Posted in Asian, Matters of the Heart, What's for Dinner, WW Freestyle

Good Food Memories

https://thepartysinthekitchen.me/2018/06/12/good-food-memories/

When I was a little girl, my Aunt Mikki came to visit us all the way from Japan. I wasn’t sure where exactly Japan was, but I knew it was far, far away. While Aunt Mikki was with us, she prepared Chicken Chow Mein for our family. The whole process included a trip to the market for fresh ingredients and a lot of chopping. I have loved Chicken Chow Mein since that day. I cook it often for my own family. It’s one of those dishes everyone around the table stops talking and just eats. My Auntie’s version included crispy fried noodles. I now make it with regular boiled noodles and sprinkle some wonton strips or sliced green onions to add some crunch. I also use cabbage in place of bean sprouts because it is more easily available, but you can certainly use bean sprouts if you desire.


Chicken Chow Mein
Ingredients
• 2 pounds chicken breast sliced in 1-inch strips
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 tablespoon mirin or sake
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 2 teaspoons minced ginger
• 2 teaspoons sesame oil
• 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste
• 3 tablespoons oil, divided
• 1 onion, sliced
• 2 ribs celery, sliced on diagonal
• 2 carrots, sliced
• 2 cups chopped cabbage
• 8-ounces spaghetti, cooked according to package directions and drained
Serve with soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili sauce, sliced green onions, fried wonton strips.
Instructions
1. In a medium bowl mix together soy sauce, mirin or sake, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and chili paste. Add chicken to marinade while you chop the vegetables.
2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to large skillet or wok. Add ½ the chicken and quickly cook. Remove from pan. Repeat with second half. Set aside.
3. Heat last tablespoon of oil in skillet. Quickly cook the vegetables, starting with onion, celery, and carrot. Adding the cabbage after vegetables soften a bit.
4. Return the chicken to the skillet with the vegetable mixture.
5. Add spaghetti and toss.
6. Serve with desired toppings.
7. Enjoy!


“Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table.”

Charles Pierre Monselet (1825-1888)


Weight Watcher friends: 7 Smart Points. If you use edamame spaghetti you can take it down another point. It has 24 grams of protein and only .5 grams of fat and 3 sugars. It has 4 Smart Points for a 2-ounce serving. I used the Seaport Farms brand.

Posted in A Handful of Love

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

pattyschell.com

Growing up, my mom baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies quite often. Perhaps the oatmeal made it seem the cookies were just a little bit healthier. I tend to agree, yet I don’t have any scientific evidence to back it up. But joy does add to your life and chocolate chip cookies do bring a little joy to those who love them. This recipe has a bonus of extra protein from the peanut butter bringing them to an even higher ‘good-for-you’ level. “Wink, wink.”


 

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: Not exactly sure. People keep coming by and eating them.  Maybe 6 dozen 1-tablespoon size.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 ½ cups chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter together until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Add sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on high until combined, about 1 minute. Strap sides and beat again to combine.
  5. Add flour mixture to mixing bowl and mix on low until combined.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add oats. Once the oats are combined, add chocolate chips. Mix just until everything is combined. The dough will be thick and somewhat sticky. Cover and chill dough for about 20 minutes up 4 days.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  8. Use 1-2 tablespoons of dough to form balls. Place on cookie sheet leaving enough space for the cookie to spread out while baking.
  9. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. Centers will be soft.
  10. Remove from oven. Allow cookies to sit on cookie sheet before moving to cooling rack to cool completely.

 


Today me will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie. ~Cookie Monster

Posted in Asian, Weight Watchers, WW Freestyle

Traveling the World One Recipe at a Time

I have been enjoying traveling the world. Maybe not traveling as much as experiencing the world through the articles of people, places, and food found in Christopher Kimble’s Milk Street Magazine. And in my journeys, I have learned many things about other cultures and people, and have tried some really great recipes. Quite a few of them keep showing up on my table or are shared at parties.

milk street cover

The newest issue is out, and my copy already has many tags on its pages. As my custom, I will use the recipes as jumping off point and tweak them to fit my eating style and pantry. That’s why there are so many amazing dishes out there to try. Everyone has their own spin and that keeps life interesting. Hope you enjoy my take on this yummy dish inspired by Asia flavors.

