Sunday, April 29, 2012


Ugh. So, last week brought three days of business travel for me (i.e., way too much food and two sips of Grey Goose) and this upcoming week brings birthdays for both the kid and the hubs (i.e., big dinner out last night, oodles of cake and ice cream). The words "over-indulged" don't even come close to my state of being right now.

To be honest, I probably could have skipped eating today altogether, but we all know that's not the healthiest of choices. Instead, I selected a dinner that would be both appealing to the boys and not too heavy for all of us. Because obvs we need to save room for leftover cake from the kids' laser-tag shindig yesterday.

Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry
Source: Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2012

  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth (used no-salt)
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp chile paste
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt (skip)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 pound chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 c. snow peas
  • 1/2 c. sliced onion
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (used minced)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 c. rice
  • 1/4 c. slices green onions
  • 1/4 c. chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
  • Combine 2 tsp sesame oil and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl.
  • Heat wok or large skillet over med-high heat. Add remaining 1 tsp sesame oil and 1 tbsp canola, swirl. Add chicken, stir-fry 2 mins. Remove chicken from pan.
  • Add remaining 1 tbsp canola, swirl. Add bell peppers and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); stir-fry 1 min. Add broth mixture; cook 30 seconds or until thick. Return chicken to pan; cook 4 mins or until chicken is done.
Yield: 4 (1/2 c. rice, 1 c. chicken mixture, green onions, peanuts)
Per serving: 420 cals; 16.7g fat (2g sat, 8.2g mono, 5.1g poly); 32.3g protein; 32.3g carb; 66mg chol; 478mg sodium

Mid-way through dinner, the kid gave me his very thoughtful review: The chicken and the peas went great together - the crunch of the peas and the chewiness of the chicken (is that good?); the rice just slipped down the throat and you didn't have to chew it (bonus?); and the sauce was awesome - not too much of it.

While I don't know if the kid's review would give me any sort of Michelin stars, in the "Kid Star" world this was a four forker. The hubs liked it a lot too - with the exception of the peppers. I thought it was good, but didn't quite taste as much flavor as the kid apparently did. This certainly fit the bill for a lighter meal.

Three Forks

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Soccer, baseball, soccer, baseball

That's right sports fans. We are in the midst of travel soccer and travel baseball season. So when we don't have rain outs or wind outs (like last night), we have a commitment many nights of the week. Whether or not I cook will depend on timing and location.

Tonight we had a soccer game. I decided to cook - despite the fact that we weren't going to do the family meal because of timing. I wanted the boys to have something hot to eat when they came home. Side note: I attend as many games as possible, but when certain little women hit the hay at 6:30, it makes it difficult during the week.

Southwestern Skillet Mac & Cheese
Source: Weight Watchers "Make It In Minutes" 2001

  • 1 c. elbow mac
  • 1 lbs ground skinless turkey
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped green pepper (skip)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes with juice (used no-salt added)
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce (used no-salt added)
  • 1 (4.5oz) can chopped green chiles
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar (used mozzarella b/c I had it on hand)
  • Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink. Stir in onion, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Cook for 3 mins. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chiles and water.
  • Simmer, uncovered for 10 mins. Add in pasta and cheese, stirring to combine.
Yield: 6 servings (1 c./serving)
Per serving: 297 cals; 13g fat (5g sat); 73mg chol; sodium in original is too ridic to include; 22mg carbs; 22g protein

Fast, easy, hearty, bit of a kick. Win win win. Just like our soccer boys - they brought home a 7-0 win tonight (and the kid scored 2).

Three Forks

Monday, April 23, 2012


Don't tell the boys, but I decided to try and pull a secret Meatless Monday on them.

I hatched the plan when I bought the soy crumbles. Despite the fairly obvious packaging, the hubs - who puts away the groceries - didn't pay too much attention and threw it in the pantry along with the cereal and other random items. Luckily I discovered this snafu almost immediately and put the soy stuff in its rightful shelf in the fridge.

