Thursday, July 31, 2008

Simple Grilled Vegetables and Grilled Veggie Pitas

Champagne brunch is one of my favorite activities…especially when I get to enjoy it with my three favorite boys, Terry, Timmy and Derrick (I’m talking local boys of course, love you Cousin Bud!!) I got the breakfast quesadilla, with the sour cream on the side, like always. Verbally ordering is not necessary, our waiter Dino, knows my order by heart. Whenever we indulge in brunch, lunch is the furthest thing from our minds. While spending some time in the pool with Terry, I perused the August issue of Cooking Light. I came across the recipe Simple Grilled Vegetables and knew I had to try but it but I also knew had to add meat to the meal so that it would not be too veggie-tastic for Terry. I created a spin off of CL’s Grilled Vegetable Pitas with Goat Cheese and Pesto Mayo. I basically used their recipe as a guide, along side I altered the Parmesan Zucchini Sticks recipe to make Parmesan Baked Onion Rings.

Simple Grilled Vegetables

Cooking Light


8 (4-inch) Portobello mushroom caps (about 1 pound)
4 medium red bell peppers, quartered
2 medium Vidalia or other sweet onions, each cut into 4 slices (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Arrange mushrooms, gill sides up; bell pepper quarters; and onion slices on a baking sheet. Coat vegetables with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with salt and black pepper. Drizzle vinegar over mushrooms. Place vegetables on grill rack; grill 5 minutes on each side or until tender.


8 servings (serving size: 1 mushroom, 2 bell pepper pieces, and 1 onion slice)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 65(4% from fat); FAT 0.3g (sat 0.1g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.1g); IRON 0.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 26mg; CARBOHYDRATE 13.7g; SODIUM 127mg; PROTEIN 2.8g; FIBER 3.3g

Grilled Vegetable Pitas with Goat Cheese and Pesto Mayo

Cooking Light


1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon commercial pesto
2 whole wheat pitas, cut in half
4 leaf lettuce leaves
4 servings Simple Grilled Vegetables

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese


1. Combine mayonnaise and pesto.

2. Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise mixture into each pita half. Stuff each pita half with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 serving Simple Grilled Vegetables, and 2 tablespoons cheese. Serve immediately.


4 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed pita half)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 220(30% from fat); FAT 7.3g (sat 2.5g,mono 1.6g,poly 1.6g); IRON 2.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 7mg; CALCIUM 62mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.7g; SODIUM 505mg; PROTEIN 8.9g; FIBER 5.8g

As I mentioned above, I used CL's Grilled Vegetable Pita with Goat Cheese and Pesto Mayo as a spring board in developing my own little creation. I grilled the veggies on an indoor grill pan, and we added left over Unbelievable Chicken to the pitas for protein (and to make Terry happy!) Instead of goat cheese, we used lite feta from Trader Joe's. I didn't have any pesto on hand, so I combined basil, lemon, garlic and store bought mayo together for a spread. I used the zucchini recipe to create onion rings, once this recipe is perfected, I will post it. As a whole, this meal was delicious! It is very versatile, I can picture adding steak, or following the original vegetarian version of the recipe. I would recommend giving this a try sometime in the near future while the veggies are abundant and fresh!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce

I LOVE FRIED FOODS, doesn’t everyone? Unfortunately for my taste buds, but fortunately for my waist line, I reserve eating them for special occasions. Fried zucchini from Phillies Pizza is one of my weaknesses. I have been looking for a way to recreate these delicious sticks in a healthier way for some time now. I just discovered the Cooking Light recipe, Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smokey Roasted Romesco Sauce, and I knew it was time to give this healthful recreation a try. I had a batch of Lindrusso’s marinara sauce in my freezer, so I passed this time on the Romesco sauce, but the end result of this recipe was a hit.

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce

Cooking Light, JULY 2008

Crunchy breaded zucchini spears are delicious dipped in a summery sauce of roasted red peppers. The sauce is a zesty embellishment for grilled meats, too.

3 medium red bell peppers
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup (1/2-inch) cubed French bread baguette, crusts removed
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked almonds
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large garlic clove

3 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup egg substitute
Cooking spray

1. Preheat broiler.

2. To prepare sauce, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper halves and tomatoes, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten bell peppers with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop, reserving any liquid.

