Monday, January 31, 2011

Petite Sirloin Steak

January 31, 2011...we often will buy a petite sirloin for two reasons, save on money and save on calories. They are not quite as tasty as the new york strip...but still good.

When it comes to prepping out steaks, we are minimalist. We only put kosher salt and ground pepper on our steaks. It lets the taste of the meat really shine through. I made the mistake back in college and the early days of grilling. I had it in my mind that more = better. DEFINITELY not the case with steaks!

That cut that's on my plate was 10 ounces. We actually split that in two so we each had 5 ounces, a half of a good sized baked potato, and some oven roasted asparagus (olive oil, salt, and pepper). I grilled another steak that we will slice up and have tomorrow or the next day for lunch as a steak and cheese sammich.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Moose's Tooth

January 30, 2011...our favorite restaurant in Anchorage, Moose's Tooth.

After a week break from the blog, we are back. I went out of town for the week and intended on trying to maintain the blog but found it too difficult...not to mention it probably wouldn't be very interesting following what I was ordering at restaurants. Now that I'm back and dinners are being planned again, we decided to eat out one more time before we start cooking again.

So after a long day of working, I stopped by the Tooth. It is one of my favorite past times, ordering a pizza and having a cold one while it's being made.

Probably the worst picture I've taken yet... but I guess I was pretty hungry at this point and wasn't holding the camera steady enough.

It is, no doubt, the best pizza I've ever had. I really do love Moose's Tooth pizza! This one was a Chicken Ranch. Lisa has started enjoying the All American...but I still can't get over the Chicken Ranch. SOOOOOO good.

Guaranteed if you come visit us, we will take you out to the Moose's Tooth!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Creamy Ham and Potato Chowder

January 22, 2011...Back to a Weight Watchers cookbook but this is the first time we've tried this meal, the Creamy Ham and Potato Chowder. It was VERY filling and low calories.

We've tried another similar recipe before from a non-WW cookbook that was pretty good. Lisa found this one and wanted to give it a try. It worked out great.

Weight Watchers 5 Ingredients 15 Minute Recipes
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 22 minutes

3 cups frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes (such as Ore-Ida)
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk (we used skim)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced ham
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) 50% less fat shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Stir in ham and pepper; cover; reduce heat, and simmer 11 minutes. Mash potatoes slightly using the back of a spoon; stir in cheese and green onions. Yield: 5 servings (1 cup)

192 calories; 5.2 grams fat; fiber 2.4 g

Pretty easy, eh? This is another easy one that will fill you up and leave enough to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Bear's Tooth

January 21,'s not about WHAT you eat, it's about WHO you eat it with!! Tonight, we went out on a double date with our best friends, Andy and Kendra. If you ask us to list our favorite 3 restaurants, no doubt it would be Moose's Tooth, Bear's Tooth, and Glacier Brewhouse. Tonight, we chose the Bear's Tooth!

We had a phenomenal evening with our friends. The evening started with an amazing appetizer that I forgot to photograph, the Habanero Chicken Skewers. It came with two different dipping sauces, a ranch dressing and a habanero sauce....both were AWESOME!

Lisa had her favorite, the Fish and Chips

and I had my favorite, the Southwestern Chicken Fettucini

Next picture (I'm sure Andy or Kendra will be real happy with but seemed like a good idea at the time) is Andy sharing an AMAZING story about work I'm sure. Kendra looks enthused!

More Andy D...

The dinner... the atmosphere... the company were all perfect. We didn't waste any time since we both had babysitters waiting for us. So we headed for the nearest bowling alley only to find out they were booked up for the evening. We headed to the next one and found out it was more of the same bad news.

Next step, liquor store and then back to their house to play some Wii bowling!! AWESOME NIGHT!!! Made me realize how fortunate we are to have great friends.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baked Pork Buns

January 20, 2011...Lisa did something magical today. She took the leftover from the Hoisin Pork Wraps and made these awesome biscuits or buns or whatever you want to call them. It's from a little recipe booklet called "Chinese Favorites". No kidding. Freaking great!

This picture doesn't do it justice AT ALL!!! So you just have to trust me that this was a very cool meal!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wings at the Peanut Farm

January 19, 2011...we had another first tonight. Tonight, A&M was playing our rival texas in Austin. I met up with some Aggie friends at the local sports bar to watch the game. I had the Hawaiian Spice Wings with a large Midnight Sun Amber (or 2).

