Anne's 100-Recipe Challenge - 2010

50. Leprechaun Patties3/4/10

(130 calories/cookie)36 cookies

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1&1/2 cups grated zucchini
1&1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup granola
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Stir in the egg and vanilla, and then stir in the zucchini.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon, and stir into the zucchini mixture.  Finally, stir in the oats, granola, and chocolate chips.
Drop dough from a teaspoon onto unprepared cookie sheets.   Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Anne's Review:   4 stars
I wasn't sure how these zucchini-oatmeal cookies would taste, but they were great!  I really couldn't taste the zucchini in the final product, but I think it helped keep the cookies soft. 


49.  Irish Soda Bread Muffins3/4/10

(232 calories/muffin)12 muffins

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1&1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup currants or raisins
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  With pastry cutter, cut butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk and egg until blended, and stir into dry ingredients.  Stir in raisins and caraway seeds   Spoon batter into greased muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Anne's Review:   3.5 stars
I decided to make another attempt at Irish Soda Bread.  Since last year's bread was too dry and tasteless for me, I thought I'd try this Americanized muffin recipe that used a little sugar.  It was a marked improvement.  This morning, I warmed up a muffin in the microwave and spread on a dab of butter, and it made a world of difference.


48. Irish Champ3/4/10

(? calories)4 servings

3-4 Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 bunch scallions (bulb and green stem)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 stick butter, plus extra if desired


Scrub and peel the potatoes, quarter them, and boil in water.  Meanwhile, finely chop the scallions.  Cover with cold milk and slowly bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes, turn off the heat, and leave to infuse.  Mash the boiled potatoes and mix with boiling milk and scallions.  Beat in the butter.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with a knob of butter melting in the center.

Anne's Review:   3.5 stars
This was just basically mashed potatoes with green onions.  Nothing special.  But it's a traditional Irish side, so we made it.   Traditionally, it would be served with a big knob of butter resting in a well in the center of the mound, and eaten from the outside in, dipping each bite in the melted butter.  Jeremy and I felt that the potatoes already had enough butter and didn't need the extra, so we kept it healthier.  It could have used even more scallions.


47. Spinach-Stuffed Lamb Chops3/4/10
w/ Rosemary Glaze
(220 calories/serving)4 servings

1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 lamb loin chops (~1" thick, 6 oz)
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed
Goat cheese or shredded Swiss cheese
3 garlic cloves, slivered

Combine the honey, mustard, rosemary, black pepper, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and minced garlic.  Pour marinade into a resealable plastic bag and add lamb chops, turning to coat.  Refrigerate overnight.
Cut a deep slit into lamb chops and stuff with slivered garlic, cheese, and spinach.  Place lamb chops on rack in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour or brush rosemary marinade over chops.  Bake/broil lambs, basting occasionally, at 450 degrees until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees for medium doneness, about 7 minutes per side.

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
I was originally planning on baking a whole leg of lamb, but I had to make some changes based on what the grocery store actually had in stock.  So I combined a few recipes and came up with my own creation.  It was my first time making any type of lamb, and I thought it was cooked perfectly.  The glaze was delicious, but I'd definitely use a lot less rosemary next time.  Jeremy and I decided to use Swiss cheese instead of goat cheese because neither of us enjoy the taste of goat cheese, and I think it worked.   


46. Anne's Shamrock Shake 2/28/10

(218 calories/13-oz serving)2 servings

2 cups Vanilla Fat-Free Frozen Yogurt
1&1/4 cups Silk Original Almondmilk 
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
8 drops green food coloring
Green decorating crystals (optional)


Combine first 4 ingredients in blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
For visual effect,  dip rim of glass in water followed by green crystals.
Serve with straw.

