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Baked French Toast with Cinnamon-Maple Applesauce

My friend Marcel got a promotion at work so I invited him over for brunch on the holiday Monday. He’s a little more health conscious then me, but still loves anything sweet and cinnamon-y. I searched through a ridiculous number of cool, books and decided about creating a hybrid recipe using  the ingredients from this Cooking Light recipe but baking the toast in the oven instead. Bad news – I forgot to spray the cookie sheet. Good news – it was still darn good! The real star was the apple sauce. Although it’s springtime, the apple and cinnamon combined with the real maple syrup screamed autumn. I am going to make this a go to recipe come September/October, but its great any time of the year.

To bake, preheat the oven to 350F degrees and bake for about 7-8 minutes until the egg mixture has set.

I forgot to take a pic of course, so please enjoy this photo from Cooking Light – probably my favourite cooking publication 🙂

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Maple French Toast

Ingredients

3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
12 (1-ounce) slices day-old white bread (such as Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Cinnamon-Maple Applesauce (recipe below)

Preparation

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Working with 4 bread slices at a time, place bread slices into milk mixture, quickly turning to coat both sides. Remove bread slices from milk mixture. Add bread slices to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove toast from pan. Repeat procedure with cooking spray, remaining 8 bread slices, and remaining milk mixture. Sprinkle powdered sugar evenly over toast.

Cinnamon-Maple Applesauce

I used prepared applesauce instead of making it from apples, about 2 cups, and simmered for 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
8 cups chopped peeled apple (about 8 medium apples)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preparation

1. Combine syrup and 1/2 cup water in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Add apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg; cover and cook over medium-low heat 25 minutes or until tender. Mash apples with a potato masher. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates. Serve warm or chilled.

Easy Baguettes

Easy Baguettes

My daughter’s school is teaching the kids how to make bread this week and Miss M. came home yesterday proclaiming that she likes French bread! Anytime that she tries something new and likes it is a victory for me. The weather was miserable today so we stayed home and I got her to help me make this version of french bread / baguette. Authentic baguettes are more involved than this so I wasn’t expecting it would turn out to Parisian standards, but I think this bread is pretty decent. The only thing I would do next time is add another 1/4-1/2 tsp of salt and maybe let it rise a little longer at the end. My oven runs a little hot so I probably should have taken it out 3 minutes sooner because it got a little too brown on the bottom but it didn’t impact the overall flavour. I would definitely make this again on a future snow day.

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Baguette

Ingredients

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/4 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
3 cups bread flour, divided (about 14 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon cornmeal

Preparation

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 3/4 cups flour to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; sprinkle evenly with salt. Knead until the salt is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).

Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in warm place (85°), 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If an indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide in half. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion on a floured surface into 12-inch rope, slightly tapered at ends. Place ropes on large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray, and cover; let rise 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450°. Uncover the dough. Cut 3 (1/4-inch-deep) diagonal slits across top of each loaf. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped.

Source: Cooking Light, Oct. 2005

 

Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Garlic Cream Cheese Smashed Potatoes

Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Garlic Cream Cheese Smashed Potatoes

This menu is a great example of how I eat most of the time – partly healthy, and partly horrible but delicious! The pork was delicately flavoured and melt in your mouth tender. I think it’s because you cook it at such high heat (500F) But the potatoes were so rich and sinful that Steve christened them “potatoes you wouldn’t take home to your Momma”! lol I do believe they have knocked my other garlic mashed potatoes out of the top spot. But, ya you don’t really want to be making these more than a couple of times a year. I might make them again for Valentine’s Day actually and then I have to cut myself off. I was supposed to make “cauliflower popcorn” from the Family Cooks cookbook I got for Christmas, but I kind of forgot about it until it was too late so I’m going to give them a try on Wednesday instead.

Note: The photos are a little wonky because Steve has lent me his camera and I’m still getting used to it. I forgot it on “cloudy” setting but we were under artificial light. And I only have one photo of the potatoes but it’s super washed out. They don’t look like much but they’re insanely delicious!

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Sweet and Tangy Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Red Potato Mash

(Cooking Light Magazine, Sept. 2015)

Using jelly rather than preserves in the glaze helps maintain a smooth texture, but you can use either. Instead of grape, try strawberry, cherry, red currant, or even jellied cranberry sauce.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 3 ounces)

Ingredients
1 pound small red potatoes
1/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 small garlic clove, grated
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons grape jelly
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallots

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 500°.

