Pork Stroganoff

I never went grocery shopping this week because of everything we have going on, but I think I can find stuff to make just using my pantry and fridge this week.  Should be interesting!

I had leftover pancake batter from last weeks banana bread pancakes, so I cooked two off for breakfast with some Canadian bacon on the side – this may be my staple breakfast this week.

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I had to do a lunch run for my boss, and Panera was so packed it took me 30 minutes to get there and back.  One of the other secretaries had to pick up lunch, and my blood sugar was fine, so I had her go to lunch and decided to go to the gym later.  By the time I went it was 1:30!

And I was hungry, but you know what I told myself?  You won’t starve after 25 minutes of strength training.  I am a day behind this week, so I will do weights Tuesday – Friday this week.  Yesterday was chest and arms again – the same routine I did last week Day 1.

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For the tricep pushdowns I used the rope and really felt a difference – check it out on my first and third reps I did 40 pounds!  My arms were literally shaking at the end.  That’s kind of what my body looks like – ha!

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Aimee commented on last weeks picture where I was laying down and I said that’s the only time I don’t mind my muffin top – the fat just kind of lays down – she said that my abs were so flat, or words to that effect.  Um, no – the “pooch” is still alive and well – seems the last place my body wants to lose weight is my middle!

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But I still have 25-30 pounds to lose, so I will get there eventually! Open-mouthed smile

I brought leftover beef stew from the freezer and had 1.5 cups of that with a bowl of honey dew melon.  My stew kind of looks like dog food, but it was tasty!

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When  I got home from work, Tony was enjoying one of the cigars I got him for his birthday.  The sunset was gorgeous, but I think the temperature dropped 5 degrees every 5 minutes!

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I defrosted a pork steak to do something for dinner.  I like pork steaks because they are super flavorful, inexpensive, but there is a bone and sometimes a lot of fat.  I ended up trimming the pork steak and ended up with 4 ounces of pork.  Tony loves beef stroganoff, so I decided to make a version using pork.

Pork Stroganoff

  • serves 2 – 540 calories, 26 fat, 49 carbs, 3 fiber and 25 protein

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces pork
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 ounces of mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons low fat sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked egg noodles

Salt and pepper the pork and toss in 1 tablespoon of flour.  Heat skillet over medium high heat and add butter.  Once melted, add the pork and sear on all sides, but don’t cook it all the way through.  Remove pork.  Add in garlic and mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and cook for another minute.  Slowly add in the chicken broth and stir until thickened.  Add the pork back in, put a lid on it and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through.  Remove from heat, stir in sour cream, taste for additional salt and pepper and divide pork gravy mixture over 1 cup of cooked egg noodles per plate.

The shitty dinner lighting pictures have begun!  It’s starting to get dark so early these days – so both these pictures don’t do this dish justice – pure comfort in a bowl.

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Tony gave it two thumbs up Open-mouthed smile

A while back I got sent some workout clothes, but I never reviewed them because they were UGLY.  It asked if I like neutral colors or bold colors, and when I checked the box “bold” this is what I got!

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These neon blue super stretchy pants with this shocking pink tank top.  I will actually have to do a proper review at some point because guess what?  I loved this to work out in – the pants never folded down like some stretch pants do over my muffin top, and the tank held everything in while I did Insanity for 40 minutes.

I was showing Tony how I could do anything in these pants and started showing him how stretchy they were – he said “you look like a cat that has shoes on!”  Sadly, I had no idea the video he took was going to be put on facebook – I don’t think I’d wear these pants to get the mail, but oh well!  They are super comfy.  Here is a nice sweaty boob pic I accidentally took – ha!  You’re welcome.

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Stats for the Day:

  • 1809 calories, 241 carbs, 99 protein, 25 fat
  • not pictured was the Merck’s port wine cheese and pretzels I had as a snack at night – that stuff should be illegal it’s so good
  • 25% of calories from fat, 21% from protein and 52% from carbs
  • Calorie Count gave my day an A!
  • 25 minute strength – chest/tricepts at lunch
  • 40 minutes Insanity after dinner

You will want to come back tomorrow because I have a great giveaway to celebrate My Bizzy Kitchen turning five!  Here’s a hint. . .

