June 27, 2010

What's cookin' this week? June 25, 2010

In the midst of storms and heat in Ohio this weekend, I’m writing this week’s menu as the power turns on and off! Gotta love June in the Midwest.

Hot weeks in Ohio mean light dinners in the Miller house and this week is no different. I’m also making this Jamie Oliver week in our house! As you know, I’m a huge fan of his mission and his meals. I got two new Jamie Oliver cookbooks for my birthday this year and I’m excited to try out the recipes. There are so many that look light, delicious and healthy, but I had to stick to just a few.

Crunchy garlic chicken
Mixed veggies

Shrimp and avocado with Marie Rose sauce – a meal in itself!

Baked Cheesy pasta
Garlic bread

Omelets with tomatoes, basil and cheese

Frugal Friday – a day to save some money and clean out the leftovers!

Crunchy garlic chicken
1 garlic clove
1 lemon
6 crackers (Ritz work well)
2 Tbsp. butter
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. flour
1 egg
2 chicken breasts (boneless skinless)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Peel garlic and zest the lemon. Put crackers in a food processor with the butter, garlic, parsley, lemon zest and pinch of salt and pepper. Whiz until mixture is very fine, then pour crumbs onto a plate. Sprinkle flour the flour on a second plate. Beat egg in small bowl. Smash chicken breasts slightly. Dip chicken into flour until both sides are coated, then dip into egg and then bread crumbs. Make sure meat is totally covered.

To bake the chicken, preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place chicken on a sheet pan and cook for 15 minutes. Cut chicken into strips and serve with lemon wedge for squeezing over.

Shrimp and avocado with old-school Marie Rose sauce
1-2 ripe avocados
1-2 handfuls of alfalfa sprouts
½ pound large shrimp, peeled and cleaned
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. paprika

For sauce:
¼ cup mayo
2 tsp. ketchup
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. whiskey
1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Cut avocado and remove pit, then peel off skin and discard. Cut alfalfa. Put a handful or two of flour in a bowl. Drop shrimp into bowl and toss until coated. To make sauce, put mayo into a bowl with ketchup, splash of Worcestershire and whiskey. Squeeze juice from half a lemon. Add pinch of salt and pepper and mix well.

Place large frying pan on high heat. Then pour in two “good lugs” of olive oil. Smash garlic cloves and add to pan immediately followed by shrimp. Toss them well to coat in hot oil. Count to 10, then add pinch of salt and pepper, and the paprika for color and flavor. Toss shrimp for about 3-4 minutes in single layer until crisp and golden.

Divide avocado halves between plates. Divide alfalfa over avocados and place shrimp next to them. Drizzle sauce over avocados. Finish with drizzle of EVOO and sprinkle of paprika.

Baked Cheesy Pasta
This recipe calls for an English cheese, but I’m going to make it with a simpler cheese and hope it tastes as good. =)
1 8-oz. box of Camembert cheese (I am going to use mozzarella)
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
1 pound dried rigatoni
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
4 oz. parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open box of cheese and unwrap it. Place back in wooden container. (You’ll have to improvise if you don’t get cheese in a wooden box) Peel and finely slice garlic. Pick rosemary leaves off stalk. Lay garlic slices on top of cheese, sprinkle with pepper and drizzle with EVOO. Scatter rosemary leaves and pat with fingers to coat. Grate parmesan.

Place box of cheese on cookie sheet and put into preheated oven for 25 minutes, until golden and melted. Bring a large pan of water to a boil. When cheese has 10 minutes left, add rigatoni to pan and cook according to package. When pasta is cooked, add spinach to pan – it only needs to cook for 10 seconds or so. Drain pasta and spinach, reserving some cooking water. Return pasta and spinach to pan and let spinach wilt. Drizzle with EVOO and add grated parmesan. If sauce is too thick, thin out with reserved water.

To serve, either drizzle over pasta or put in center of table and let everyone help themselves.

Enjoy dinner with your family this week and remember to OWN WHAT YOUR FAMILY EATS ONE MEAL AT A TIME!