My brother, who lives in the Houston area and has season ticket to A&M basketball games, took his son to see the game in Austin. Unfortunately for everybody the game didn't end up as we hoped but still looks like they had a good time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hoisin Pork Wraps

January 18, 2011...first slow cooker meal of the new year and first time we've had guests over! Sadly, this is the first time we've been able to share one of our awesome meals with any of our friends. We invited the Dixon's over for another one of our favorites, Hoisin Pork Wraps.

It's a slow cooker so when I got home from work at 2, the house smelled INCREDIBLE!! It made for a very difficult 3 hours waiting for our guests to arrive and dig in. It's really a shame I can't somehow share the smell or taste of this meal. It. Is. Amazing!

Best part of the night was listening to my buddie Andy try and describe how good it was. Best he could think of was the dinner scene from "What About Bob". was that good.

Kendra forking it out.

Pictures just don't do it justice. If you have a crock pot, please try this recipe. You will not be disappointed!

Pillsbury "Casseroles and Slow Cooker Meals"
prep time: 3o minutes
start to finish: 7 hours 30 minutes
servings: 10 sammiches

2 lb boneless pork roast, trimmed of fat
5 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 flour tortillas
3 cups shredded lettuce
8 medium green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 can (15 oz) mandarin orange segments, drained

1. In 3 to 5 quart slow cooker, place pork roast. In small bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of the hoisin sauce, the gingerroot, five-spice powder and garlic. Spread mixture over pork.

2. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 7 to 8 hours

3. About 15 minutes before serving, heat oven to 300 deg. Wrap tortillas in foil. Heat packet 10 to 15 minutes or until warm.

4. Meanwhile, remove pork from slow cooker; place on cutting board. Stir remaining tablespoon hoisin sauce into juices in slow cooker. Shred pork with 2 forks; return to slow cooker and mix well.

5. To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup pork mixture onto each warm tortilla. Top each with lettuce, onions and orange segments.

Calories 400 (1 sammich); 13 g fat; 27 g protein.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Tender Chicken in Gravy

January 17, 2011...back to the Weight Watchers cookbooks. This one is from "20 Minute Recipes" on the shelves June of 09. It's a very satisfying chicken and rice mix with an awesome chicken broth base gravy.

Tender Chicken in Gravy
Weight Watchers 20 Minute Recipes

Prep: 7 minutes
Cook: 14 minutes

Cooking Spray
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders
1 (14 ounce) can fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup fat free evaporated milk
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon light butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided

1. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken, and cook 2 minutes or until light browned. Turn chicken; add broth, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Remove chicken from pan; set aside, and keep warm.

2. Combine milk and flour in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Bring broth mixture to a boil. Cook 4 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Slowly stir in milk mixture, butter, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Cook, stirring constantly, until gravy thickens. Serve over chicken; sprinkle with remaining parsley. 4 servings (about 3 chicken tenders and 1/4 cup gravy).

254 calories; 4 grams fat; 43.5 g protein; .4 fiber

The gravy is to DIE for!! I had a hard time not licking the skillet after Lisa plated it for us. Very easy meal that is filling and low calorie. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Taco Night!!!

January 15, 2011...A favorite around the Brown household, taco night!

No special recipes, just awesome tacos!

I had an awesome text exchange with a friend during dinner and took this picture to show my progress.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Leftover Spaghetti

January 15, 2011...sorry, nothing exciting. Just some delicious leftovers with a side salad.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Grandpa John's Spaghetti

January 14, 2011...every month or so, we make a new batch of Grandpa John's amazing spaghetti sauce. We use some and then freeze the rest in jars so that we can thaw and have whenever we like. It always turns out great!

Don't even bother asking for the recipe! ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grilled Chicken Thighs

January 13, 2011...grilling masterpiece!

Top 3 meals that we cook...possibly number 1!! That's serious business right there. It is so much a part of us that I decided to take some pictures while I was grilling and turn it into the banner at the top. I did that because if you came over to have dinner with us, chances are we will probably serve you this meal.

I have to give my mom a lot of credit for this meal. One time she suggested we give the boneless skinless chicken thighs a chance. I grilled them up that first time and never turned back. I have refined the spices and technique over the year until we got to this. I'll walk you through how I make the chicken.

This afternoon, I bought one package (about 2.5 pounds) of the boneless skinless chicken thighs. I season them with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and your generic grilled chicken blend (like Mrs. Dash).

Season both sides.