The recipe for tonight also made it easy to try and hide the soy stuff in casserole form. I don't know that this is even close to the healthiest, cleanest or leanest of recipes out there, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to attempt another meatless recipe.

Sloppy Joe Casserole
Source: Family Circle, May 2012

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped (used 1)
  • 2 green peppers, chopped (used 1/2 red)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (used minced)
  • 1 (12oz) package soy crumbles
  • 1 (8oz) can no-salt added tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 package Arnold pocket thins, Italian Herb, split open
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 13x9 dish with cooking spray.
  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Cook 7 mins, stirring so garlic doesn't burn. Stir in soy, tomato sauce, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar, cover and simmer on med-low heat for 10 mins.
  • Line bottom of dish with half the flatbreads, tear to fit if needed. Spread half the skillet mix over breads, sprinkle with 1/2 c. cheese. Layer with remaining breads and skillet mix. Cover with foil.
  • Bake for 25 mins. Top with remaining 1/2 c. cheese and bake uncovered 5 more mins to melt cheese.
Yield: 6 servings
Per serving: 355 cals; 11g fat (4g sat); 24g protein; 47g carbs; 12g fiber; 805mg sodium (ACK!)

The only one who really liked this meal was... the hubs! In fact, I haven't yet revealed the "secret" ingredient, so I'll be curious to hear his reaction when he reads this blog. My hunch is he will claim he was on to the soy the entire time. Regardless, he dug right in and noted more than once how much he liked the meal. The kid didn't like it at all ("too close to hamburger pie") and while I liked the soy stuff, there was too much bread. I even removed the top half of the bread and just baked it as a single layer, because it was too much. I also didn't love the taste of the Italian Herb pocket thin.

Two Forks

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Well peeps, I have writer's block. I have found that over the past several blog posts, I have been struggling with things to share, and I feel like my blog is getting a little repetitive. Luckily, the entire point of this challenge was not to create an awesome blog, but to not repeat recipes, and with the exception of my accidental repeat, the spirit of this challenge is still going strong. So, no matter what I write or don't write, do know that the dishes are going to keep on keeping on. And who knows? Tomorrow the block might have lifted and you'll once again have super-extra-awesomely-witty words to read.

Couscous-Stuffed Chicken
Source: Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2011

  • 1/3 c. chicken broth (used no-salt)
  • 1/4 c. uncooked couscous (used whole wheat)
  • salt/pepper (skip)
  • 3 tbsp chopped plum tomato (used diced)
  • 2 tbsp olives, chopped (skipped -blech)
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 tsp chopped oregano
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 4 (6oz) boneless chicken breast halves
  • cooking spray
  • Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan, remove from heat. Stir in couscous. Cover and let stand 4 mins. Place couscous in a small bowl, fluff with fork. Cool for 10 mins. Add ingredients to bowl (through garlic), toss.
  • Pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Divide couscous mixture evenly among breast halves; roll up jelly-roll fashion. Secure with wooden picks. Sprinkle chicken with salt/pepper (skipped).
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat a large ovenproof skillet over med-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook for 6 mins or until browned. Turn chicken over. Bake at 400 degrees until chicken is done.
Yield: 4 servings (1 stuffed breast)
Per serving: 271 cals; 10.7g fat (2.2g sat, 6.5g mono, 1.3g poly); 31.9g protein; 10g carbs; 78mg chol; 546mg sodium

First - a word to the wise. Do not use colored wooden toothpicks to secure chicken rolls unless you like the lovely blue, green and red dye colors in your food. D'oh. Second - this was so-so. It was good and edible and all that, but the only flavor that really came through was the lemon. I didn't get enough of the tomatoes or feta in my serving for it to be worth the mess and kinda hassle.

Two Forks

Fresh from the oven - spot the blue hue!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

At the Hubs' Request

Last week, the hubs requested something "Italiany." Tonight, in lieu of Sophia Loren (circa 1960), he got chicken with garlic-tomato sauce.

(Sorry peeps - not feeling it tonight.)