June 24, 2010

Large Network Takes on Health Across All Platforms

I’m a bit of a Today Show junkie, but I found a new love for the show and the network this week. This week, the networks of NBC are focusing on “Be Well, Be Healthy” that focuses on what we eat vs. what we should be eating. Although many may see it as a publicity stunt, I think it’s much more. I’ve seen more and more companies across the country that are taking the lead and promoting healthy habits with their employees, educating their employees and even rewarding healthy behavior. From bonuses for exercising to free bicycle tune ups after reaching a certain number of miles that employees bike to work, employers are getting on board to help motivate employees to be healthier.

Sure, the cynic says that they are doing it because it helps lower insurance premiums, but it also improves productivity and typically enhances the overall work environment. Working together with peers to improve your lifestyle improves your health, your family’s health and helps you build relationships with co-workers that you might never have interacted with before.

As I mentioned, NBC is doing a series of reports on healthy eating and are providing tools to help families get healthier by giving them ideas. Check out this site for some great ideas for getting moving today.


I also came across an interesting fact while doing research at work this week. The GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) is often seen as a “landlord of the federal government.” They are pushing for healthier options in the workplace including food and fitness facilities. Some items on their list include new requirements for healthy, sustainable options for cafeterias and vending machines. They are also installing farmers’ markets on federal property! What a great idea! I would love to shop for my lunch and dinner at a farmers market during lunch. I bet you could learn so much! They also have signs throughout their buildings encouraging people to use the stairs instead of elevators. What great ideas and they are relatively simple to implement.

What is your company doing? How are they encouraging health and wellness for you and your co-workers?

June 23, 2010

Not your everyday salads

I know I promised some tasty lunch recipes last week and the week got away from me with all the party planning.

Here are the recipes that we tried last week and they were delicious! These salads don’t take much prep and can be made in the morning. These are also from the $7 a meal healthy cookbook.

Mediterranean Salad with Feta Cheese and Kalamata Olives
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
6 cups romaine lettuce, spinach or mixed greens (whatever you have)
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, sliced and then halved
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
¼ cup red onion, diced
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Whisk olive oil and balsamic vinegar until well combined. Add remaining ingredients and toss well to coat.

Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Dried Cranberries
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and pepper to taste
6 cups mixed greens
1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 Tbsp. dried cranberries

Whisk olive oil and balsamic vinegar until well combined. Add remaining ingredients and toss well to coat.

Spinach Salad with Grilled Salmon (YUMMO!)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
5 oz. salmon fillet, diced (I got the pre-packaged kind to save time but you can grill your own)
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
½ cup red grapes, halved
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries

Whisk olive oil and balsamic vinegar until well combined. Add remaining ingredients and toss well to coat.

These are just some ideas for something different than the typical chef salad to spice up your lunch a little. If you don't have the right ingredients, it's a salad so you can't really go wrong. Use up what you have.


June 21, 2010

What's cookin' this week? -- June 21, 2010

Hello everyone! Welcome to this week’s menu! Sorry for the delay posting this week. It has definitely been a crazy weekend! We had a birthday party for the little one and a graduation party for the husband on the same day, then recovery/Father’s Day on Sunday.

When I was planning for the parties, I wanted to find things that were healthy, relatively inexpensive and would quickly feed lots of people. I came across this website called chipotlefans.com. There are recipes for Chipotle-like food that turned out pretty fantastic! This week we are eating lots of Chipotle-esque leftovers in other meals. I will include the recipes we used too because many of you from the party are asking about them!

So what are we eating this week? The hubby is also going to be gone this weekend so we are trying to keep it easy and light.

Taco salad (super easy combination of whatever you have in the cabinets)

Kind of a crazy day so we are meeting for dinner before going our separate ways

Chicken and veggie stir fry
Fruit salad

Spaghetti with pasta sauce
Salad and garlic bread

Cheese quesadillas on the quesadilla maker


Chipotle Grilled Chicken Marinade (modified slightly)
1 tsp. ancho chile powder (can find in the spice section)
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. cumin powder
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano chopped
3 garlic cloves
¼ red onion, quartered
¼ c. vegetable oil
4 chicken breasts

Add all ingredients except meat in food processor. Puree until smooth. Put marinade and chicken in plastic Ziploc bag. Refrigerate at least one hour and up to 24 hrs.

