Just another lazy Sunday

Don’t you just love Sunday mornings?  I adore snuggling with my hubby while sipping coffee and reading a good book. We lounge around until noon and then leisurely make our way downstairs to watch movies all day. Oh wait….that was life BEFORE the kids.

Nowadays, Sunday morning is a non-stop tornado of activity!

7:00 a.m. my darling daughter calls me from her crib, desperately needing a diaper change. My loving son stumbles into our bedroom begging to play video games. My eyes flutter open and I realize that the mad Sunday rush is here yet again. Time to get the kids dressed, fed and presentable for church. Somewhere in this mad rush I manage to get in a shower and find an outfit that is appropriate for public viewing (no yoga pants in church…thankyouverymuch!). It’s insanity. You would think that I’d learn to plan ahead.

On those rare Sunday mornings when I actually have my act together, I like to spoil the family a bit by making a good, hearty breakfast. Santa was kind enough to buy me a waffle maker this year. I tell you, next to my mini van and my engagement ring, it was the best Christmas present ever! Yes, I truly am that low maintenance.

I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with different recipes for waffle batter. I’ve found that Bisquick mix, while it makes outstanding pancakes, makes pretty dry and tasteless waffles. Other waffle mixes I’ve made have been too dense or not puffy enough. After much trial and error, I finally found the perfect mix!

I give complete credit to Mr. Alton Brown and the Food Network for this recipe. I had nothing to do with it. I just thought I’d pass it along and share the love.

  • 4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
  • 4 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour, approximately 1 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • Vegetable spray, for waffle iron

Directions

Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl beat together eggs and melted butter, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the iron according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Close iron top and cook until the waffle is golden on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

Here’s a handy-dandy tip from your old pal, Liz:  If you don’t have any buttermilk, just add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk. Viola! Home made buttermilk substitute!

Yum!

There you have it… the best food that Sunday morning has to offer! Top these golden beauties with syrup and butter or berries and whipped cream. You could even go hog-wild and make a fried egg, bacon and cheese waffle sandwich. Not that I’ve ever done anything THAT unhealthy. *ahem*

Speaking of healthy eating….Liz Land is going to get a bit healthier. It seems that my love of all things creamy and buttery has caught up with me. Time to lower the fat and cholesterol intake. I’ve been experimenting with some new healthy alternatives to my old favorites. Hope you stick with me on this.

Chicken Kiev… Land of Liz style.

Every year I make the same New Years resolution; Lose weight and get fit.  I search through my back issues of Cooking Light magazine and compile an arsenal of recipes that are guaranteed to get me back to my “before I had the children” weight. With grocery list in hand I march confidently into the grocery store ready to conquer the food world. I just know THIS will be the year I fit back in my favorite jeans (the ones at the back of the closet, covered in a layer of dust).

When my cart is full of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and healthy snacks I stroll up to the checkout counter. As I put my groceries on the conveyor belt, I have this fantasy that the checker and the other housewives around me are admiring just how healthy my family must be with all of this wonderful food in the house. I can just tell they are thinking “What a good wife and mother she must be!” To add to this delusion, I even browse through a fitness magazine before paying my bill. I walk out of the store feeling very good about myself and my new healthy lifestyle.

Then it happens….about a week after bingeing on carrots, spinach, fiber muffins and Special K cereal I hear a little voice calling from inside the fridge. It says to me “Psst…Liz….come here. I miss you! Please don’t abandon me. Come back!”.  It is the sweet voice of my dear friend, butter. I curse The Land O Lakes Indian and swear she is an evil little temptress. One thing leads to another and I come up with a recipe like this: Chicken Kiev, Land of Liz style.

The Betty Crocker cookbook has a basic recipe for Chicken Kiev that involves parsley and tarragon but, I didn’t have those things. I improvised this recipe and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Hubby even said it was ‘blog worthy’! It’s a little more labor intensive than some of my other recipes but it’s totally worth it. I’d be proud to make this meal for guests.

Here’s the cast of characters:

  • Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • all purpose flour
  • seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 6 thinly sliced chicken breasts (or you can go through the trouble of pounding regular chicken breasts with a mallet…I’m too lazy for that)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • two cloves minced garlic
  • 12 basil leaves, minced
  • two mozzarella string cheese sticks (or, if you want to get fancy….use fresh mozzarella)
  • salt and pepper

Step 1:  Get out three shallow bowls. In the first bowl mix eggs and 1 tbsp water. In the second, put in the bread crumbs. I the third, mix flour and seasoned salt.

