Friday, April 27, 2012

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

As soon as I saw this recipe, it was definitely a "gotta try" and "oh wait, let me add this and this and ....."

Serves - 4 [actually can serve 6]
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

1 pound asparagus
1 Tblspn olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 Tblspn balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp brown sugar [used Splenda blend brown sugar]
1 pound penne
1/4 pound butter, cut into pieces [used Benecol]
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1.  Heat oven 400ºF.  Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them.  Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces.  Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the oil and 1/4 tsp each of the salt and pepper.  Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, put the vinegar in a small saucepan.  Simmer until 3 Tblspn remain.  Stir in the brown sugar and remaining 1/4 tsp pepper.  Remove from the heat.

3.  Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just done, about 13 minutes.  Drain the pasta and toss with the butter, vinegar, asparagus, Parmesan, and the remaining 1-3/4 tsp salt.  Serve with additional Parmesan.

Nutrition Facts based on Serves 6 with each serving as follows:

Note: though total carbs for Dreamfields Pasta is 41g, after you subtract the Dietary Fiber & protected (non-digestible carbs), the digestible carbs is only 5g.

Source: Food & Wine


  • Even though it's not until Step 3 for cooking the pasta, word to the wise start it first.  By the time the water finally comes to a boil, you can easily prep and put the asparagus in the oven to roast, as well as simmering the vinegar.
  • Ok, the original recipe states it's vegetarian.  Either way, the baby bella crimini mushrooms were a great addition.
  • I also added 2 cups shredded chicken.
  • One of the tips the recipe offered - adding toasted nuts (pine nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts).  I think this dish would really be good with the pine nuts.  Unfortunately didn't have any - next time.
  • The other tip - if asparagus is not in season, you can substitute using roasted broccoli - cutting them into small spears, tossed with 2 Tblspn oil and salt & pepper and roast for approximately 15 minutes.
  • This recipe truly lends itself to any adaptations you can think of.
  • As for the Nutrition Facts - I was unable to adjust using the Benecol - which is healthier with the plant sterols [shown to lower cholesterol]
  • I only used 1 tsp of salt, so the sodium would adjust to 603mg.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cape Cod Soft Molasses Cookies

If you love soft, chewy and spicy cookies, these are the ones for you.  And the secret to that "spice" - ground pepper.

Yield:  approximately 33 cookies
Preparation Time: 15 to 25 minutes
Baking Time: 8 to 10 minutes

3/4 cup (12 Tblspn) butter
1 cup granulated sugar [used 1/2 cup Splenda Blend per conversion chart]
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1/3 cup molasses
2-1/4 cup All-Purpose flour
1/3 cup traditional or quick rolled oats
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely diced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger, or to taste
heaping 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice or ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, optional
1 tsp espresso powder, optional; for depth of flavor and added color
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar or coarse white sparkling sugar, for coating

1.  Preheat oven 350ºF.  Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and baking soda until well combined.

3.  Beat in the egg, and then the molasses, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to blend in any sticky residue.

4.  Add the flour, oats, crystallized ginger, fresh ginger, spices, and espresso powder.  Mix just until thoroughly combined.

5.  Scoop the sticky dough into 1-1/2" balls; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

6.  Roll the balls in sugar (either granulated or coarse), if desired.  This is easily done by sprinkling the sugar into a 8" cake pan, and dropping the stick dough into the pan.  Shake the pan to coat the dough balls with sugar.

7.  Space the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2" between them.

8.  Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes.  The centers will look soft and puffy; that's OK.  Cookies baked for 8 minutes will be VERY soft; bake them for 10 minutes, they'll be firmer.

9.  Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan; or transfer to a rack to cool.  To maintain soft texture, store at room temperature once cookies are completely cool.

