Steak and Shrimp with Creole Pan Sauce

I read that Helen and Caron thought that my overly snacky high point Friday was due to my two glasses of wine, but sadly, that was not the case.  I’d already eaten at least 15 points by then, and I will tell you that the snacking of 31 points was ALL day – not just at night, which is when the urge to snack usually rears its ugly head.

I think what it was, is that I’ve already gotten into the “comfort zone” of Weight Watchers.  I mean, I’ve been down this road so many times, I KNOW the program inside and out, but I think my motivation waned a bit, maybe my eye balling 1/2 a cup of ice cream was more like 2/3 cups – you know the drill.  I have to realize that I need to keep my focus to continue losing the weight.  I am back to journaling, which I did religiously every day since January 1 – but once the calendar flipped to February 1, so did that daily motivation that I need to keep my head in the game.

I did fine over the weekend after Friday night – stayed within my points and both days got nearly 15k in steps.   But as I was meal planning decided to up the protein game with my meals this week.

Breakfast was a steak “picky plate.”  One PB2 muffin (4) that I microwaved for 20 seconds at work which made it taste like it just came out of the oven.  Four ounces of pan seared steak (4), a hard boiled egg (2) and half a tangelo.  10 points for breakfast and I was full for HOURS.  I ate breakfast between 9-9:30 and didn’t eat lunch until nearly 2:30.

Mid-morning I texted my sister to see if she would be up for walking at lunch and she said yes!  We had temps in the mid-40’s with sunshine, but in the shade it was still  a bit chilly, so we kept walking on the sunny side of the street.

It takes us about 7 minutes from each of our offices to meet up, then we set the clock for 30 minutes, so that I have time to walk back to my office and heat up my lunch before my lunch hour is over.

Lunch was leftover Jennie-O turkey chili.  Six smart points for 2 cups, with a side of tortilla chips for dipping (4).  I got busy right when I got back to our walk, so this isn’t the best picture, but this sure was tasty!

Remember when I was talking about getting your monies worth with the cable bill, and how I felt like I wasn’t getting my $600 of entertainment by having the FoodNetwork and HGTV stations and cut down to basic cable?

The same is true with my Y Membership.  I don’t go often enough, and I think after this month (since I’ve already paid for February) that I am giving it up.  I have a free gym at my office and I can just as easily leave my desk at 5 and go down and workout before catching a later train home.  And now that the weather is getting nicer a gym really isn’t that necessary.  

So before I give up my deluxe gym completely, I decided to see how much I can actually use it this week.  I have an hour train ride home, and decided to see how a banana and a premiere protein shake would be as a pre-workout fuel.  I figured it was just long enough to give me the necessary carbs I need to get in the workout I want without my blood sugar dropping, and give me enough time to digest the shake so it wasn’t all giggly in my tummy by the time I got to the gym. 

I felt fine during my workout: 2000 meter on the rowing machine (took me 12:09), abs for 5 minutes, then 30 minutes on the treadmill for 2 miles.  Happy to say my cough is completely gone, although now Hannah is sick, so I hope I can keep healthy.  

I had 22 points spent before dinner (10 breakfast, 10 lunch and 2 for the protein shake) so a low carb dinner was in order.   I whipped this dinner up in a matter of minutes and it was so delicious!  I added the points up in my head and said it was 6 points on Instagram last night, but it’s actually 7 points – oops!

Steak and Shrimp with Creole Pan Sauce
Serves 1
A quick and easy week night dinner that's fancy enough for a crowd!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
10 min
375 calories
8 g
268 g
16 g
48 g
7 g
386 g
902 g
5 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
386g
Servings
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 375
Calories from Fat 145
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
25%
Saturated Fat 7g
37%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 268mg
89%
Sodium 902mg
38%
Total Carbohydrates 8g
3%
Dietary Fiber 2g
8%
Sugars 5g
Protein 48g
Vitamin A
17%
Vitamin C
59%
Calcium
13%
Iron
20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 ounces beef
  2. 3 ounces shrimp
  3. 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  4. 1 teaspoon butter
  5. 1 tablespoon half and half
  6. 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  7. 1/2 teaspoon Hardcore Carnivore Black
Instructions
  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle the room temperature steak with the Hardcore Carnivore rub. Cook steak 2-3 minutes per side, depending on how thick your steak is.
  2. Remove steak to a plate. Reduce heat to medium low. Spray the skillet with Pam. Add the shrimp and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Set on the plate with the steak. Finally, add in the zucchini and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove the zucchini to the plate, and in the pan melt the butter. Stir in the half and half and Creole seasoning (mine is spicy so 1/2 teaspoon was plenty) and pour over the plate.
beta
calories
375
fat
16g
protein
48g
carbs
8g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
 

This was so delicious.  I wonder if my brother or sister would eat this?  Not sure either one of them is a fan of shrimp.  And because I didn’t eat until nearly 8:30, I was completely full and had no desire to nibble on anything, and ended my day with 29/30 points.

*************

My timehop reminded me that it was TWO years since the Sun-Times article came out about Tony being the ultimate White Sox fan.  You can check out that article here.

