Wednesday, May 9, 2012

1 point Smoothie

The weather is finally warmer and smoothies are beginning to look better than coffee and tea. Here is a very healthy recipe for an energy boosting smoothie.

I used the following:

  • 1 fresh medium sized  and ripened banana 
  • 3/4 cup of fresh and washed strawberries 
  • 2/3 cup of frozen peaches
  • 1 cup of Tropicana 50 Orange Juice (reduced sugar/calorie type)
  • 2 splendas 
  • A Cuisinart smoothie maker. (A blender will work, too)
  • About 1/2 cup of ice
Then I...

  1. Sliced bananas and strawberries
  2. Thawed frozen fruit for about a minute in the microwave
  3. Combined all ingredients in the smoothie maker, adding juice last.
  4. Mixed until smooth
  5. Split in two glasses and share.

This recipe makes two 130 calorie smoothies. (About the same as a grande skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks and much more nutritious.) Add more ice to make them bigger. According to the latest Weight Watcher plan, these would qualify as 1 point for the juice used. The fruit would be "free".

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Now introducing another, much funnier and more entertaining blog

Follow the link to read my talented friend's blog.

Knitting School Dropout: Betty Loves Archie...and Canada.: "A friend, colleague, and classroom neighbor (holla LT!) inquired why my blog entries are posted by a Miss Betty Cooper. No, I am not attem..."

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Well, grilling is just about the easiest (and healthiest!) way of cooking. Here are a few details about grilled filets, grilled scallops and grilled asparagus.  These items go great with twice baked potatoes and a fresh salad. Skip to the end for the potatoes and salad details.

You will need: (for two people)

For potatoes:
Two large baking potatoes
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • Chives, green onions
  • Salt, pepper
  • Olive oil 

For salad:
  • Any lettuce you prefer. I used romaine and spinach
  • 2 off the vine tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 1 pear
  • 3 TBSP of pine nuts
  • 1/4 of a red onion , sliced
  • Salt, pepper
  • Olive oil
For Steaks:

  • 2 filets or top of the round beef tenderloins
  • 1 cup of worcestershire sauce
  • salt, pepper
For scallops:
  • Design your own marinade, but I used mustard, lime juice, beer, salt and fresh herbs 
  • Tinfoil
For asparagus:
  • Um, asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Tinfoil
We like our steaks medium well. 

  • I seasoned fairly decent filets (not the greatest selection at the store that day) with salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce for one hour in the fridge
  • Preheat grill for 10 minutes
  • Lower heat to medium, spray with grilling spray or oil
  • Add steaks and cook for 5:30 minutes per side with the lid down.
How easy was that?

Next, Scallops:
As a rule, fish should be cooked until it is opaque. This is trickier with scallops because they are already closer to opaque than most translucent fish. So, be careful not to overcook. They are almost inedible if overdone. 
  • Marinate your scallops in anything you want. I used mustard, lime juice and a beer. I also added minced basil and oregano. I could barely taste these flavors once the scallops were cooked, so it's okay to try unusual marinade combinations. Be sure to use some salt and something acidic, though. 
  • Put the scallops on greased tinfoil. 
  • Cook on a preheated, medium heat, sprayed grill for 5 minutes per side. 
  • You can remove the scallops from the tinfoil for the last two minutes to create a grilled appearance.
  • Serve immediately. Scallops don't "wait" nicely, in my opinion. 
  • Rinse asparagus
  • Chop off the bottom 1/2 inch
  • Spray olive oil on the asparagus.
  • On a preheated grill, place asparagus on greased tinfoil
  • Cook about 10-12 minutes on medium heat or until the vegetables are cooked to the tenderness you prefer.
  • Goes great with grilled onions (which can be cooked the same way, minus the foil)

Twice baked potatoes:
  • Wash medium baking potatoes
  • Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork
  • Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour
  • Allow potatoes to cool for 15 minutes
  • Slice off the tops, don't take off too much. You basically just want to remove the thinest top layer. (You can discard, eat or fry the tops)  
  • Scoop out the potato's contents. Save the bottom/side skins, you'll be using those later.
  • Put the potato contents in another bowl
  • Add milk, cheese and melted butter. (Save a handful of cheese for later)
  •  mash  until a semi-smooth consistency.
  • Optional: add chives, green onions to the top.
  • Sprinkle a little more cheese to the very top.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes at 350 or until hot and cheese is melted.
You've made salads. You don't need instructions. I only have two tips:
  1. Dress your salad right before you eat it and don't over do it. People can add more dressing if they want it.  Does oily lettuce sound good to you? Of course not!
  2. If you are adding pear or apple to your salad, first of all, yum. Do it. Secondly, squirt them with lime or lemon juice so they don't brown. I promise that you will not even taste it later. It just keeps things fresher without any lime or lemon flavor.  I resisted this tip until I finally tried it. Now I always use lime juice in my salads. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's been a while...

I moved into a house last month, started my teaching internship and a new graduate research assistant position, and the spring semester began. Therefore, I have been spending every moment of my free time either studying, working or buying stuff for the house. I haven't been cooking at all because our appliances were not even installed until today. I am very excited to try them out soon, though. Here is a picture of part of our kitchen where we updated to stainless steel appliances and painted the cabinets white to better match our decor. The house still needs a lot of work, but we are making progress every day. So far, the oven has only had the honor of heating up Wegman's pizza and my mom's meatballs-not a bad start at all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Caramelized Onion Flatbread

I saw a recipe for an onion flatbread and decided to try my own version. Like most of my recipes, this is quick, easy and, if I say so myself, delicious. It's tempting to turn this bread into a pizza by adding various toppings and cheeses, but I tried to keep it as a bread, albeit a fanciful bread.

You will need:

  • Refrigerated pizza dough
  • 2 TBSPs of Ricotta
  • 1 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup if fresh, 1 TBSP if dry:  rosemary, basil, oregano tarragon or any herb of your choice. (Fresh IS better, but not necessary for this dish. I used a variety of Italian style seasonings)
  • 2 TBSP of olive oil
  • 1/2 fresh garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup of caramelized onions (simply place slices on low heat with oil, 1 tsp of sugar until onions are lightly browned)
  • 1-2 slices of Prosciutto or Pancetta broken up (optional) 
  • 1/2 tsp of salt, pepper
On a greased rectangular pan, spread out dough as thinly as possible. Make various indents with your clean thumb. Spread olive oil on dough and then sprinkle nutmeg and garlic. Next, spread a very thin (almost barely there) layer of ricotta over the dough. Add onions and then herbs, salt, pepper.  Add prosciutto or pancetta.

Bake at 400 for 12 minutes, then lower heat to 300 and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown being careful not to burn the bottom.  Cool and cut into squares.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The very best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic, maybe even the best. I love them but I have never really made a batch that were quite what I really wanted. I usually used the traditional tollhouse recipe but always found the cookies to be too thin and crispy. I recently started making cake-mix cookies with very positive results. Those aren't really homemade cookies, though.

This past weekend I was treated to the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. This is a pretty significant event in the life of baker and cookie lover. The person responsible for these perfect morsels of goodness agreed to share the secret with me. The recipe below is a guest entry from Rob Conde, or more accurately, Mrs. Conde, Rob's mom.

This recipe is very close to the tollhouse recipe with one important substitute- Crisco!

  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of Crisco
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift dry ingredients in one large bowl and the wet ingredients and the sugar in another bowl (adding eggs one at a time). Mix wet ingredients with an electric mixer and then slowly add the flour. This can also be done in a food processor.

Drop dough by spoonfuls on cookie sheet and bake 12-13 minutes.

Optional tips: Use parchment paper for easy clean up. Chill the dough for 10 minutes in the freezer before placing on the cookie sheet (this makes the dough easier to handle).

I think it's pretty obvious from the picture above that I am delighted by these fine cookies. Not only did Rob make these cookies from scratch for his amazing wife's birthday but he also prepared delicious empanadas. Kudos.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A healthy pasta, really.

Here is a recipe for big heaping bowl of spaghetti that is less than 100 calories per person and provides two vegetable servings. It's not really pasta, though.

