Category Archives: Picky Tricky

>Seasoned petite sirloin with steamed basil veggies

>Ahhhh, beef. It’s what’s for dinner. A few weeks ago Albertsons had petite sirloin steak packages buy 1 get 2 free, so I have a fair amount in the freezer at the moment. Here I have cut one steak in half and rubbed the juice of one lime, along with a generous sprinkling of garlic powder and parsley flakes into all sides of the pieces:
I left that to marinade on the counter for about 30 minutes while I changed out of my office attire and prepped the veggies. Using a peeler, I made ribbons out of two small zucchinis:

Then I added in a couple handfuls of frozen corn (The Hub LOVES corn, but not so much Zuchini, so this is my way of getting him to eat the squash – I mix it together,) a palmful (about a Tablespoon) of freeze-dried basil, and a teaspoon of Olivo (good for your cholesterol butter substitute):

I set the veggies aside while I seared the steaks in a hot skillet on each side (in picture below,) and then transferred them to a 450 degree oven to finish cooking (The Hub’s to medium rare, and mine to rare, respectively.)

While the steaks finish in the oven, I deglazed the pan I seared them in with 1/3 cup Vermouth:

I let this liquid reduce by half over medium heat and then swirled in a teaspoon of Olivo.
When the steaks were done cooking, I let them rest while I cooked the veggies in the microwave, covered for 2 minutes. The steaks got a drizzle of the pan sauce before hitting the table. Mmmm. Red Meat.

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Filed under Beyond Easy, Picky Tricky, Picture, Smart Shopping

>Hooray for Pasta!

> Clearly, I didn’t MAKE this bread.

However, notice the whole-grainy-ness of it? Things are changing around The Treehouse. (The Hub did indeed ask, what “that stuff” in the garlic bread was, but he still ate it, so I consider it a victory.)
I served a few slices of the bread with some Smart Balance mashed with minced garlic toasted into it, along side whole wheat spaghetti and marinara sauce. I used Amy’s Low Sodium Pasta Sauce and it was a really tasty and, (even better,) really quick dinner. The trick to serving The Hub whole wheat pasta, at least for now, is getting thin varieties – last night I used “thin spaghetti,” and cooking it until it is almost a bit overdone, so he isn’t as aware of the difference in flavor and texture.
Baby steps.

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Filed under Beyond Easy, Picky Tricky, Picture

>Chicken with Apple and Bacon Sauce

> Last night was my own take on this Cooking Light recipe for Chicken with Cider and Bacon Sauce. The original looked delish, for sure, I just need a few tweaks to make it work for us.
Here is what I did:

– I cut one very large b/s chicken breast into finger-sized chunks, and browned the chunks in a skillet with a little Canola cooking spray before removing them from the pan.
– In the same pan, I crisped up two pieces of diced extra lean turkey bacon with another spritz of Canola spray.
-Then into the pan went 1/2 can low sodium chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 6oz of Apple Juice, I cranked the heat to high and scraped the bottom of the pan, using the liquid to deglaze all that goodness from cooking the chicken and turkey bacon.
-When the liquid had reduced by half, I added the chicken chunks back to the pan , dropped the heat and let the whole thin simmer uncovered about 10 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally until the chicken was done and the liquid reduced to a nice sauce consistency.

While that was all shaping up on the stove, I roasted a medium potato and two carrots in the oven at 400 degrees with a drizzle of Olive Oil until tender when pierced with a fork.

When everything was ready, the veggies went down first, followed by the chicken and a couple tablespoons of the pan sauce.
Big Thumbs Up from The Hub on this one! By chopping up one smaller potato into lots of pieces, mixing it with another veggie, and dividing it between us, I kept the portions under control.
But what I noticed right away was that no additional salt was needed, even by salt-a-holic me, for the meal. The sauce was the perfect mix of sweet from the apple juice and salty and hearty from the turkey bacon. Great sauce to keep in mind, for sure. It would be really good on pork tenderloin too!

