Monday, January 20, 2014

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

We thought that this cake got better with age- although I think that nuts would have been a nice addition (although too many calories!).



2 cups Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil (instead I used 1 cup of applesauce)
4 whole Eggs
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 cups Grated Carrots (I used more)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Mix together the sugar, oil (or applesauce) and eggs in a large bowl. 
  3. Add in flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  4. Then add carrots and mix well. 
  5. Pour into a greased and floured (Baker’s Joyed) pan (bundt, sheet cake, 9 x 13 pyrex).(I just lined the pan with parchment paper.)
  6. Bake at 350F until done, 25 (sheet cake) to 50 (Bundt pan) minutes, depending on the pan you use. 
  7. Cool completely.


1 stick Regular Butter, Softened
1 package (8 Oz) Cream Cheese
1 pound Powdered Sugar (I used about half this amount. I just slowly add, and taste as I go.)
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 cup Pecans, Chopped Finely (I left these out- I actually think ground nuts would be good in the cake)

  1. In larger bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. 
  2. Add sugar and vanilla and blend, then mix in the nuts. 
  3. Spread on cooled carrot cake.

I, somehow, did not take a picture, even though I ate this about 15 times in the last week.

Greek Birthday Dinner

We had my mother-in-law over for her birthday dinner- a feast of Greek food and a carrot cake!

Greek Salad

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6.


6 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 large tomatoes, seeded, coarsely chopped

3/4 cucumber, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
1/2 red onion, peeled, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded, coarsely chopped
A heaping half cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, oregano and dill weed together until blended. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewhisk before using.) I  added the red onions to the dressing to help take the bite off.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper in a bowl.
  3. Toss with dressing. Sprinkle cheese over and serve.

        Greek Potatoes

        3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
        1  garlic clove, finely chopped
        1 cup water
        1/2 cup good olive oil
        Juice from one lemon
        1 tablespoon oregano
        Salt and pepper

        1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
        2. Place cut, peeled potatoes into a baking dish large enough for each potato to rest on the bottom. 
        3. In a bowl (I used a large measuring cup), combine water, olive oil, garlic lemon juice, oregano, and salt and pepper. Mix and pour over potatoes. 
        4. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until potatoes are slightly brown on the edged and most of the olive oil has been absorbed. 
        5. Finish with some sea salt.
        (Next time I would have used more liquid and cooked lower temp or shorter time. I like my Greek potatoes soft without the browning.)

        Pork Souvlaki

        Slice pork  in 3" by 1/2" strips. 
        Slice an onion in long strips. 
        20 minutes to marinade: Put in a bowl with 1/4 c olive oil, 3 T lemon juice, 2 T fresh oregano (I used 1 T dried), garlic, and salt and pepper.

        Grill until brown (about 10 minutes).

        Store bought naan (I like it better than pita), hummus (I have not perfected my own), tzatziki (I have not mastered my own).

        Carrot Cake

        Thursday, January 16, 2014

        Coconut Curry Flounder

        I do not like fish. I love me some sushi, and I enjoy tuna and salmon. But I cannot cook and hardly can eat other fish. It smells terrible. 

        With this dish, JW loved it. I thought it was ok- tolerable. Until I had the leftovers. JW had mentioned the first night that it tasted like tomato soup. I didn't taste that. Then, I had the leftovers and that was all I could taste and it was weird.

        So... not sure I'll make this again.


        1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
        2 tablespoons red curry paste
        1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce 
        1 tablespoon rice vinegar
        (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
        1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
        mint sprigs
        basil sprigs
        1 tablespoon canola oil
        (6-ounce) halibut fillets (I used flounder)
        1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
        1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 
        (I also added peppers and snow peas)

        1. 1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 25 minutes). 
        1. 2. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice, mint, and basil; let stand 5 minutes. Strain into a measuring cup; discard solids. (I did not do that- why?!) Keep sauce warm.
        1. 3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Sprinkle fish evenly with pepper and salt. Add fish to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. 
        1. Serve fish with sauce.
        Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 fillet and 3 tablespoons sauce)

        • Calories: 274
        • Fat: 11.1g
        • Saturated fat: 5.7g
        • Monounsaturated fat: 3g
        • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g
        • Protein: 33.2g
        • Carbohydrate: 10.7g
        • Fiber: 0.1g
        • Cholesterol: 83mg
        • Iron: 0.8mg
        • Sodium: 482mg
        • Calcium: 17mg