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I will forgive Nicole for adding onion to this salsa! Open-mouthed smile  Make it a great day!

Best Ribs Ever

This weekend was the perfect balance of lazy and productive.  Saturday morning I totally had a taste for Tony’s amazing eggs, only to realize that I only had hard boiled eggs on hand.  That was the first thing added to my grocery list and I went with plan B: 2 hard boiled eggs, cinnamon toast and 1/2 a banana.

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I needed to get my eyebrows threaded, but when I got to Wal-mart, there were too many people in line already.  So I did a bit of shopping, and still no luck – I may have to run over there one night this week.

I ended up picking us up Wendy’s for lunch.  I can’t even remember the last time I was in a Wendy’s.  Now I know why – this chicken sandwich was so dry, it tasted as if it was made the day before.  It was barely warm by the time I brought it home.

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As is customary, I made two loaves of my Artisan bread, although this time it rose for 3 hours and it almost poured out of the top of my bowl!

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Have you tried making this yet?  I was nervous the first time I made it too because the dough is so light and . . . sticky.  I also make just two loaves of bread out of the recipe.

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I could eat a whole loaf all to myself!   My nephew came by yesterday to pick up his Mom’s food for the week, and his first question is always “did you make me your bread?”  I am pretty sure he eats it all!

Saturday morning Tony and I were watching an Anthony Bordain show and he was in Italy and we watched a woman make pasta from scratch.  She only used a fork and a rolling pin so I decided to try my hand at making homemade pasta for dinner Saturday night.

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I used one of the dough recipes from this book, what she calls a “yellow pasta dough.”

Pasta Dough

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 large eggs

That’s it.  Really!  This is enough pasta for 3 standard portions for an entrée, or 3 portions for an appetizer portion.

Make a well in the center of your flour.  Add eggs and using a fork, mix until combined.  I actually made a double batch, so I still have half of the dough in the fridge.  I am curious to see how that turns out later in the week.

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I am not going to lie, it got messy!

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But I just kept brining the eggs to the middle and soon enough I had my pasta dough.

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My flaw the last time I made pasta was not rolled out thin enough and my cuts were too big – I didn’t realize how much the dough would puff up when I boiled it.

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I also used a lot of flour to keep the pasta from sticking to each other before I cooked it.  I let this sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before cooking – it doesn’t take long to cook at all, about 3-4 minutes.

Tony has not been a fan of red sauce lately, and alfredo sauce kind of gets old.  As I was flipping through that cookbook though, I saw a recipe for Gorgonzola sauce, and I asked Tony “would you eat that??”  He tasted the blue cheese I had and said if I went light on the blue cheese it would be fine.  I feel like Rhonda taking a picture of the recipe!

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The only thing I did different was I only used about a tablespoon of the blue cheese and instead of 1/2 a cup of heavy whipping cream, I used 1/2 a cup of lowfat buttermilk.

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This was delicious.  Tony and I both gave this two thumbs up.  The pasta was tender and the sauce was delicious and even Tony said next time I could add more blue cheese.  Be sure to salt your boiling water because that’s how the pasta gets seasoned.

Sunday morning we laid in bed and watched The Watch with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn.  We watched nearly the whole thing and parts of it were pretty funny.  We each just had a piece of toast for breakfast before heading out to the grocery store.  After the store we stopped and got a lunch – I had a chicken Parm sandwich (which Tony doesn’t care for at all) and I got a Boddington’s on tap.

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I can’t even believe I am about to say this, but it was too many tots!

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The sandwich was delicious though – thin chicken breast with a spicy seasoning and melted mozzarella.  Just yum.

So there are many things that I can’t make, yet I try to make them over and over.  I have finally gotten good at making scalloped potatoes – I finally just ended up using cooked potatoes!  The other nemesis that’s been haunting me for years?  Ribs.  Doesn’t seem to matter how long I cook them in the oven, cooking them low and slow, high heat, etc.  They were never quite there.