Anne's Review:   5 stars
It's that time of year again for the Shamrock Shake!  The only problem is that a regular 16-oz serving of McDonald's Shamrock Shake is 550 calories.  Even a small 12-oz size is 420 calories.  Yikes!!  A coworker threw me a challenge to come up with a lower-calorie version of this yummy treat.  The goal was to get the calories under 200.  I came pretty close, and knocked off half the calories using a recipe I found online and then substituting some lower-calorie, similar-tasting ingredients (If you don't care about calories, just use regular ice cream and 2% milk).  My coworker and I both agreed that you would never know the difference.  It tasted exactly like the McD's shake!  The only difference was a slightly thinner consistency which really didn't affect our bright enthusiasm for the drink.      


45. Tomato Tortellini Soup2/26/10

(245 calories/serving)5 servings

1 package (9 oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 can (10.75 oz) red-sodium condensed tomato soup
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/4 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the soup, broth, milk, cream, tomatoes, and seasonings.  Heat through, stirring frequently.  Drain tortellini and carefully add to soup.  Stir in cheese.  Sprinkle each serving with additional cheese if desired.

Anne's Review:   4 stars
I've been keeping a list of meatless dishes for Fridays during Lent, and the photograph of this recipe in the cooking magazine looked so pretty, I had to try it.   My picture might not be as pretty as the magazine, but it still tasted really good.  It was a super fast recipe to throw together.   The serving size would have to be pretty small to get 5 servings out of it.  I'd say it's closer to 3 servings.


44. Tuscan Chicken2/25/10

(217 calories/serving)2 servings

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil


Flatten chicken to 1/2" thickness.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.   In a large skillet over medium heat, cook and stir the garlic, rosemary, sage, and thyme in oil for 1 minute.  Add chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side.

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
This chicken was juicy and full of flavor, thanks to the herbs.  Fast and easy.  I'll definitely make it again.


43. Orange-Roasted Asparagus2/25/10

(63 calories/serving)2 servings

1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt


Place asparagus in a 15x10x1" baking pan; drizzle with oil.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over asparagus; toss to coat.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes until tender; stirring occasionally.

Anne's Review:   4 stars
It was a nice healthy vegetable to pair with the main course.   I didn't really taste the orange juice, but perhaps it helped tenderize the spears a bit.  I had no complaints about eating this vegetable.


42. Cranberry Rice Pilaf2/25/10

(217 calories/serving)4 servings

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1&1/2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
1/2 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

In a large saucepan, bring the broth, orange juice, and sugar to a boil.  Stir in the rice, cranberries, and butter.  Reduce heat; cover and cook for 5-8 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with almonds.

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
I liked the sweetness the cranberries brought to the rice along with the slight crunch of almonds.


41. Chocolate Mint Souffles2/21/10

(265 calories/serving)2 servings

2 eggs
1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon cornstarch
dash salt
1/3 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
confectioners' sugar
Separate eggs.  Place whites in a small bowl, and yolks in another.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 min and set aside. Coat two 10-oz ramekins with cooking spray and lightly sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar; set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 tablespoons sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips and mint extract until chips are melted.    Stir mixture into egg yolks, a little at a time.
Beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar on high until stiff peaks form.  With a spatula, fold a fourth of the egg whites into chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain, and then fold in remaining egg whites.
Transfer into prepared ramekins and bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes until tops are puffed and centers are almost set.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
According to the recipe, making this dessert would be utterly foolproof.  Jeremy and I had our doubts, and I've never made a souffle before, but we decided to give it a try.  It actually turned out quite nicely!  It was more puffy when it first came out of the oven and fell slightly by the time I took a photo, but not too much.  I liked the subtle mint flavor in the light, fluffy chocolate filling.   The portion size was generous for a chocolate dessert which makes me happy.  :)


40. Black Bean Tortilla Soup2/21/10

(240 calories/serving)8 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1&1/2 pounds chicken thighs, cut into 1/2" strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium poblano chiles, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1&1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup frozen corn kernels
32 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 cups coarsely broken tortilla chips
In a 6-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Sprinkle chicken strips with salt and add to saucepan in two batches, cooking each batch 5 minutes until lightly browned.  Transfer chicken to medium bowl.
Put chiles, onion, and garlic into same saucepan and cook on medium for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in cumin and coriander; cook 1 minute.  Add chicken broth and water; cover and heat to boiling.  Add chicken strips back to pot; stir in corn and black beans.  Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in lime juice and cilantro.  Ladle soup into bowls and serve with tortilla chips. 