And if you missed it, my latest blog post is up on The Chopping Block – my take on Sopa Azteca – only 100 calories per cup or 2 smart points – you can find the recipe here – so good! If you could pop over there with some comment love, I’d appreciate it! 😀

Here is a workout for today that needs no equipment.  I plan on doing this as soon as I hit publish.  Make it a great day!

Zero Point Pan Steak Sauce

I had hoped to post a recipe for a PB2 granola that doesn’t taste like ass and is low in points, but that my friends, hasn’t happened yet.  But I had a parfait on my breakfast menu, and darn it, it’s just not the same without granola.  Why does granola have to have so many points?!   I had Kashi Go Lean in my desk drawer at work, but I still wanted granola, so I splurged (point wise not $$ wise) and picked up a box of Nature Valley oat and honey granola bars.  Two bars is 7 points, and while that seems like a lot (most granolas are 7-10 points per half cup!) the Oikos brand granola I bought was only 2 points, and I made a blueberry/cranberry one point fruit sauce, so 10 points for breakfast.  This was surprisingly filling even though it was so delicious I ate it in less than 10 minutes.

2.7.17 025

It was near 50 degrees in Chicago, even if a bit overcast and rainy.  I’ll take it.  Today’s high will be about 20 degrees colder.  I spent 30 minutes eating my lunch and 30 minutes walking outside.  Since I mostly meal planned out of my freezer, I didn’t realize how much beef I had in the freezer, so the night before last I cooked off a 3 ounce piece to have for a steak salad.  I think I’ve talked about this salad dressing before (Randi and Rhonda told me it’s a Kroger brand) so it should be readily available.   Two tablespoons is 2 smart points.  And I do have veggies in this salad, they just all fell to the bottom of bowl.  Three points for the beef, 2 points for the dressing a 1 for the drizzle of shredded Parmesan cheese.

2.7.17 035

If you live in a big town, you may have Divvy bikes – or bikes that you share.  As I was walking past and saw all of these bikes ready to go, I thought it might be a good idea to maybe get a membership to switch it up this summer?  They are all over the loop area, and the lakefront.  It’s $99 a year for a membership – but only for the first 30 minutes – then you have to pay $1.50 for an extra half hour.  But here’s my thought – what if you ride one bike for 30 minutes, put it back, and then just get another one for another 30 minutes?!  Worth looking into at the very least.

2.7.17 036

So far I’ve enjoyed spacing out my weekly chores over the week, instead of doing it all on one day over the weekend.  Last night I had to get my tax stuff together, I registered my new insurance card online and at Walgreen’s, got gas, did a short Sam’s Club run before they closed at 8:30 (weird time to close!) and even purged a garbage bag of clothes from my closet to give to Goodwill.  So much adulting last night!

I am not sure I mentioned it before, but I’ve drastically reduced my t.v. watching.  Tony had the t.v. on 24/7 and I am more of a music person.  But that’s not to say I didn’t have my share of shows that I would DVR.  But every year I go through my AT&T bill and see what can be cut, and I realized the two channels I watch the most – HGTV and Food Network cost me $50 a month – the cheapest t.v. package that included those two channels cost me $69 a month.  Basic cable costs only $19.  Huh.  I suddenly realized how many times did I actually see a show I hadn’t seen before?  So many re-runs.  Was I really getting $600 a years worth of entertainment from those two shows?  When put in that context, the answer was a big fat Hell No!  So now Friday night is usually my Netflix night and I can watch This is Us on my AppleTV on demand. 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I made a delicious FIVE point dinner, and you’ll see why I did that in just a minute.  Not a shocker – more beef!  This time a 5 ounce New York strip.  This recipe is so simple it shouldn’t even be a recipe, but I am going to type it out anyway Open-mouthed smile

You’re welcome!

Zero Point Pan Steak Sauce
Serves 1
A delicious zero point pan sauce that's great over a perfectly cooked steak.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
397 calories
17 g
109 g
16 g
48 g
4 g
318 g
467 g
3 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
318g
Servings
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 397
Calories from Fat 136
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
24%
Saturated Fat 4g
22%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 109mg
36%
Sodium 467mg
19%
Total Carbohydrates 17g
6%
Dietary Fiber 5g
18%
Sugars 3g
Protein 48g
Vitamin A
14%
Vitamin C
20%
Calcium
10%
Iron
26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 5 ounce New York strip steak
  2. 3/4 cup fresh green beans
  3. 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
  4. 1/8 cup beef broth
  5. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  6. 1/8 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  7. 1 teaspoon horseradish mustard
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. pinch of crushed red pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Spray with Pam and cook the green beans for about 4-5 minutes, or just until fork tender.  Remove to a separate bowl.  Add more Pam and cook mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly browned.  Add to the green bean bowl.  Crank the heat to medium high heat.  Salt and pepper the steak and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until desired doneness – this was a thick cut, so I did closer to 3 minutes a side, and it was still medium rare.  While the steak cooks, mix the broth, garlic, cashew milk, mustard, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper together.  Once you take the steak out of the pan to rest, reduce heat to low, and carefully add this broth mixture to the pan, and using a whisk, scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan and stir until the sauce starts to thicken – just takes a couple minutes.
  2. Add everything back in the pan for the last minute to reheat the green beans and mushrooms.  Plate and pour the sauce all over the top of the steak and try not to lick the hot pan, because you will want to.
beta
calories
397
fat
16g
protein
48g
carbs
17g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
2.7.17 028

Gah, I cannot wait to have natural light again at dinner time.  This picture doesn’t do it justice, but this was a whole lot of goodness.  Perfectly cooked steak, crisp green beans and that hint of horseradish in the pan sauce was amazeballs.