I went looking for a dry rub recipe online yesterday and I saw that this guy cooked his ribs in his Dutch oven before finishing them off on the grill with sauce.  I never thought of that!  I’ve always wrapped them up in foil.  I ended up putting the ribs in the Dutch oven with 1 can of beer at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.  Perfectly cooked!  Tender, nearly fall off the bone.

Dry Rub:

  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

Mix well.  I used half of this rub on two slabs of ribs.

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Here they are after cooking for 2 1/2 hours – ready for the grill!  Except I realized that all of my bbq sauces were spicy – so I ended up making a quick bbq sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt and pepper

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These are hands down the best ribs I’ve ever made – the Dutch oven was the key!  And the corn was pretty good too for April!

And now we are back to Monday – cannot believe that we only have a couple days left in April – that month sure did go by fast!

Since I can’t wear my pajamas to work, I guess I’ll have to get ready now – Happy Monday – make it a great day!

Broccoli Ham Cheddar Mac N Cheese

Yesterday I was wide awake at 6:30 in the morning.  What?  That gave me an hour and 40 minutes before I had to leave for work – so much time for activities!

For breakfast, I made a Green Monster – this time with two overflowing cups of spinach so it was nice and green.  This one had 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 a banana, 1 cup frozen mixed fruit, a teaspoon of honey and mango Chobani yogurt.

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I ended up making a batch of my granola clusters for my one boss.   Then I decided to try out making a macaroni and cheese with unsweetened almond milk.  If you haven’t tried almond milk yet, I urge you to try it.  I have been subbing it in for any recipe that calls for milk – and at 30 calories a cup you really get a lot of bang for the buck.

This was pretty quick to come together because I already had leftover pasta.

Broccoli, Ham and Cheddar Mac N Cheese

  • makes 4 servings
  • 415 calories, 27 fat, 17 carbs, 25 protein, 2 fiber, 1005 sodium

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 6 ounces lean ham, diced
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cups loose shredded cheese
  • 4 ounces (2 cups) cooked pasta of your choice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of crushed red pepper

Melt butter in a stock pot.  Add flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly add the almond milk stirring until thickened.  This is the longest process – maybe took me about 7 minutes total?  Remove from heat and stir in the ham, broccoli cheese and pasta.  I never even baked this again since I was taking it to work – but if I were to make it at home (which would never happen because Tony hates macaroni and cheese – even home made!) I would sprinkle with some panko bread crumbs and put it under the broiler.

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For my workout I found something on Pinterest I thought would switch things up.  My plan was to wear my bathing suit under my workout clothes, do the workout, then swim.

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This is the workout I did.  It took me 16 minutes to complete before the run.

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There was only a teeny tiny problem with my plan.  I couldn’t do the run with my bathing suit.  Um, let’s just say that there wasn’t enough support for the twins!  So I ended up walking for 10 minutes on a 10% incline at 3.5 mph.

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And them I swam for 15 minutes.  I liked that it switched up and I didn’t feel bored at all!

Then it was time to eat the mac n cheese!  This got thumbs up from my two bosses.

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I had an orange and grapes on the side.

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Last night we had one of Tony’s favorite dinners, which is funny because there really isn’t any “cooking” involved.  Red beans and rice with smoked sausage!  So easy.  If you haven’t bought a rice cooker, go out and get one – it cooks any kind of grain just as long as you use the correct proportion of water to the grain.

Our package of Zataran’s called for 3 1/4 cups water added to the mix.  Dump the package of red beans and rice in the bottom of the rice cooker.  Add water.

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Then throw in the sliced smoked sausage.  This is already cooked sausage, fyi.

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Mix well with a fork so there aren’t any clumps.

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This took about 35-40 minutes to cook.  Just set it and forget it!  It gets super bubbly at the end and the sausage is all plump.  (That’s what she said!)

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I of course served mine over a bed of chopped baby spinach.  And I may have doused this in hot sauce after the picture was taken. Devil

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Delish!  And of course Tony had to be a smart ass and tell me it was nice to have a decent meal for once!  Funny Tony!