Chicken with Garlic Tomato Sauce
Source: Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet, Spring 2008

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4oz each)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (used no-salt diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 c. tomato sauce (used no-salt added)
  • 3/4 c. chicken broth (used no-salt added)
  • 1/4 c. tomato paste (used no-salt added)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • Sprinkle both sides of chicken with pepper (skip). In a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat, brown chicken on each side in 1 tsp oil. Remove and keep warm (note: I browned each side for approx 3 mins).
  • In the same skillet, saute tomatoes and garlic in remaining oil for 1 min. Add carrots, saute 2-3 mins longer. Combine tomato sauce, broth, tomato paste adn rosemary. Stir into skillet and bring to a boil.
  • Return chicken to the pan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-12 mins or until chicken is done. Serve with pasta.
Yield: 4 servings (4oz chicken + 3/4 c. sauce)
Per serving: 197 cals; 5g fat (1g sat); 63mg chol; 510mg sodium; 10g carbs; 3g fiber, 26g protein

The kid LOVED this meal. He liked the chicken. The sauce. The pasta. The garlic bread. The whole nine yards. No weird after taste or crazy, hidden veggies. Or potatoes. The hubs also liked the dish, but I don't think it was quite as palate pleasing to him as it was to the kid. Overall, this was simple to prepare and I liked the timing because it allowed me to make the pasta, the garlic bread (for the boys) and the kale (for me, duh), while it was simmering.

Three Forks

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Meatless Sunday?

What a glorious weekend! Chock full of fun and an unexpected dose of sunshine! I hope yours was equally as lovely.

In my scurrying around, I failed to realize that the dish I had planned for tonight required an overnight soak in buttermilk until approx 10 minutes before I needed to start meal prep. No problemo! Because of my uber-organization and meal pre-planning, I simply flipped my Meatless Monday dish to tonight. And tomorrow, my buttermilk mystery will be revealed for all to enjoy.

Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole
Source: No clue. I think I ripped it out of either Reader's Digest or Prevention

  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • slice mushrooms
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can black beans (used no-salt added)
  • 8 corn tortillas, halved
  • 2 c. salsa (used Newman's Own)
  • 4 oz. shredded Mexican or Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, 7 mins. Add garlic and cayenne, season with salt and pepper (did not do that). Add black beans and stir to combine. Cook until warmed through, approx 2 mins. Remove from heat.
  • Arrange 5 tortilla halves in a 2-quart baking dish. Top with half the bean mix and 1/2 c. salsa, then sprinkle 1/3 cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortilla halves, bean mixture, salsa and cheese. Tip with remaining tortilla halves, salsa and cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake 10 mins. Uncover and bake another 5 mins or until cheese is bubbling.
Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: 384 cals; 13g fat (6g sat); 20g protein; 51g carbs; 12g fiber

Considering the kid shoveled in a huge ice cream cone about 90 minutes before dinner, I'm a little impressed that he even tried a few bites. He didn't hate it - he simply said it wasn't one of his favorites. The hubs thought it was good, but, because it was meatless it would go against his nature to give it a rave review. Not that this dish deserves a rave review. Although I liked it because it was fast to throw together and very filling, it wasn't one of my favorite meatless endeavors.

Two Forks

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

There's Something About Kale

Alright, bloggies. I have a confession to make. As I've posted before, I have been on kind of a kale kick. What you don't know is that this little "kick" has turned into a minor obsession.

Right now, I'm eating kale with dinner at least three times a week. I only know how to prepare it one way (baked in the oven with a bit of olive oil), and I get a tad bit defensive of my kale consumption when the boys giggle and point. Oh - and I kind of almost got into a wee bit of a fight with a grocery store cashier last week whilst buying yet another bag of said kale.

Gah. I guess there are worse things to be obsessed with, right?

Tonight, kale was the star of the show. That's because while dinner was OK, it wasn't nearly as tasty or as satisfying as the kale. MY kale.

