Tuesday, February 07, 2012

What's up with that?

Visitors to my blog may notice that my recent recipes are being photographed on styrofoam plates.  While I'm far from being a FOOD photographer, I will admit that I've taken better photos in the past.  What happened was, on January 16th, I underwent a rather extensive abdominal surgery and wound up with a 9 inch incision running down the center of my belly.  So standing at the sink to wash dishes is out.  The dishwasher is out of order, so that's out too.  My family apparently has some sort of severe allergy to washing dishes, so what's left?  DISPOSABLE!  While it's not ideal, it DOES cut down on sink time, so that's what's up!

Tomato & Basil Rotini with Chicken

Tomato & Basil Rotini with Chicken
For a detailed reason of why my dishes are appearing on styrofoam plates, click here.
  • 1 lb. Mueller’s Whole Wheat Rotini pasta, cooked 
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces  
  • 1 package chicken broth powder 
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 lb frozen green beans 
  • 1 16oz. package Philadelphia Cookin Crème “Tomato & Basil” 


  1. Begin by essentially steaming your chicken in a skillet with the broth. This keeps the fat content down considerably, and the broth helps insure you don’t wind up with bland chicken. 
  2. Once the chicken is mostly all cooked (all the pieces have turned that white/tan color), add the bag of green beans on top. Cover for 5-10 minutes, while you boil the water for the pasta.
  3. Cook the pasta in salted water.  I’ve found that the only way to palate whole wheat pasta is to cook it beyond al dente.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain thoroughly, and then return to the pan you cooked it in.  
  5. Add dollops of the Cooking Crème throughout the pasta, so that it melts with the heat of the pasta.  Once you’ve added ¾ of the package, add the now cooked chicken and green beans to the pasta pan.
  6. Add the rest of the Cookin Crème and toss gently to cover everything.
  7. Plate it and finish it off with a nice health shaving of parmesan or mozzarella.

    Dinner’s ready!  
Easy replacements would be delicious. I’ve used spinach, broccoli and a host of other vegetables. I’ve also used more than 1 at a time.  There’s more than enough Cookin Crème to cover everything.  We’ve been moving away from using a lot of meat, but I think this would also work with ground turkey, too – or really ANY meat, including maybe some pork or hamburger.  It would also work with NO meat. It’s a very versatile recipe!  Enjoy!  

Monday, February 06, 2012

Baked, Stuffed Tomatoes

We have had stuffed tomatoes before - but we've always used some sort of meat to do the stuffing.  This time, I wanted to skip the meat, as this was going to be a side dish for another recipes - steamed fish packets.  I've adapted this recipe based on the ideas I got from reading other recipes, and it turned out wonderful!

Baked, Stuffed Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400f.

8 tomatoes. I used on-the-vine tomatoes, because they're bigger and cheaper at this time of year.
1 cup couscous
1/4 c. (or more) feta cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter
1 c. water or broth

  1. Cut the core from the tomato, and then using a spoon, remove the juice and pulp from them. I wasn't REALLY precise, but the more you leave it, the soggier your couscous will get.
  2. Melt butter in a skillet, add olive oil.
  3. Add onions and garlic- saute' until they're soft.
  4. Add dry couscous. The couscous will absorb the butter/oil mixture. Toast the couscous for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add water, a little at a time, and allow the couscous to cook - probably 5 minutes or so - just until the water is fully absorbed.  I typically use chicken broth to cook couscous, but I used plain water this time.  When it was finished, I sprinkled it with garlic salt. Remove from heat.
  6. When you're ready to stuff the tomatoes, toss the feta with the couscous.  You don't want the cheese to melt in the pan, so let the pan sit for a couple of minutes to cool.  Add the feta and gently toss with the couscous.
  7. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop as I did, stuff the tomatoes. 
  8. Place tomatoes in a baking dish - I lined mine with fresh spinach, but they wound up drying out. lol
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!
PS - I apologize for the poor quality of the photos - my camera phone just isn't up to the task!