3. Combine bell peppers, reserved liquid, tomatoes, and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

4. Preheat oven to 400°.

5. To prepare zucchini, cut 1 zucchini in half crosswise; cut each half lengthwise into 8 wedges. Repeat procedure with remaining zucchini. Combine breadcrumbs, panko, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dip zucchini in egg substitute; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place zucchini on a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat zucchini with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with sauce.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 6 zucchini sticks and 1/4 cup sauce)

CALORIES 170 (30% from fat); FAT 5.6g (sat 1.3g,mono 2.5g,poly 1.3g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 3mg; CALCIUM 107mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.4g; SODIUM 434mg; PROTEIN 8.4g; FIBER 3.9g

The Parmesan Zucchini Sticks accompanied some Unbelieveable Chicken that I had marinated, frozen, and defrosted that Terry threw on the BBQ. The only change that I made to the recipe was to use two eggs instead of the egg substitute because that is what I had on hand. I served some good ol’ mac n’ cheese right out of the box as a back up plan for Terry. He ate about four of the zucchini sticks, he said they were “OK”. I have to give him a lot of credit for trying all of my new veggie based creations, he is a real trooper. In my opinion these were really good. I will definitely make them again, perhaps along side some homemade pizza so I can have the full-Phillies experience! I can see this baking technique working well with other vegetables and will attempt onion rings in this manner very soon, I KNOW Terry will go for those!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

I hate the CA DMV. I also hate the woman who did not look up from text messaging one time while she “helped” me. Lose your license at a Snoop Dog and 311 concert, and the next thing you know you are put through 2 hours of torture and you get to pay $22 for it!! I have learned my lesson, I will be more careful next time.

Anyhoo, even though I was SOO annoyed (if you know me this makes me act just a bit crabby) I still went and ran the rest of my errands, determined to make a nice dinner to take my mind off of the badness that was my day. I tried a new recipe that was recommended by PattiA on the Cooking Light message board. The Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki turned out very well.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tazatziki

Cooking Light


3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into (1/2-inch-thick) slices
Cooking spray

Tzatziki Sauce:
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and shredded
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced


To prepare souvlaki, combine the first 5 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and shake to combine. Add chicken to bag; seal and shake to coat. Marinate chicken in refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning once.

Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Thread the chicken and zucchini, alternately onto each of 4 (8-inch) skewers.

Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add skewers; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done, turning once.

To prepare tzatziki sauce, combine cucumber, yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 garlic clove, stirring well. Serve the tzatziki sauce with souvlaki.


2 servings (serving size: 2 skewers and about 1/4 cup tzatziki sauce)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 219(19% from fat); FAT 4.7g (sat 1.3g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 69mg; CALCIUM 161mg; CARBOHYDRATE 12.3g; SODIUM 705mg; PROTEIN 30.9g; FIBER 2.4g

We made the recipe as written except that we marinaded the chicken for an hour and added some red onion to the skewers. We also grilled more of the small tomatoes that we bought from the road side stand. The chicken and veggies were served over whole wheat couscous. I personally loved the tzatziki sauce, but Terry passed on it because he said it had too much of a cucumber taste. Cooking Light's Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki was extremely tasty and will be repeated in our house!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Heather's Chicken Bruschetta Pasta

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make for dinner on Sunday night until we picked up the most beautiful tomatoes I have ever seen from a little road side stand. It was right out in front of a house in Orange, so I assume that the family grew them in their garden. After buying two pounds for only three dollars it became clear that I had to make Heather’s Chicken Bruschetta Pasta to showcase these delicacies. I have been making this for years and have been asked countless times for the recipe. This is the type of dish that I usually just wing, but I tried to pay attention to measurements so that I could share this dish with you…

Heather’s Chicken Bruschetta Pasta


1 lb chopped boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 lb chopped and seeded tomatoes

½ to 1 full head garlic, crushed or chopped

1 handful of chopped basil

¼ cup olive oil

8oz thin spaghetti

½ cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese




*Fill a large pot of water and begin to boil for pasta

*Mix together the chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, set aside

*Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, saute chicken in a large pan until fully cooked

*Cook pasta according to package directions and strain

*Add pasta to the chicken pan, top with tomato mixture and Mozzarella cheese

*Mix together and serve immediately

Fresh, is the best word that I can come up with to describe the way this meal turned out. These were the best tomatoes I have ever had, the basil came right from my backyard and the spice of the garlic tied it all together. Heather's Chicken Bruschetta Pasta is one of my favorite dinners and the summer is the best season to enjoy it! I used a mixture of whole grain and whole wheat pasta (I mixed together the end of two boxes that had been opened.) The amount of garlic added should be adjusted to your personal taste. Terry and I love it, so I used an entire head, you may want to start with less. 1/4th cup of olive oil was perfect this time, but there have been times that I need to add a bit more at the end because it was too dry. I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as mine does....I wonder how long I can wait until I make it again!?!


