Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Red Onion Steak Sandwich

I rarely make sandwiches. I should more, because they can be SO filling. They can also be really tasty. This sandwich was "all of the above". I was actually going to make this and bring it for work, but I had a lot of leftovers from the night before which I figured would be more suited for lunch and then instead of making the empanadas for dinner that I had planned (which would have also meant having to go to the store and getting pie crusts, since I was out of them), I decided to have the sandwich for dinner instead.

In the end, that was probably the most practical decision because these sandwiches were not neat in the slightest. I mean, I probably could have put less goodies on them, but the filled up aspect of it definitely made this a hearty meal. I don't think it would have been as good if there weren't a few onions and pieces of steal laying on my plate at the end. It was definitely a sandwich that creates an experience, that's for sure.

The slaw I made to go along with it on the other hand was sub par. I did eat it, but let's pretend like it's not even in the picture. Just focus on the dutch crunch roll stuffed with cream cheese, steak, and onions.

Tonight's sandwich is being submitted to Kahakai Kitchen's Souper Sunday, which features not only soups but also sammies and salads.

Red Onion Steak Sandwich

1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 oz light cream cheese
2 6-inch dutch crunch rolls
1/2 lb steak, thinly sliced (I used a carne asada cut I get from the local Mexican carniceria)

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat 3/4 tsp olive oil. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2. In the same skillet heat 3/4 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Cook the steak until no longer pink.

3. During this time, toast the rolls in the oven. Once toasted and the rest of the ingredients are done, spread 1 oz of cream cheese on the bottom of each roll. Top with onions and then with the steak. Cover with the other half of the roll.

* serves 2

CALORIES: 492 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 95 milligrams
FAT: 19 grams
SODIUM: 911 milligrams

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cheesy Turkey Penne

Pasta is just easy. And you can do so much with it. This pasta dish was super simple. I used jarred sauce. All I really had to do was boil the noodles, cook the turkey, and mix together with the rest of the ingredients. By no means was this a difficult dish.

By no means was it a plain dish. This is definitely a meal that will make its way into my recipe box of all my repeat dishes. It was perfect to make this pasta after work, when I just want to eat and eat quick.

Like I said, simple. But good.
The bread doesn't need a recipe. Spread pesto on a piece of bread, sprinkle with garlic, and bake!

I'm submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta, this week hosted by Simona of Briciole. After Thursday go check out all the other pasta dishes!

Cheesy Turkey Penne

1/2 lb ground turkey
2 1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce - I used Classico's Spicy Tomato and Basil
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
1/4 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
2 tbsp Parmesan


1. Boil the penne noodles per the directions on the box. Cook the turkey over medium heat in a skillet sprayed with Pam.

2. Drain the noodles. Mix the cooked turkey and the rest of the ingredients into the pasta.


CALORIES: 632 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 76 milligrams
FAT: 15 grams
SODIUM: 1010 milligrams

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lemon Verbena Cinnamon Rolls

Making cinnamon rolls when the temperature is getting close to 100 degrees probably wasn't the smartest idea I ever had. Because of the heat, the dough was sticky, the filling melted, and I had a really hard time getting the log to hold together. I've never lived somewhere this hot before, so I had no idea how the heat could effect baking. I mean, it makes sense but I never had experienced it firsthand until last night.

I made these rolls because of Cook the Books and the book Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. I'm not going to lie, this book wasn't something I would have picked up on my own. The magical aspect of it just isn't something I typically get into. But really, things like this, like Cook the Books, force me to read things I wouldn't otherwise read.

And to quote my goodreads account:

I read this book for a foodie event called Cook The Books. Basically, the gist is you read a book and make a recipe inspired by the book, blog about it, take a picture of it, post it, etc. This isn't a book I would have picked up on my own, as the genre isn't typically what I'm interested in.

There was obviously much mention of food in the dish, with one of the main characters making magic in her kitchen through her meals. The main characters are notorious in their town for being part of a rather eccentric family.

The characters in the book are drawn out pretty well. The storyline is easy to follow. The mentions of food make me drool.

I am giving it a 3 not because it's not a good book, it really is, but because I still probably wouldn't read it or anything like it again as it's just not the type of book I usually gravitate towards.

What I did like about the book though was all the delicious food references. The book included a lot of references to different floral and spices to use in cooking. I've never really experimented with either of those, so it seemed like a good opportunity. So I mixed lemon verbena and cinnamon rolls.

Why the two?

"Claire stayed up late to make her regular order of six dozen cinnamon buns, which she delivered early to the Coffee House on the square every Sunday morning."