So you want to know why I had such a point friendly dinner?

2.7.17 016

Guess who got Enlightened Ice Cream in the mail?!!  That would be this girl.  And the funny thing is, I am not much of an ice cream person.  Hold up.  Let’s just say when I grocery shop it’s rare for me to throw any ice cream in my basket.  But this stuff?!  It’s delicious.  Low sugar, high fiber and most of them are 3 smart points per half cup, and that’s plenty for anyone’s sweet tooth.  I had 7 points after dinner and had 1/2 a cup of the frozen hot chocolate (amazing!) and a bite of the peanut butter, mint chocolate chip and oatmeal, and each one is amazing in it’s own right.   There is no “artificial” taste to them, they just taste like really good ice cream.  Mom, next time you come over you’ll have to try some!  I just called my dessert 7 points to make my day 30/30.  #bluedotstreakcontinues!

Time to get my stuff together – I haven’t put my food together for breakfast or lunch yet, but it won’t take too long.  I hope to make the potato and chick pea curry dish for dinner tonight if everything works out to plan. 

Question of the Day:  Love or Hate Indian Food?!

Make it a great day!

Glazed green beans and mushrooms

How to Cook the Perfect Steak

My cough is still lingering, even though I feel fine.  I am sticking with my Aleve and Musinex for the next couple days and see if that pulls me through.  Fingers crossed!  It’s supposed to be close to 60 degrees and sunny on Saturday and I want to get a long outdoor walk in. 

I really had no idea how low in points my breakfast was until I put it into the WW app on my way to work.  I love that I can enter all my food for the day when I am on the train and can adjust it later is something isn’t eaten, or replaced by something else.

1.18.17 069

One Ole brand tortilla (1) with egg whites (1) and 1 ounce of reduced fat Swiss Lorraine cheese (1), then I added chopped romaine that I tossed in my homemade salsa verde with fresh fruit on the side.  3 smart points for that whole plate!

Later in the morning when I went to refill my water bottle I stopped in my tracks when I walked into the mini kitchen and saw this!

1.18.17 070

Fruit instead of donuts!  What the what?  The firm provided this basket on each floor.  Um, let’s just say that every time I went into the kitchen from that moment on, I may have grabbed another piece of fruit and put it by my desk.  I may or may not have a mini fruit bowl for myself going on at my desk. Smile with tongue out

The office of the building had a health fair and I dropped by really quick to see what it was about.  Mostly stuff I wouldn’t use, but I did try kombucha for the first time – it’s not bad! 

1.18.17 073

I did finally break down and hit up the grocery store today at lunch.  I’ve had a taste for beef and didn’t have any in my freezer.  On the way to Mariano’s I walked past the Wal-mart by my office – it’s going out of business and everything was 50% off!

1.18.17 074

Before I went too crazy, I realized – oh yeah, whatever I buy I have to drag to the train station and then lug it home.  I spent $8 on canned goods, Crystal light and some other pantry stuff.  When I got back to my desk I heated up my leftover potato, white bean and kale soup from my freezer – but without the kale, didn’t have any of that.  Still delish at 6 points for 2 cups.

1.18.17 079

The price of the beef at the Mariano’s butcher counter was a bit pricey for my taste – the cheapest thing behind the counter was $10.99, so I strolled down to the prepackaged goods and picked two of these up.

1.18.17 087

The chuck is just behind the shoulder of the cow.  A chuck “steak” is just a cut off of the chuck eye roast.  It has a lot of nice fat marbling, but it tends to be a tough cut of meat if not cook properly.  I would totally use this for making beef stew cooking it a long time, but last night I felt like a steak.  Since I carried this on my train ride home, it had plenty of time to get to room temperature by the time I got home.  But if you are making this from your fridge – set it out for 30 minutes before cooking.  NEVER COOK A COLD PIECE OF MEAT IN A HOT SKILLET.  It will be tough every time.  Sorry I was shouting at you, but you don’t want to throw your beef out!

Print

I seasoned mine with Hardcore Carnivore Rub Black – my fav.  And recently got their Red seasoning meant for pork – cannot wait to use that on a pork shoulder when grilling weather gets here.  Or at the very least, when it’s still light enough for me to grill outside when I get home – but I’ve got several weeks before that happens.

1.18.17 089

1.18.17 088

I tend to only use a meat thermometer when I am making a roast, because when I make steak in my Lodge cast iron skillet, I can see the cook line on the side and know when to flip it.  This steak was about an inch thick, so I went with 4 minutes on the first side over medium high heat, then just 3 minutes on the other side.  And then I let it rest on a plate in my microwave for ten minutes before slicing.  Please ignore my messy stove top – I cleaned it after dinner, promise Open-mouthed smile

1.18.17 092

That picture above is after the first flip.  Here is the fatal mistake a lot of people make with cutting beef – not cutting across the grain. 