After running a Nutritional analysis, here are the Nutrition Facts:
Calories - 82                               Sodium - 133mg
Calories from Fat - 37                 Total Carbs - 10.3g
Total Fat - 4.1g                               Sugar - 3.6g
    Saturated Fat - 2.5g                  Protein - 1.1g
Cholesterol - 15mg

Source:  King Arthur Flour -


  • Ok, you know me, adjust recipe to make diabetic-friendly.  So first switch - used Splenda Blend and per the conversion chart only needed 1/2 cup.
  • Used Allspice and omitted the pepper.  [Due to a friend's food allergy].  Will try this recipe again using the pepper to see how it changes the flavor.
  • Definitely used the espresso powder.
  • Definitely skipped Step 6 - I know it would add to the flavor, but don't need to add to the blood sugar.
  • Used my tablespoon cookie scoop and another small spoon to get the batter out of the scoop and onto the baking sheet.
  • Baked them for 9 minutes - went with semi-soft slightly firm.

Roasted Cod, Tomatoes, Orange & Onions

Ok, I have to admit that I wasn't too sure how onions would taste with cod.  Well, now I know - fabulous!

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 fillet and 1/4 of the citrus-tinged tomatoes & onions
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 55-60 minutes

1 pound ripe but firm small round or plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1/4 inch thick wedges
1 Tblspn finely slivered orange zest*
1 Tblspn extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tblspn chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless cod or other thick cut, firm-fleshed fist, cut into 4 equal portions

* Use a vegetable peeler, remove 3 or 4 pieces of zest from a large orange.  Stack the pieces on top of each other and slice into 1/8" wide strips

1.  Preheat oven 400ºF.

2.  Combine tomatoes, onions, orange zest, oil and chopped thyme in a 3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper; stir to combine.

3.  Roast, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and brown on the edges, about 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Increase oven temperature to 450ºF.

4.  Push the vegetables aside, add fish and season with the remaining 1/4 tsp salt and pepper; spoon the vegetables over the fish.

5.  Return the baking dish to the oven and bake until the fish is opaque in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes.  To serve, divide the fish and vegetables among 4 plates and garnish with thyme sprigs.

Exchanges/Carb choices:  1-1/2 vegetable / 3 very lean meat / 1 fat / 1 carb serving
Calories - 160                        Sodium - 308mg
Total Fat - 5g                         Total Carbs - 11g   w/net Carbs - 9g
   Saturated Fat - 1g                    Dietary Fiber - 2g
   Monounsat Fat - 3g             Protein - 20g
Cholesterol - 43mg

Source: EatingWell


  • The only thing I would do differently is add the tomatoes at the same time adding the fish.  This way the tomatoes are more al dente than stewed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Orange Muffins

Just the name was enough to make me want to make these for dessert!

Yields - about 2 dozen muffins
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

For the Muffins:
1 cup milk [used buttermilk]
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup sour cream [used light sour cream]
2 large eggs
2 sticks (16 Tblspn) unsalted butter, melted
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour [used 2-1/2 cups all-purpose & 1 cup white whole wheat
1 cup sugar [used 1/2 cup Splenda blend per conversion table]
1-1/2 Tblspn baking pwoder
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of 1 orange

For glaze:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar [only used 1/3 cup and left a few without glaze]
1-2 tsp orange zest

1.  Preheat oven 350ºF.  Line 16 wells of a muffin pan (or pans) with paper liners.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the milk, orange juice, sour cream, eggs and melted butter.  Whisk together to blend.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Stir to blend.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Fold in the orange zest with a spatula.

3.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups.  Bake about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.

4.  To make the glaze, combine the orange juice, confectioner's sugar, and orange zest in a small bowl.  Whisk together until smooth, adding more juice if necessary to achieve your preferred consistency.  Drizzle the glaze over the muffins while they are still warm.  Allow the glaze to set before serving.  Store in an airtight container.

Source:  Pinterest


  • Even though you are using orange juice and zest, I would still recommend adding some orange flavoring - between 1-2 tsp (depending on just how much 'orange flavor' you like).
  • Same goes for the glaze.
  • For the ones I didn't glaze, you can only faintly taste the orange.  My other taste tester said that the glaze did add to the orange taste, but it was still on the light side.  So, again if you want more 'orange' then add that orange flavoring.
  • Either way, these are definitely a "keeper!"

Panko-Crusted Chicken

Here's another version of fried chicken using Panko bread crumbs.