        Tuesday, January 14, 2014

        Low-cal Mac and Cheese (with Cauliflower)

        Mac and Cheese


        1 1/4 cups skim milk
        2 tablespoons light cream cheese
        1 1/2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
        1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
        Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
        3/4 cup shredded cheddar
        1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
        1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
        1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
        4 cups cooked whole-wheat spiral pasta
        2 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1/2 a medium head), steamed

        1. 1. Cook the pasta and cauliflower in water.
        2. 2.  In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream cheese, flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne, if desired. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a slow boil, 5 to 7 minutes. 
        3. 3. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining cheeses and mustard until cheese melts. 
        4. 4. Add in pasta and cauliflower. stir into cheese mixture. 
        5. 5. Divide pasta evenly among 7 bowls/tupperware.

        Nutrition (7 servings, 1 cup each)

        235 calories per 1 cup, 
        9 g fat (5 g saturated), 27 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 14 g protein

        Monday, January 13, 2014

        Cauliflower Mash

        Yield: Serves 4 

        3 cups (1 head) of chopped cauliflower florets

        8 ounces of baking potatoes, chopped
        1/4 cup heavy cream (I used light cream and a little butter)
        1/2 t salt
        1/4 t black pepper (I used more)

        1. In a pot, boil cauliflower and potatoes for about 14 minutes. 
        2. Drain and mash.
        3. Add cream, salt, pepper and mash some more.

        Served with the Mushroom meatloaf and side of carrots and brussels sprouts.

        Amount per serving (3/4 cup)
        • Calories: 118
        • Fat: 5.8g
        • Saturated fat: 3.5g
        • Sodium: 272mg

        Mushroom Meatloaf

        JW really didn't like this meat loaf, and thought that if it had a larger meat to mushroom ratio it would be better. I loved it- and combined these leftovers with the cauliflower mashed potatoes to have "shepherd's pie" for several days after. :)

        Mushroom Meat Loaf
        Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 2 slices)

        1 pound mushrooms
        1 tablespoon canola oil
        1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion
        garlic cloves, minced
        2 tablespoons red wine
        2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
        1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (I used oatmeal)
        5/8 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
        4 ounces ground sirloin (92% lean); 4 ounces ground turkey
        large egg, lightly beaten 
        Cooking spray
        1/8 cup lower-sodium ketchup
        1/8 cup mustard
        1. Preheat oven to 375°.
        2. Place half of mushrooms in a food processor; process until minced. Place minced mushrooms in a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining mushrooms. (this is important- dont try to do it in one batch like I did- you make mushroom water.)
        3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. 
        4. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. 
        5. Add mushrooms; cook 7 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown. 
        6. Add wine; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. 
        7. Remove from heat; stir in thyme. Cool slightly.
        8. Combine mushroom mixture, panko/oatmeal, and next 4 ingredients (through egg), mixing until well combined. 
        9. Shape mixture into a 7x3 inch free-form loaf on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat with some mustard and ketchup.
        10. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. 
        11. It looks like meat...
        12. Remove from oven; brush with remaining ketchup and mustard. Cut into 8 slices.
        Nutritional InformationAmount per serving (2 slices)
        • Calories: 253
        • Fat: 10.9g
        • Saturated fat: 3g
        • Monounsaturated fat: 5.2g
        • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g
        • Protein: 17.9g
        • Carbohydrate: 20.2g
        • Fiber: 2.1g
        • Cholesterol: 83mg
        • Iron: 2.3mg
        • Sodium: 389mg
        • Calcium: 59mg

        Friday, January 10, 2014

        Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya (Slow Cooker)

        • This seemed to be missing something to me- I definitely think a sprinkling of cheese on top helped. I also think I left it in the slow cooker too long- as the chicken fell to dust when you took a bite.