1.18.17 097 - how to cut beef

Since this steak is cut from the chuck eye roast, there are going to be what I call “fat lines” – not sure what else to call it, but I cut around that part because it’s usually just gristle – or just give it to the dogs.  So I cut the steak just shy of the fat line to cut it out.   For the record, cuts with weak muscles like filet mignon – it’s going to be tender no matter how you cut it.  But this is a cut from the harder working part that has lots of muscle.  So unless you cut across that muscle grain, you are going to get a tough chew and you’ll think you either bought a bad cut of beef or you cooked it wrong.  Nope, just didn’t cut across the grain.  After I cut the piece from the fat line, I turned it, and cut across the grain.

1.18.17 099

Don’t you love that I am using my stumpy finger to show you which way the grain is going?!  You can just see how tender the beef is.

1.18

Gah, I wish my lighting was better, but hopefully you get the idea – this plate of food was absolutely delicious.  The package of beef had a nutritional label that was 3 points for 4 ounces.  This had a bit of fat on it, and I ate just over 5 ounces, so I called it 7 points to be on the safe side.  On the side I made glazed mushrooms and green beans.  The photo above is 1/2 a serving of this recipe below:

Glazed Green Beans and Mushrooms
Serves 2
A quick and simple side dish that kicks up boring old green beans and mushrooms. Perfect side to steak!
Write a review
Print
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
10 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
10 min
56 calories
12 g
0 g
1 g
3 g
0 g
173 g
442 g
6 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
173g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 56
Calories from Fat 5
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 442mg
18%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 3g
11%
Sugars 6g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
9%
Vitamin C
11%
Calcium
4%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh green beans
  2. 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  5. 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  7. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a skillet with a lid, add the water and bring to a boil.  Add the green beans and over medium low heat, cook for 5 minutes.  Drain water, add the green beans back to the pan, add the mushrooms and spray the pan with Pam.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar and mustard together.  Add the sauce to the green bean mixture, toss to coat and cook for 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
beta
calories
56
fat
1g
protein
3g
carbs
12g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
The soy sauce/mushroom combo went perfectly with the beef.  That side dish is going to be making a regular appearance, especially since it’s only 1 smart point.

Today is my WI day.  Again, I have no idea how it will go.  I haven’t been able to work out since Saturday since I haven’t been feeling well, and I didn’t use all my weekly points like I normally do.  But I have changed my mindset that the number on the scale is simply a barometer.  You’ll just have to follow me on Instagram (mybizzykitchen) to find out if you can’t wait until tomorrow’s post.

So here is your Thursday Thought – make it a great day!

barackobamachange

Leftover Beef and Bean Chili

I hit the ground running at work yesterday it was so busy.  But I was lucky enough that my train actually got into the station a bit early so I had time to eat my breakfast before the craziness ensued.

12.28.2016 009

Another 6 smart point breakfast – 5 for the quiche, and 1 for the salad.  I decided to dice my apples up and put it on top of the salad, and used 1 teaspoon of light Italian dressing on it (1) and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper.  I actually loved the salt, pepper and dressing on the apples.  It most likely will be tomorrows breakfast again too.

I ended up working through lunch yesterday, so I ate my lunch at my desk.  I think I talked about meal prepping chicken for stir fry on Monday.  I just sauteed the chicken in 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of Thai chili paste, then added the Frank’s ginger stir fry sauce to my veggies of zucchini and red pepper.  Even though I had five ounces of chicken, this whole plate was only 6 smart points – by 2 in the afternoon I’d only had 12 smart points and quite a bit of food.

12.28.2016 013

One of the gifts the kadults got me for Christmas was this giant microwave bowl, that has a really tight fitting lid and a steam spout so no splashes in the microwave.  I’ll get a lot of use out of this, and it’s nice to carry back to my desk without fear of spilling soup on the floor.

12.28.2016 015

But around 4:15 I got really hungry.  Like I hadn’t eaten much at all, so I was happy that I brought a Premier Protein shake to stick in my desk the other day.  I mixed that with some iced coffee from work and this kept me full until dinner times with the 30 grams of protein.  Another gift from the kadults – a really nice travel coffee mug.  My coffee stays hot until the last sip, and it kept my iced coffee shake really cold.

12.28.2016 018

Hannah texted me if I had any thoughts for dinner.  Since her dinner wasn’t ready until nearly 10:00 p.m. the night before last, I told her to just go ahead and I’d make something for myself.  She had plans on making smoked sausage with onions and cabbage – which actually smelled really good – but there were huge chunks of onions and because she chopped up the cabbage, I couldn’t tell what was onion or not.  I asked if she minded if I used up some of the crockpot beef and she didn’t mind.  Hannah and Jacob “talk” about eating leftovers, but that rarely happens.

So as I was on the train ride home, I thought in my head that I had everything to make a chili with the leftover beef.  Only one tiny problem, I had no tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes or anything like that.  But guess what I did have?

12.28.2016 023

For some reason I have a fear out of running out of Bush’s beans – I believe as I type this I have probably half a dozen more cans in the pantry.  I picked up this Tapatio picante sauce on a whim because 1. I love Tapatio, and 2. the whole jar was only $1.78 at Wal-mart.  I thought I could use that to make the base of my chili.  Um, best decision evah!  It’s spicy, but flavorful spicy.  I did end up adding an extra 1 cup of chicken broth to thin it out just a bit with all the beans, but holy balls this was delicious.  And 1.25 cups is 6 smart points.