Socca, Skillet Flatbread

What a wonderful weekend!!! It’s not often that the Red Sox get swept, of course, when you are playing the Angels, you have to expect it!!! I can’t lie, Friday night I was a little jealous of Jon Box and Jay when they left our house to go to the first game in the series. Terry and I were content to stay home with Figgins and watch the game on TV. When Jay ran back into the house and told us that Mike had two extra tickets…for FREE…right on THIRD BASE WHERE CHONE FIGGINS PLAYS…I was ecstatic!!! I quickly rushed upstairs to change into all of my Halo gear, and we were off to the game. What a hit fest, the Angels won 11-3 and I was a happy lady.

We were invited to Brian and Regina’s son Caleb’s second birthday party on Saturday night. Because he has all of his shots and can finally be out in public, we brought Figgins. There were four little boys there, and Figgins was their entertainment. It was so enjoyable to watch them run around and play. The party was so much fun and the food was amazing, Brian grilled marinated chicken and carne asada, and Regina made wonderful rice and beans. We ate until our bellies were beyond full.

There was an unusual chill in the air Sunday morning, very unlike the weather we normally experience this time of year. We decided to take advantage of this crisp atmosphere and go on a long walk through the historic circle of Orange. We drove up to Chapman University’s football field and walked to Watson’s drug store for some breakfast. This was by far the longest walk we have taken Figgins on and he did very well. We had to stop about a million times for him to smell everything in sight. On our way home Terry spotted a little stand on the side of the street and we pulled over. It had beautiful small tomatoes placed into Ziploc bags. The sign said “1 pound for $1.50.” There was a little container on the stand, we placed three dollars into it and helped ourselves to two bags of these home grown tomatoes. After returning home I realized that I had not cooked a thing in days, the urge struck, so I made us an afternoon snack. After our big breakfasts, I knew this would be just the thing to tide us over until dinner.

At the end of May, Bob, a staple of the Cooking Light BB posted a recipe for Mark Bitterman’s Socca, Oven Skillet Flatbread. We often get flatbread at the Lazy Dog, our favorite restaurant, so this recipe caught my eye immediately. I don’t know what took me so long to make it, but it could not have been better! Extremely easy to make and very versatile in its end product, this is something that will become a regular occurrence in the Williams house.

Socca, Oven Skillet Flatbread

Mark Bitterman


1 cup chickpea flour, or whole wheat flour, or corn meal, or a mixture

1 to 3 cups water depending on the desired consistency

Pinch of Salt

2 T or so of olive oil

Any add ins you would like


Preheat the oven to 450

Whisk together the flour, water, salt and any add ins

Pour olive oil into an oven proof skillet, put into oven until fragrant, but not smoking

Remove and pour mixture into skillet

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes

Keri Conan, a food writer from Kansas City, who often collaborates with Mark Bitterman had this to say:

“Heat the oven to 450. Start with 1 cup of whole wheat flour or cornmeal. (Or a mixture. I’m also guessing this technique would work for just about any whole grain flour; buckwheat would turn out like a giant blini, right?) If you want a creamy, custardy texture, add 3 cups water. If you want something more cracker-like go with 1 cup of water. Anywhere in between will fall somewhere on the soft-crisp continuum; I’ve settled on 1 1/2 cups. Add a good pinch of salt and whisk until smooth.

You can let the batter sit on the counter as long as you like, up to 12 hours, covered with a towel. The flour obviously absorbs more water and the mixture will separate, so you whisk it again. But the benefits are subtle. Just let it sit while the oven heats.

Like everything about this deal, the pan is also variable. You want a well-seasoned ovenproof skillet or rimmed pizza pan (note from Mark: or a socca or farinata pan, made of tin-lined copper and sold in Provence and Liguria); use a 10-inch and the flatbread will be marginally thicker than it would be in a 12-inch pan. Pour enough olive oil into the bottom so it sloshes around just a bit. If you want to add chopped onion, shallots, garlic, or herbs, now is the time. Pop the pan in the oven to heat until just fragrant (not smoking) then pour the batter in. You’ll see it swirls around and bubbles, cooking fast in some spots, pooling oil in others. All good. You’re just upping the flakiness factor.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. It will release from the pan when it’s ready. Flip it over if you want both sides really crisp. Or top it with some sauce and cheese like pizza and pass it under the broiler. Let cool for a sec, then cut as you like and serve from the pan or a board.”