Alright, here is my question of the day since most of you are much better cooks than I am.  I had a thought.  I have a pound of leftover beef roast, and I had an idea to make meatballs out of it – put the beef in a food processor with bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and egg, garlic, Italian seasoning and pulse.  Then just pan fry them on top of the stove to get a crust.  Do you think that would work??

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In my head it works out, but let me know your thoughts!

Stats for the Day

  • 46 minute workout at lunch
  • 1439 calories
  • 59 fat
  • 174 carbs
  • 19 fiber
  • 63 protein
  • 49% of calories from carbs, 27% from fat and 14% from protein
  • 2900 mg sodium!

I need to start evening out my stats – while I am fine around 1500 calories, I need to increase the fiber and protein.  It would be less insulin too! Open-mouthed smile

Alright, just about to take a broccoli quiche out of the oven and I need to check on my sautéed apples.  Everyone cooks before going to work, right?! Open-mouthed smile

Make it a great day! 

Apple Pork Sausage and Chimichurri

Hello Friday!  And hello to another day off!  I could really get used to these three day work weeks! Open-mouthed smile

Last weekend while I was waiting for my number to be called at the meat counter, I wandered around and saw that they had pork sausage – at only $2.99 a pound!  I bought some with the thought of making apple and pork breakfast sausages.  This one is almost too embarrassing to post as a recipe because it’s so easy!

Apple Pork Breakfast Sausages

  • makes 6 patties, 147 calories, 11 fat, 272 sodium, 4.2 carbs, 1.1 fiber and 6.6 protein

Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces fresh pork sausage
  • 6 ounces of apple (about half of a large), cored and then shredded with the skin on
  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper

After you shred the apple, put the shreds in a paper towel and squeeze out all of the moisture.  Mix with pork sausage and fennel seeds.  Each of my sausages were 2.1 ounces raw.  I generously coated with salt and pepper.

Put in a non-stick pan.  Add enough water to cover up to half of the side of the sausage over medium low heat – you want to cook the pork through before browning it up.  This batch took me about 15 minutes all together.

My breakfast – a 2 egg spinach omelet, 100 calorie English muffin (that I ended up putting the omelet in and eating like a breakfast sammie) and 2 sausages.

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That’s a really shitty picture above, but I wanted you to see all the shreds of apple.

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Holy yum, were those sausages good.  While this breakfast comes in at 526 calories, 32 fat, 31 carbs, 8.8 fiber and 31 protein, this packed a punch with staying power – this kept me full for hours.  So full that when it was time to have our office lunch of Chinese food, I wasn’t even sure I even wanted to eat anything!

I did end up getting two chicken sticks and wonton soup, of which I only ate half the soup, so lunch came in at 381 calories, 9 fat, 16 carbs, 1 fiber and 58 protein.  Nice!  I may have added a touch of sriracha to my wonton soup broth. Open-mouthed smile

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Before work yesterday, I blindly grabbed some sort of “meat” from the freezer and figured I would wing it when I got home.  When I unwrapped the package, I realized it was the other half of the beef I bought at Whole Foods a few weeks ago.  This portion was $4.20, or $2.10 per person.

I don’t know if you are like me, but when I see bunches of cilantro and parsley on sale for .25 cents a bunch, I routinely buy a dollars worth and then by the end of the week wonder what to do with it before it goes bad.  I’ve made a chimichurri sauce before and completely forgot how delicious it is.

I switched the recipe up a bit, based what I had on hand.  Best part? Tony loved it!

Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (I used a 6 ounce package from the store)
  • 1 cup cilantro, stems cut off
  • 1 cup parsley, stems cut off
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • pinch of sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Holy smokes if you could smell this!  It smells like summer!

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The key to a great grilled piece of meat?  Always make sure your meat is at room temperature – never go from fridge to heat because you’ll end up with tough meat every time.  I just salt and peppered this beef.

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While the meat started to grill, I popped two of my last red potatoes in the microwave and hit the button for baked potato. Since they were small, it was only about 5 minutes.  Next went in my broccoli head, and I hit the button for fresh vegetable.