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 piece
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Nonstick cooking spray
2/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup whole wheat or white panko
    (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked or regular paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 small bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned [used boneless, skinless breasts]
    (1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds total)

1.  Preheat oven 375ºF.  Line a 15x10x1 inch baking pan with foil and coat foil with cooking spray; set aside.  Pour buttermilk into a medium bowl.  In another medium bowl combine panko, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.

2.  Dip chicken pieces into buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off.  Coat chicken pieces in panko mixture and place, bone sides down, in prepared pan.  Coat tops of chicken pieces with cooking spray.

3.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink (170ºF).  Do not turn chicken pieces during baking

Exchanges/Carb Choices: 0.5 starch / 3 lean meat / 1 carb choice
Calories - 184                                Sodium - 278mg
Total Fat - 3g                                 Total Carbs - 11g  w/net Carbs - 9g
   Saturated Fat - 1g                            Dietary Fiber - 2g
Cholesterol - 71mg                         Protein - 26g

Source: Diabetic Living Diabetes What To Eat, A Better Homes and Gardens Book


  • This recipe is as easy as it sounds.  The 20 minute prep time is a stretch to me.  You can easily get this prepped in 10 minutes.
  • Even though I've done another recipe with panko bread crumbs (Parmesan Chicken with garlic & herbs), it's just whichever one your taste buds are in the mood for.
  • Honestly, you can't go wrong with this one.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Quick & Easy: Blueberries with Lemon Cream

Today was just right for a light dessert.

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1/2 cup each
Preparation Time:  10 minutes total

4 oz reduced=fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)
3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt [used Carbmaster @ only 4 carbs]
1 tsp honey
2 tsp fresly grated lemon zest
2 cups fresh blueberries

1.  Using a fork, break up cream cheese in a medium bowl.  Drain off any liquid from the yogurt; add yogurt to the bowl along with the honey.  Using an electric mixer, beat at high speed until light and creamy.  Stir in lemon zest.

2.  Layer the lemon cream and blueberries in dessert dishes or wineglasses.  If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Exchanges:  1 fruit  /  1 fat (saturated)
Calories - 156                       Sodium - 151mg
Total Fat - 7g                        Total Carbs - 19g  w/net Carbs - 17g
   Saturated Fat - 4g                   [not adjusted for the lower carb yogurt]
   Monounsat Fat - 0g                Dietary Fiber - 2g
Cholesterol - 22 mg              Protein - 6g

Source: The Eating Well Diabetes Cookbook by Joyce Hendly and the Editors of EatingWell


  • Kroger is the only grocery store where I have been able to find the low carb yogurt, which also happens to be their store brand.
  • Since I no longer have any of my cake decorating supplies, I found a tip on Pinterest for DIY pastry bag - place frosting (or in this case the lemon cream) in a zip-lock plastic bag.  Cut the tip = pastry bag.  Made piping the top easy.
  • A sprinkling of lemon zest added to the beautiful presentation.
  • As the recipe states you can use any fresh berries with this dessert.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quick & Easy: Spice-Rubbed Salmon

For another completely different taste, you'll definitely LOVE this one!

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 fillet
Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2" thickness

1 1-lb fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Tblspn coriander seeds, coarsely crushed* [used ground coriander]
1 Tblspn packed brown sugar [used 2 tsp Splenda Brown sugar blend]
1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
Lemon wedges (optional)
Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

1.  Thaw salmon, if frozen. Coat a shallow baking pan with cooking spray.  Preheat oven 450ºF.  Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels.  Measure thickness of fish.  Place fish in the prepared baking pan.

2.  In a small bowl stir together coriander seeds, brown sugar, and lemon-pepper seasoning.  Sprinkle fish evenly with coriander seed mixture; use your fingers to press in slightly.

3.  Bake fish for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2" thickness or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

The original recipe also included a Tropical Rice:
    In a medium bowl stir together 2 cups hot cooked brown rice; 1 medium mango, seeded, peeled and chopped; 1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro; and 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel.

*You can substitute 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted if desired) and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin for the crushed coriander seeds.