I don't like to mess with a recipe on my first attempt so that I can understand it's flavor. When making Mark Bitterman's Socca, Skillet Flatbread I stuck closely to it's bare minimum, only adding two cloves of garlic and topping the finished product with a bit of grated Parmesan. This recipe is such a great tasting blank canvas for goodies. I think my next attempt will involve doubling the garlic and also adding in some crushed dried rosemary and diced red onion...I can't wait!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Christy!!

Happy birthday to my best friend in the whole world, Christy (the little brat is only turning 27, must be nice)!! Who knew that I would find such an amazing friend through coaching high school softball? When I needed to find a new junior varsity coach I made an announcement at a staff meeting at school. When no one responded with any potential candidates I gave my favorite football coach a call to see if he could recommend someone. He let me know that his daughter had graduated from UC San Louis Obispo and would be taking over a Chemistry position for the second part of the school year and was interested in coaching. I gave Christy my “is this person fun or not” test and asked her if she would like to get together to discuss the position in my classroom, or out for margaritas. When she chose the margarita option I knew that I was dealing with someone I could relate to.

Years have gone by now, we were both involved in each other’s weddings, our husbands are great friends and teach at the same school, we bought houses near each other, we are pretty much inseparable. Christy is one of the smartest people I know, she gives excellent advice and supports me through thick and thin. I consider myself extremely lucky to have such a wonderful friend and I love her so much!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTY!!!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Heather's 5 Minute Tacos

I love cooking, but every once in a while it is nice to create something simple and healthy without much effort. Because I enjoy a night off every now and then I prepare in advance for these evenings. I always buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts when they are on sale for under $2 per pound. After putting away all of the other groceries I get down to business with my chicken, prepping it in several ways. Some of the boneless, skinless breasts are trimmed and placed whole into freezer safe bags. Others are chopped into bite sized pieces and strips to fit different recipes accordingly. I always make a batch of Unbelievable Chicken Marinade (this will be written about on a future post) and place some chicken into it for the freezer. The last way in which I prep my chicken for easy weeknight dinners is to make a batch of Heather’s Mexican Baked Chicken, I bake six or so breasts with a Mexican inspired dry rub. After being baked and cooled I freeze these individually for a variety of recipes that they work well with like Heather's 5 Minute Tacos.

Heather’s Mexican Baked Chicken


-6 trimmed boneless skinless chicken breasts

-Seasoning Salt

-Black Pepper



-Chili Powder

-Garlic Powder

-Cayenne Pepper


*Preheat oven to 450.

*Sprinkle both sides of each chicken breast with spices; go lightly on the Cayenne if you are not a fan of heat.

*Bake in a lasagna style pan at 450 for 20 minutes (or at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.)

*Use right away or let cool and freeze for future recipes.

Heather’s 5 Minute Tacos


-2 breasts of Heather’s Mexican Baked Chicken


-Toppings of your choice (salsa, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, etc.)


*Shred or chop chicken into bite sized pieces, microwave two minutes or until hot.

*Chop vegetable toppings of your choice.

*Warm tortillas over stove burner (be careful!!)

*Fill tortillas with warm chicken and toppings, enjoy!

When something this simple tastes this good it really makes my day! Terry loved these tacos and they seriously took only 5 minutes due to my recent prep work. I also use this meat in enchiladas, nachos, chili relleno casserole, and Christy’s Easy Soup (recipe to come in a future post.) We were bummed out because we planned on making guacamole with the huge, beautiful avocados that we purchased at the Irvine Farmers market last Saturday. We checked them every day for ripeness and in one day they ripened and went bad. Oh well, our Heather’s 5 Minute Tacos were still excellent and we had plenty of time to watch Josh Hamilton set a record in the Home Run Derby!!


Monday, July 14, 2008

Kylie's 14th Birthday Party: R C's Potato Salad and RR's Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad

I can’t believe our little Kylie is 14 years old! She will start high school next year…where did the time go? Her birthday party took place at our house on Saturday. She chose a Luau/Club theme. Around 20 teenagers attended along with Uncle Mark, Aunt Stacy and little Jake. The first part of the party took place outside by the pool. Although the invitation specified that it was a “pool” party, very few kids swam. After getting crazy (and slightly annoying) with water balloons outside, we moved everyone inside for a Guitar Hero tournament. This went over quite well and we also had Wii Sports being played on the top TV.

