February 18, 2009

Spicy Pork Stir Fry

Quick, tasty and healthy meal for any day of the week. I've made this before and like it more and more each time.

WW Points: 5 per serving (4 servings total) *I served with white rice so that adds to the points but you can have plain for super healthy meal or serve over brown rice.

2 tsp chili oil (*if you don't want it to be spicy, use peanut oil)
1 lb lean pork tenderloins, cut into thin strips (*I use the Pork Top Loin, boneless)
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed
2 tsp cornstarch
1 lb frozen mixed vegetables (Asian stir-fry mix)
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp orange marmalade

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the chili oil. Cook pork until it begins to brown and is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Heat remaining oil in the same skillet over high heat; add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook stirring constantly until golden and fragrant; about 1-2 minutes.

Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water. Add vegetables to pan; cook, stirring frequently, until just tender; 4-6 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar and marmalade. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in pork and heat through. Serve immediately.

February 17, 2009

Potato and Sun-Dried Tomato Gratin

This is another healthy one we've been meaning to try out. Back when we were hard core into Weight Watchers I saw it on the website and printed it out. I never got around to making it until now and I regret waiting this long. It's really light and simple. It just takes about an hour overall to prep and bake. But it's worth it. I can't wait to eat my leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

WW Points: 3 per serving

3-4 large potatoes (Idaho or Russett), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 oz low-fat mozzarella or swiss cheese (I used mozzarella since I had it on hand)
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp Italian bread crumbs
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a small casserole dish with cooking spray, set aside.

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour enough water over to cover. Set pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a large bowl.

Add sun-dried tomatoes, sour cream, basil, salt and pepper and gently toss or stir to combine.

Transfer potato mixture to the prepared baking dish and top with mozzarella or swiss cheese. Combine bread crumbs and parmesan; sprinkle over casserole. Bake until top is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. 6 servings.

February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Treats


I decided to try and win the love of my new co-workers with some homemade treats for Valentine's Day. And it worked! Everyone enjoyed the goodies. Chris sent me a website with a recipe for homemade thin mints. These were a little time consuming in my opinion but so worth it. I would still buy the box of them from Girl Scouts just to have instant gratification.

The cake balls are a required holiday treat I share. Everyone seems to love them. They're so moist and delicious you can't have just one. They're very versatile so you can make shapes and try different cake mixes. Making homemade cake just for these cake balls seems like a waste of time and good ingredients so the boxed mix is definitely the way to go.


2 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c white sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup milk (any kind) I used evaporated milk since I had it on hand.
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 peppermint extract

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Put the mixer on low speed and add the milk and extracts. Gradually add the flour mixture until incorporated.

Shape dough into two logs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1-2 hours until dough if firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a sharp knife, slice dough into rounds no more than 1/4 thick. If they are too thick they will not be crisp. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Cookies will not spread very much so you can put them close together. Bake for 12-14 minutes until cookies are firm at edges. Cool cookies completely on wire rack before dipping in chocolate.


10oz dark or semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

In microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Melt on high in microwave stirring every 45-60 seconds, until chocolate is smooth. Chocolate should have a consistency somewhere between chocolate syrup and fudge for a thin coating.

Dip each cookie in melted chocolate, using a fork turn to coat and give a little shake to remove excess chocolate. Place on parchment or wax paper to set up for at least 30 minutes or until chocolate is dry.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13x9 cake)
1 tub cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 pkg chocolate bark or baking chocolate (regular or white)
wax paper

After cake is baked and cooled completely, crumble in large bowl. Mix thoroughly with the whole tub of cream cheese frosting. I use a sturdy spoon or rubber spatula. Using a cookie scoop, make balls of the mixture and lay onto cookie sheet. (should make 45-50.) Chill in the freezer for a couple of hours or until firm. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package. Using a fork, turn balls in the chocolate and tap off excess. Then lay on wax paper until dry.