From what I know about Claire, she didn't just make cinnamon rolls. There was something more to them, just like there was something more to mine:

"Lemon Verbena – produces a lull in conversation with a mysterious lack of awkwardness. Helpful when you have nervous, overly talkative guests. "

Lemon Verbena Cinnamon Rolls


4 1/2 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup skim milk
1 tbsp dried lemon verbena + a pinch
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 tbsp half and half

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp half and half
1 tbsp lemon juice


1. In the bowl of your electric mixer combine 2 1/2 cups flour and the yeast.

2. Fill a tea ball with the dried lemon verbena. Place in the milk and let sit for about 10 minutes. In a small saucepan combine the milk, sugar, butter, and salt. Heat, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted.

3. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour, beating slowly and consistently. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with each addition. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead in the rest of the flour until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add a pinch of the lemon verbena.

4. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a towel and put in a warm spot for an hour and a half, until the dough doubles in size.

5. Punch down. Place on a lightly floured surface and let sit for 10 minutes. During those 10 minutes combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and the butter. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients to get a granulated crumble.

6. On the lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Sprinkle with the filling. Roll the dough into a log. Slice the log into 8 pieces and place in a greased baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes.

7. Brush the dough with 1 tbsp half and half. Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly brown. Brush with more half and half.

8. To make the glaze combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Drip over the cinnamon rolls.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mixed Berry Pancakes

I rarely make breakfasts. There are two reasons for this:

1. I don't really like breakfast. This is probably the biggest of my two reasons, because since I don't typically enjoy breakfast food I don't really see a reason to make it.

2. I don't really have time in the mornings. During the week I do force myself to eat, but I usually only have time for either a bowl of cereal, oatmeal with some fruit on top, or a smoothie of some sorts.

What inspired my breakfast this morning?

One of the things I've been trying to do in this blog is participate in different events put on by different foodies across the blogging universe. Today's breakfast was inspired by the movie that Food 'n Flix has picked for the month. The idea of Food 'n Flix is to make a dish based off of a chosen movie. This month's movie was No Reservations. AND this month's Food 'n Flix event is being hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.

Why pancakes?

The movie is totally NOT about pancakes. No Reservations is about a gourmet chef who has to learn how to feed a child, her niece who moves in with her due to unforeseen circumstances.

At the end of the movie she FINALLY figures it out. And then, there are pancakes and happy people across the board.

And me personally? I would much rather eat pancakes.

Mixed Berry Pancakes


3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp butter, melted

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water



1. In a cup mix the milk and vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.

3. Mix the egg and butter into the now soured milk.

4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir together until there's no lumps.

5. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and spray with Pam. Take 1/4 cup scoops and pour onto skillet. When the pancake starts bubbling, flip and cook until brown on the other side.


1. In a saucepan combine the water and sugar. Stir frequently, bringing to a boil for 5 minutes.

2. Add the berries and boil for 5 more minutes.

3. Combine the tbsp of water and the cornstarch in another small bowl. Mix well. Pour into the berry mix and stir together, cooking over low heat until the sauce is thick.

4. Pour over your pancakes and enjoy!

* serves 4

CALORIES: 414 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 102 milligrams
FAT: 11 grams
SODIUM: 835 milligrams

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Peanut Nugget Wrap

Since the doctor told me I need to watch my cholesterol, I've been eating more and more meatless dishes. This is hard for me, as I'm quite carnivorous. I absolutely love chicken, steak, and pork.

My doctor actually told me to completely cut red meat out of my diet and in terms of meat, to only eat chicken and turkey. This really is not practical for me. In the last year I have made tremendous strides and have lost 50 pounds. Those 50 pounds didn't just fall off without any work. Rather, I've had to change my lifestyle completely, really considering and watching what I eat and when I eat it. The thing is, I went into this weight loss goal knowing this wasn't going to be a temporary diet. I didn't want to do things faddish, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to make a life change for myself; a change that will continue to follow me.

In doing so, I knew I couldn't completely cut anything out of my diet. I want to be able to continue this forever, not set myself up for failure. Yeah, I could tell myself no chocolate and no ice cream for as long as I live, but would I do that? No.

The same is true about the cholesterol. I could tell myself that I would cut cheeses, eggs, and meats out of my diet almost completely, but I know I wouldn't actually do it. Instead I've just been watching the total amount of cholesterol intake a day. This does result in fewer meat based dishes. It doesn't totally limit me however to poultry.