Vietnamese Meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs
• 1 pound lean ground pork or ground chicken breast
• 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
• 6 minced green onions
• 3 tablespoons water
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground pepper
• 2 teaspoons cooking oil
Salad
• 2 medium carrots, shredded
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• Pinch of salt

Instructions

1. In a medium bowl, mixed together ground chicken, cilantro, green onions, water, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper until well incorporated.
2. Form into 20 meatballs, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook until bottoms are golden. Turn and continue to cook until all sides are browned.
4. In a medium bowl, toss carrots with lime juice and salt.
5. Serve meatballs alongside carrot salad. Yum!
6. Enjoy!

meatballs


If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold,
it would be a much merrier world.
J.R.R. Tolkien


Weight Watcher Freestyle Friends: Five meatballs and ¼ salad equal 4 Smart Points when made with pork. One Smart point when made with chicken breast. Enjoy!

Posted in Easy Cooking, What's for Dinner, WW Freestyle

Cheesy Comfort

Easy Cheesy Lasagna

Need something satisfying and easy for a weeknight supper. This will do the trick. I have made this for years, and it always pleases. It is a great dish to serve to company, take to a party, or share with a friend who is need of a meal. I have included the changes to make it Weight Watcher friendly.


Easy Cheesy Lasagna

4 servings
Ingredients
• 1/2 pound Italian Sausage *See note
• 2 cups pasta sauce, I used Classico Tomato & Basil
• 5 no-boil lasagna pasta sheets
• 2 cups cottage cheese, I used nonfat. Ricotta can be used if you prefer
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, I used nonfat
Instructions
1. In a medium saucepan, cook sausage. Add pasta sauce and heat.
2. In a medium bowl combine cottage cheese, egg, basil, and parmesan cheese.
To assemble:
1. Spread ½ cup of sauce in bottom of 6×9 inch casserole.
2. Place one pasta sheet in middle. Don’t worry. Sheets expand during the cooking process.
3. Spread about ½ cup of cottage cheese mixture on sheet.
4. Top with about ½ cup sauce, sprinkle with ¼ cup of mozzarella.
5. Top with another pasta sheet, cottage cheese mixture, and mozzarella. No sauce in this layer.
6. Repeat layer 1 and 2.
7. Top with remaining pasta sheet, sauce, and ¼ cup of mozzarella. If using nonfat mozzarella, lightly spray with cooking spray. This will help the cheese melt.
8. Tightly cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
9. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Life is a combination of magic and pasta.

Frederico Fellini


*Weight Watchers on Freestyle: I make my own Italian sausage by adding Italian sausage seasonings to ground chicken breast. See recipe here. I add 1 pound of it to this recipe to increase the protein and flavor. If you use this method, your lasagna will be 8 Smart Points. If making your own sausage seems like too much I would suggest using ½ pound turkey Italian sausage for 2 extra Smart Points per serving. It would also be quite tasty without the sausage if you prefer. Enjoy!

Posted in Only Eat the Good Stuff, What's for Dinner, WW Freestyle

Dinner on the Quick: Balsamic Apple Pork Tenderloin

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

I have a new gadget in my kitchen. Well, maybe not exactly new. I purchased a counter top pressure cooker last year, and I stared at it quite a while before I actually put it to use. The delay probably resulted from my upbringing as a child. I was well-versed in the dangers of pressure cookers as a child. I remember wondering each time my mom would use it whether it would result in an explosion. Lol!

Today’s cookers are much safer and easier to use. Once I used mine, I realized what a wonderful gadget it is. I have only made a couple of things so far, but I can already see what a benefit they are. Meat can go from freezer to finished in no time. And those same meals you cook in the crock pot for hours, can be done in thirty minutes.

Here’s what I tried last night.