Exchanges/Carb Choices - 0.5 fruit  /  2 starch  /  3 lean meat  / 2 carb choices
Calories - 366                              Sodium - 155mg
Total Fat - 13g                              Total Carbs - 35g   w/net Carbs - 32g
   Saturated Fat - 3g                           Dietary Fiber - 3g
Cholesterol - 66mg                        Protein - 26g

Nutritional Analysis with substitution:
Calories - 353         Sodium - 154mg              Carbs - 32g

Source:  Diabetic Living Diabetes What to Eat, a Better Homes and Gardens Book


  • Since I had basmati rice and ginger, decided to substitute the Tropical Rice for the Carrot Ginger Rice.  The Nutrition analysis combined with this recipe is comparable to what is listed above.
  • I think next time I could easily get by with just 1-1/2 teaspoons of the ground coriander when preparing only two fillets.  Same goes with the brown sugar when prepping only two fillets - just use 1-1/2 teaspoons.
  • Also, for most recipes I don't pack the brown sugar.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stuffed Chicken Cutlets with Potatoes

Here's a Passover-friendly dish that's not just for Passover.  Enjoy!

Serves - 8 to 10  /  Serving Size - 1 piece of chicken & 1/4 cup potatoes
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 45-60 minutes

3 Tblspn vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups Manischewitz Matzo Farfel
Pinch of salt & pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (reserve 1 Tblspn for garnish)
2 cloves fersh garlic, chopped and divded
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup Manischewitz Condensed Chicken Broth
1 pound dark meat chicken thigh cutlets [used boneless skinless breasts]
1/4 cup fresh lemon jice
1 lemon sliced into thin circles
2 tomatoes, sliced into thin circles
1 Tblspn extra virgin olive oil
2 large potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch thick circles

1.  Preheat oven 375ºF.  In a pan, saute onion in vegetable oil until tender but not browned.  Add the Matzo Farfel and toast lightly.  Combine salt, pepper, cilantro, egg, broth, half of the chopped garlic and add to the farfel mixture.  Set aside to cool.

2.  Place the sliced potatoes in a greased 9" x 13" roasting pan to cover entire bottom.  Cut a slit at the thickest part of each chicken thigh with a sharp knife.  Stuff each chicken thigh with some of the stuffing mixture and lay seam down on top of the sliced potatoes.  Rub each chicken piece with the other half of the chopped garlic (then wash hands well) and sprinkle lemon juice over the entire roasting pan.  Then, place a piece of sliced lemon and 2 pieces of tomato on top of each stuffed cutlet.  Lastly, drizzle with a little olive oil and top off with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

3.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken is no longer pink inside.  Garnish with remaining fresh cilantro and serve.

After running a Nutrition analysis, here are the Nutrition Facts:
Calories - 251                               Sodium - 109mg
   Calories from Fat - 85                Total Carbs - 25.g   w/net Carbs - 22.1g
Total Fat - 9.5g                                  Dietary Fiber - 2.9g
   Saturated Fat - 2.1g                        Sugar - 2.3g
   Trans Fat - 0g                             Protein - 17.0g
Cholesterol - 59mg

Source : Recipe on the Manischewitz Matzo Farfel container


  • Because we aren't big fans of dark chicken meat, I used boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • If you can't find the Matzo Farfel, you can take regular matzo and break them into small pieces (about the size you use for stuffing).
  • Using a medium-sized bowl to mix the Matzo farfel mixture and the rest of the stuffing ingredients makes it easier to thoroughly combine instead of mixing it all in the pan.
  • Ok, using the dark meat would have given this a bit more flavor, but still the stuffing was pretty bland.  Next time I would add a few more herbs - Rosemary, Thyme, maybe some Oregano and definitely sprinkled some dill over the chicken.
  • Also, use more liquid than what it calls for as the chicken & stuffing together were a little on the dry side.  When I reheated this for a friend, I decided to spoon some more broth over the stuffing and chicken - made all the difference in the world.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quick & Easy: Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Another great side that you can't go wrong with!