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
Jeremy and I both enjoyed this easy soup.  I cut the recipe in half and used chicken breast instead of thighs and a jalapeno pepper instead of the poblano chiles since that's what I could find in the grocery store.  Even with that substitution, this dish was right on the cusp of my spice tolerance.  Overall, it had really good flavor.  The portion size for a full main course soup was accurate.  It filled me up. 


39. Marinated Orange Roughy2/19/10

(181 calories/serving)4 servings

1&1/2 pounds orange roughy
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

In a bowl, combine orange juice, ketchup, oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and pepper.  Remove 1/4 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate.  Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add fillets.  Seal bag and toss to coat.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, turning once or twice.
Drain and discard marinade.  Place fillets in a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.  Broil 4-6" from the heat for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Anne's Review:   5 stars
I needed a meatless dish since it's a Friday during Lent, so I made this fish, and it was delicious.  Soooo good.  The citrus glaze complemented the fish well.


38.  Zippy Asparagus Pasta2/19/10

(259 calories/serving)2-3 servings

3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 to 3 dashes hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1.5" pieces
salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 pound mostaccioli or penne pasta, cooked

In a skillet, cook garlic, red pepper flakes, and hot sauce in oil and butter for 2-3 minutes.  Add asparagus, salt, and pepper; saute until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Add Parmesan cheese; toss to coat.  Serve over hot pasta and serve immediately.

Anne's Review:   3 stars
This was the first time I've had asparagus, and it was just okay.  I didn't hate it.  I'm glad the Parmesan cheese was in there.  I'm not sure that it was super "zippy" but that's okay with me.  It had just the right amount of heat.


37.  Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Sauce
( ? calories/serving)8 servings

8 oz package Neufchatel cheese, softened
1&1/4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
fresh raspberries to garnish (optional)
Raspberry Sauce:
10-oz package frozen raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In medium bowl, whip Neufchatel, 1/4 cup of the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and liqueur.  In another bowl, whip remaining cup of cream and confectioner's sugar until stiff peaks form.  Fold into cheese mixture in batches.
Pour mixture into ceramic heart-shaped mold.  If you don't have the specialty mold, cut cheesecloth (or paper towels) and fit into bottom of a rounded colander.  Spoon mixture into colander, and fold edges of cheesecloth over top.  Refrigerate on a baking sheet for at least 3-4 hours until firm.
Carefully turn out mold onto a large serving plate.  If you used a colander, shape rounded mold into a heart shape using a knife, smoothing edges if necessary.    
To make raspberry sauce, combine raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender and puree until blended.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
I saw this French recipe in a cookbook, and instantly knew I wanted to try it for Valentine's Day.  I didn't feel like buying the specialty ceramic heart-shaped mold, so I used an ordinary kitchen colander and it worked just fine.  Quite honestly, my hand-carved heart looks just as good as the photo in the cookbook that used a mold.  I couldn't find raspberry liqueur in the store, so I left that ingredient out.  This was a very sweet dessert.


36. Garlic-Herb Red Potatoes2/14/10

(? calories/serving)2 servings

4 red potatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Place all ingredients into a 8x8" dish and toss to coat.  Bake, covered, at 400 degrees for 50 minutes, or microwave for 10-15 minutes until tender.

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
I really liked these potatoes.  The seasoning gave the dish really good flavor.


35. Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts2/14/10

(? calories/serving)2 servings

12 small brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
extra oil for rubbing
pinch salt
pinch pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Wash sprouts; trim stem ends and remove raggy outer leaves.  Cut in half from stem to top and gently rub with olive oil, keeping sprouts intact.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium heat.  Do not overheat.  Place sprouts in skillet, cut side down, and sprinkle with salt.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes until just tender.  Uncover, turn up heat, and cook until flat sides are deep brown and caramelized.  Toss with spatula to brown on rounded sides.  Season with salt and pepper and grated cheese.  Serve immediately.