My lunch today had no cholesterol in it. It was very filling and delicious. The only thing I would change is, I wish I had eaten it warm. Eating it cool wasn't bad by any means, but I had a piece of the nugget last night when it first came out of the oven and it tasted soo good warm.

My lunch today is being shared with Midnight Maniac's Meatless Mondays.

Peanut Nugget Wrap
from here

2 tbsp onion
2 tbsp green bell pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tbsp dry roasted peanuts
2 oz extra firm tofu, drained
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro
1/8 tsp sriacha
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 handful shredded red cabbage
1 tortilla


1. In a food processor combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and peanuts. Don't pulsate too much, but leave coarse. Add in the tofu, peanut butter, and sriacha. Pulse more until well combined.

2. Form patties out of the tofu mixture. Coat in bread crumbs.

3. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 for 30 minutes total. After the first 15 minutes flip the patties over and cook for 15 more minutes.

4. On the tortilla place the shredded cabbage. On top of that place the tofu patties. Roll the wrap.

* serves 1

CALORIES: 451 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 0 milligrams
FAT: 23 grams
SODIUM: 912 milligrams

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala and Sweet Potato Roti

I'm a sucker for everything Indian. It's definitely not the easiest cuisine to perfect. The flavors are different, they're strong, and they're not always easily available.

When I see a curry recipe (or any Indian recipe) I am always inclined to try it. Unfortunately the dumb boyfriend isn't excited about Indian food, but this is why I cook things I like, even when he's around. Tonight it didn't matter though.

During college I went to India with my mom for a 2 week excursion. In India (despite eating some of the tastiest food of my life) we participated in an event put on by WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts). The 2 week session involved planning and running a 4 day summer camp for some of the poorest children in India. These children all were the children of construction worker families. I learned so much in India, things I never could have learned from a textbook. I learned about the beauty of other cultures. I experienced true culture shock. I saw that things that I find normal are not normal everywhere and that some things that I find atrocious are not universally seen as such. I learned about the spirituality in India, learning about both the Hindu and Buddhist religions. I became even more aware of the caste system and saw more oppressed people than I've seen in my life. I befriended a beautiful little girl, Prema, despite us not speaking the same language. I learned how to communicate beyond words. I saw the biggest smiles on the faces of these children.

I miss it so much and I really wish I could go back, but I doubt I'll ever have that opportunity again.

When I eat Indian food though, it reminds me.

Chicken Tikka Masala
from here

2 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, minced
1 tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
4 oz fat free plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
16 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks


1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add the onions and cook until golden. Add the garlic and ginger until fragrant.

2. Mix in the spices and cook for less than a minute.

3. Mix in the tomatoes, milk, and yogurt. Bring to a simmer and add the chicken. Simmer the sauce with the chicken for 15 minutes.

* serves 4

CALORIES: 226 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 60 milligrams
FAT: 4 grams
SODIUM: 437 milligrams

Sweet Potato Roti
from here

1 sweet potato
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
salt to taste
1/2 tsp cardamom powder


1. Peel potato and cut into chunks. Place in a pot of water and cook until soft.

2. In a food processor pulse the sweet potato until mushy.

3. Mix the rest of the ingredients together to create a soft, pliable dough. If the dough is too dry add water. If it's too sticky add flour.

4. Pull the dough into small ping pong size balls. Flatten with your hands and roll thin with a rolling pin.

5. Cook in a skillet covered with Pam, butter, or oil until golden brown. Flip and repeat.

* makes 10 rotis

CALORIES: 115 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 0 milligrams
FAT: 0 grams
SODIUM: 5 milligrams

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pistachio Cake

Over on livejournal there's a baking community called BakeBakeBake. Over on BakeBakeBake there's a monthly challenge, with some sort of theme. This month's theme is GREEN. I thought long and hard about what I could make and I considered for a little bit baking something with spinach or some other green leafy vegetable. But I decided I needed something less healthy in my life. And you know, I just really enjoy baking cakes and other treats.

But I'm going to admit, this was a super easy recipe because it's a cake box mix that was altered. I usually don't take such an easy route to baking, but the simplicity of it definitely wasn't negative. So here it is - a green cake.

In terms of taste, I really enjoyed it. It's not too sweet in the least. Matt said it could have used some frosting, but I think if anything maybe a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Pistachio Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box pistachio pudding mix
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
7 drops green food coloring


1. In a bowl mix together all the ingredients. You can either beat with a mixer or mix by hand. I did the latter. Mix until there's no lumps.