After marinating, heat grill to about 400 degrees or heat small amount of oil in skillet if cooking inside. Grill lightly, turning only once, until done. Cook about four minutes on each side.

Chipotle’s Guacamole
(This recipe is fantastic! We really liked it)
2 avocados
½ of a jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
¼ of a red onion, finely chopped
2 heaping tablespoons of cilantro, finely chopped
¼ of a lime, juiced
¼ tsp. salt

Chipotle Corn Salsa
6 ears sweet yellow corn (frozen corn works well too)2 poblano chilies1/2 red onion2 red jalapenos (not much difference between red and green so get what you can find)1/3 cup chopped cilantro1 tablespoon lime juiceSalt and pepper to taste
Roast the corn and Poblano chilies on a grill or BBQ and let cool. Cut the corn off the cob. Dice the Poblano chilies, onion, and red jalapenos. Combine all the ingredients and season to taste.

Chipotle Rice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil or butter
2 tsp. fresh cilantro
2/3 cup white rice
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Lime

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil or butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Add rice and lime juice, stir for 1 minute. Add water and salt, bring to a full rolling boil. At boiling, cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork.

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry
We have leftover chicken and some veggies from a veggie tray that I'm going to mix up with some rice for a yummy, quick and healthy meal. Here is a recipe for chicken stir fry to try with whatever veggies you have or like.



June 13, 2010

What's cookin' this week? -- June 13, 2010

Last week was a crazy week in our house with swim lessons, Battle of the Businesses, two birthdays and a trip to the zoo. Needless to say, menu planning would have turned into a lot of wasted food. We used up some freezer meals and ate out some last week.

But this week, it's back to reality!

I’m really excited because I received three new cookbooks for my birthday! Apparently my hubby has been enjoying this new cooking adventure as much as I have. This week I created the menu entirely from one of my new books called “The $7 a meal healthy cookbook.”

This also includes some lunch menus. I realize that I waste so much money on lunch that isn’t that tasty and isn’t very good for me. My new goal is to find quick, easy and healthy lunches that are delicious.

So what’s cookin’? I’m trying to keep things light this week and take advantage of the grill since it’s so warm.

Chicken and vegetable skewers (recipe below)
Brown rice

Dijon crusted broiled pork chops (recipe below)
Side salad from the happy box
Baked potatoes

Lime poached mahi mahi (recipe below)

Zucchini and tomatoes with penne pasta (recipe below)
Garlic bread

Leftover day! We’ll eat whatever is left over from the week to take a break and try to not to waste so much.

LUNCHES (stay tuned for recipes later this week!)
Mediterranean salad with kalamata olives and feta
Mixed greens with balsamic vinegrette and dried cranberries
Spinach and salmon salad

Chicken and vegetable skewers
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
2 zucchini cut into 1-inch thick slices
1 yellow onion quartered and quartered again
(You can also use orange peppers, yellow peppers, mushrooms or any other hearty veggie you have around)
8 to 10 8-inch wooden skewers soaked in water

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, water, oil, salt and garlic. Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag and set in a deep bowl. Pour lemon juice mixture into the bag, secure the top and let the chicken stand for 20 minutes turning the bag frequently.

Preheat broiler (or fire up the grill). Drain chicken, reserving marinade. Thread chicken, pepper, zucchini and onion alternately on skewer. Arrange skewers on broiler pan. Slip under broiler 4-5 inches from the heat source. Broil, turning once, and brush with reserved marinade until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

Dijon-crusted broiled pork chops
2 Tbsp honey
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, leaves chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
4 boneless pork chops

Preheat broiler (or grill). In bowl, combine honey, mustard, thyme and salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Brush over chops and place chops on aluminum foil. Place under broiler and cook about 5 minutes. Turn once, baste with mustard mixture and cook additional 5 minutes or until pork is cooked through.

Lime-poached halibut with cilantro
¾ pound halibut fillet (I am using mahi-mahi instead)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
¼ c. white wine
¼ c. chicken or vegetable broth

Season fish with salt and pepper. In large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat and add garlic. Saute until fragrant (about 1 min.) Add remaining ingredients including halibut, then cover and cook until fish is flaky (about 8 min.)

