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
- 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
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- Turn on sauté function and heat. When hot, add oil.
- Brown tenderloin on all sides. Approx. 2 minutes per side. Remove tenderloin to plate. Set aside.
- Add onion to pot and cook until tender, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic. Stir.
- Add balsamic vinegar. Stir.
- Add juice/broth, apple, salt, rosemary, and thyme. Stir well.
- 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.
- Release any remaining steam and remove lid. Check internal temperature of pork for doneness: 140 degrees F.
- Remove from pot and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Switch on sauté function. Add butter and incorporate.
- Remove 1/3 cup broth, whisk in cornstarch, and return to pot to thicken sauce.
- Turn off pot.
- Slice meat and top with sauce.
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.
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
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
- Mix juice, oil, salt, pepper, and oregano into a large zipper bag.
- Add chicken and marinate for thirty minutes or longer.
- Grill chicken until done, 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer.
I’m trying to eliminate negativity from my life. Therefore, Mondays are now “Taco Tuesday Eve” until further notice.
In the quest for eating the good stuff, I tried this coleslaw to go along with our pulled pork. It was pretty tasty. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Coleslaw with Greek Yogurt Dressing
• 12 ounce coleslaw mix
• 3 scallions, finely chopped
• 1 apple chopped into bite size pieces (I used Honeycrisp, Granny Smith would be good too)
• 1 cup Greek yogurt
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons honey, or to your taste. I added a little stevia to give it just a bit more sweetness without the calories.
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
1. Place the slaw mix, scallions, and apple in a large mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl whisk together the Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth.
3. Pour over the slaw, toss to coat evenly.
4. Refrigerate for 2 hours up to 1 day before serving.
5. Can stay refrigerated 2-3 days.
“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.”
Weight Watchers: This recipe works out to be 1 Smart Point per cup when using honey. It can be made with stevia for 0 Smart Points if you prefer. So much nicer than 7+ Smart Points on the same amount, wouldn’t you say? Enjoy!
Everywhere I go, someone is talking about colds and flu that are going around. It seems every household has been invaded. Chicken soup may be just what’s called to add some good lean protein and vitamin packed vegetables into everyone’s diet. Here’s a recipe that sort of morphed when I started cooking. I had the veggies and the chicken all ready to throw in the pot when I decided to transform the chicken breast into meatballs. The result—Chicken Meatball Soup. It is very good and can be changed up to fit your taste by using seasonings you prefer. Enjoy experimenting and let me know what you came up with.
Chicken Meatball Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced, I used jarred roasted red bell peppers
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 15.5 ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 cups shredded kale
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken breast, I used my food processor to finely chop chicken breasts
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients together gently. Form into 1-inch balls when ready to drop into broth.
- Sauté onion, celery, red pepper, garlic until starting to soften.
- Add thyme, salt and pepper. Cook just a minute or two more.
- Add chicken broth, tomatoes and carrots. Bring to simmer.
- Simmer about 20 minutes for flavors to mingle a bit.
- Drop meatballs carefully into pot. Return to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until meat balls are cooked through.
- Add cabbage and kale to pot. Cook until tender, 10 minutes.
- Enjoy with some crusty bread spread with butter.
Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has the ability to comfort.
Weight Watchers on Freestyle can enjoy each cup of this soup for only 1 point.
During this season of feasting,
I am always looking for good ways to make healthier choices that don’t skimp on flavor and leave room for some extra indulgences. My daughter, Genny, has come up with an excellent recipe for Italian sausage using chicken breast and a recipe she found on the Healthy Foodie website. For us Weight Watchers or anyone who just wants to eat a little better, it’s a delicious replacement for the real thing. Genny said she wasn’t sure why she hadn’t made this sooner. It’s just that good. I concur. I had some pasta with meat sauce for lunch made with this Italian sausage. It was very flavorful and satisfying.
Since Genny doesn’t have a meat grinder, she started with boneless, skinless chicken breast and chopped them in the food processor. If breasts are slightly frozen, it helps to keep the chicken from getting too mushy. Using this method gives the meat a texture that resembles bulk Italian sausage when it is cooked.
Chicken Italian Sausage
- 6 pounds of ground chicken breast, Genny used boneless, skinless breasts chopped in food processor
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 4 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 4 tablespoons fennel seeds, crushed. (Use mortar and pestle, spice blender, or food processor.)
- 2 teaspoons crushed chili peppers
Combine all ingredients. Use food processor or stand mixer. Be careful to not expose your hands to the mixture if sensitive to chili peppers.
Now the rest is up to you. Cook as you would any sausage and add to your favorite Italian sausage dish. What will you cook? You may need a spray or two of olive oil. Be sure to freeze what is left for a later date. Enjoy!
There is nothing better than going home to family, eating good food and relaxing.
Note for Weight Watchers: The new Freestyle plan makes this a 0 SmartPoints food. Yay! So many ways to use this when whipping up some yumminess in your kitchen. Keep the party going!
More soup is on the menu at my house. This is recipe is one of the first soups I learned how to make. It’s simple and comforting. Serve with some crusty bread for dipping. I have omitted the pasta in this recipe, but it can certainly be added in if you like. Just add about ¼ to ½ cup broken spaghetti or small pasta in the last 10 minutes. You could also add Italian sausage or another meat of your choice. Just a half pound will do. Make it your own.
4 servings of about 1 1/2 cups
• 1 tsp olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 32 ounces chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage or grated zucchini
• 1 15.5-ounce fire-roasted diced tomatoes
• 1 15.5-ounce cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add onions, carrots, and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft.
3. Add basil and salt. Cook 2 minutes more.
4. Stir in broth, cabbage or zucchini, beans, and tomatoes. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.
Weight Watchers, this is a great addition to your Freestyle menu. Zero SmartPoints as is. With pasta, it becomes a 1sp about 1 ½ cups of soup.
“There is nothing like soup. It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike, unless of course you get your soup in a can.” — Laurie Colwin
The weather has turned on us here in my part of Southern California. The nighttime temperatures have dipped below freezing and in response I have been making soup. Tonight, it was a White Chicken Chili. Oh man, was it delish. Hope you enjoy it, too. And by the way, this will work very well in your crock pot, too.
Creamy White Chicken Chili
• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1 yellow onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 15.5-ounce cans white beans
• 1 15.5-ounce corn
• 24 ounces chicken broth
• 2 4-ounce cans green chilies (mild, medium, or hot)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• 4 ounces cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
• ¼ cup half-and-half (I used fat-free)
1. Place all ingredients except cream cheese and half-and-half in soup pot.
2. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until flavors mingle and chicken in done.
3. Remove chicken from pot and shred. Return to pot.
4. Add the cream cheese and half-and-half.
5. Heat on low until cream cheese melt and incorporates into soup, about 15 minutes.
6. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.
Note: If using the crock pot just dump in all the ingredients except cream cheese and half-and-half. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken, return to pot. Turn on high. Add cream cheese and half-and-half. Cook until cheese melts and is incorporated into soup, about 15 minutes. Enjoy!
If you’re doing Weight Watchers like I am, the new Freestyle program makes this recipe 3 SmartPoints for 1 1/2 cups of soup. It’s so delicious and satisfying. I have now lost 17.2 pounds eating well.
Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living.
Louis P. De Gouy