Golden Chicken with Marsala Mushrooms
Source: Good Housekeeping Best Chicken Dishes, 1999

  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil (used olive)
  • 4 large boneless chicken breast halves (recipe calls for 2 lbs, I used 1 lbs of thin-sliced)
  • salt/pepper (skip)
  • 1 lbs mushrooms
  • 1/4 c. dry Marsala wine
  • In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over med-high heat until very hot. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, approx. 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  • Add mushrooms to skillet and cook until mushrooms are golden brown and all liquid evaporated, stirring frequently. Add Marsala wine to 'shrooms, stirring to loosen any brown bits from bottom of the skillet. Return chicken to mushroom mixture and heat through.
Yield: 4 servings (original recipe)
Per serving: 390 cals; 40g protein; 6g carbs; 21g fat (5g sat); 116mg chol; 410mg sodium

The kale was amaze! Haha. Pros about this dish? So fast and easy to prepare. No chopping, barely any measuring. Lots of mushroom goodness. Cons about this dish? The kid said it best: "It could have used some sauce." Note: I served this with plain, whole wheat pasta. The mushrooms tasted very Marsala-y, but otherwise the chicken was bland.

Two Forks

The star of the show is taking a back seat

Monday, April 9, 2012

At the Kid's Request

Last week, the kid randomly mentioned that he liked eating shrimp with the little tails on it. Aha! We haven't had shrimp in a really long time, so I decided to add it to the meal list for this week.

Honestly, I'm not the world's biggest fan of shrimp. I do not like it raw, and I prefer that the shrimp is doused with a lot of sauces or spices to cover up its taste.

Luckily Cooking Light had the perfect recipe to do this - shrimp curry! Talk about a promised flavor punch. And, talk about doing something a little different. I don't use a lot of curry in my cooking so I thought this was a win-win situation for all of us. Kid: Shrimp fix. Me: Lots of spices to hide the shrimp taste. Plus this recipe is one of Cooking Light's "Super Fast" options, promising a delish meal in approx 20 mins.

Bombay Shrimp Curry with Coconut Rice
Source: Cooking Light, July 2011

I don't feel like typing this whole thing out - if you want the recipe, ask. What you should know is that part of this recipe called for coconut milk rice, which was a complete and total fail. The rice was supposed to absorb the milk in 5 minutes. After 15 minutes, that was a no-go. Boo.

The boys really enjoyed it. I thought it was a hassle and not timed out that well. The taste was OK - not that spicy. The shrimp flavor still came through - a positive for most people.

Two Forks

And, lest I forget, last night my family did a combo Passover Seder-Easter dinner (we don't discriminate against holidays). So, to mark the occasion, I brought a Lemon Buttermilk Cake (Betty Crocker Super Moist Cakes, Spring 2009) and Passover Brownies ( Both recipes earned rave reviews - per usual from my fam - but, truth be told, they both turned out pretty darn well.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Homemade turkey meatball sub sandwiches. 'Nuff said.

(In all honesty, I just don't have any witty ideas for this post tonight.)

Saucy Turkey Meatball Sub
Source: The Carb Lovers Diet Cookbook, by Ellen Kunes

  • 2 c. marinara sauce (used no-salt added from TJs)
  • 1 lbs ground turkey (used lean)
  • 3/4 c. fresh bread crumbs (yes, I took a piece of bread and crumbed it up in the processor. Really.)
  • 1/3 c. grated cheese
  • 3/4 c. finely grated carrot (skipped - ran out of carrots)
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • salt, pepper, cooking spray, buns
  • Place sauce in a med saucepan and keep warm on low.
  • Combine turkey through pepper in a bowl and mix with hands until well combined. Form into 16 equal meatballs.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over med-high heat. Brown balls on all sides, approx 5-6 mins.
  • Add meatballs to sauce, increase heat to medium and simmer until meatballs have absorbed some of the sauce and are heated through, approx. 10-15 mins.
  • Spoon 4 meatballs and some sauce onto a bun and sprinkle with 1 tbsp cheese (used mozzarella instead).
I very rarely make sandwiches for dinner, but even with this whole recipe no-repeat challenge thing I have going on, I often find myself making the same types of dishes. This def switched things up a bit, much to the delight of both boys - they loved the sub. Much to the dismay of both boys I paired this with zucchini fries. Yum-o for me, Sun Chips for them.