Anne's Review:   4 stars
According to the recipe book, even the most stubborn brussels sprouts-hater would love this recipe.  I don't know if I'd go that far, but they were pretty good.  As far as I know, it was the first time I've ever eaten brussels sprouts.  I'm not gushing over them, but I would definitely make them again.  Next time, I'd turn down the heat because they got a little too brown I think.  Jeremy liked these more than I did.


34. Filet Mignon with Balsamic Glaze
and Goat Cheese2/14/10
(? calories/serving)2 servings

2 tablespoons butter
2 filet mignon steaks (about 1-1&1/2 inches thick)
ground pepper
1 ounce soft fresh goat cheese
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar

Boil the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and pepper, and cook to desire doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, longer for more well-done steaks.  Transfer steaks to a baking sheet, crumble cheese over steaks, and broil just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute.  Sprinkle with pepper, transfer to a plate, and drizzle with balsamic sauce.

Anne's Review:   2.5 stars
The steaks were really good and easy to prepare, but neither Jeremy nor I cared for the goat cheese, and the balsamic glaze didn't work at all.  Perhaps it reduced too much because it was more like balsamic hard candy.  


33.  Touchdown Cookies2/7/10

(90 calories/cookie)~4 dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 to 5 tablespoons hot water
3 to 4 teaspoons baking cocoa

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well, and add in vanilla.  Combine the flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda, and gradually add to creamed mixture.  Cover and refrigerate a few hours until easy to handle.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8" thickness.  Cut with a football-shaped cookie cutter or shape with knife.  Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. 
For frosting, combine confectioners' sugar and enough hot water to achieve spreading consistency.  Beat until smooth.  Set aside 3 tablespoons of frosting in a small bowl.  Add cocoa to remaining frosting; stir until smooth.  Over cooled cookies, spread brown frosting and then pipe white frosting to form football laces.

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
These little Superbowl cookies were yummy.  The frosting was very sweet but also very, very good.


32.  Pulled Pork with Root Beer Sauce2/7/10

(370 calories/serving)12 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 boneless pork loin roast (3 lb)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans (12 oz) root beer (not diet)
1/2 teaspoon root beer concentrate (optional)
1 bottle (12 oz) chili sauce or BBQ sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 sandwich buns

In a skillet, heat oil over high heat.   Cook pork roast in oil 6-10 minutes until brown on all sides.  Place pork roast in a 4-quart slow cooker and add 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, onion, and 1 cup of the root beer.  Cover and cook on Low heat for 7 to 8 hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, in a saucepan, heat remaining 2 cups root beer, BBQ sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling over medium-high heat.  Reduce to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is glossy and reduced to 3 cups.  Remove pork from slow cooker, discarding cooking liquid.  Shred pork using 2 forks to pull apart.  Stir in sauce mixture.  Serve in bun.

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
Delicious!  These sandwiches were a perfect Superbowl dinner.  I couldn't really taste the root beer in the final product, but I think it made the sauce a little sweeter perhaps.  


31.  Apple Salsa with Cinnamon Chips2/7/10

(141 calories/ 4 chips & 1/2 cup salsa)  
12 servings
6 flour tortillas (8")
3 tablespooons sugar
1&1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 cups finely chopped tart apples
1 cup finely chopped ripe pear
1/2 cup quartered seedless red grapes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange peel

Coat both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over both sides of tortillas.  Cut each into 8 wedges, place on baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 4-5 minutes until crisp.
For salsa, combine remaining ingredients.

Anne's Review:   4 stars
I made this dish for my Superbowl party as a heathier option to chips and dip.  I used a Cinnamon-Sugar shaker on my tortillas to make it easy and save time.  The chips turned out pretty good.  I just wish I had chopped the fruits up a little smaller for a true salsa.