Grilling for me is by feel. The chicken takes about a total of 15 minutes. I turn the chicken every 3 minutes or so...starting them in a ring around the hottest part of the charcoal and manipulating them so that they are all cooked evenly.

The trick for the BBQ sauce is to put it on the top about the time the chicken is ready to come off. After about 2 minutes, flip the chicken so the brushed side is down and then coat the top. Only leave them on for another minute and take them off. That will give a good glaze on the chicken without charring it.

Served with half a baked potato and cooked carrots (Lisa puts just a touch of honey on the carrots).

There it is! One of the best dinners we have to offer. Go buy yourself some thighs and give it a try.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak Sammiches

January 12, 2011...leftover grilled flank steak chopped up and used for philly cheesesteak sammiches.

This is one way we cut cost and make the most of every time we fire up the grill, by getting at least 2 meals out of it. This time, we had just enough leftovers to make some delicious cheesesteaks with provologne, onions, and some light mayo. You can't go wrong with a side of french fries.

About 630 calories for the whole meal.

Chicken and Ravioli Carbonara

January 11, 2011...this will go down as the first time I didn't post. But luckily, I still took a picture and have the recipe so not a day will be missed.

Lisa made one of our favorites from a non Weight Watchers cookbook. This one is from a Betty Crocker magazine called Casseroles and Slow Cooker Meals. It is made with chicken breast, chicken broth, ravioli, half-and-half, bacon, Parmesan, and parsley.

It's actually a very light meal with one serving adding up to only 265 calories. Both of us could afford the extra calories so we had a serving and a half along with some breadsticks. Excellent dinner!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Best-Ever Bean Burritos

January 10, 2011...Another Weight Watchers Recipe although this dinner wasn't so low calorie. We added chips and queso so it ended up being about 700 calories. Even so, very filling and no needs for second helpings.

Here's a close-up of they goodness that stuffed this burrito.

I'll share this recipe tonight and then hit one of the older ones tomorrow.

Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes
Best-Ever Bean Burritos

Prep: 3 minutes
Cook: 9 minutes

Cooking spray
4 cups presliced onion and bell pepper mix
1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained (such as Eden)
3/4 cup refrigerated fresh salsa
4 (10 inch) low carb whole wheat tortillas
1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded reduced fat 4 cheese Mexican blend cheese

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and peppers; coat vegetables with cooking spray, and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add beans and salsa; cook 4 minutes or until liquid evaporates and peppers are tender, stirring frequently.

3. While bean mixture cooks, heat tortillas according to package directions. Spoon bean mixture evenly down center of each tortilla; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Fold top and bottom of each tortilla toward center; roll up burrito style.

4 servings (1 burrito)
404 calories; 10.8 g fat; 20.5 g pro; 27.6 carbs

Top notch dinner for ease and filling.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Leftover Chicken Spaghetti and Steak and Asparagus Salad

January 9, 2011...I told you they all weren't going to be exciting.

Tonight was a leftover night. I chose the chicken spaghetti while Lisa enjoyed the last of the Grilled Steak and Asparagus Salad. If we had hoagies, we would have chopped up the rest of the flank steak and made Philadelphia Cheese Steaks. Maybe that will be tomorrow.

I had a few requests for recipes! I love it! That means at least ONE person is interested!

So as requested, here is the first recipe for...

Weight Watchers Best One-Dish Dinners <--- linked to cookbook on Amazon
The Skillet Lasagna
Prep: 7 minutes
Cook: 37 minutes
Other: 5 minutes

1/2 pound ground round
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
4 dried precooked lasagna noodles, broken into large pieces
1 (14.5 ounce can) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
1 cup bottled roasted red bell peppers, chopped
5 teaspoons commercial pesto
1/2 cup (2 ounces) preshredded mozzarella-Parmesan cheese blend

1. Cook first 3 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned, stirring to crumble beef. Add vinegar and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Spoon ricotta cheese evenly over beef. Top with lasagna noodles, making 1 flat layer (noodles will overlap).

2. Combine tomatoes and bell peppers, and spread over noodles, making sure that noodles are completely covered. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Dollop pesto evenly over top. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes or until noodles are soft. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into wedges. Remove from pan with a slotted spatula. Yield 5 servings (1 wedge).
Calories 298; Fat 12.5 g; Protein 21 g; carbs 24.3 g; fiber 1.4 g

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Grilled Steak and Asparagus Salad

January 8, 2011...First meal on the grill of 2011!!

