Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cooking Light Roundup

I've been sick with the flu since last Friday so I haven't exactly been cooking a lot. But I had a whole pork roast thawing prior to getting sick so I had to use it or lose it. I cut it in half and did a traditional roast pork meal for the first half. It's easy, I like it, I was sick, so I went with it. But for the second half, I made this: Soy and Cola-Braised Pork Shoulder

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but I modified it for the slow-cooker. I think it worked really well this way. The night before I made the sauce, adding the sesame oil to it instead of using that to brown the meat. I never brown meat when using the slow cooker because it takes too much time and I have never really noticed a big difference in flavor and texture when I do. I threw it all in the slow cooker and came home to dinner made. I bought some ciabatta rolls to serve it in, pulled the pork with forks, and strained the sauce into a pan to let it reduce further. It was really easy and really delicious. I chose to spend more money on an organic cola that used cane sugar instead of corn syrup and thought it turned out great. There wasn't any Chinese 5-Spice powder in the mix but it ended up tasting like it was there anyway. I would definitely make this one again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Eggplant Lasagna

I'm sure this recipe is hardly healthy, but it sure was tasty. I tried to make a few alterations like using less meat, using Egg Beaters instead of eggs, and cottage cheese instead of ricotta, which is easier for me to eat than ricotta. The main alteration was using eggplant slices instead of noodles. I also added spinach leaves to it too.

I just made up the recipe, I started with sauteing chopped onions and garlic in a pan with olive oil. To that I added 7oz. of Italian chicken sausage. When that was mostly cooked I added about 6 sliced cremini mushrooms. I had a bit of leftover fresh tomato that I chopped up and thew in as well. I then added a few handfuls of fresh spinach leaves and a whole jar of marinara sauce. And some Italian seasoning.

In a bowl I added a container of cottage cheese, a couple handfuls of shredded Mozzarella cheese, a few pinches of Parmesan cheese, and two eggs-worth of Egg Beaters. I added salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and mixed it all together.

Then I sliced up an eggplant in thin slices. I used a Pyrex 9"x13" pan, stuck some sauce on the bottom. Then I did eggplant, a layer of thin slices of reduced fat Swiss cheese, more eggplant, sauce, etc. For the center I added the entire bowl of cottage cheese mixture and then continued with Swiss cheese, sauce, eggplant, and ended with sauce. On top I added the rest of the Mozzarella cheese and a bit more Parmesan. I did this a few hours before I ate so I just put foil and top and set it in the fridge.

I cooked it at 350 for about 45 minutes before taking the foil off, turning it to 400 and letting it cook another 20 minutes or so. It probably needed about 5 more minutes total and next time I'll probably cook it at 400 the entire time, but wow was it good! I didn't even miss the pasta! I highly recommend it.

Cooking Light Roundup

This weekend I tried a couple recipes. Friday night I tried their suggestion for oven fries. I love oven fries but they always get overdone. Their suggestion was to soak them in water first and then drain them before going on as usual. So I did. They still got overdone, unfortunately, but I think I'm on the right track. I think they just cook for too long. Instead of a half hour I'll try 20 minutes and see how it is next time.

Saturday for lunch I tried making fish tacos. I need to eat more fish in my diet since it's so heart-healthy, so I tried an easy one. I bought some frozen tilapia fillets at the store and was a bit scared to use them. I don't usually cook fish so I am not very skilled at it yet. It's expensive, it smells for a long time after you cook it, and I'm a bit scared that it will taste really fishy. Well, this stuff didn't taste fishy, thankfully, but it did taste...oceany, if that makes any sense. It'll take a bit of adjusting but I think I'll get there.

The tacos were pretty good, especially since I figured out how to steam the soft corn tortillas with the basket from my rice cooker. The toppings were ok, not highly flavorful, but it is March, tomatoes and avocados are hardly at their peak right now. I think I need to try cabbage and green onions, it definitely needed something crunchy.

Here's the recipe: Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos