite sized pieces.

Heat a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the butter and oil until melted and then add garlic and shallots. Sprinkle the flour and whisk until smooth. Stir in broth, milk and sherry and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in half of the swiss cheese.Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the broccoli in a casserole dish and pour half of the sauce over the broccoli.Arrange the chicken on top and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle the remaining swiss cheese, grated parmesan and top with breadcrumbs. Spray a little oil on top. Bake 30 minutes, serve hot.

Fusilli alla Caprese (Giada at Home, the Food Network)
I love Giada. Most women I know don't like watching her show because she is beautiful and is...umm... curvy....up top...get my drift? I don't really know why that ruffles their feathers. I wish I could look that amazing after cooking delicious italian food my entire life. But sadly, as I mentioned earlier, the more I cook....the more me there is to go around. But I digress...Fusilli alla Caprese - This dish is one of our favorite summer pastas. It is so light and fresh and easy. You will love it!

1 pound fusilli pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 pints)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a medium skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky style sauce, about 4 minutes. Transfer the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine. Add the basil leaves and mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Serve.

Three Cheese Calzones (Real Simple magazine)
Not much to say about 3 cheese calzones but yum. I was not surprised by this recipe. I don't believe there is a way to mess up a calzone. Pizza crust, marinara, cheese, and more cheese. What's not to love?

1 lb refrigerated pizza dough
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed and roughly chopped
black pepper
1/4 lb thinly sliced salami
2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup jarred marinara sauce

Heat oven to 400º. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll and stretch them to 8 inch rounds.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, and 1/4 tsp pepper

Layer the salami on one side of each round of dough and top with the cheese mixture. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal.

Brush the tops of the calzones with the oil. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden, 12 to 15 min. Serve with the sauce.

Garlic Pork with Cilantro Lime Rice (Skinnytaste.com)
Another wonderful meal from my new favorite blog. The pork chops were good but the real star of the meal is the Cilantro Lime Rice. Gina says she set out to create a lighter version of Chipotle's Cilantro Lime Rice. I have never eaten at Chipotle so I can't compare to the original, but I could not get enough of this stuff! I didn't know it was possible to have such strong feelings for a grain.

1 cup extra long grain rice or basmati rice
1/2 lime, juice of
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
3 tsp vegetable oil

In a small heavy pot,
add rice, water, 1 tsp oil and salt. Boil on high until most of the water evaporates. When the water just skims the top of the rice, reduce to low andcover about 15 minutes. Shut off flame and keep covered an additional 5 minute.

In a medium bowl,
combine chopped cilantro, lime juice, rice and remaining oil and toss until completely mixed.

BBQ Pork Tenderloin and homemade Mac and Cheese
I don't have a picture for this one because made this meal for the Hills who just had a sweet new baby, Lexi Lynne. So I was transporting their dinner while my family was digging into our portion of it at home. Needless to say there was nothing very picture worthy left when I got home. The BBQ Pork is really a cheat. One of those pre-marinated pork tenderloin at the grocery. I think I have mentioned my love for them before. I feel okay about serving a cheater main dish when the side dish is as amazing as Carie Alley's Macaroni and Cheese! If you are like me and love going to places like Cracker Barrel for some good ole southern comfort food. You know what kind of Mac and Cheese I am talking about. Only this stuff is better than any Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese. I could have eaten the whole pan and would have had my family not already scarfed most of it down! Thanks Carie (and Chris' Grandmother) for this treat!

1 (8oz.) package elbow macaroni

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup all-purpose butter

2 cups milk

1 tsp salt

2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg, beaten


shredded cheese to sprinkle on top

Cook macaroni according to package directions,

omitting salt. Drain well, and set aside.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat;

add flour, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk;

cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until

thickened and bubbling.

Stir in salt and cheese,

stirring until cheese melts. Gradually stir about

1/4 of hot mixture into egg; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly.

Stir cheese sauce into macaroni, pour into a

lightly grease 1 3/4 quart baking dish. Sprinkle

with paprika and cheese. Bake at 350 for 35


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