When I flipped my meat, I added the potatoes and broccoli to finish them off.  See the broccoli stem?  That’s Tony’s favorite part so he at that!

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Love that the sun was setting at 6:30!  And the snow is melted in our back yard – we only have one pile at each side of our driveway – come on spring!

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I ended up cutting up my meat, potato and broccoli and stirring it in all that delicious herb sauce – if I could have licked the plate I would have!  (well, maybe I did once I brought the dishes back in!).  This makes a lot – I have about a tablespoon and a half on my plate – I was thinking that it might be a great topping on a goat cheese omelet?

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So not a bad dinner considering I didn’t have a plan when I got home from work!

Raise your hand if you have today off!  Hope you enjoy your Friday.  I hope to convince Tony to have deep dish pizza for dinner – except his side can be black olive and cheese (last day of Lent!) and mine can be a spinach deep dish pizza. Doesn’t this look amazeballs?

Taste of Chicago

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Make it a great day!

Pork Marsala with Pasta

First off, thanks for all your well wishes for my first WI of the year!  But the second week is probably going to be tougher than the first.  Because for me, I tend to get a little complacent in week two – maybe an extra bite here, an extra slice of cheese there.  I really need to keep my focus up so I will continue to show a loss on the scale.

Breakfast was a mini breakfast casserole for one.  1/2 a cup of egg whites, 1 egg, 1 ounce of deli ham, cooked broccoli and 1/2 and ounce of cheese.  I nuked it 2 minutes at home (it was still not cooked through) and finished it off another 1.5 minutes when I got to work.  It was light, tender and tasty!   And the last of the tangerines my PIL sent me – still so good!

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I ended up doing my HIIT app on my phone, but this time I ran 4 minutes, and only walked 1!  I did that rep seven times.

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I am contemplating doing the 100 workout again today, but my legs have just gotten over being sore from the last time, but Jenn assures me that my legs will get used to it!

Lunch was amazeballs.  How can you gone with a taco salad?  Mine had romaine, cucumbers, carrots, orange peppers, 4 ounces of taco meat, fat free ranch and Buffalo Tabasco for the dressing.  This seriously took me about 45 minutes to eat.

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I had pork chops on the menu, and I told Tony I had an idea for a pork chop dish with a mushroom white wine sauce.  He immediately said “how about marsala?” I am a bad wife a lot of the times, because some of Tony’s favorite dishes I don’t care for – such as tuna noodle casserole.  Just . . . ew – I make it for him but the smell and combination of tuna and cheese makes me want to throw up.

Now I love marsala, it’s the mushrooms I am not a fan of, but you know what?  I ate a few last night and I think they are growing on me!

Marsala wine is expensive, however, Marsala cooking wine is not – my bottle cost $1.99.  It’s on the same aisle as vinegars and olive oil.

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I have my friend Nicole to thank for last nights dinner, however, I did adapt it a bit.  I also made mine four servings vs. her six servings.  Since Tony doesn’t eat leftovers, they are all mine!

Pork Marsala with Penne Pasta

Makes 4 servings: 423 calories, 15 fat, 33 carbs, 3.1 fiber and 28 protein

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces dry pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces of lean pork (I had two, 6 oz. chops), cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup Marsala cooking wine
  • 8 ounces fat free evaporated milk
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • pinch of crushed red pepper to mine

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and cook the pork so it starts to brown, but don’t cook it all the way through.  About 6 minutes.  I tossed my pork in salt and pepper before searing.  Remove to a plate. 

Add the butter, garlic and mushrooms.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Slowly add the Marsala wine, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom.  Then add the evaporated milk, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  I then put the heat on low, and added back the pork and let the pork cook through – another 5 minutes.

Lastly, I added the Parmesan cheese and stirred until it was melted.  Then tossed the cooked pasta to the skillet and tossed to coat.

Nicole – I will say that the addition of the lemon juice and zest really woke up this dish – the next time you make it, give it a try. Open-mouthed smile  A little GOOD cheese goes a lont way.