30. Cinnamon-Spiced Bananas2/4/10

(200 calories/serving)1 serving

1 medium banana, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt


Place bananas in microwave-safe bowl.  Top with brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Cover and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes until sugar is melted, stirring once.  Top with ice cream.

Anne's Review:   2.5 stars
It tasted great, but I'm giving it lower stars because the microwaving didn't really work.  It made the bananas really mushy.  I think oven baking would have been better for the bananas to keep them intact and more firm.  Also, by the time I grabbed the camera, the ice cream started melting, so the photo doesn't look great.


29. Huevos Rancheros2/4/10

(315 calories/serving)2 servings

1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tablespoon chipotle sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 corn tortillas (6-in), warmed
1/2 avocado, sliced (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium until hot.  Add onion and garlic and cook 8 minutes or until beginning to brown.  Stir in chipotle sauce and cumin; cook 30 seconds, stirring.  Add chopped tomatos, beans, salt, and half of cilantro.  Heat through, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a greased skillet over medium heat, cook eggs 4 to 5 minutes until whites are set.  Place tortillas on plate; top each with tomato mixture and 1 egg.  Sprinkle with remaining cilantro.  Serve with avocado slices.

Anne's Review:   4 stars
This recipe was a little out of my comfort zone, but I thought I'd try it anyway.  I'm glad I did.  It was quite tasty, almost like an appetizer.  I didn't care much for the avocado though.


28. Smoky Stuffed Peppers2/3/10

(296 calories/pepper)2 peppers

2 large bell peppers
4 ounces Italian-seasoned turkey sausage
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 large plum tomato, chopped
2/3 cup instant brown & wild rice
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup finely shredded smoked cheese, divided
(Cheddar, Gouda, or Mozzarella)

Cut the tops off peppers and seed.  Place cut-side down in a large microwave-safe dish.  Fill dish with 1/2" water, cover, and microwave on high until the peppers are tender-crisp, about 7-10 minutes. Drain the water and transfer peppers to a roasting pan.
Meanwhile, cook sausage in a saucepan over medium-high heat until cooked through.  Stir in broth, rice, and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the rice is softened but still moist, about 10 minutes.  Stir basil and half the cheese into the rice mixture.  
Divide rice mixture evenly between peppers and top with remaining cheese.  Broil 2 min until cheese is melted.

Anne's Review:   3.5 stars
I got this recipe from the cookbook Eating Well Serves Two.  I'm sure my mom would be surprised that I would attempt stuffed peppers since they were never my favorite, but this recipe was pretty good.


27. Bacon Twice Baked Potato2/2/10

(329 calories/potato)1 potato

1 baking potato
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup milk
1 bacon strip, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon snipped chives
dash salt
dash pepper
1/3 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Bake potato at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.  When cool enough to handle, cut a thin slice off the top of potato and discard.  Scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell.
In a small bowl, mash the pulp with butter.  Stir in the milk, bacon, onion, chives, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup cheese.  Spoon back into potato shell.  Top with remaining cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Anne's Review:   4.5 stars
This was a pretty simple recipe, but it was sooo good.  The cheesy chivey potato was excellent as a main dish.


26. Quinoa Spinach Salad2/2/10

(171 calories/serving)10 servings

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 package (6 oz) fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 green onion, finely chopped

In a small saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Remove from heat; fluff with a fork.  Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make dressing, whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, combine spinach, warm quinoa, and cranberries. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with pecans.

Anne's Review:   3.5 stars
This was a pretty good salad.  This was my first time using quinoa (keen-wa), and I had never even heard of this food until I saw this recipe in a Healthy Cooking magazine.  Apparently, it's an ancient Incan staple, and a really good source of protein.  It didn't have much of a taste on its own (like a light rice), but combined in the salad, it was good.  I liked the orange-infused dressing and the sweetness that the cranberries brought to the salad.

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