Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beer braised chicken thighs

OK... did I think to take pictures? No, I was too busy eating. :)

I wanted something different, so I did a quick search on the food network site and found Rachael Ray's "Beer Braised Chicken Thighs." One look at her list made me realize that her recipe was not in the offing; however, mine was.

Taking some chicken thighs, I browned them on both sides in a deep pan. I then took them out and sauteed chopped onions, celery and garlic before tossing in a cup of chicken broth, a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and a 12 oz bottle of Guiness I found hiding in the back of the fridge. I also tossed in a few shots of hot sauce and a couple of tbs of Dr. Gonzo's Wild Beaver Rub to the mix. After letting it come to a boil, I threw the chicken thighs back in and turned the heat down to a simmer for 25 minutes or so.

The Dr. Gonzo's balanced the beer nicely and gave the dish a bit of a kick.

I did not work out the points... yeah, I wasn't in the mood. I do know the veggies are 0 points, a chicken thigh is 2 and the whole bottle of beer is 5 points. I'm guessing it was 3-4 points+ for a chicken thigh heaped with the veggies from the pan. Now if I can get the taco recipe from my niece, I think I know what I'm making next week.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Who doesn't love pizza? To be honest, it's one of those "ooo I shouldn't" foods for most of us. But the truth is nothing is further than the truth. Home made pizza is perhaps is so much in our control, it's not even funny.

I started with pre-baked crust. Mama Mary's thin and crispy crust is a great start:

Then it was just add 2-3 tablespoons of sauce. I used the Classico that was in the fridge:

For toppings I went veggie heavy. I started by heating a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan and wilting down a bag of spinach. Then I removed the spinach and carmelized a Vidalia onion and sliced mushrooms.

After removing the veggies, I sauteed up a couple of chicken breasts that I dressed with salt, pepper, lemon juice and Italian seasonings. I chopped it up and dropped it on top:

Finally I topped it with 1/2 a package (about 1 cup) of shredded low-fat cheese.

In the end, I had a healthy pizza for about 6 points+ a slice that was truly tasty. Had I just gone with veggies or left off some of the cheese, I could have dropped the points+ way down but somethings are worth it. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Berry Pie

mmmmmm.... berries!

Summer means berries and berries mean yumminess. So the other day when I saw a recipe for an ice box berry pie, you know I had to try it.

First comes the graham cracker crust. Now you can buy one (easy) or you can make one (also easy).

Graham crackers (about 8 ... a sleeve's worth) crushed into fine crumbs
1/2 stick (4 TBS) unsalted butter melted and cooled
3 TBS sugar

Mix the cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter together. Press into a pie dish along the bottom and sides and bake for about 15 min at 350* - until toasty brown. Set aside and cool.


2 cups EACH: raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 TBS corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
1 TBS fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 TBS fruit jam or jelly... I used IKEA's mixed berry jam

Gently clean the berries and place in a big bowl gently mixing them together. Remove 2 1/2 cups of berries and puree in a food processor or blender. Press through a fine sieve into a sauce pan, using the back of a spoon, to get about 1 1/2 cups of puree. Discard seeds left in the sieve. Place pan on medium heat.

Whisk together the corn starch, sugar and salt and then whisk into puree. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until it's the consistency of pudding. Take off the heat and mix in the lemon juice.

Pour into the cooled crust.

Melt jam in the microwave and gently toss the remaining berries to coat. Pour on top of puree and push into the mixture a bit. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let set in the fridge for 3 hours or so. Serve at room temp or chilled.

Now a quick word about a favorite kitchen tool. When my sister was in Amsterdam, she saw a little spoon rest in a hardware store and brought it home for me.

I prefer the standing spoon rest - it takes up less real estate next to the stove when I'm cooking. The bright yellow enamel is easy to clean and brights up that little corner of the kitchen.

It resides with the tea towels from Sweeden and Italy my niece brought home from her travels for my kitchen. When I use my IKEA 365 pot for cooking, I truly feel like a world traveler. Even if just for the short time I standing by the stove making dinner.

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