Leftover Beef and Bean Chili
Serves 6
A perfect weeknight dinner because it uses leftover beef and pantry ingredients - oh, and it's ready in 15 minutes!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
285 calories
35 g
39 g
8 g
20 g
3 g
318 g
1614 g
8 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
318g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 285
Calories from Fat 74
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 3g
16%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 39mg
13%
Sodium 1614mg
67%
Total Carbohydrates 35g
12%
Dietary Fiber 12g
49%
Sugars 8g
Protein 20g
Vitamin A
22%
Vitamin C
4%
Calcium
7%
Iron
31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 6 ounces leftover beef (mine was chuck)
  2. 16 ounce bottle of Tapatio picante sauce
  3. 1 cup chicken broth
  4. 2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  5. 1 cup canned corn, drained
  6. 2 cups Bush’s chili beans (don’t throw away the chili sauce!)
  7. 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  8. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 1 teaspoon brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Dump everything in your stock pot.  Mix until combined.  Cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes.  Scoop it in a bowl and garnish with a bit of cilantro and a pinch of cojita cheese and enjoy.
beta
calories
285
fat
8g
protein
20g
carbs
35g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
12.28.2016 036

This was delicious for a meal that literally took no time to put together at all.  Note to self though:  stock up on canned tomatoes!  But in a pinch, find this Tapatio picante sauce.

Since I had 18 points going into dinner and my dinner was only 6, I used 12 tortilla chips (4 smart points) to dip into my bowl of chili – basically here is the perfect bite.

12.28.2016 032

***********

Huge shout out to my Aunt Martha for some more Christmas loot.  The amazing Whitley nuts that she and her partner sell – um, maple bacon peanuts – yes please!  And this spicy hot sauce that is made by friends of theirs – I already popped it open and it’s delicious – almost too spicy, but I can handle it.  Some jalapeno pepper and two pairs of the softest socks rounded out the package.  Thank you Martha and Will!

12.28.2016 024

I did end up having 4 points of nuts last night before I went to bed, but ended up with 28/30 for the day.  Two days in a row of tracking and not going over my points!  I have WW today – I didn’t track at all over the long weekend, so I’ll be happy with a small gain and just move on.   Oh, and please don’t ask me where I got my countertops from (ha!) I think they are from 1972?!  One day I’d like one part of my kitchen to be made out of butcher block – we have those at The Chopping Block and while it requires some routine maintenance, I love them.

Here’s to one day closer to the weekend – make it a great day!

Sweet Potato and Gruyere Cheese Gratin

It was a busy weekend working at The Chopping Block.  We are in full season holiday mode, and Saturday was our Taste of Thanksgiving.  We had FOURTEEN dishes for everyone to sample, we had Chef demos going on and complimentary wine tastings.  Sadly, I was on wine sampling and I didn’t actually help cook any of the food, but it smelled amazing by the time I got there because they had already started roasting turkeys and making gravy and stuffing to sample as soon as guests arrived.

First, can I just show you my dream stove?!

11.20.16 027

Since The Chopping Block is at the Merchandise Mart, there are dozens of showrooms to look at on my way to work.  I am not a fan of the raised countertop on the island, but I love the backsplash.  And if anyone wants to put that Wolf stove on their Christmas list, it only costs $15,000. Open-mouthed smile

It takes a lot of people to pull off this event.  It all went smoothly though and I know all the guests raved about the food.

PicMonkey Collage - turkey day

Since this was an open house event, everyone could eat as much as they wanted, but no one could take home any leftovers.  So I was thrilled when we got to have a staff Thanksgiving with the leftovers.  That turkey roulade up there was amazing – a spicy herb rub was on the inside.  And I loved the Brussels sprouts too!  But the best side dish I ate was made by Chef Lisa.  Here she’s eating a carb dinner roll #carbsoncarbsoncarbs

11.20.16 064

She made a sweet potato and gruyere cheese gratin.  I’ve only recently (like in the last five years) started to like sweet potatoes, but this was a perfect combo of sweet and savory.  I didn’t see the recipe until after I ate it, and no wonder it’s so delicious – lots of heavy cream, roasted garlic and THREE cups of gruyere cheese!  

11.20.16 062

When we had our Weight Watcher meeting last week, we started talking about the food on Thanksgiving, writing down the points for the usual things that end up on a typical Thanksgiving table, i.e. mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.  The leader had a good point that she normally just takes tastes of stuff she will only eat on Thanksgiving.  For her family, she never makes stuffing other than at Thanksgiving, so she’ll skip the mashed potatoes all together.

And that is how this dish could be your yearly indulgence.   Thanks Chef Lisa!