Step 2: Cut butter into quarters, lengthwise and then in half (you’ll have 8 little rectangles of lovely butter). Do the same with the mozzarella cheese sticks.

Step 3: place a little bit of the minced garlic, basil, 1 butter rectangle and one of the pieces of mozzarella into the center of the chicken breast and roll it up into a tight little bundle.

Step 4: Dredge chicken roll in flour, then dip in egg, dip in bread crumbs, back in the egg again and one more time in the bread crumbs. Got that? The double dip in the crumbs makes for an extra crispy crust.  Repeat steps 3 and four until all six chicken breasts are rolled.

Step 5: Heat up oil in a frying pan and fry up the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes (or until all sides are browned).

Step 6: Place all six rolls in a baking dish and place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through). Pour any drippings over the top when serving. You don’t want to waste any of that fabulous butter. It’s a sin!

Mmmm.... look at that glorious butter and cheese! When I fall off the wagon, I fall HARD!

Enjoy….you can always return to the diet the next day!

A light lunch

Last weekend I packed a bag and headed out to Chincoteague Island, Virginia with my two BFFs for a girl’s weekend away. Prior to our escape, I had been doing very well on my diet.  I’m not a calorie counter but for two weeks I was mindful of eating sensible portions, lowering my fat intake and limiting in-between meal snacks. Once on the road, however, my diet flew out the window, landed somewhere on interstate 95 and became roadkill.

Crab dip, cream of crab soup, shrimp stuffed with crab imperial, french fries, crab balls, tortilla chips with cheese dip…. ooooh… I fell off the wagon and it proceeded to roll over me.

Now that I’m back home and my brain is no longer on island time, I realize that I must get back into good eating habits. I fear someone may try to harpoon me on my next trip to the beach.

This is a modified recipe for a roast-beef sandwich recipe I found on the Special K website. I don’t succeed with diet food that tastes like diet food. This sammy was filling and I felt like I was eating something on the naughty foods list.

Open Faced Roast Beef Sandwich

  • 2 teaspoons fat-free plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 slice multigrain bread, toasted
  • 1/2 cup mixed spring baby greens
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced, lean roasted beef
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese (optional)
  • sliced hard-boiled egg
  • sliced tomato

Directions

  1. In small bowl stir together yogurt, mayonnaise and horseradish. Spread on toast. Top with greens, roast beef, tomato, egg and blue cheese.

    Grab a fork and knife and dig in!

Leftovers

I love leftovers. I know I’ve mentioned this before. I have no problem polishing off a plate of spaghetti for breakfast…sometimes cold. Yesterday I ate two fried chicken legs before 8 a.m. (also, cold).  I’ve always been like this. It works well for my family because Hubby will rarely eat leftovers.

Yesterday I made a large batch of shredded pork. One night of barbecue sandwiches was good but it didn’t sound very good for breakfast this morning.  Times are tough & I certainly didn’t want all of that good food to go to waste so, I improvised a recipe. I needed to use up the leftovers but change it enough so I wasn’t met with “barbecue again, eh?”

I remembered having cheeseburger pie a long time ago. It’s an old standby on the side of the bisquick box. It’s easy to make, filling and yummy. I decided to substitute hamburger meat for barbecue. Then I remembered that the reason I have bisquick in my house in the first place is my love of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Why not combine the two?

 

 

 

Barbecue....Pie....how could this be wrong?

Barbecue Pie

2 cups leftover pulled pork

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup bisquick

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix barbecue sauce & pulled pork together. Spray a pie plate with non-stick spray. Spread pork on the bottom of the pie plate. Spread on a layer of cheddar cheese. In a separate bowl mix remaining ingredients and pour over pork and cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Now THIS looks like potential breakfast material to me!

Tuna Pillows

You know how the sight and smell of some foods can instantly trigger memories? For me:  Cherry Kool-Aid in plastic tumblers will always remind me of watching The Dukes of Hazzard during sleepovers at my friends Suzy and Kelly’s house. Spaghetti-O’s will forever remind me of late nights girl-talking with my BFF Cristie. Her mom always kept a supply in the pantry just for me.  And tuna pillows will always bring back fond memories of my next-door neighbor and babysitter, Dutch.

Let me first sat that Dutch’s name isn’t really Dutch. It’s Pat. When I was a toddler she would always pre-empt my mischievous behavior by saying “Stop that or you’re going to get yourself in dutch.” Being an active kid, I guess I must have given her a few opportunities to say that phrase. Her name became, and will forever be, Dutch.