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Filed under Chicken, Lighter Side, Picky Tricky, Picture

>Aunt Keri’s Kitchen – Mac and Cheese with Chicken


Sooner or later you KNEW I would bust out the Mac and Cheese for an Aunt Keri’s Kitchen offering, and Ta-DA! Here it is.
However, man (and breast-feeding woman, for that matter) cannot live by pasta and liquid cheese alone (do as I SAY not as I DO, people.)
So I began my sauce with 8 oz of b/s chicken breast chopped into big bite-sized hunks. I seasoned them with a very light dusting of flour spiked generously with Beau Monde seasoning and pepper, with just a touch of cayenne, and then sauteed to brown on each side until the chicken was just cooked through. I added that to the finished Mac and Cheese, and included washed, spun-dry and cut-for-salad green leaf lettuce, a nice big ripe tomato, and a chopped carrot so they could have a salad too.
(That salad might have to wait for another night, that mac and cheese got devoured by the busy parents right after I delivered it. Flattery of the highest form, I assure you.)
The cookies are butterscotch-chip, made from the recipe off the back of the Safeway butterscotch-chip bag. Everyone else seems to dig them, but I didn’t think the dough of the cookie was sweet enough. Still, a cookie is always a good thing.

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Filed under Aunt Keri's Kitchen, Chicken, Liquid Cheese, My Faves, Picky Tricky

>Now THAT is a challenge.

>Now The Hub has high cholesterol. Probably should have seen that coming, but that means I have to put the dietary smack down on him – which is like wrangling a pissed off jelly fish… maybe harder…

So, I made acorn squash last night, with maple syurp and a pat of benecol (mmmm, chemically… but whatever helps) and it went OK.
When I got home with the specimen, I made a beeline for the kitch and began cutting and seeding, hoping to get it in the oven and smelling good before he could see what was going on. To no avail!!
“What’s THAT?” I heard him exclaim from his seat on the living room sofa.
I told him what it was, and his response was “I don’t know if I want any of that.”
Death Ray Crusty Powers ACTIVATE!!! From the kitchen I turned and shot him a whopper through the door way (probably could have gone through solid brick with that look.) and told him “we gots to take some cholesterol off yous” (doing my version of the kid from the Cheerios commercial).
The good news is, it did smell really good once it was cooked, which he noticed right away, and as he ate it (hesitantly, but completely) I explained that I had been working hard to find different ideas that he might like, and this came highly recommended for picky eaters, which he is the first to admit he NO DOUBT is.
So, one night of veggie consumption down…. a life time to go

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Filed under Lighter Side, Picky Tricky

>My "best" cut of beef Asian Steak salad

> Last week (the already-pretty-darn-economical cut) Chuck Eye Roast was on sale at Super Target, and I had a coupon for $1.00 off of any of the beef they sell, so I got just under 2lbs of roast for $0.98.. I didn’t really want to do a “traditional roast beef” kind-of-dinner with it, so I cut 2 slabs about 1 inch thick off of the roast and froze the rest for later use.
I pierced the meat all over both sides and marinated it in 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon curry paste for about 24 hours.
Then I fired up the grill and cooked it to about medium, let it rest while I tossed a quick salad with some Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger dressing (yum) and sliced the meat thinly to top the salad. The one shown above is mine, so I had pre-cut my sliced meat into smaller pieces and added tomatoes and scallions (which are both a big “no” for The Hub.)

The Hub’s comment regarding dinner :”This is a better cut of meat then we have been getting huh? Was the good stuff on sale or something?”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was quite the opposite, so I just said “I am glad you like it!”
Score one for the power of marinade!

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Filed under Lighter Side, Penny Pincher, Picky Tricky, Picture

>Cheese Steak sammies

>One of my favorite portion control tricks is to chop or shread meats and pile them to add volume and make them look “bigger”… Case in point – I took 5 oz of chuck steak and turned it into two mounded cheese steak sammies.. one for The Hub:

And the slightly less caloric version for me:
..and there was meat left over!!
BTW – my project this summer is to make some lighter versions of The Hub’s faves (like the mack and cheese on his plate above) that are actually easy to throw together, so stay tuned!
To make these cheese steaks, I chopped the steak and tossed in Worcestershire Sauce and some black pepper; then tossed the meat in a hot skillet and shuffled until just cooked before adding some 2% cheese… couldn’t be easier or faster. (I was also able to pass off leftover Mac and Cheese from lunch the day before as a fresh yummy side dish by adding a bit of liquid to refresh – avoiding picky eater pouting)

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Filed under Beyond Easy, Penny Pincher, Picky Tricky, Picture