Well, it's been over a week so it's time to go public with my new blog. My initial experiment seems to be panning out so if you're viewing this for the first time, welcome!

Tonight at the Brown household, we made a Grilled Steak and Asparagus Salad. It's from the Weight Watchers book "101 Best Quick and Easy Recipes". First ingredient, a gorgeous flank steak.

After just one flip, it was looking soooo good.

Time to get the veggies on the grill.

Don't ask me about how long it takes or what temperature I have the grill at because I don't know. I've been doing this long enough that it's all by feel. It's all about the look and feel of the steak.

While I was grilling and chopping, Lisa mixed up the dressing which consists of red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw it all together and it's heaven!

You won't believe it, but it was only 240 calories!! First time I've said this in 2011.... nom nom nom nom nom nom!!

Garden Light Spaghetti

January 7, 2001...It's a LISA creation. We needed a light and quick meal so Lisa made up a quick one. Garden Light Spaghetti with a little pepperoni and mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top. Of course, served with a lightly toasted roll.

We calculated that it was about 420 calories without the roll. Perfect.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Polenta Fries

January 6, 2011...I'll admit that the picture for the Jan 5 meal was a little less than appealing. I apologize for the poor photography!

Tonight, we had another meal from a different Weight Watchers cookbook called Barbecued Chicken Sandwich. This one seemed to take some extra effort but it was worth it. I think I wolfed it down in less than 5 minutes!!!

Lisa found a recipe for Polenta Fries with marinara sauce. Everything together was PERFECT and very filling!! Well done Lisa!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions

January 5, 2011...a quick and delicious recipe from the Weight Watchers book. This one only took 20 minutes or so to put together. It was excellent! Hindsight, maybe we should have had some greens to go with it but we were in a hurry. Next time...

Lisa made some Roasted Redskin Potatoes to go along with it. The pork chops were only 225 calories!! Excellent dinner!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Skillet Lasagna Leftovers

January 4, 2011...first leftovers of the new year. It's one of the ways we save money and keep eating right. Tonight, we had the leftover lasagna and it was just as good heated up.

If you like what you see and are interested in a recipe, let me know!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Skillet Lasagna

Jan 3, 2011...another Weight Watchers recipe, this one from the "Best One-Dish Dinners". This was also a first time we tried this one, it won't be the last. It was GREAT!!

Only 300 calories and 12.5 grams of fat. We served it with some Texas Toast and a large glass of milk.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shrimp Po'Boy

Jan 2, 2011... an easy recipe that is low fat and big on taste. The shrimp are sauteed with a little onion after mixing with 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning. It is served on french bread that has a mayonnaise mixture (mayo and 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning).

Tonight we had broccoli and tater tots as our sides. The Po'Boy is about 415 calories and 8.5 grams of fat.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Beef and Pepperoni Pizza

January 1, 2011...the first meal of the blog and the new year. Lisa and I did our normal plan and shop for a week's worth of groceries. From there, we will pick whatever sounds easiest or most appetizing that night.

Tonight, we chose the Beef and Pepperoni Pizza from Weight Watchers "101 Best Quick and Easy Recipes" cookbook.

2 slices yields 367 calories and 11.5 grams of fat.
I had it with a huge glass of milk.

Lisa and I agreed that of all the home made pizzas we've had, this was our least favorite. Don't get me wrong, I'll still eat up the leftovers but we'll probably modify the recipe a little next time.

A new blog

In 2011, I wanted to try a new blog. I decided that I wanted to share our culinary experiences. My goal is to share all 365 dinners! I realize that is going to be very difficult to maintain but I want to give it a try.

Lisa and I used to eat very poorly. After we got married, we took the easy road and ate out a lot. When we did eat at home, it was very simple know, Mac-N-Cheese, hot dogs, spaghetti. We started doing better over time but it wasn't until we had twin girls 3 years ago that we made a commitment to planning our meals every week. Now, once a week we sit down and plan out the menu for the next 7 days. It makes everything so much easier. We save money by not eating out and we have much healthier and well balanced meals.

We still have our off nights when we order in, enjoy our favorite pizza, or one of our favorites, "brats and tots" night. I work rotating shift work so when I'm on the swing shift, we have to get creative so I can take dinner with me.

So I hope to share lots of photos, recipes, and all of the trials and errors that come along with something we all ask every night..."what's for dinner?"

Lisa and I are making our list right now for the first week of 2011. Come back and see what we're cooking!