Balsamic Apple Pork Tenderloin
4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1.5 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup apple juice or chicken broth
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 springs thyme

To finish

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Turn on sauté function and heat. When hot, add oil.
  2. Brown tenderloin on all sides. Approx. 2 minutes per side. Remove tenderloin to plate. Set aside.
  3. Add onion to pot and cook until tender, stirring frequently.
  4. Add garlic. Stir.
  5. Add balsamic vinegar. Stir.
  6. Add juice/broth, apple, salt, rosemary, and thyme. Stir well.
  7. Add tenderloin, nestling in the mixture. Cancel sauté function. Place lid on cooker and lock. Close steam release vent. Press cook. Adjust time to 10 minutes. Longer if meat is frozen: 15 minutes. When cycle finishes, let pot rest in the warm function for 15 minutes.
  8. Release any remaining steam and remove lid. Check internal temperature of pork for doneness: 140 degrees F.
  9. Remove from pot and cover with foil to keep warm.
  10. Switch on sauté function. Add butter and incorporate.
  11. Remove 1/3 cup broth, whisk in cornstarch, and return to pot to thicken sauce.
  12. Turn off pot.
  13. Slice meat and top with sauce.
  14. Enjoy!

No pressure cooker? This recipe can be made in the crockpot or the oven. Just adjust times accordingly.

Weight Watcher Friends: This has 5 SmartPoints if made with chicken broth, 6 with juice. I used beer which doesn’t add any points to the overall dish.

Good food ain’t cheap and cheap food ain’t good.

Posted in Eat the Good Stuff, What's for Dinner, WW Freestyle

Taco Tuesday

Grilled Chicken

This week when Tuesday arrived, tacos were on my mind.

I don’t know if Taco Tuesday is a thing other places across the country, but here in SoCal it’s pretty popular. So, instead of heading out to the local taco place, I thought I would just create some at home.

So glad I did.

I tried a new recipe for a Mexican chicken marinade and was it good. Even though the recipe called for fresh lemon juice, I used the “from concentrate” I had in the fridge. It turned out fine, plus made it effortlessness to prepare. The grilled chicken that is the result is pretty delicious. You don’t wait until Tuesday to try it. Any day could use a little extra yumminess. And don’t forget to invite your friends. They’ll thank you.


Mexican Chicken Marinade

Ingredients

¾ cup lemon juice, I used a combination of lemon and lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoons dried oregano
2 pounds chicken, I used boneless, skinless chicken breast

Instructions

  1. Mix juice, oil, salt, pepper, and oregano into a large zipper bag.
  2. Add chicken and marinate for thirty minutes or longer.
  3. Grill chicken until done, 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer.
  4. Enjoy!

 

I’m trying to eliminate negativity from my life. Therefore, Mondays are now “Taco Tuesday Eve” until further notice.

Posted in Matters of the Heart

Friends Around the Table

 

new dishes

Exciting things are happening in the Schell household.

Some of you may have heard we have purchased a house near our children in Oklahoma. (See my post Adventuring On) We are pretty excited to be the owners of red dirt and look forward to experiencing all that comes with it.

We just made our very first purchase for our new place—we bought dishes. How can you provide hospitality without the right tools? I can’t wait to serve a meal around our table there. That is what will make the new house a home. (Don’t worry SoCal friends. We are not moving. We are just expanding our borders to include the Midwest.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in California . . . 

we are hosting a small group of friends who gather once a month to fellowship, share a meal, and discuss a portion of the Bible. Our discussion will be on the stories found in Luke 8. I always look forward to our time together. It not only strengthens my knowledge of God and His Word, but also my connection with the other people around the table. This may be why the Bible tells us to “always be eager to practice hospitality”. (Romans 12:13) Good food and good conversation go hand-in-hand in developing good friendships.


Here is the recipe for what I am fixing for dinner tonight. It is easy and delicious. Perfect for your next dinner party. Don’t hesitate to invite others to your table. Relationships have a way of growing strong there.

Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms

Ingredients

2 tablespoon olive oil, divided, I used 2 teaspoons
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound chicken pieces, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup chicken broth
¼ teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and minced garlic bowl. Add chicken and marinade for a few minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and marinade to pan. Cook until chicken is browned. Remove from pan and finish cooking in a 400 degrees oven.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Add mushrooms. Cook until browned and released liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add chicken broth and thyme. Heat and reduce slightly. Place chicken on serving dish and top with mushroom mixture. Enjoy.

Note: I chose garlic mashed potatoes to serve this with, but rice or noodles would work, too.


Olive oil and balsamic vinegar shops have been popping up everywhere offering a variety of flavors. This would be a good dish to try some out.


Good food and good company are two of life’s simplest yet greatest pleasures.