2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan; fill with water to 1 inch above potatoes. Bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain; return to pan. Mash potatoes to desired consistency with a potato masher. Stir in milk, butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. {the Cook’s Illustrated recipe I used is below}

3. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon oil, thyme, and garlic; rub evenly over pork. Place pork on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray; bake at 500° for 10 minutes. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon oil, jelly, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Brush half of jelly mixture over pork; bake at 500° for 5 minutes. Turn pork; brush with remaining half of jelly mixture. Bake 5 to 8 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145°. Place pork on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Cut across the grain into thin slices. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories 327 Fat 9.9 g Satfat 4.1 g Monofat 3.9 g Polyfat 0.9 g Protein 27 g Carbohydrate 31 g Fiber 2 g Cholesterol 87 mg Iron 2 mg Sodium 482 mg Calcium 47 mg

Smashed Potatoes

Yields: 4 to 6 servings Prep time: 20 min Cook time: 45 min

Ingredients:

2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter), unpeeled and scrubbed*
Salt
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
Freshly-ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)

* New potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes may be substituted, but the red skins of the Red Bliss potatoes give a wonderful contrast. Try to purchase potato of equal size. If only large potatoes are available, increase the cooking time by approximately 10 minutes.

Preparation:

In a large pot, add whole potatoes and cover with 1-inch cold water; add 1 teaspoon salt and the bay leaf. Bring just to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until a paring knife can be inserted into the potatoes with no resistance, approximately 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set aside. Then drain potatoes of remaining water; discard the water and bay leaf. Return cooked potatoes to the pot and allow potatoes to stay in the pot, uncovered, until surfaces are dry, about 5 minutes.

While potatoes are drying, whisk the melted butter and softened cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth and fully incorporated. Add the 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, chives (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula or back of a wood spoon, smash potatoes just enough to break the skins. Fold in the butter/cream cheese mixture until most of the liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potatoes remain. NOTE: Add more reserved cooking water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the potatoes are slightly looser than desired. The potatoes will thicken slightly with standing. Adjust salt and pepper, if desired.

Place in a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Variation: Garlic-Rosemary Smashed Potatoes 

Add 2 peeled garlic cloves to potatoes in saucepan along with salt and bay leaf in step 1. Melt 4 Tbs butter in 8″ skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary {I used a couple of pinches of dry} and 1 minced garlic clove and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Substitute butter-garlic mixture for melted butter, adding cooked garlic cloves to cream cheese along with butter-garlic mixture. Omit chives.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated cookbook.

Christmas Misadventures

Don’t we all love a good story about someone does something stupid but overcomes their obstacles in the end? Well this is one of those stories.  We bought a turkey a few days early to make sure we weren’t stuck buying a 20lb turkey at the last minute. My freezer was full and I didn’t want to clean it out because if I threw everything in the trash on Monday and garbage day wasn’t until Saturday, the raccoons would get into it, so Steve took the turkey home with him. I was supposed to call and remind him to take it out on Tuesday.  I forgot, he forgot. When I thought about it on Wednesday morning it was too late as he had gone to work, and I didn’t have a key to his place.  We started thawing the turkey in the fridge around 5pm that night. Friday morning we decided to thaw it in cold water and cook it for dinner instead. At 2:30pm we unwrapped it and the giblets were still frozen so we left it on the counter for about 45 minutes and hoped for the best. It seemed okay. I prepared it as instructed and popped it in the oven at 3:45. 6:30 we checked the temperature and it was a no go. Another hour and a half and a temperature adjustment later it was finally done. On the up side, it tasted great! The gravy was one of the best I have ever made! We’ve decided this is  your go to turkey recipe from now on (with timely thawing of course) 😉

To make the gravy I strained the drippings into a gravy separator then added the brown bits/juices back to the pan and put it on the stove top over medium heat. To that I added about 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth and brought it all up to a slow boil. I made a slurry with about equal parts water and flour (rounded Tbsp to start) to make a paste then slowly drizzled that in to the broth mixture, whisking constantly, scraping up any brown bits left on the pan. Then you simply simmer it until it thickens.

Note: Steve actually liked the Jigg’s dinner. He said the beef is a lot like corned beef, which I’ve never actually had before except in a can, so I’ll take his word for it.

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Garlic and Rosemary Slow-Roasted Turkey

A 500° blast aids browning. To ensure food safety, don’t stuff the turkey. Also, as with any cooking method, be sure the meat comes to 165°, and serve immediately after it has rested.
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 6 ounces turkey) Source: Cooking Light magazine

Ingredients:
1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
9 garlic cloves, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
8 teaspoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Cooking spray

Preparation:
1. Remove and discard giblets and neck from turkey. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Mince 3 garlic cloves; combine minced garlic, chopped rosemary, and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl. Rub butter mixture under loosened skin and rub over breast and drumsticks. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Place remaining 6 garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs in body cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Let turkey stand 1 hour at room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 500°.