Sweet Potato and Gruyere Cheese Gratin
Serves 8
A once a year indulgence that is worth the smart points and insulin worthy!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
353 calories
9 g
106 g
30 g
14 g
18 g
120 g
191 g
2 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
120g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 353
Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 30g
46%
Saturated Fat 18g
90%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 106mg
35%
Sodium 191mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 9g
3%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 2g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
113%
Vitamin C
4%
Calcium
45%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
  2. 5 cloves roasted garlic, minced
  3. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, rough chopped
  4. 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices on a mandolin or knife
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  6. 3 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375.  Heat the cream, garlic and thyme together in a saucepan until steaming.  Set aside while preparing the potatoes.  Lightly butter a shallow baking dish or pie dish.  Layer the sweet potato slices on the bottom of the dish in concentric circles.  Season with salt and pepper, then ladle about 1/4 cup of the infused garlic cream on top, and finish with a sprinkling of gruyere cheese.  Continue layering all of the ingredients until the baking dish is full, ending with cheese on top.  Cover with foil, bake on a parchment-lined sheet tray for 40 minutes.  Uncover the baking dish and continue to cook until the sweet potatoes are knife-tender, and the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Notes
  1. To roast garlic, slice the top off a whole head of garlic and expose the cloves.  Place it in a small oven-proof dish and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes until the cloves are soft and light golden color.
  2. You could also cook these in individual ramekins, which reduce the cooking time by half
beta
calories
353
fat
30g
protein
14g
carbs
9g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
Hannah was out to dinner with a friend on Saturday night, so it was just Jacob and I for dinner.   We will almost always have steak when Hannah is not home.  I did a quick seared steak using the Hardcore Carnivore rub, some sauteed mushrooms, lemon pepper green beans, and 1/2 cup of the sweet potato gratin.

11.20.16 069

I counted that portion as six smart points, but it’s probably a lot more than that because of the heavy cream.  Um, just so you know, a cup of heavy cream has 821 calories and 88 grams of fat.  No wonder it was so good!  But I am planning on substituting unsweetened almond milk for the heavy cream, which is only 30 calories a cup and will be a nice nutty compliment to the gruyere cheese.  I’ll also be cutting back on that as well and using some 50% reduced fat Cabot cheese.  Once I redo the recipe, I’ll calculate the smart points for that.

Hannah and Jacob are now working together at the coffee shop.  They opened so on my way to work Sunday, I stopped in to pick up something for breakfast.  I was assisting in a Knife Skills class, which doesn’t produce any food at all, so I wanted something I could eat half for breakfast and half for lunch.  Um, this everything bagel was absolutely delicious – I counted it as 15 smart points because of the bagel, full fat cheese and well, the bacon.

11.20.16 080

That worked perfectly and kept me full through the whole day.  When I got to the Merchandise Mart, they already have all the holiday decorations out – look at how big this Christmas tree is!

11.20.16 083

My 90 days is almost up at The Chopping Block so my 40% discount will kick in right before Christmas.  It’s funny, I mentioned to someone that I am just about to be there long enough to get the discount, and her reply was “I would have guessed you’d been here almost a year already!”   I know I need another snowman item like I need a hole in my head, but look at how fricken cute these spatulas are?!  Only $8.95 before my discount for two.

11.20.16 092

I am really looking forward to this week though.  I am off work both jobs on Thursday and Friday, and will be working Saturday and Sunday at the Lincoln Square location.  I’ve worked every day this month since November 3, although I can’t complain, I had lots of days off this summer when not working the farmers markets, so it’s all good.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing the recipe for these amazeball dinner rolls!  These are hands down the best homemade dinner rolls I’ve ever had.  Light, buttery, flakey, salty – let’s just not talk about the point count though, shall we?!

11.20.16 060

Well, time to get my stuff ready for work.  Winter is definitely upon us – last week we had temps in the low 70s, and yesterday I don’t think we got about 45 degrees for the high.  It was bound to happen sooner or later, but I kind of missed the 50s and 60s weather.  I just checked the weather and right now it is 20 degrees.  Time to bundle up!

Make it a great day!

UPDATE:  My next blog post on The Chopping Block just posted – I’d love to have some comment love over there if you could stop by – hugs and thanks!

 

Ginger and Cumin Spiced Beef Kebobs

Ginger and Cumin Spiced Beef and Pineapple Kebobs

Yesterday was one of those perfect weather days that makes you love living in Chicago.  Of course, next week there could be frost on the ground, but I’ll take 70 degrees and sunny in October any day of the week.  I made a quick egg white omelet with baby spinach, 50% reduced fat Cabot cheese, three slices of turkey bacon and honeycrisp apples, for a 6 point breakfast.

10.11.16 004

I planned on making a sandwich to bring with me on the drive to work, but the low carb tortillas went bad.  I couldn’t think of anything else to make last minute, so I picked up Jimmy John’s on the way to work.  The WW app says that it’s 13 points, but that’s with mayo on it, so I am counting the whole thing as 10 points.  I got a bag of baked Lay’s (8 points) and ate half the sandwich and chips on my way to work, and the second half of the sandwich and chips on my way home – so lunch and dinner came in at 9 points each.   I am really going to try hard to keep track of all my eats – which is especially hard when you work at a cooking school with a lot of food around.  I ate about 2 ounces of New York strip that no one wanted to take home for 2 points, so actually came in at 26 points out of 30 for the day.  Um, that hasn’t happened in a long time.  Um, turns out if someone offers me food at work I can say no!

10.11.16 007

I got to work about 30 minutes early, so decided to get my walking shoes on.  The neighborhood around Lincoln Square is really nice.  This one particular block a few blocks from my work nearly every house was decorated with Halloween decorations.