Because Dutch had three children of her own, she knew how to make wonderfully satisfying, kid-friendly foods. My favorite of these was Tuna Pillows.

Tuna Pillows

1 cup of your favorite tuna salad (I like my tuna with chopped sweet pickles, a little bit of sugar, mayo and onion.)

1 tube crescent rolls

two slices of american cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 (or whatever your crescent roll package indicates), open crescent rolls and separate triangles. On a baking sheet, press together two triangles to form a rectangle. Place half a slice of cheese and two tablespoons of tuna salad on one side. Fold over dough and roll up edges to seal. Repeat to make three more rectangles. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (or until golden brown).

This recipe can easily become ‘ham and cheese pillows’, ‘turkey and cheese pillows’ or ‘chicken salad pillows’. The possibilities are endless. Bean likes me to make him ‘cheese pillows’. Picky boy!

Make a batch of” pillows” today and start some childhood memories for your kids! 🙂

Tuna Pillows

I love diet food!

I love diet food? Yes! I know that sounds like a ridiculous statement but I am finding that I really do! Now I’m not talking about the “Slimfast” or “Lean Cuisine” diet foods. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. They just don’t work for me. What I’m referring to is food that is fresh, low in calories and high in flavor. So far this week my favorite diet foods have consisted of Balsamic Portobello Wraps, apricot glazed pork chops and the following recipe:

Pan Seared Chicken with Blueberry-Ginger Chutney (from the Cooking Light 2006 cookbook)

Chutney

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/3 cups packed brown sugar

1/3  cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup golden raisins

3 tbs cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

dash of ground cloves

1 clove garlic, minced

Chicken

1 1/2 tbs olive oil

3/4 tsp dried basil

3/4 tsp dried oregano

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

3 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. To prepare chutney, combine the first 11 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ginger. Isn't it odd looking? I wonder who was the first brave soul to eat this root? Maybe it was on a dare.

There! Much better. Ginger looks much more appetizing when it's being shredded by my microplane!

 

Pretty isn't it? Beware...the blueberries will stain your wooden spoon! I learned that the hard way.

2. To prepare chicken, combine oil, basil, oregano, chicken and 3 minced garlic cloves in a large heavy-duty zip-loc plastic bag; seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours, turning occasionally. Remove chicken from bag. Discard marinade. Sprinkle 3/4 tsp. salt and black pepper evenly over chicken.

3. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook Chicken for 5 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with chutney.

I made this with basmati rice and a side of roasted fennel. I wish I could have photographed this in natural light. Pictures don't do it justice. Hope my poor photography doesn't steer you away from an amazing meal!

I have no idea if I’ve lost any weight this week but, by staying away from the high-fat snacks and my beloved cream sauces, I do feel like I have a lot more energy. My jeans aren’t quite as snug as they were last week!

Healthy living!

Egad! It’s been crazy around here for the past few weeks. We’ve had pink eye, strep throat and an industrial strength cold that wiped the whole family out. I think the crud has finally left the building and we’re getting back to normal.

I apologize for not putting up a Frugal Friday post. I’ll make it up to you this week by posting an extra recipe.

Forgive me?

Yes?

Good. Let’s move on.

Last week, after an unexpected weigh-in at the doctor’s office, I decided that my love affair with cream sauces must come to an abrupt end.  It was a painful decision but a necessary one. I wept a bit but, in an effort to shrink my rapidly expanding waist line (and hips and buns and gut….) I headed out to the grocery store and spent the majority of my food budget on fresh veggies.  Portobello mushrooms were calling my name so I came home and whipped up the following sandwich for lunch.

Balsamic Portobello Wrap

1 Portobello mushroom cap (cleaned and sliced)

1/4 thinly sliced onion

1 tsp Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper (t0 taste)

1/4 cup fresh baby spinach

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Thin slices of colby- jack cheese

drizzle of low-fat honey-mustard dressing

Whole wheat wrap

1.In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Heat onions until translucent. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Cook until mushrooms are a golden brown on both sides.

2. Spread out wrap and put on a layer of spinach. Place slices of colby-jack cheese on top of the spinach and add mushrooms & onions. Drizzle honey mustard dressing on top and roll into a wrap.

Warning…this is a pretty messy sandwich but it’s so yummy! .  

Enjoy- guilt free! 🙂

 Ok… I think the dust bunnies have run off with my camera charger. Hopefully I’ll have found it by my next post.