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 1 cup
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25-35 minutes

8 cups 1-inch thick slices cauliflower florets (about 1 large head*)
2 Tblspn extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tblspn balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven 450ºF.

2.  Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes.  Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese.  Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Exchanges/Carb - 1 vegetable  /  1/2 lean meat  /  1-1/2 fat  /  1/2 carb serving
Calories - 149                               Sodium - 364mg
Total Fat - 10g                              Total Carbs - 10g   w/net Carbs - 6g
   Saturated Fat - 3g                           Dietary Fiber - 4g
   Monounsat Fat - 6g                   Protein - 7g
Cholesterol - 7mg

Source: EatingWell


  • Didn't have any marjoram so checked online as to which herb I could sub - and the lucky herb was OREGANO.
  • To make clean-up easier, I lined the baking sheet with foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  • *Their tip on preparing florets from a whole head of cauliflower really worked:  "Remove outer leaves.  Slice off the thick stem.  With the head upside down and holding the knife at a 45º angle, slice into the smaller steams with a circular motion - removing a "plug" from the center of the head.  Break or cut the florets into the desired size."
  • Talk about a tasty and healthy way to enjoy cauliflower!

Quick & Easy: Broccoli with Caramelized Onions & Pine Nuts

Ok, time to get caught up on side dishes.  This one I served with Easter dinner.  YUM!

Serves - 4  /  Serving Size - 3/4 cup
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

3 Tblspn pine nuts, or chopped slivered almonds
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion, (about 1 medium)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste [decreased probably to 1/8 tsp]
4 cups broccoli florets
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
freshly ground pepper to taste

1.  Toast pine nuts (or almonds) in a medium dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

2.  Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat.  Add onion and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, adjusting heat as necessary, until soft and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, steam broccoli until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Add the nuts, onion, vinegar and pepper; toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Exchanges/Carb - 1-1/2 vegetable  /  1 fat  /  1/2 carb serving
Calories - 102                           Sodium - 166mg
Total Fat - 7g                            Total Carbs - 9g   w/net Carbs - 6g
   Saturated Fat - 1g                      Dietary Fiber - 3g
   Monounsat Fat - 0g                Protein - 3g
Cholesterol - 0g

Source:  EatingWell


  • To save even more time, you can always buy the already cut and packaged broccoli florets.  But for the price, I'm fine with cutting the broccoli.
  • Since I had pine nuts that needed to be used sooner than later (with later being more like having to pitch them), this recipe was a double plus.
  • By prepping the broccoli ahead of time, all I had to do was take the container from the fridge to the microwave.  Gotta love the microwave steamer - easy way to cook veggies while still retaining all their nutrients.
  • This recipe is definitely a new favorite way to prepare broccoli!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sliced Baked Potatoes

A fun way to prep those spuds!

2 small baking potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and lemon pepper
dash of paprika

1.  Preheat oven to 425ºF.  Line cookie sheet with foil and prep with nonstick spray.  Wash potatoes and slice almost all the way through.  You want to make sure that the slices are all still attached at the bottom of the potato.

2.  Drizzle with olive oil and your favorite potato seasonings [mine are listed above]

3.  Place on prepped cookie sheets and bake for approximately 40 minutes.

After running a Nutritional analysis, here are the Nutrition Facts
Calories - 168                             Sodium - 14mg
   Calories from Fat - 42              Total Carbs - 29.3g   w/net Carbs - 26.2g
Total Fat - 4.7g                                Dietary Fiber - 3.1g
   Saturated Fat - 0.7g                      Sugar - 1.6g
Cholesterol - 0mg                        Protein - 3.5g

Source: Pinterest


  • I read a suggestion of using a chop stick placed next to the potato.  This is suppose to act as a guard against you slicing completely through the potato.  For the most part it really did work.
  • I used really small yellow potatoes so it made slicing them (and not my fingers) a true test of my knife welding skills.  [Happy to report all fingers still intact!]

Restaurant-style Steak

This recipe states it debunks the theory that restaurant-style steaks are grilled.  Instead, to achieve that seared juicy perfection, a combination of skillet cooking followed by finishing in the oven is the secret.  Ok, I'm game to see if this claim is true.  [Spoiler alert - Claim is right on!]

