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Friday, May 16, 2008

Spaghetti with an Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Last night Ben and I decided that we wanted to go out for dinner, a date night on a weeknight. It would be fun, and we don't do it very often. Some unforeseen things happened so we then decided it would be just as fun, healthier and cheaper to just make something. My mom bought me great tomatoes the other day, they were mini heirloom, yellows, reds, even purple tomatoes. We decided to make a simple tomato sauce and some spaghetti.

It turned out just as good as in a restaurant, and it took about 20 minutes total to make. Ben and I were both part of the club last night, that is, the clean plate club.

Heirloom Tomato Sauce
1/2 tbs olive oil
1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)
1 pint mini heirloom tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 fresh basil leaves

1/2 lbs spaghetti
shaved Parmesan cheese to taste

In a pan over medium high heat sautee the onion in the oil until translucent, add in all of the herbs except the basil. While the onions are cooking down start heating the water for the spaghetti and half all of the tomatoes. Once the onions are translucent add the tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium. Stir once in while. Tomatoes should start breaking down about after about 10 minutes in the pan. You don't want them to end up completely mushy, just until they start loosing their shape.

Place 1/2 lbs dried spaghetti into water once it has come to a boil, add salt to water, 1/2 tbs or so. Once spaghetti is cooked according to the package instructions, drain.

Tear the basil leaves right into the sauce, you want to do this right before adding the spaghetti into the sauce so that the leaves don't wilt, and loose that great basil flavor.

Toss spaghetti in with the sauce for about 30 seconds, so that the pasta starts to absorb the flavors of the sauce, plate and garnish with as much or as little Parmesan cheese as you like.

I absolutely loved the ease, and taste of this meal. It tasted like the sauce took hours to make, and it wasn't one of those heavy sauces that makes you feel like you gained 10 lbs after the meal. It was just so good. I asked Ben if we could make this once a week from now on.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Did Someone Order an Egg and Cheese on Toast?

Sunday morning, it comes around every week without fail. This Sunday morning was Mother's Day, so I needed to make something that was quick and easy to shuffle Ben off to spend the day with his Mother, and so I could get ready for our family festivities. I remember that my dad loved these egg sandwiches my mom always made and thought it would be easy enough to recreate. I knew Ben would love it, becasue he always does, no matter if it is actually good or not.

Egg & Cheese on Toast
2 Extra Large Eggs
2 0z 50% reduced fat cheese
2 Slices of toast*
Margarine or Butter to spread
Salt & Pepper to taste

*I used Pepperage Farm Whole Wheat White. I like white bread a lot better than Whole Wheat, this is a great compromise so that you are getting the benefits of Whole Wheat with the taste of White.

Pam a pan, and place on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, crack your two eggs directly into the pan. Let cook. I kept the yolks runny so I let the eggs cook until the whites were slightly browned. If you want not runny yolks, just flip the eggs for a minute until cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

While the eggs are cooking toast your bread and spread margarine or butter on the bread. Add cheese to one slice of warm, toasted bread, if the cheese needs a little help to start melting, you can pop it in the microwave for like 10 seconds. (Reduced fat cheese needs more help melting than regular cheese.) Once eggs are cooked, place on to of cheesed bread, and top with other piece of bread.

I would have served something on the side, but I was out of time, and did not want to be late to Mother's Day.

This took about 10 minutes, and was very successful, really quick, easy, and so much better for you than stopping at Dunkin Donuts for one of their greasy breakfast sandwiches. So do it yourself, becasue its just way yummier.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Enchiladas y Coronas

It's Cinco De Mayo, well it was yesterday, and it had been a while since Ben and I had made dinner together. So we decided, yes over AIM at work that we would make a Mexican feast to partake in the celebration of Cinco De Mayo. I looked through a few different recipes on Cooking Light's website and found this one. And it looked almost perfect for dinner. Ben was excited all day long saying he could not wait to make our Enchiladas. We enhanced the recipe a bit, but just added a few more veggies in to kick up our version of this traditional Mexican Dish.

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

1 medium onion
1 orange bell pepper*
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce**
3 cups boneless skinless chicken breast***
1 cup pre-shredded reduced fat Mexican blend cheese
1 15 oz can black beans
2 jalapeños
1/2 tsp cumin
8 6 in corn tortillas
1/4 cup fresh copped cilantro

*We used orange becasue we like orange but any color bell pepper you want to buy or have on hand will work.

**We used Old El Paso enchilada sauce like the recipe called for, our supermarket only had mild and hot, so we picked mild to be on the safe side, because neither of us had ever had the enchilada sauce. Next time I'd buy the hot, because even with the jalapeños in the dish I thought it wasn't spicy enough.

***Perdue Short Cuts, precooked chicken is the best product ever. We used the original roasted but the plain grilled would have been fine too. You can also sautee up some chicken breast if you have some handy just with a little salt and pepper or you can use leftover chicken from the night before.

In a medium skillet coated with Pam heat the peppers, onions and hot peppers over medium high heat, saute for just a few minutes. Add in the entire can of enchilada sauce and bring to a boil, then reduce down to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes, to thicken.

In a seperate bowl mix chicken, black beans (strained,) 3/4 cup cheese, and cumin toss well to coat.

In the microwave heat the tortillas according to the directions, we just did 30 seconds and found that they were not warmed enough, and started cracking when we were rolling. Spoon 1/4 cup of the mixture into the tortilla and roll, place seem side down in a 11 X 7 inch baking dish coated with Pam. Repeat until all are filled and rolled. We had extra middle mixture so we just put it on top of the tortillas, then pour the entire sauce mixture over the enchiladas. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes until the enchiladas are heated through. Add the remaining cheese to the top and place back in the oven for another one to two minutes.

Garnish with cilantro and serve.

This makes 4 servings of 2 enchiladas each which was plenty for me, Ben had 3. :)

This was so good, there were a few changes that we would make for next time. We correctly followed the original directions on the website to put under the broiler for 3 minutes, and found that our enchiladas were warm and not hot, and so I made that correction above. I loved the addition of the black beans and jalapeños. This meal was cheap (about 17 dollars for all the supplies) easy, (took about 30 minutes to do everything) and healthy (the original recipe says it was 364 calories 10 grams of fat per serving.) And wow was it yummy. You could not tell that this was a healthy meal it was so flavorful and good, Ben and I have already started making plans for making it again.

I highly recommend this recipe not only for Cinco De Mayo but for any night of the week. So good! Don't forget your Corona and a lime to complete this festive meal.