PicMonkey Collage - halloween

10.11.16 019

Another area that needs attention is my hydration.  Having a desk job made it really easy to drink all day because my water glass was always on my desk within easy reach.  I brought my new WW bottle to work and am happy to say I refilled it three times during my shift.

10.11.16 026

Okay, question for the peeps out there that do Instagram stories.  I tried to make my first one last night.  I did a quick video of the Big Green Egg, then pictures of the different stuff we were going to make.  After each “segment” I saved it, thinking that it would string them together once I clicked the check box to post, but only the last thing I saved actually went to my story.  Help!  I am so not technical Open-mouthed smile

PicMonkey Collage - grill

Shelley, I know you’ll be happy that I added a snapchat pic of myself!  We made bacon and chive buttered New York strip steaks; Greek burgers with homemade tzatziki sauce; a grilled corn and green bean succotash;  a cilantro-mint chutney that was a dipping sauce for these delicious Ginger and Cumin Spiced Beef and Pineapple Kebobs.   Recipe courtesy of The Chopping Block

Ginger and Cumin Spiced Beef and Pineapple Kebobs
Write a review
Print
1954 calories
70 g
565 g
104 g
181 g
30 g
1196 g
530 g
51 g
0 g
64 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1196g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1954
Calories from Fat 928
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 104g
159%
Saturated Fat 30g
152%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 22g
Monounsaturated Fat 42g
Cholesterol 565mg
188%
Sodium 530mg
22%
Total Carbohydrates 70g
23%
Dietary Fiber 9g
35%
Sugars 51g
Protein 181g
Vitamin A
79%
Vitamin C
532%
Calcium
22%
Iron
75%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  4. 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  5. zest of one lime
  6. 2 teaspoons sambal oleek
  7. 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. 1.5 pounds sirloin beef, but into 1.5 inch cubes
  10. 1 red pepper, cut into large dice
  11. 2 cups pineapple, peeled and cut into large dice
  12. Wooden skewers that need to be soaked in water for at least an hour.
Instructions
  1. 1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill over medium heat.
  2. 2. In a large bowl, toss together the ginger, garlic, cumin, grapeseed oil, lime zest, lime juice, sambal, brown sugar and salt. Stir in the beef, red pepper and pineapple. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  3. 3. Thread the beef, peppers and pineapple onto eight skewers so that each kebab has some of each ingredient.
  4. 4. Set the kebabs on the grill, and cook until the bottoms are caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip them over and brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. The beef should be medium rare at this point.
Notes
  1. Don't overcook your meat! For medium rare, you want a final temp at 125 - but note that it will still cook a bit after you take it off the grill, so pull your beef at 115. Perfect beef every time!
beta
calories
1954
fat
104g
protein
181g
carbs
70g
more
Adapted from The Chopping Block
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
10.11.16 048

We had a great group of students eager to learn not only how to grill but to know when meat is actually cooked through.  The Chopping Block has a super easy cheat sheet for temps on various meats:

  • Beef and Lamb (steaks and roasts)  Medium Rare: 125;  Medium: 135  Well: 160
  • Ground Beef:  160
  • Pork and Veal: 135 – 140
  • Chicken/Turkey Breast: 155
  • Chicken/Turkey Thigh: 165

When I first started cooking I nearly always erred on the side of caution, and would invariable overcook every meat I tried to cook.  Or I would do the complete opposite and pull a roasted chicken off the grill, only to cut it open and it would be nearly raw by the bone.  If you want to learn how to cook meat to the perfect temp – invest in a meat thermometer.  They have digital ones that are only about $10 (use a BB&B 20% coupon!).  Also note that there is residual cooking once it comes off the grill – adding an additional 5-10 degrees after your meat comes off the grill.  So if you want a medium rare steak, pull your steak off at 115 – and it will be perfect.  If you were to pull it at 125 it would be medium by the time you cut into it.

Also – another tip – never put cold meat on your grill.  I am sure I’ve talked about this before, but I normally take any burgers, steaks, roasts out at least an hour before they hit the grill.  If you take a 36 degree piece of meat and place it on a 350 degree grill, the meat will not cook evenly.

I think the students left the class last night with newfound inspiration to grill more at home and be confident with the results.

It’s another work day for me – whoop!  But at the Merchandise Mart, so I can take the train and watch Netflix instead of drive.  I don’t mind driving, but it’s a nice break.

Now off to figure out how to repurpose some of those kebobs above for my breakfast this morning – go beef!

Make it a great day!

 

Beef, It's What's for Dinner

Windy City Steaks and Blogger Meet Up!

I had to smile at yesterday’s TimeHop – Heather and Karli, can you believe this was three years ago already?  I recapped my day at The Chopping Block on this post back in October of 2013.   I never in a million years would have thought three years later I’d be working there!

10.6.16a 007

I was happy that my schedule allowed me to take the train to work yesterday, because it was an icky day and I am not a fan of driving in the rain.  I fixed a bagel sammie for the train ride – Dutch Farms brand bagels are only 6 smart points, so with the egg whites, ham, cheese and spinach, this sammie comes in at 10 smart points.  Served on a paper towel because I am classy like that.