Elizabeth and I collaborated and put out quite a spread for our guests. Terry grilled up some cheeseburgers and turkey dogs, as sides I made Rosanne Cash’s Potato Salad and Rachel Ray’s Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad. We also had fruit, veggies, sweets, and just about any chip and dip combo you can think of. Elizabeth made a very impressive cake that all of the kids enjoyed. After dinner we turned on the black lights and the kids ran around, danced and enjoyed the night. They had glowing bracelets and necklaces, it was quite a sight to see! Several different kids approached Terry to tell him that they had a lot of fun at the party, and at the end of the night it was little Noah who proclaimed, “This is the coolest party I have ever been to!!” The night was a success and Kylie went home a happy girl.

Rosanna Cash’s Potato Salad

Adapted from Bon Appetite, June 2004

Makes 8 servings.

3 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
8 dill pickle spears or a handful of cornichon, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain; cool. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces and transfer to large bowl. Stir in pickles, celery, onion, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard vinegar and dill. Season potato salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad Recipe

Rachael Ray

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
8 fresh white button mushrooms, sliced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 stick pepperoni, casing removed and cut into a small dice
1 pound ball fresh mozzarella or fresh smoked mozzarella, diced
20 leaves fresh basil, torn or thinly sliced
1 pound wagon wheel pasta, cooked to al dente and cooled under cold water, then drained
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves or Italian dried seasoning
1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, eyeball it
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, peppers, pepperoni, mozzarella, basil and pasta in a big bowl. Whisk garlic salt, oregano or Italian seasoning, tomato paste and vinegar together. Stream in extra-virgin olive oil while continuing to whisk dressing. When oil is incorporated, pour dressing over pasta salad, add a few grinds of black pepper to the bowl, then toss salad to coat evenly. Adjust your seasonings and serve salad. Leftovers make a great lunch or snack the next day!

Both of these salads are amazing, Rosanna Cash’s Potato Salad can be made a day ahead of time and doing this actually enhances its flavor. This is now my go-to mayonnaise based potato salad recipe. I was a little nervous to serve a pasta salad that I had not made before, but Rachel Ray’s Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad came highly recommended by the members of the Cooking Light Bulletin Board. This was excellent and very kid-friendly. I left out the mushrooms and used turkey pepperoni but otherwise followed the recipe as written. I would definitely recommend either of these salads for your next BBQ.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Jambalaya and Corn Bread Bites

Last night I made one of Terry’s favorite dishes. I think of it as a “mans” meal, although I have made it for many women who have appreciated it just the same. Months ago while Uncle Harold was visiting, helping cousin Timmy work on his car, I whipped up this dish and the boys went to town on it. It just seems like a meal that is very satisfying after a hard days work. Terry labored away in the yard and on the pool for hours in preparation for Kylie’s birthday party, so he definitely earned this hearty dish. I made Cooking Light’s Jambalaya and Corn Bread Bite Muffins.


Cooking Light


2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped smoked turkey sausage (about 4 ounces)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
2 3/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan, and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add sausage to pan; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth, paprika, thyme, and red pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken and tomatoes; cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in shrimp; cover and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with green onions.


6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 322(14% from fat); FAT 5.1g (sat 1.1g,mono 1.5g,poly 1.9g); PROTEIN 20.4g; CHOLESTEROL 68mg; CALCIUM 72mg; SODIUM 640mg; FIBER 3.2g; IRON 3.3mg;

Corn Bread Bites

Cooking Light

This recipe also makes a dozen muffins in a standard muffin tin; bake 17 minutes or until golden brown. You also can double the recipe and freeze the extra muffins for up to one month. If you
do this, prepare the muffins in two batches so the baking powder doesn't lose its effectiveness while the extra batter waits for the first batch to be turned out of the pans.


2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
Dash of hot sauce
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine cheese and remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened.

Divide batter evenly among miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in cups 2 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.


12 servings (serving size: 3 muffins)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 108(28% from fat); FAT 3.4g (sat 1.9g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.1g); IRON 0.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 28mg; CALCIUM 89mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15.5g; SODIUM 221mg;
PROTEIN 3.7g; FIBER 0.8g

We really enjoyed this meal, as always. In the Jambalaya dish I used all white meat chicken breasts rather than thighs. We also did not add any shrimp because we didn’t have any on hand. I omitted the dash of hot sauce in the Corn Bread Bites, because again, we were out and I was shocked to notice a big difference. They were just missing….something….I can’t quite put my finger on it because the hot sauce doesn’t necessarily bring heat, just a saltiness. Terry still really liked them, and of course I still had two, but I will definitely make sure to add it in the next time I make a batch. Leftovers are going to be the perfect thing for lunch today to fill my belly before I begin cooking and preparing for Kylie’s birthday party.