February 9, 2009

Tuscan Chicken

Another healthy menu from Weight Watchers. The whole meal is 8 points per serving. It's simple and quick.. perfect for a weeknight meal when you don't have much time to get dinner on the table after a long day at work. This was so much better than I thought it would be. It was so full of flavor! Chris and I both agreed that this will go on our top list of things we've made. I added fresh garlic to this to give it added flavor and because garlic is delicious.

WW Points: 5

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp water
2 cloves minced garlic

Place chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Pound to 1/2 inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with seasonings.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add garlic and chicken. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Add tomatoes; cook 4 minutes or until tomato skins pop. Stir in balsamic vinegar and water. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is done and liquid almost evaporates. 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and about a 1/3 cup of tomato mixture.)

I served this on a bed of Spinach-Parmesan Fettuccine. Recipe below.

WW Points: 3

1 (9oz) pkg spinach fettuccine or linguine - I used the ones from the refrigerator section not dry
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain. Combine cooked pasta, cheese and butter, toss well. 7 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

February 8, 2009

Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloins with BBQ Drizzle

We had our monthly dinner party at Doug & Tori's tonight. The theme was Caribbean food. Chris found an awesome recipe on Food Network for Jerk Pork Tenderloins with BBQ Drizzle. Ohhhh myyyyy god it was amazing!! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. It consists of a lot of ingredients but is really easy to prepare. We served with fried plantains and it was a good accompaniment.

2 (1 - 1 1/2 lbs) pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup jerk marinade, recipe follows
2 tsp kosher salt
vegetable oil
BBQ Drizzle, for serving, recipe follows

Rinse meat well and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the lime juice all over the meat, place in a nonreactive bowl and set aside in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Add the jerk marinade and turn to coat meat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat a grill to medium-low. Remove the meat from marinade, leaving some of the marinade clinging to the surface of the meat. Season the meat with kosher salt and lightly oil the grill grates. Place the tenderloins on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until the pork is just cooked through and nicely browned on the outside and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 145-150 degrees F. (about 28-30 minutes). Remove the tenderloins from the grill and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. When ready to serve, slice into 1/2 inch thick slices on a slight diagonal and serve fanned out on a plate, drizzled with BBQ drizzle.

1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 crushed bay leaves
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 Scotch bonnet chiles, seeded (habanero)
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp vinegar

In a bowl of a food processor combine the thyme, green onions, parsley, onion, brown sugar, bay leaves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander seeds, chiles, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil and process to a smooth paste. Transfer to a nonreactive bowl (glass) and stir in the soy sauce, lime juice, and vinegar. Refrigerate with a lid or plastic wrap until ready to use. Any unused marinade will keep for up to 1 month.

6 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp vinegar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp Tamarind pulp
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and minced (habanero)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). Serve the sauce either warm or room temperature, drizzled over the Jerk Pork Tenderloins.

February 1, 2009

Guinness Cupcakes

Superbowl Sunday is a day for beer and food. So I put the two together to make a delicious treat called Beer Cupcakes (to be more specific, Guinness Cupcakes).

I took a batch over to a friend's house to share with everyone. There's always so much food at John & E's so I figured we'd have some left over. So I have a few to take to my new co-workers tomorrow. I'll just put them in the kitchen and let them devour on a first-come-first-serve basis.

1 1/2 cups Guinness
1 stick, plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter (chopped into chunks)
3/4 cup unsweetened special dark cocoa powder
2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

8 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put paper liners in 2 muffin tins or great them up if you don't want to use liners.

Combine the Guinness and butter in a small saucepan, and heat to melt the butter. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa and brown sugar. In a large bowl, mix the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla. Then add the beer mixture and mix. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the batter. Fill muffin molds 3/4 full (about 3 cookie scoops full). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers come out clean. Check it at 20 minutes to make sure you don't overbake. Let cool in tins for about 5-10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely while you mix ingredients for glaze.

Using a mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth. Sift in sugar and beat. Add milk and beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cupcakes.

*To create a thinner glaze, use more milk. To make thicker, use more powdered sugar. Either way, add a little sugar or milk at a time and mix to desired consistency.

Batter makes 24 cupcakes.