2. Pour into a greased tube pan. In a preheated oven, bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

3. Let cool and remove from pan and place on a wire rack.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ground Turkey with Potatoes and Spring Peas

I've found the best blog ever. It's called Skinny Taste and is full of recipes that are tasty and low in calories. This recipe today came from that wonderful website. For as simple as I felt like this recipe was, it really was packed with flavor. Sometimes turkey can be so bland, but the cumin and the salt (which I used very very little of) really made a difference.

On top of that, sometimes I love cilantro and sometimes I hate it. I'm not sure what makes the difference, but sometimes I just find it over pungent. Sometimes though it adds that little kick that the dish needed. This was an instance like the latter. The cilantro gave it a kick, but didn't make it overwhelming cilantro.

So for the record, I am not the genius behind this dish. And because of that, I don't even want to post the recipe (since I didn't make any changes either) because I don't think it's fair for me to take credit for something that grew from the tastebuds of someone else.

But don't feel deprived. Just go here for the recipe.

CALORIES: 188 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 55 milligrams
FAT: 2 grams
SODIUM: 388 milligrams

* The picture is showing 1/2 cup of rice with 2 servings of the turkey.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Vegetable Lo Mein

I told you I was going to be participating in foodie blogging stuff! I wasn't lying! But really I don't even know who I'm talking to. I only have one follower. How pathetic is that?

This dish was served with Spicy Ginger Cashew Chicken, which wasn't horrible but at the same time it wasn't my favorite thing ever and it's why I'm not including the recipe beyond the link in this post. The noodles however were a different story. First off, that picture of my plate is actually 1/2 serving of the pasta. There was SO much. And it was SO good. This pasta was so full of veggies, having edamame, red pepper, mushrooms, and onion. The original recipe also included mustard greens, which I'm sure would have been good but I didn't have any. I think spinach would have made a good replacement for that though and actually, when I make it again I think I would definitely include spinach.

So anyway, I'm submitting the lo mein to presto pasta. Once a week there's a roundup of all kinds of different pasta dishes. This week's Presto Pasta is hosted by From Kirsten's Kitchen To Yours.

Vegetable Lo Mein

10 oz angel hair pasta
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 inch ginger, thinly sliced
3 garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup frozen edamame
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
6 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil

1. Prepare the noodles per the instructions on the package. Toss with 1 tbsp sesame oil.

2. In a skillet heat 1 tbsp sesame oil. Add the garlic, ginger, and onions until lightly softened.

3. Add mushrooms and bell peppers until lightly softened.

4. Add the noodles and the frozen edamame until heated through.

5. Add soy sauce and hoisin sauce and toss through.

* serves 4

CALORIES: 398 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 0 milligrams
FAT: 9 grams
SODIUM: 841 milligrams

Beef and Broccoli

This dish is very meaningful for me. I know it might sound silly, but I think food and memories can oftentimes be very closely related.

This was the first meal that I cooked Matt. I remember my thought process when I was trying to decide what I should cook for him. I didn't want it to be something too weird, because I didn't know if he was picky or not. All I knew was that he ate meat, but I didn't know what else he would eat. But at the same time, I didn't want it to be too easy. Anyone can throw a pot of water to boil and make some pasta and pour some sauce on top. I know this dish wasn't incredibly hard at all, but if you take it to someone who has no idea their way around the kitchen, the flavors make it deceiving.

This has been one of my regular meals for the past year. And whenever Matt requests I make something, it's usually this.

Beef and Broccoli

9 oz thin cut beef, I use carne asada I get from the Mexican market
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dry sherry
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
6 oz broccoli florets
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/8 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp oyster sauce

1. Bring 2 quarts of water to boil.

2. Slice the steak in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into thin slices. In a medium bowl stir 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce with the sherry, and cornstarch. Add the steak, toss to coat, and let sit for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile blanch the broccoli in boiling water until it softens to a tender crunch (about 2 or 3 minutes). Drain and then rinse under cool water.

4. Set a large skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Pour in 2 tbsp of oil and when it starts to simmer, add beef. Cook beef until it loses most of its raw color, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Add the 1 tbsp oil and add the garlic, ginger, and chile flakes. Stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and 3 tbsp water and cook, stirring to incorporate any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until broccoli warms through, about 1 minute. Stir in the beef, oyster sauce, and remaining 1 tbsp of soy sauce; cook stirring for 1 minute.

5. Serve immediately.

* serves 2

CALORIES: 399 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 109 milligrams
FAT: 22 grams
SODIUM: 657 milligrams