3. Place turkey, breast side up, on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Place rack in pan. Bake at 500° for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 250°; bake for 2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Remove from oven; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 20 minutes. Discard skin.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories 366 Fat 8.6 g Satfat 3.6 g Monofat 1.9 g Polyfat 1.8 g Protein 67 g Carbohydrate 0.7 g Fiber 0.3 g Cholesterol 229 mg Iron 4.6 mg Sodium 461 mg Calcium 50 mg

 

Lighter Mongolian Beef

I haven’t been posting much because I was out of province working at an arts festival, and now Christmas prep is in full swing, but I thought I’d share this quick recipes for those days when you get home late from holiday shopping and need to make something fast and healthy. I cut the hot sauce in half, thinking it would be too spicy but it ended up making the spiciness nonexistent, so next time I will definitely use the 2 tsp of chili paste it calls for. Even with that little misstep, this recipe was very good. I’m adding it to my regular weeknight rotation. 🙂

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Mongolian Beef

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 16 medium green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces

Preparation

1. Combine first 8 ingredients, stirring until smooth.

2. Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced ginger, minced garlic, and beef; sauté for 2 minutes or until beef is browned. Add green onion pieces; sauté 30 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories 237
  • Fat 10.5 g
  • Satfat 3.5 g
  • Monofat 4.3 g
  • Polyfat 1.1 g
  • Protein 26 g
  • Carbohydrate 9.1 g
  • Fiber 1.7 g
  • Cholesterol 60 mg
  • Iron 2.7 mg
  • Sodium 517 mg
  • Calcium 67 mg

Pork Tenderloin with Maple Pan Juices

Well you’ve probably heard me say this more than once, but I am trying even harder to eat better, not just for my weight but for my health. I have to get my blood work done again soon and I realized I kind of fell of the healthy cooking bandwagon again so I have to get back on with hopes of making a difference in my cholesterol numbers. I’ve been checking labels and recipes for saturated fat and sodium levels, and dipping into my Cooking Light Magazine recipe stash. I found this dish in the “Cooking Light Complete Cookbook”. It’s huge and has hundreds of recipes which I really need to tap into more often.We only marinaded it for 30 minutes and it still turned out great. In another review someone mentioned they had a hard time getting the sauce to thicken and so did I, so I took their recommendation and added a tsp or so of cornstarch which did the trick. Despite the hiccup, this one is a definite keeper. Sweet, savory, and so satisfying!

On the side was a recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine for Mustard and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. I cut the Dijon in half and the potatoes were still crisp and flavourful. They also cooked a lot faster than 50 minutes – more like 40. Highly recommend them!

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Pork Tenderloin with Maple Pan Juices

1/3 cup diced onion
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, divided
1/4 cup maple syrup, divided
2 tablespoons sake (rice wine) – I used white wine because that’s what I had on hand
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin
Cooking spray
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Combine onion, 2 tablespoons juice, 2 tablespoons syrup, sake, soy sauce, pepper and garlic in a large zip-top plasitc bag. Trim fat from pork. Add pork to bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a 9-inch heavy ovenproof skillet coated with a little cooking spray over medium-high heat. (I used a cast iron skillet because I think they work the best when browning and roasting meats, and I did use a little olive oil instead of the cooking spray, which I know added a some fat). Remove pork from bag, reserving marinade. Add pork to pan; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Place pan in oven; bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees (slightly pink). Remove pork from pan. Set aside, and keep warm.

Combine 2 tablespoons juice, 2 tablespoons syrup, reserved marinade, and broth in a small bowl. Add syrup mixture to pan, and place over medium-high heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thick. (I could not get it to thicken; so, mixed a little cornstarch with cold water, and added to the mixture to thicken.) Serve sauce with pork. Yields 4 servings.

Serving size: 3 ounces pork and 2 tablespoons of sauce. Per serving: calories 204 (13% from fat); fat 3 g (sat 1g, mono 1.3g, poly 0.4g); protein 24.4g; carb 16.9g; fiber 0.3g; chol 74 mg; iron 1.8mg; sodium 293mg; calc 29mg. These stats are without any of my changes to the recipe.

Mustard and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

These potatoes start out looking very wet, but the mixture cooks down to leave the potatoes crisp, crusty, and tangy.

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs. dry vermouth or other dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lb. red-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch dice

Heat the oven to 400°F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, vermouth, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Dump the potatoes onto a large rimmed baking sheet and spread them in a single layer. Roast, tossing with a spatula a few times, until the potatoes are crusty on the outside and tender throughout, 50 to 55 minutes. Serve hot.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 220; Fat (g): fat g 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1; Protein (g): protein g 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 30; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 730; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Sauce

I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve been having a hard time getting inspired to cook. I get home at the end of the day and just want to chill on the couch, and since my 4 year old is so picky, it’s not so fun cooking for 1 and maybe a half, depending on whether I can make her version without sauce, and without combining any flavours. Oh the joys of parenting a preschooler. This recipe is great because it’s super fast and easy, AND I can leave some meat plain for the munchkin. I highly recommend it. I made mine with pork tenderloin steaks and subbed raw sugar snap peas for the broccoli rabe, which is even easier. It’s delicious! All-Star recipe. I made a very similar one a while back with shallots, mustard, and balsamic vinegar but this one is even simpler and still very good. There are a few variations on this theme on this blog if you search “pork”. Pan sauces are a lifesaver!

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Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Blistered Broccoli Rabe

Ingredients:

2 bunches broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, cut into 8 slices
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preparation:

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Arrange broccoli rabe in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan; coat with cooking spray. Broil 8 minutes, carefully turning after 5 minutes.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan. Remove pan from heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and vinegar to pan, stirring to loosen browned bits. Drizzle sauce over pork and broccoli rabe.

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