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

2 8-oz filet mignons
4 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 stick butter [used 2 tsp Benecol]
1 Tblspn olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 Tblspn parsley, chopped
1 Tblspn thyme, chopped
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

1.  Take 1/2 stick of butter, softened and mix well with the peeled, chopped garlic, the chopped herbs, and the lemon zest.  Form into a log and refrigerate.  Generously season the filets with salt and pepper, approximately 1 teaspoon of seasoning per side.

2.  Heat the remainder of the butter (1/2 stick) and the olive oil in a cast iron skillet to a screaming hot temperature.  Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Sear the filets in a screaming hot pan for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until a nice brown crust has formed.  While the steak is searing, continue to spoon the residual butter in the pan on top of the meat while it's cooking.

3.  Once both sides are seared, place in the center of the oven for about 6-8 minutes, depending upon how thick your steak is.  In the last minute or cooking, take the log of compound butter and slice a thick piece to place on top.

4.  Your steak will be ready when it is approximately 135º in the center, or when you push lightly on the top center of the steak and it gently and slowly bounces back.  (Note, this is medium rare so adjust cooking time accordingly.)

After running a Nutritional analysis, here are the Nutrition Facts:
Calories - 373                                Sodium - 2577mg
   Calories from Fat - 221               Total Carbs - 4.9g   w/net Carbs - 3.1g
Total Fat - 24.5g                                 Dietary Fiber - 1.8g
   Saturated Fat - 6.9g                      Protein - 32.7g
   Trans Fat - 0g                               Cholesterol - 75mg

Source: Pinterest


  • Alright, the very first thing I changed was the "1 stick of butter."  I probably mixed up 2 teaspoons of Benecol with the garlic and herbs and only used to garnish the steak when serving.
  • Second, I decreased the amount of kosher salt used.  Yes, you read the Nutrition Facts correctly on the sodium.  A little kosher salt goes a long way.  So if you can get by seasoning both steaks with only 1 teaspoon then all the better.
  • I did add approximately 1 tablespoon unsalted butter to the oil.  And yes, be prepared for the steaks to definitely splatter grease.  This is where the splatter screen really comes in handy.
  • Now, for the oven part - let's just say that I've never set off the smoke detector so many times for one meal!  You guessed it - after dinner I was cleaning the oven grates while the oven ran through the "self-cleaning mode."  Now, you might think that after all that I'd swear off this recipe.  To the contrary, the steaks were tender, moist and yes restaurant-style.  So, my thinking is next time before I place the cast iron skillet with the steaks in the oven, I'll pour out a majority of the oil/butter combination and loosely cover it with foil.
  • Believe me, this recipe really is worth trying once.  I leave it up to you to decide if it's worth the clean-up.  [My vote is a resounding "yes!"]

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Carrot-Ginger Rice

For tonight's dinner decided to pair this with the Orange-Soy Salmon - the verdict: "a keeper" so made the blog!

Serves - 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

1 cup of basmati rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled & grated
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper (or more if desired) [I omitted]
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1.  Combine the rice and chicken broth together in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and steam for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

2.  While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until tender.  Add the carrot, ginger, and garlic to the onions and cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes.  Add the rice to the mixture along with the cilantro, sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and dash of cayenne pepper.  Stir gently so all ingredients are well combined.  Serve immediately.

After running a Nutrition analysis, here are the Nutrition Facts:
Calories - 153                           Sodium - 271mg
   Calories from Fat - 20            Total Carbs - 28.2g   w/net Carbs - 27g
Total Fat - 2.2g                              Dietary Fiber - 1.2g
   Trans Fat - 0g                             Sugar - 1.7g
Cholesterol - 0mg                       Protein - 4.2g

Source: Pinterest


  • Even though the directions state to start cooking the other items while the rice is cooking, wait until the rice is almost done.  Otherwise, everything else will be ready but the rice.
  • Next time I will use a wooden fork to stir this so the rice will stay nice and fluffy.
  • Hhmmm, so what can I pair this with again this week??!!!