October 26, 2008

Healty-ish Mashed Potatoes

Although some of my favorite mashed potato recipes call for butter milk or cream, I love this healthier version.


1 package baby yukon potatoes

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tbsp. skim milk

1 tbsp. non-hydrogenated margarine
Salt to taste

(if you like your potatoes really creamy, use 1/4 cup skim milk and 2 tbsp of the margarine)

  1. Add potatoes and garlic cloves to pot, and cover with water

  2. Bring to boil over medium high heat

  3. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 35 minutes or until fork tender

  4. Drain potatoes

  5. Place potatoes in a large bowl
  6. Mash the potatoes using a hand-held potato masher

  7. Heat the milk and margarine in a small pan (optional, but worth the effort)

  8. Add milk and margarine to potatoes

  9. Continue to mash the potatoes mixing the ingredients together
10. Add salt to season to taste
11. Enjoy!

Quick and Easy: Onion Chicken

Cooking dinner on a weekday can be a difficult task. Over time, I have accumulated recipes that are quick and easy, and never fail to please. One of the easiest chicken dishes I make is Onion Chicken. It takes about 10 minutes to make from start to finish, and is worth the effort! It goes well with almost any side dish, so the possibilities are endless. When I'm really tired, I pair it with couscous (another quick dish), and dinner is ready in about 15 minutes.

6 boneless chicken fryer breasts (thin) (or 10 chicken tenders)
1 onion, sliced into long slices (about 1/4 inch thick) or diced (use pre-diced onions to save time)
Lawry's seasoned salt
Canola Oil

  1. Heat pan
  2. Add oil to coat pan (about 2 tbsp. or 4 sprays of Pam)
  3. Add sliced or diced onions
  4. Stir occasionally until onions are almost golden brown (about 3 minutes)
  5. Push onions to one side of the pan
  6. Season chicken with Lawry's
  7. Place seasoned side down on pan
  8. Season top side of chicken
  9. As you add the chicken pieces, move the onions so that each piece touches the bottom of the pan (e.g., move the onion on top of the chicken)
  10. Cook each piece about 3 minutes on each side (until cooked through)
  11. Remove chicken from pan when cooked all the way through
  12. Add a tbsp. of oil
  13. Continue to stir and cook onions until golden brown, or if you prefer onions well done, continue to cook until onions are dark brown
  14. Top the chicken with the onions and serve
If you have leftovers, you can slice the chicken into small pieces and serve as fajitas the next day with tortillas, sour cream, and salsa.

Moroccan Chicken Made Easy

Moroccan Chicken is one of my favorite recipes. Unfortunately, it takes a really long time to make, so it's just not realistic for a weeknight meal. However, I decided to take a cue from Rachel Ray, and ventured to discover a 30 minute version (OK more like 45 minutes--but it's a start). I switched out the thick bone-in chicken breasts I usually use for thin skinless boneless chicken fryer breasts (although chicken tenders would have worked just as well). The result--a healthier version, that took less than half the time of the original dish. Ironically, I think my husband preferred this recipe to the longer version . . .
  • 6 thin chicken fryer breasts (boneless, skinless) (or 10 chicken tenders)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pam
    4-6 garlic cloves, chopped (depending on size of cloves)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 can green Israeli olives
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • A handful of parsley
  1. Drain olives, and place in pot
  2. Cover with water and bring to boil

  3. Once boiled, reduce to a simmer

  4. While the olives are cooking, rinse and pat-dry chicken breasts

  5. If breasts are not all even in thickness, pound breasts so all pieces are thin and even

  6. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken

  7. Heat pan, add 4 sprays of Pam (or 1 tbsp of canola or olive oil)

  8. Lie seasoned side of chicken down in pan, and season top side with salt and pepper

  9. Cook chicken on each side 1-2 minutes until golden brown (no need to cook all the way through, you are just sealing in the juices)

  10. Remove chicken from pan

  11. Add a bit more oil to the pan (approximately 2 more sprays of Pam, but may vary depending on how dry pan is)

  12. Add the garlic and cook until light golden brown (about 2 minutes)

  13. Add the chopped tomatoes

  14. Season with salt and pepper

  15. Stir occasionally until tomato mixture is reduced and liquid evaporates (approximately 6-8 minutes)

  16. In a measuring cup, measure 2 cups of chicken broth, and add the turmeric

  17. Mix the broth mixture together with a spoon

  18. Add the chicken breasts back into the pan
  19. Spread the tomato mixture over the breast pieces

  20. Add the broth mixture to the pan (broth should cover the chicken, add more broth if necessary)

  21. Cook on high heat until boiling, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes

  22. While the chicken is cooking, remove the olives from the heat, and drain
  23. Add olives and lemon juice to the pan with the chicken

  24. Cook for another 5 minutes

  25. Add parsley, recover

  26. Cook until parsley is wilted (about 5 minutes)

October 17, 2008

Expanding the Pumpkin Pie

One of the biggest challenges of being married is that you are expected to compromise. However, it turns out (from a negotiation perspective, anyway) that comprise is the worst alternative--as essentially, no one gets what they want. In fact, in college, when I took a negotiations class, I learned that the goal of negotiations should never be compromise; instead, you want to try to "expand the pie." That is: you have to think outside the box and try to find a solution that makes both people happy.

I've given it some thought, and I have decided to put my negotiation skills to the test for Halloween. The challenge is a simple one: . . . my husband wants to be dress up as something scary or funny, while I prefer to look cute or, if I can swing it, sexy. While this usually means that we end up picking our own costumes, and not doing the "couple thing," this year I was determined to find a couples costume that met both of our goals. While my first thought was to dress up as a sexy version of Marie Antoinette (yes, I am easily swayed by "The Girls Next Door"), I realize that my husband's idea of a good costume isn't dressing up like prince charming.

So, I have been spending most of my Internet time searching for a solution. Thankfully, now-a-days, almost anything comes in a "sexy" costume, so it turns out there are lots of choices out there.

We haven't decided yet which one we're going with, but I did get my husband to agree to the couples concept! Since I figured that others might be faced with the same issue, I thought I would share some of our findings:

Working Beer Keg and Beer Garden Girl (The keg costume actually pumps beer, though I have to admit, I am not sure what a Beer Garden Girl is):

Bong & Sexy DEA Agent (my husband's clear favorite, but due to the advances of facebook, I'm thinking....no):

Big Bad Wolf & Red Riding Hood (I've seen tons of red riding hoods, but I've never seen the hilarious wolf costume):

Scary Ghost and Sexy Ghost Buster:

Mummy King and Mummy Queen:

Stay tuned for the final decision . . .