        • 1 tablespoon canola oil 
        • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces 
        • 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces 
        • 2 cups chopped onion 
        • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper 
        • 1 cup chopped celery 
        • garlic cloves, minced 
        • 4 ounces turkey kielbasa, halved and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
        • 2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning
        • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
        • 1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (optional)
        • (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with onion and green peppers, undrained 
        • (14-ounce) can fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 
        • (3 1/2-ounce) bags boil-in-bag long-grain rice 
        • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 
        • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
        • 1 tablespoon hot sauce 
        • Fresh parsley leaves (optional)

        1. 1. Place chicken in an electric slow cooker.
        1. 2. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to slow cooker. 
        1. 3. Add turkey kielbasa, and next 5 ingredients (through chicken broth) to slow cooker. 
        1. 4. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours.
        1. 5. Cook rice according to package directions. 
        1. 6. Add cooked rice and remaining ingredients except parsley garnish to slow cooker. 
        1. 7. Cover and cook on HIGH 15 minutes or until shrimp are done. Garnish with parsley leaves, if desired.
        Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
        Amount per serving
        • Calories: 373
        • Calories from fat: 0.0%
        • Fat: 6.4g
        • Saturated fat: 1.4g
        • Monounsaturated fat: 2.4g
        • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.7g
        • Protein: 39.7g
        • Carbohydrate: 37.1g
        • Fiber: 3.9g
        • Cholesterol: 158mg
        • Iron: 5.6mg
        • Sodium: 660mg
        • Calcium: 117mg

        Thursday, January 9, 2014

        Quick and Easy homemade pizza dough

        Easy enough to stop me from buying store bought dough, as long as I have yeast on hand. Which I started buying in bulk.

        Makes two dough balls:

        3 cups flour
        • 1 package (.25 oz) active dry yeast
          2 T vegetable oil
          1 t salt
          1 T sugar
          1 cup warm water (110 degrees)

          1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl.
          2. Add in oil and water.
          3. Lay out on your pizza pan.
          4. Top as you want. (Trick is to go light on sauce, light on cheese, light on veggies- or it won't cook right.)

          I bagged the second ball and kept it in the fridge for a week.

          Idea for toppings:

          OPTION 1: 
        1/4 cup tomato sauce
        • 1/4 cup chopped broccoli
        • 1/4 cup basil leaves
        • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
        • 1 cup fresh grated cheese

        • OPTION 2: 
        • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
        • 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
        • 1/4 cup spinach
        • 1/4 cup sliced onion
        • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (or whatever I had)

        1. Heat oven to 500°. Place a pizza stone on bottom rack (or use an inverted baking sheet, not heated). 
        2. Set crust on a sheet of parchment paper. 
        3. Top with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and veggies (I like my veggies on top of the cheese). 
        4. Cook pie  on stone until cheese melts and crust is golden, 5 to 10 minutes. (sometimes I go 12 min)
        5. Cut each into 6 slices.


        347 calories per 2 slices, 13 g fat (5 g saturated), 43 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 16 g protein

        Monday, January 6, 2014

        Easy, low-cal shrimp stir fry

        1/2 cup chicken broth
        2 T soy sauce
        2 T oyster sauce (I didnt have this- I ended up just leaving it out, it was ok...)
        2 t cornstarch
        2 t sugar
        2 t dry sherry (I didnt have this- I ended up just leaving it out, it was ok...)
        4 t canola oil
        1 lb large peeled shrimp
        4 cups broccoli
        1 bell pepper
        4 oz mushrooms
        3 sliced scallions (I forgot to add this)
        1 T fresh chopped ginger
        I T fresh chopped garlic
        1/4 t red pepper flakes
        1. Combine chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar and dry sherry in a jar. Give it a shake; set aside.
        2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp canola oil and shrimp; stir-fry until pink, 3 minutes. Transfer to plate.

        3. Add 2 tsp canola oil, broccoli florets, thinly sliced red bell pepper and mushrooms to skillet. Stir-fry 1 minute. 
        4. Make a well in center of veggies; add sliced scallions, fresh ginger and garlic, and red pepper flakes to well.
        5. Stir-fry: 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup water; cover and steam 3 minutes. 
        6. Return shrimp to pan; pour in sauce from jar. Cook, stirring, until shrimp are warmed through and sauce thickens.
        6. Sprinkle with 2 sliced scallions (green part only).
        Serve over brown or white rice if desired. Grab some chopsticks and dig in! 

        Serves 4
        Nutrition: (without rice) 195 calories per serving, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 20 g protein