Zucchini and tomatoes with penne pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
6 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley chopped
4 scallions (white part and half of green tops, chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c. unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp salt
1 pound penne pasta (try the wheat pasta)

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, zucchini, parsley and scallions. Add salt and pepper. Bring to boil and reduce over medium high heat (about 5-8 min). Whisk in butter, a little at a time, to thicken sauce. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Fill large pot ¾ with water and bring to boil. Add salt and drizzle of oil. Add pasta and stir to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente (about 8-10 min). Drain. Transfer pasta to serving bowl and toss with sauce.

I hope you enjoy the menu this week and find something you and your family can enjoy!


June 3, 2010

What's cookin' this week...or what's left of it?

With Memorial Day on Monday, the menu this week is pretty short. We hosted a cookout on Monday and have quite a few leftovers. It’s amazing how you can make a cookout pretty healthy if you take time to plan it.

Here’s what was cookin’ and grillin’ at our house:

  • Cheeseburgers of champions (Weber Real Grillin’ cookbook)

  • Spinach and Asiago Cheese Chicken Sausages (since we got them at Sam’s Club, we had extra)

  • Hot dogs for the kiddos

  • Fruit salad (blueberries, strawberries, apples, peaches and grapes)

  • Pasta salad, potato salad, cucumber and onion salad (from friends)

  • Hummus and salsa with chips

  • Strawberry pie

  • Dessert quesadillas on the grill with peanut butter, chocolate and bananas – DELISH!

Tonight we had a great meal and a yummy pizza is planned for tomorrow.

Next week I hope to include some new ingredients from the Happy Box and some recipes I’ve received from some readers and friends.

So what was for dinner tonight? If you’ve been following, you know I love Jamie Oliver! If you watched the Food Revolution, there was a stir fry marathon episode. I’ve always wanted to try that beef stir fry. The recipe is on
www.jamieoliver.com under beef and vegetable stir fry, but it is all in metrics. I found another site that already converted it. So to try this fabulous and healthy recipe, check out http://www.examiner.com/x-660-Weight-Loss-Examiner~y2010m4d11-Make-Jamie-Olivers-stirfry-recipe-from-last-nights-Food-Revolution.

It was really good and it was pretty easy to make. I even took a picture of what mine looked like!

Tomorrow night is pizza night and we are trying something a little different.

Barbecued Chicken Pizza with Smoked Gouda and Chives (from Weber’s Real Grilling)

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 3/4 cup ketchup

  • 1/4 cup dry red wine

  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, 5 to 6 ounces each

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cups grated smoked Gouda cheese

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

To prepare the dough: In a medium bowl, combine the yeast and sugar with 3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F). Stir once and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 2-1/2 cups of the flour, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the salt. Stir until the dough holds together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the ball to cover the surface with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough in the bowl. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Cut parchment paper into 9-inch squares and lightly oil each sheet of paper on one side. Roll or press the dough flat on the oiled side of the paper into circles about 8 inches in diameter, leaving the dough a little thicker at the edge than in the middle. Then lightly oil the top side of the dough.

To make the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until light brown, about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour about half the sauce into a small bowl, reserving the other half in the saucepan.

Lightly brush or spray the chicken on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly coat the chicken on both sides with the sauce in the small bowl. Grill the chicken over Direct Medium heat until the meat is firm to the touch and no longer pink in the center, 8 to 12 minutes, turning once. Finely chop or shred the chicken and moisten with some reserved sauce in the saucepan (you may not need all of it).

Lay the dough on the grate, with the paper side facing up. Grab one corner of the paper with tongs and peel it off. Grill over Direct Medium heat until they are marked on the underside, 2 to 3 minutes, rotating the crusts occasionally for even cooking. Don't worry if the crusts bubble; they will deflate when turned over. Transfer the crusts from the cooking grate to the back of a baking sheet, with the grilled sides facing up.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over each pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Arrange the chicken and chives over the cheese. Transfer the pizzas from the baking sheets to the cooking grate. Grill until the crusts are crisp and the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes, rotating the crusts occasionally for even cooking. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into wedges. Serve warm.

Makes 4 small pizzas