One of the nice things about living alone is that I don’t have to answer “What are we having for supper?” There are downsides that I have mentioned (most meals I make are for 4 or more people) but occasionally the unknown dinner is a blessing. Take the other day when I threw together rice, strawberries, blueberries and shredded carrots then called it quits. Not in my wildest dreams would I have planned for this to be a meal, but in the end it worked out. I didn’t really use amounts, just enough for one person. So a cup or so of rice and handful of diced strawberries (ditto the blueberries and carrots). When the rice was almost done I added the other ingredients so they all would get heated up. Fun fact warm blueberries practically burst with flavor, I’ll have to remember that for the future.
It’s that time of week where I have my family dinner. Since instigating this last month it has been rather successful in making sure I see my parents at least once a week. They live about ten miles away, there really is no reason for me to not see them weekly. Although they are hosting tonight figured I’d share the recipe from when I hosted last Wednesday.
I don’t cook a whole lot of meat. Browning burger or cooking chicken is about as complex as I get. In light of the Easter season I decided to make fish. This was a major deal for me, turns out I didn’t have much to fear. I bought some cod fillets; chopped up a tomato that I combined with diced pineapple and presto-chango done! The biggest issue was that I’m use to meat changing color has it cooks. Chicken goes from pink to white, beef from red to brown etc. Fish apparently goes from white to white.Lacking this foreknowledge I did over cook the fish a bit, but I usually prefer me meat overcooked rather than risk the alternative. I don’t want to hear the cow moo when I bit into a burger, sue me. Toss in some steamed vegetables and rice and it was ready to serve. A simple, yet effective, meal.
- 4-6 oz fish fillets (I used cod)
- 1 cup diced pineapple (I used a can)
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/2 tablespoon chili paste
- Preheat oven to 375
- Line 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil and place fillets on foil (if yours were ever frozen be sure they are defrosted)
- In a bowl mix pineapple, tomato and chili paste. Once combined divide and place topping on fillets.
- Bake in oven for 20 minutes (obviously this is flexible ‘cook until the fish flakes apart’ were the directions I had)
As you can see from the slightly out-of-focus photo I also chose to serve my fish on a small bed of spinach. Presentation is everything.
Last week I had cause to make some desserts. My mom’s family came down to celebrate my uncle’s birthday and then we had an office luncheon to celebrate the birthday of one of my coworkers. I was trying to make something health (even if faux-healthy, it was still dessert) so I opted for fruit pizza. Fruit pizza is somewhat of a family ‘thing’.
When I was in elementary school each of my homeroom teachers could expect a fruit pizza compliments of my family. Excessive? You be the judge, but we were always making a bunch for the high school teachers, where my dad was principal. When you’re already making eight, what’s one more?
Fast forward to last fall when I first modified the fruit pizzas for individual consumption. My office participated in the town’s progressive dinner. We baked several dozen individual sugar cookies (rather than baking them as one giant pizza) and had people who stopped in for the event top them however they wanted. It was a HUGE hit (if I do say so myself. However, since people were talking about it after they left our office, I feel confident in that statement).
Fast forward again to where we began this tale, last week. I was looking for a way to bake the little delights but have it more contained. The toppings have a tendency to roll off once cut up into individual pieces, if baked in large pizza form. The solution (so simple I’m sad it took me this long to discover it)? Bake the cookies in muffin tins. The edges curled up and held the filling and fruit marvelously. Now I decided (since I have so much free time on my hands apparently) that I’d try something different for my coworker, so I used up all the sugar cookie dough on my uncle’s treats.
For my second attempt I started with pastry dough. This may have worked if I cooked it all at once, but traditionally the fruit pizza is cooked then cooled then topped. The pastry dough, in it’s nature, cooked to be way to fluffy and airy. No such luck in being able to then top it so everything would stay on. Panicking, since it was now eight o’clock the night before I was suppose to bring the treats, I quickly checked the pantry. I still had graham crackers from my s’more cookie experiment. This lead me to the Google machine to look up simple graham crust recipes. Low and behold the inter-webs did not let me down and using muffin tins again I baked cute little individual fruit pizza pies. Perhaps pie is the wrong word, the crusts were flat and did not curve up the side at all, next time perhaps.
