29 June 2007

I wanted to try a recipe that used a shallow baking sheet with a cooling rack on top so the food gets crispy on all sides. (It was Chicken Parmesan; stay tuned for post on that.) I didn't have anything like that, so I hit the stores. The first store I looked at was Wal-Mart (I was there for something else.) They had one cooling rack, but when I read the care instructions, it said, "Do not use in oven." Well, that wasn't going to help me. I thought, I could get by putting it the oven except for the fact that this recipe is baked at 475. That's pretty hot. Wasn't going to chance it.

Then at Meijer I found the Wilton Perfect Results Bakeware Collection. It looks like pretty nice stuff. They have what they call a "cooling grid." It's non-stick and is made to go into the oven. It is dishwasher safe, however, hand washing is recommended. Since it's non-stick, hand washing is not a problem. The rack I got is the Wilton Perfect Results 16 x 10" Cooling Grid.

To go with it, I picked up the Wilton Perfect Results 15 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 3/4" Medium Cookie Pan. The rack and the pan don't fit perfectly, but well enough. I line the pan with foil before putting the rack on top, so that the pan doesn't even need cleaning afterwards.
I am very happy with my new purchases. I'm sure I will use them all the time now.

27 June 2007

The Quigmans
27 June 2007

18 June 2007

The stresses of the last few months have really packed the pounds on me. I am definitely one of those people who eat when they are stressed, with no regard to nutrition or portion size. Comfort foods got me through the last three months, and it shows!

Well, here's where it ends! As of today, I am making better food choices and am looking forward to creating some healthful meals again. It's long overdue. I won't be blogging about my weight loss journey, but I will be posting healthier recipes and I promise to include nutrition values.

I know "healthy" can be somewhat ambiguous, but my main concerns are calories, fat, and sodium. Those are the numbers I keep in check when I am assessing a meal. A good recipe has a balance of lean protein, carbs (preferably including fiber), and vegetables.

I invite you all to share any recipes in this category that you enjoy. I would love to try them. You can email them to me (aseleener [at] yahoo.com) and I will post them (giving you credit, of course). You are welcome to include pics if you have them. If you don't have the nutrition values, that's ok. I can figure them up pretty easily.

So, please, please share and I will get to work on my own recipes.

12 June 2007

I'm back in the kitchen! We have relocated to Michigan and things are finally starting to settle down enough for me to think about cooking again. Seems like it has been so long.

I read an article in the local paper about putting shrimp inside a biscuit and baking it. I'm not really a shrimp lover, and never make it at home, so I began to think of what else I could put in there. Naturally, my first thought was salmon. I really like the kind that comes in a pouch, Chicken of the Sea.

The article listed only canned shrimp, cream cheese, and salt as ingredients in the filling. I thought that sounded awfully bland. I kept the cream cheese, but I got a flavored kind, garlic and herb. (Actually it was the kind that was swirled, half regular and half flavored.) Then I used my standard salmon salad seasonings: dill, minced garlic, and onion (I usually use shallots, but couldn't find them at this grocery store in my new town.)

When I mixed it all together, it seemed slightly dry and not creamy like I had imagined it. I added a touch of light sour cream and that seemed to loosen it up a bit.

I then pried open some Grands biscuits and put in a spoonful of filling. After they were done, realized I probably could have put in a little more filling than I did, but a spoonful is an okay amount.

The article I read also mentioned brushing the tops with egg white before you bake them. I wasn't sure about this. Was it really necessary? I mean, the biscuits always brown up really nice on their own, don't they? I decided to experiment with it; I brushed two of them with egg white and left the other two alone. The result? They were all equally golden brown. The ones with egg white were just a bit more crispy on top than the naked ones. Not unpleasantly crispy, just crispy. Personally, I don't think it's worth wasting the time, dirty dishes, and the egg on it.

The finished product was pretty good. Like I said, they could have used more filling to even out the salmon to bread ratio. I only made four of these, but even if I had made eight, there would have been lots of filling left. Keep that in mind if you decide to try these. There is probably enough filling for at least 16 biscuits. But you can't exactly open only a half pouch of salmon, so if you are only doing 4 or 8 biscuits, save the rest of the filling for something else.

Here are some pics of the process.

Salmon Pockets

1 7 oz pouch pink salmon
1/2 tsp dill
minced garlic and shallot or onion (I never measure this)
1/4 cup garlic and herb cream cheese
2 tbsp light sour cream
16 refrigerated flaky biscuits (like Grands)

Preheat oven to 375˚. Mix together the first five ingredients until well-blended. Split each biscuit in half using its natural layers. Try to make sure the top and bottom are of equal thickness. Place a spoonful (or a spoonful and a half) of filling in each biscuit and press the edges together tightly to seal.
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.

Breakfast Pockets

Since I had biscuits left, I decided to make a breakfast version for Jimmy to reheat in the morning. I made scrambled eggs with cheese (I always use American in scrambled eggs), making sure not to overcook them. Then I placed a spoonful of eggs in a slice of deli ham and wrapped it up in a neat little bundle. I then placed the bundle in the biscuit and sealed the edges. I baked them just like the salmon ones. If these are made ahead of time, they don’t need to be as brown on top when you take them out of the oven. If you use a toaster oven, they will probably get a little more brown during reheating. But if you plan on reheating in a microwave, then brown them all the way in the oven.
Didn't take the time to record nutrition info on these. Sorry. Maybe later.