It's spaghetti squash and it can be wonderful if you cook it properly. There are a few ways to make this squash, but I believe baking provides the most optimal results. When you cook spaghetti squash incorrectly, you end up with a watery mess. You can avoid this if you follow my instructions. Here are a few other ways to prepare this type of squash. Again, I strongly recommend baking.

You will need: (serves about 3 people)
  • 1 winter spaghetti squash
  • 1 TBSP of Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP of butter
  • Pam
  • 2 cups of spinach, sauteed
  • 1/4 cup of sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup sliced bell peppers
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil, optional.
Preheat your oven to 375. Slice the spaghetti squash in half length wise. This will not be easy. It is essentially as
hard as a pumpkin, so you'll need some elbow grease. Many people bake the squash whole, but that adds too much water.
If I was able to cut it in half, no one else should have a problem.

Scoops out the seeds and the stringy fibers and discard. Place insides down onto a greased cookie sheet with the skins up.
Bake for 30 minutes and check on the squash. The squash should be tender and you should be able to stick a spoon or fork
in the squash and see the noodles form. If the noodles are tender, it is done. If they are still overly al dente or do not separate,
bake for 10 more minutes.

Let the squash cool until you can handle it. Meanwhile, sauté onions and bell peppers in a pan with oil and butter. When
onions are tender add the spinach, which will only take a few seconds to cook. Remove from heat when spinach wilts.

Back to the squash: Take a fork and scrape lengthwise down the squash to separate the noodles. Collect all the noodles and put
in a bowl with onions, peppers and spinach. Toss and serve.

The squash might be difficult to handle the first time you make it but the process will go
much smoother the second time you make this meal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pesto Pizza

Pizza is a great Friday night meal. Effortless, versatile and like any oven-made dish, you can walk away from the task for 15 minutes or so while it cooks as opposed to constantly stirring or sauteing.

You will need:
  • 1 1/2 cups of Pesto
  • 1/2 cup of Red or white Onions, Caramelized
  • 1 TBSP Fresh garlic, minced
  • Pizza dough-home made refrigerated. Allow it to rise for 20 minutes or more.
  • 1 tomato, diced and patted dry-so they are not dripping with moisture.
  • 4 slices of Prosciutto, sauteed (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2 TBSP of sesame seeds
  • 2 TBSP of Olive Oil
  • 2 tsps of dried or fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Knead dough and evenly apply to a greased pizza pan. Drizzle olive oil and oregano to the dough. Add minced garlic next. Then spread pesto mixture over dough. Add mozzarella, prosciutto and caramelized onions in an alternating order. Top with diced tomatoes. Sprinkle sesame seeds to the crust. Finish with grated parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes. Check on it at 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lobster Tail

This is one of my favorite meals. I love how whenever you eat lobster it feels like your celebrating something. I happened to be celebrating the completion of all my licensure exams this past weekend and Mrs. Sally Horn prepared this fanciful dinner. We enjoyed these lobster tails with a Sauvignon Blanc-courtesy of Mr. Horn-and baked acorn squash.

The recipe is simper than you would expect. Lobster tails can be a little pricey so reserve this recipe for a special evening.

You will need:
  • One lobster tail per person
  • Garlic powder
  • crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup of melted butter
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley

Preheat your oven to 350. Wash the tails in cold water and pat dry. Cut down to the shell but not completely through-to the last vertebrae. Use your finger to separate the membrane from the tail. It will come loose. Break the shell gently as needed. Pull the entire tail right over the sliced shell and lay on top of the lobster tail. It will be attached at the base so leave it attached. Remove any veins.

Combine butter, spices and parsley. Brush mixture over the tails generously. You can refrigerate the tails at this time, if you want to bake them later. They will need to be cooked the same day, however. Save some of the melted butter for halfway through the baking process and for when you sit down. This is a buttery meal, people.
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes top again with melted butter,
then broil about 5 minutes if they need to look a little more broiled. Don't overcook. The smaller the lobster the less time it takes. The meat will be solid white, no translucency. When the tails are opaque, they are done. Broiling is just a aesthetic to create a more golden, grilled look. Serve with melted butter and lemon sprinkled with parsley. To learn more tips about how to present lobster tail attractively, go to:

It was truly a perfect meal. Thanks, Mom.