Three Forks

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Plop, Plop

No, the title of this post is not about that old Alka-Seltzer commercial, nor is it indicative of my cooking.

Rather, "plop, plop" is in reference to the following conversation that actually took place today:

Kid: "What are you making for dinner?"
Me: "Turkey."
Kid "What do you mean? You're just going to plop down some turkey and call it a day?"

After I finished biting my tongue, I calmly explained that my refined cooking requires much more than plopping food down.

However, in reality, the kid kind of had it right tonight. This meal required little more than dumping some basic ingredients into a dish, plopping and rolling the turkey around and then baking it. Maybe the kid is onto something.

Turkey Tenderloin with Rosemary
Source: American Heart Association Low-Salt Cookbook, 3rd Edition (2006)

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried (used dried)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 tsp lemon pepper (skip)
  • 1 lbs turkey breast tenderloin
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth (used no-salt added)
  • 1 tbsp dry white wine or chicken broth (used wine)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 12x8x2 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Put the olive oil, rosemary, lemon juice, garlic and lemon pepper in the baking dish, stir. Roll (or plop) the turkey in the mixture, coating well. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn and bake for 20-25 more mins.
  • Transfer turkey to a cutting board, retaining liquid in baking dish and leaving oven on. Let the turkey stand for 5 mins and cut.
  • Meanwhile pour the broth and wine into the baking dish, scraping to dislodge browned bits. Stir well. Return to oven for 3-4 mins or until broth is heated through. Pour broth over turkey slices.
Yield: 4 servings (3oz turkey per serving)
Per serving: 161 cals; 4.5g fat (1g sat, 0.5g poly, 2.5g mono); 77mg chol; 52mg sodium; 1g carb; 27g protein

After being uber-excited about the turkey possibilities and requesting approximately a 10oz serving (which he did not get), the kid decided he did not like the rosemary and attempted to pick it all off before giving up on the meal. I liked the rosemary and thought the flavor was nice and light. The hubs thought it was good, albeit a little bland. This gets major props for weeknight ease and super healthy goodness.

Three Forks

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dashed Dreams

Well friends, our dreams were dashed late Saturday evening when my beloved Buckeyes blew a significant lead and gave the game to a tough Kansas squad. It was a great run, and now I will turn my sports fandom attention to the Indians.

Originally this meal was going to celebrate the Buckeyes' run in New Orleans, but instead this is simply an ode to one of the hubs' fave meals - jambalaya.

I have never made this souped-up stew before, mostly because a lot of the recipes involve a whole lot of ingredients that I don't feel like dealing with. This twist on jamabalya kept things simple for yours truly, and with the exception of the higher than normal sodium content, seems like a somewhat healthy meal.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalya
Source: Cooking Light, November 2011

  • 2 tsp canola
  • 6oz reduced-fat smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1/2 c. chopped green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. uncooked long-grain white rice (used brown)
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 14.5oz low-sodium chicken broth (used no-salt)
  • 14.5oz can no-salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 c. shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken (used plain baked)
  • Heat a Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add sausage, saute 1 min or until browned. Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic; saute 6 mins or until tender. Add rice and next 5 ingredients (through broth); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 mins or until rice is done.
  • Remove thyme sprigs, discard. Stir in tomatoes and chicken. Cook 3 mins or until thoroughly heated.
Yield: 4 servings (approx 1-1/4 c./serving)
Per serving: 341 cals; 5.8g fat (1.3g sat, 2g mono, 0.9g poly); 19.3g protein; 50.6g carb; 2.8g fiber; 44mg chol; 723mg sodium

The kid was a little wary of this meal since I (unsuccesfully) tricked him into thinking tempeh was chicken last week. Once the hubs - chicken-cutting sous chef  - confirmed via pinky swear it was indeed real chicken, he dug in and ate a nice helping, with the exception of the sausage. The hubs pretty much licked his bowl clean and declared it "great." I thought it had a lot of flavor, and wouldn't really change anything, except for the sodium.

Three Forks (sodium peeps)

Action shot! Still simmering