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That was Tony’s plate – notice the cheese wrapper and my pink cell phone in the background.  That’s what us professional photographers call “texture.”  Ha!

My plate with the crushed red peppers.  My plate was better.

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This was so good.  The sauce thickened up nicely and coated the pasta beautifully.  Thanks for the idea Tony – this one is a keeper!

I was so comfy this morning, I slept until 7:00!  Now it’s 7:45, and I have 20 minutes to get my shit together.  Thank goodness the world is used to seeing me without makeup every day! Open-mouthed smile

Make it a great day! 

Who Wants to Taste My Balls?

We have been so spoiled with our weather lately, that when I went to take our dog for a walk yesterday morning, the blast of cold air nearly knocked me over!  I had to get a hat, gloves, winter coat.  I was kind of pissed, but then I had to remember it is December!  When I got back from our 10 minute walk I checked the weather and it was a chilly 23 degrees. Freezing

I love adding shredded zucchini to my eggs for a breakfast sammie – for some reason the eggs taste so fluffy and almost soufflé like.  I had two open face breakfast sammies.  The rosemary ham on the bottom was delicious – ask for it the next time you go to the deli – its so good!

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I decided to do another interval on the treadmill using the HIIT app on my phone.  I typically watch The Chew while working out, so my headphones are plugged into the t.v.  While I was running every few minutes I would hear a whistle blowing, and I kept looking around thinking “who’s phone is whistling??!!”

Um, turns out, that would be mine!  I didn’t realize that when the interval switched, it whistles at you to switch gears.  Doh!  My fastest run split yesterday was 6.5 mph.

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It’s kind of funny when I look at the things I eat now, that I never would have touched 15 years ago.  The only ethnic things I ate were Mexican tacos and Italian spaghetti!  Now I love chicken tikka masala, butternut squash with ginger shrimp soup, and artichoke pasta, just to name a few.

Now when I get a magazine that has interesting ethnic recipes, I no longer look the other way.  A while back Bon Appetit had a recipe for a bahn mi meatball sandwich with pickled veggies.  The first time I made it, I left the veggies chopped too big, my bun was too hard and it was difficult to eat.  I also left off the mayo, but I left it below in the recipe anyway.

This time I shredded the carrot and daikon radish, and I used a soft hot dog bun.  The result?  Pure deliciousness!  And for some reason I didn’t post the recipe last time either – it was back in 2009, and I am not sure I even knew how to link to anything back then.  Yep, still not the most technical!

Bahn Mi Meatballs

  • 1 poundground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped (I left this out)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1 tablespoonhot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Sandwiches

  • 2 cup scoarsely grated carrots
  • 2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon (Japanese white radish)**
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes) (I used a hot dog bun)
  • Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles
  • 16large fresh cilantro sprigs
  • *Available in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets.
  • **Available at some supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Preparation

hot chili mayo

  • Stir all ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

meatballs

  • Line rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant tablespoonful for each, roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

sandwiches

  • Toss first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of meatballs. Sauté until brown and cooked through, turning meatballs often and lowering heat if browning too quickly, about 15 minutes. Transfer meatballs to another rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

  • Cut each baguette or baguette piece horizontally in half. Pull out enough bread from each bread half to leave 1/2-inch-thick shell. Spread hot chili mayo over each bread shell. Arrange jalapeños, then cilantro, in bottom halves. Fill each with 1/4 of meatballs. Drain pickled vegetables; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops.

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This version turned out way better and it was much easier to eat – the meatballs are spicy, but still had a bit of crust on them from when I cooked them in the cast iron skillet.  And the balance of the pickled veggies is amazeballs too – I did end up adding a touch more sriracha to the sandwich when I got to my desk, but this one is a keeper.

It makes a lot of meatballs, so I made toothpick mini versions of them and walked around the office asking who wanted to taste my balls.  Ha, I am so funny!  But I thought this could be a nice appetizer at a holiday party – I put a drop of sriracha on each meatball, topped it with a little of the carrot/daikon mix, covered it with a piece of cilantro and put the toothpick in.

