Monday, November 28, 2011

California BLT Salad

Shopping for one is fun at Chico's or Talbot's.  Even if you don't buy anything.
Shopping for one is not always quite so much fun at Kowalski's or Cub Foods. 

While I am not a great fan of boneless chicken breasts, they do hold a special place in my heart when I'm shopping and cooking just for me. As do salads of any ilk.  For this California BLT salad,  The Solo Cook can run into the store, buy a couple of boneless breasts, a ripe avocado (hopefully), a few Kalamata olives at the olive bar, and just about skip on home to make this salad.  Granted, you must have a few staples on hand waiting in your kitchen, and those would include tiny tomatoes, red onion,  bacon, a bit of gratable cheese, and salad greens.  Keep some bacon in the freezer frozen into 1-2 piece packages.  And, for greens:   a big container of spinach lasts a long while, makes a great salad, and is perfect for omelets, vegetables sides, and sandwich greens.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Poached Eggs on Grilled Cheese Tomatoes

While the world waxes poetic about turkey and pumpkin pie (and I'm about to go that route, too), this week must also be about the balance.  While we'll eat like it's Thanksgiving Thursday, Friday (Saturday? Sunday?), perhaps a bit of lightness the rest of the week is in order.

Everyone who cooks for one has their favorites...a bit of poached salmon and microwaved green beans or two baby lamb chops and a spinach salad that's done in five minutes.  Maybe yours is grilled cheese and tomato soup or even sliced fresh apples with peanut butter and Triscuits. If by chance you like the grilled cheese option best, this might be your new supper.  If you adore Eggs Benedict, but don't want the muffins and Hollandaise on your thighs right now (or would like lighter fare), read and cook.  A spoonful of your favorite salsa is the perfect optional garnish.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken Sausage Fry-up

Ten minutes to lunch or dinner

 For going on three weeks, I've been on  the South Beach Diet, Phase II.  I decided, despite it's name, to not call it a diet.  What I decided was that I was simply changing the way I eat to see if I could become smaller and be able to move more easily and quickly.  Looking better would be the secondary reward.  Already, I see and, more importantly, feel quite a difference.

Instead of counting and weighing in (which overwhelms your life) on Weight Watchers, I just know that I can

A. Have all the meat (lean, usually) and vegetables I want and that
B.  I have one serving each day of whole grains, dairy, fruit, and red wine.

Believe it or not, I don't miss whatever else I usually eat.  Perhaps I cook a bit more at breakfast and lunch, but I cooked a lot anyway.   I do really have to keep going back to the store for vegetables, though a big bunch or box of spinach in the frig helps. And... if I have oatmeal with blueberries and milk for breakfast, the rest of my day is protein, vegetables or salad.  It works and is no trouble.  I've given myself one meal off a week and I've eaten pizza, dessert...whatever.

As I cooked up this little instant ditty for my lunch yesterday while my husband ate a sandwich, I thought it was a great fit for Dinner Place, The Solo Blog.

I can't call it a recipe, but here's what I did:

In a medium skillet, I poured 1T olive oil.  I let it heat over medium heat and then added 2 small sliced yellow squashes, several slices of red onion, a 1/2 cup or so of sliced mushrooms,  and about 1/4 cup diced red pepper.  I sprinkled it with salt, pepper,  and a pinch each of crushed red pepper and dried thyme.  Basil or oregano would work,too, as would fresh parsley.  I then sliced and threw in two Aidell Chicken-Apple sausages and let it all cook for a few minutes until the vegetables were softened and the sausage (precooked) was hot.   As that cooked, I minced a garlic clove and cut up a few cherry tomatoes and threw them in for the last couple of minutes.   And that was lunch.  There's some leftover for today or I could stir it into my eggs.

If you need more to eat, add a little buttered and black peppered brown rice to your fry-up.

I was baking pie and made a coffee cup apple pie with the extra apples and pie dough.
I'm thinking about how to write a bit about pie-baking for one, but I love the idea of sharing pie, too.

If you'd like to read my More Time at the Table Post on baking an apple pie that can be made ahead and frozen for Thanksgiving, here's the link.

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Veggie Pizza without the Pizza

Vegetables are maybe the thing about which most people are picky. Good pun, huh?  And if you're wondering why, it's because each little green or orange or yellow thing on the plate recalls some horror of a kitchen table nightmare ("My mother forced me to eat green beans at Thanksgiving.) or a tasteless memory of "the only vegetable my father cooked my whole life and he cooked it to death."  Thank God we've all grown up and gotten over all those things, right?  Oh.

But don't think you must choose between broccoli, green beans, and squash simply because you're the only one at the stove.  Choose several.  Cook them all together.  You then needn't worry about spoilage and you have a lip-smacking side (or main) to boot.  To boot now has a different meaning, doesn't it?

This particular melange of veg tastes, to me, like veggie pizza without the crust.  You can add a few shreds of mozzerella or shards of Parmesan if you like, but it doesn't need it.  And, as always in my house (and maybe yours), leftover this makes an omelet filling about which you've always dreamed:

I added a few leaves of spinach.

Vegetable Sauté (that tastes like Veggie Pizza)

  • 1T olive oil

    • 1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence*

      • 1/4 t ea kosher salt and ground mixed peppercorns

  • 2 small zucchini, sliced

  • 8 oz sliced button mushrooms

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1/2 small onion, sliced as thinly as possible

    • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • 8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

  • 2T chopped fresh parsley

  • 2T minced, pitted kalamata olives

    • Optional:  2T grated mozzerella or Parmesan cheese

*can sub a mix of dried basil, oregano, crushed rosemary, etc

1.  In a medium-large skillet, heat the oil, salt and pepper and herbes de Provence over medium-high heat for a minute or so.
2.  Add zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion.   Cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes; add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes until vegetables are all softened.  Dust with crushed red pepper.
3.  Stir in cut cherry tomatoes.
4.  Plate and garnish with parsley, olives,  and cheese if you choose.  

Serves 1 as a main dish or 2 as a side dish

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,