10.6.16a 021

This is what it looked like when I walked into work – the clouds were hanging so low you could hardly see the tops of the buildings.

10.6.16a 030

It was a private party of a small group of 22.  The menu was Chicago steak house menu that included shrimp cocktail, a chopped salad with blue cheese, radicchio, romaine and a killer salad dressing, twice baked potatoes, steak with a red wine compound butter, dinner rolls from scratch AND cheesecake with a raspberry sauce.

PicMonkey Collage - tcb

I have to mention that The Chopping Block does not skimp on quality of ingredients.  Chef Andrew above broke down a whole beef tenderloin to get these amazing steaks, and while I am not the hugest fan of shallots, this red wine compound butter was pretty amazing.  This is something that could really elevate a weeknight dinner, or impress when you have company over.

This recipe is compliments of The Chopping Block.

Steak with Red Wine Compound Butter
Serves 4
A make ahead compound butter elevates steak night to a whole new level. Perfect for a weeknight or with company!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
1101 calories
2 g
347 g
106 g
33 g
65 g
265 g
157 g
0 g
4 g
33 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
265g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1101
Calories from Fat 932
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 106g
163%
Saturated Fat 65g
326%
Trans Fat 4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 29g
Cholesterol 347mg
116%
Sodium 157mg
7%
Total Carbohydrates 2g
1%
Dietary Fiber 0g
2%
Sugars 0g
Protein 33g
Vitamin A
61%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
6%
Iron
14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the butter
  1. 1/2 cup red wine
  2. 1 medium shallot, peeled and sliced
  3. 2 tablespoons fresh herbs
  4. 4 stick butter, room temperature
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
For the steaks
  1. 16 ounces steak (filet mignon, New York strip, or rib-eye), allowed to sit out for 30 minutes, covered
  2. Salt and pepper to taste
  3. 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. 1. Make compound butter: Place the wine and shallot in a small, heavy saucepan, and simmer until reduced to a thick syrup. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. 2. Chop the herbs in a food processor, add the wine-shallot syrup, and then the softened butter. Process to blend, and season with salt and pepper. Roll into a tube in plastic wrap, and refrigerate or freeze until needed. (May be made ahead.)
  3. 3. Season the steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Preheat a heavy sauté pan over medium heat, and add the 2 tablespoons butter. Sauté the steaks on the first side until caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and repeat. Continue to cook the steaks to your liking. An internal temperature of 125° is ideal for medium rare.
  4. Remove the steaks from the pan, and top with a generous slice of the shallot butter. Allow the steaks to rest for about 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. This dish is served at most of Chicago’s classic restaurants and steakhouses. It’s steak seared in butter until deeply caramelized and then served with a generous amount of red wine and shallot butter. Salt-baked fingerling potatoes often accompany the steak and help soak up the butter; for tonight, we’ll be serving the steak alongside a delicious twice-baked potato.
  2. * I reduced the amount of compound butter to serve 4 servings, because there was a ton of butter leftover.  You could easily make the compound butter 8 servings.
beta
calories
1101
fat
106g
protein
33g
carbs
2g
more
Adapted from The Chopping Block
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/

Before I knew it, it was time to meet up with my long time blog friend Aimee of Amazing in Motion.   She and I started following each other when Hannah was in high school, so ate least six years?  She’s in town to do the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and it looks like the weather is going to be amazing for it.   She’s vegan, so I wanted to find a place that she would be comfortable eating at.  I made some granola and jelly for her, but decided last minute not to bring it with because I didn’t want her to eat anything unusual before race day and I didn’t want to be responsible if she had a bad race by eating something new.  I’ll be sending you a care package when you get back Aimee!

PicMonkey Collage - native

Native Café is a local Chicago chain that has three locations.  I relied on Yelp to point me in the right direction on what to order.  I ordered a small order of the “chicken” buffalo strips that had a delicious celery, carrot and ranch dressing underneath.  The Thai chicken meatballs with a spicy slaw, and the sweet potato fries.  I was tempted by the flyer to order the jackfruit tacos – I’ve never had jackfruit before, so I decided to stick with what I got.  And I have to tell you – everything was delicious.  The chicken tenders had the taste and texture of chicken – still not sure what it’s made of – maybe seiten or tempeh?! 

The best part about a blogger meet up with someone else who blogs is that it’s like meeting an old friend even if you are meeting in person for the first time.  I’ve seen her son grow up since he was about 4 years old.  She’s  super nice, down to earth and I know she’ll rock the run on Sunday.  It’s supposed to be a high of 67 with a low of 50 with low humidity.  Her husband and her son are her biggest fans and it was great to meet them too after reading about them for so many years.

10.6.16a 066

It’s another work day for me – whoop!  This time I am doing a grill class with one of my favorite Chef’s and actually only the second time I’ve worked with him.  Then I am working an all day wine event on Sunday at the Merchandise Mart.  Someone who was scheduled had a family emergency and couldn’t work, so I stepped in.  Because, um, there is no “I” in team!  Ha!

Right now I am about to pull out an Italian sausage and broccoli frittata out of the oven, then getting my walking shoes on.  It’s a gorgeous 64 degrees!

Hope you have an awesome weekend – make it a great day!