Although the two attempts yielded very different results I think I’m going to keep both in my repertoire. Also, as I topped each piece I felt like a real gourmet and quite fancy. Not the usual for yours truly. Besides the pastry crust being a total fail there were no huge mishaps. Progress?
Until next time (recipes below)
Cream Cheese Filling
(split between the two recipes)
- 1-8 oz package cream cheese
- 1-16 oz tub whip cream (I think it was 16 oz, the standard tub size)
- Allow cream cheese to sit until room temperature. If you’re impatient warm SLIGHTLY in the microwave. Also let the cream cheese warm up a tinge. (This is only necessary if you are coming directly from the grocery store where it’s been stored in the freezer. If it’s already it’s fluffy usual state that’s not necessary.)
- Stir two ingredients together until well combined. Set aside or in fridge until ready for use.
- 1 container sugar cookie dough (or bake your own from scratch)
- 24 blueberries
- 1 kiwi, cut into 24 pieces
- 6 strawberries, quartered
- 3/4 of cream cheese filling mixture
- Preheat oven to 350 (or whatever package instructs)
- Spray muffin tins (or use non-stick)
- Divide dough into 24 separate balls
- Flatten dough into disks that snugly fit the bottom of regular sized muffin tins
- Once oven is preheated place tins in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes – or until thoroughly cooked. I used 2-12 muffin tins so I rotated them top for bottom halfway through.
- Allow to cool completely before filling with cream cheese mixture. I used about half a spoonful in each cookie, not a science though, just wing it.
- Top with cut up fruit. As stated I used kiwi, blueberries and strawberries. Feel free to use whatever your little heart desires. If made to these specifications you’ll have 24 servings, each about 125 calories (according to my app).
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar (although I think it could be omitted entirely)
- 8 graham crackers, finely crushed
- 18 blueberries
- 1/2 kiwi, cut into 6 pieces
- 3 strawberries, halved
- 1/4 of cream cheese filling mixture
- Preheat oven to 350
- Spare muffin tins (or use non-stick)
- Combine butter, crushed crackers and sugar
- Once well combined, pack into the bottom of 6 regular sized muffin tins.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until well set/cooked. Again, here I rotated it from bottom to top.
- Allow to cool fully before topping with cream cheese filling
- Top each cup with kiwi slice, strawberry and 3 blueberries. Again, use whatever ingredients you want but if made to these specifications you’ll have 6 servings, each about 250 caloires (according to the app, again).
So I’m on a diet. (Don’t worry, I wont be posting obnoxiously about how awesome it’s going, and I promise no stupid self-take mirror shots.) Diets are no fun, but neither is being out of breath after jogging for a minute so diet it is. Anyway I’ve been doing this thing where you are suppose to eat only fruits and vegetables for two weeks and then do a ‘master cleanse’ for 3-10 days (your choice) after which you just adopt a healthy mix of foods. During the master cleanse you only drink a lemonade mixture with syrup mixed in, or at least that is what I thought. I started the master cleanse today and feel like it is utter nonsense. I misread the instructions, when I read it the first time I figured I could do lemonade only for three days no problem. Problem. To begin each day you have to drink 4 cups of salt water FOUR CUPS!! I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this but it made me want to gag. Actually it did make me gag it made me want to vomit.
This lead me to thinking of all the stupid diets there are out there. The bacon only diet, the no carb diet, the no dairy diet (lactose intolerant people excluded) on and on and on. Seriously, typing this I still have the unpleasant taste of salt in my mouth, it just wont go away. No more salt water for me. Seriously four cups. Let me hit you with some knowledge. According to this website (which came up when I searched stomach capacity) the stomach can hold up to 2 – 4 liters of stuff when fully expanded. I filled half (or a fourth if super expanded) of my stomach with nauseating water which didn’t make me inclined to add more to it to make it feel better. Maybe that’s how this part of the diet works. Makes you want to never eat again. Ever.
Anyway that’s my tirade. However before this evil part I’ve been doing just fine just managing my portions. So we’ll be going back to that tomorrow. I’m serious this is the only day I’ll be doing that salt water mumbo jumbo (and only because it’s already done). Ah well, live and learn and then eat well.