Work has been busy the last couple of days, which makes the afternoons go by so much faster.  Dinner was going to be super easy because I ended up making a beef brisket chili from the leftover brisket we had on Sunday.

I put Tony’s in a bread bowl.  He’d never had one before!  Our store sells them every couple of weeks:

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I toasted it in the toaster oven after taking out a lot of the filling.

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He likes Parmesan cheese on his chili – so weird!

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He was a bit underwhelmed with the bread bowl concept – he maybe ate about 1/8 of the bowl after eating the chili – the chili he liked though, beans and all! Open-mouthed smile

I decided to have an ounce of tortilla chips for dipping – I like to put a spoonful of chili on a tortilla, dousing it with Tabasco, and eating my chili more like a dip.  So good – except I am seriously almost out of the buffalo Tabasco sauce already! Sad smile

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So I ended up earning 50 points in the Skinny Snowman Challenge – not bad!  I’ve been happiest about keeping up with the drinking of water – most days I have a minimum of 80 ounces. Just kidding

Alright, I have to jump in the shower and get my shit ready for work – it’s overcast and cold today – what I really want to do is go back under my down comforter and go back to sleep!

Pork Chops with Cranberry Balsamic Glaze

One word could describe most of my day yesterday. 

LAZY!

And it was wonderful!  I am one of those people who always has a list of things I have to do and a list of things I want to do.  I don’t waste a lot of time sitting around. Maybe it’s because I knew I had two more days off of work, but the urgency to do stuff just wasn’t there. 

Tony and I slept in, watched movies snuggled under blankets.  It was glorious!  We finally got up and going and it was probably 11:30 before I ate breakfast.  Another Tony original – spicy eggs and hash browns with toasted bread with grape jelly.

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It probably wasn’t until about 2:30 that I thought I should get my act in gear.  I had a couple errands to run.  I am making my step-son the Ultimate banana bread (he is a banana bread junkie!).  And even though they are leaving tomorrow, I have no doubt he can finish the loaf by himself by tomorrow. Open-mouthed smile

And I made Lizz some of my baja fresh salsa.  Whatever she can’t eat I am going to have her give to her parents – since they are flying she can’t take it with her. Sad smile

It was so nice outside – imagine grilling in Chicago without a coat on November 30!

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Both Lizz and her parents can handle the spice, so this is VERY spicy, but still flavorful.  I may have to keep some for my eggs later this week.

I had pork chops that I never used last week and had to use them up.  I think Tony was just happy we weren’t have party pizza Friday (although I am making pizza tonight when Joe and Lizz come over!). 

I had leftover cranberry apple relish from Thanksgiving and wanted to make a sauce for the pork chops.  Now normally Tony doesn’t like sweet with meat, so I put his sauce in a tiny dish on the side – and while he said he wouldn’t have wanted it all over his chops, he did like the little bit that he had.

CRANBERRY BALSAMIC GLAZE

  • adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
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    In a skillet, add all the ingredients except the butter and cook, over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.  Reduce to low and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until the sauce gets thick and can coat the back of a spoon.  Take off the heat and stir in the butter.  Pour over pork chops.

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    I absolutely loved this.  The balsamic made this more savory than sweet for me.  On the side I had sautéed spinach and scalloped potatoes.

    My Skinny Snowman Challenge stats for yesterday:   30 points

    • 5 points for veggie at dinner
    • 10 points for logging food
    • 10 points for getting more than 64 ounces of water
    • 5 points for 5 positives for the day
    1. not feeling guilty for being lazy
    2. spending time with Tony!
    3. enjoying our mild weather
    4. finding the humidifier in our basement to replace our fan in our bedroom
    5. cheering Helen on while she tries to earn her first degree black belt!

    So for the first week of the challenge (not including today and tomorrow) I’ve earned 210/450 points.  I’ll adjust that on my Monday blog post.

    Alright, off to make banana bread and pizza dough.  Enjoy your weekend and I’ll “see” you on Monday!