Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lunch Bunch - Tues. Sept 21, 2010

Do you love Tuesdays as much as I do? This week was Suzanne's week to cook, and she was bringing a mystery lunch as there were several recipes that sounded SO good, we couldn't decide. Mystery lunch might bring back bad memories of your school lunches as a kid, but we at the Lunch Bunch know better, and we were eagerly anticipating the unveiling!

Those of you who have been in the Carolina's this summer know it has been HOT!HOT!HOT! and we are eagerly anticipating some cooler weather. Doesn't seem to be happening, but if we crank up the AC at work we can pretend, and eat some yummy Lentil Soup!

The crock pot was in the break room, and we could smell the soup while we worked, exquisite torture! The keilbasa, carrots, lentils....oh my! And then. You know what, let me just show you.

Swoon. We were a little unsure, as the cake was short and quite frankly looked like an Easy Bake oven cake. I would still eat it, after all, I had an Easy Bake growing up. Who doesn't enjoy baking with a light bulb?!?
But one bite...it was a denser cake, almost like a pound cake. Perfect size. Perfect taste. We learned our lesson....don't judge the cake by its layers!


Lentil and Sausage Soup
6 points (we think 5!) Weight Watchers
2 tsp olive oil
2 carrots thinly sliced
1 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 lb turkey kielbasa thinly sliced
1 1/4 c brown lentils picked over and rinsed
5 c water
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/ tap black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over med hi heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes
2. Add kielbasa, lentils, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes longer.

Vanilla Layer Cake with Chocolate Ginger Frosting

3 points.
Tip: Don't substitute fat-free ricotta, the grainy texture doesn't work as well.

1 c + 2 tbs cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c + 2 tbs granulated sugar
2 tbs + 1 tsp unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/c fat free milk
2/3 c part skim ricotta cheese
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbs packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350, spray two 8 in. round cake pans
2. Cake: In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In medium bowl, with electric mixer on high, cream sugar and 2 tbs of the butter; add egg and 2 tsp of the vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with milk, until batter is smooth. Divide batter between the pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-17 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on rack. Place one cooled cake on platter.
4. Frosting: In a food processor or blender, combine ricotta, cocoa powder, brown sugar, the remaining 1 tsp butter, ginger, and remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla. Blend until smooth. Spread a thin layer over the cake on the platter, top with remaining cake, then ice with remaining frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lunch Bunch- Sept. 14

Another week of Lunch Bunch! What you don't hear is how much we talk about the day of Lunch Bunch before it actually happens. Halfway through the meal, out come the cookbooks! Anyone else out there agree that *ALL* the recipes should have pictures?!? We are often drawn in with the professional food styling, and probably overlook some just as good recipes because there isn't a picture!

This week was my turn to cook. I definitely picked this recipe based on the picture...and luckily it was also the easiest thing in the world to put together. If you have the chicken ready, this is something you could put together while you are putting away the groceries, settling in the family after school, or after a hectic day at work. I even assembled it the night before. And, the servings were huge!

Black Bean-Chicken Enchilada Casserole
7 WW points
Can be frozen
3 8 oz. cans no salt added tomato sauce
1/2 c. salsa
1 tsp cumin
3 c. chopped cooked chicken breast
1 15 oz rinsed and drained black beans
1 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles, undrained
12 5 in. corn tortillas
1 c. reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. reduced fat shredded monterey jack cheese
3/4 c. reduced fat sour cream (optional)
1/2 c. chopped green onions(optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine first 3 ingredients; stir. Spread 3/4 c tomato sauce mixture in bottom of 13x9 pan.
3. Combine chicken, black beans, green chiles, and 1/2 c. tomato sauce mixture in a bowl.
4. Place 6 tortillas on top of tomato sauce mixture in baking dish, top with half of chicken mixture and half of remaining tomato sauce mixture. Repeat layers with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, and tomato sauce mixture. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Serve with toppings, if desired. Serves 6.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lunch Bunch - Sept. 9

Mmmm, time for Lunch Bunch again! I don't know about you, but we talk about it all week. All. Week. This time it was Jean's turn to cook, and we were all drooling over the picture of Mulligatawny we saw in a Weight Watchers cookbook. The smell of curry wafting down the hallway completely distracted me....it smelled soooooo good! Jean wouldn't let us peek while she plated it up, but I went in anyway and could barely contain myself.

We decided it was worth it to add the extra toppings at the end to really round out the meal. Sometimes the smallest detail makes the biggest impact.

weightwatchers.com 5 points

Cooking Spray
1 8 oz. pkg refrigerated prechopped celery, onion, and bell pepper mix
1 1/4 c. chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
1 tbs. minced peeled fresh ginger
3 c. fat-free less-sodium chicken broth
1 13.5 oz can light coconut milk
1 1/4 c. chopped tomato (~1 large)
3 c. pulled cooked chicken breast
1 tbs. red curry powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs. fresh lime juice
1 8.5 oz pkg precooked jasmine rice
6 lime wedges

1.) Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add celery mix, apple, and ginger; saute 4 min. or until tender. Add chicken broth and coconut milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; stir in tomato and next 3 ingredients. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in lime juice.
2.) While soup cooks, microwave rice according to package directions. Spoon rice evenly into 6 bowls. Ladle soup over rice, and serve with lime wedges.

serving: 1 1/2 c soup, 1/4 c rice, 1 lime wedge.

Optional toppings: plain yogurt, chopped fresh mint, sliced toasted almonds, and mango chutney.

This recipe is something I would make again, especially with the autumn and winter months coming up.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Badges, who needs badges....we do!

When Rachel sent out an email, asking if anyone wanted to help her with a jewelry project involving Girl Scouts, I answered so fast my keyboard smoked. I was only a Girl Scout for a short while, but I firmly believe in doing whatever you can to empower young girls. On Aug 21, I was able to help Rachel Taliaferro of Rachel Taliaferro Art Jewelry as she taught some wonderful York County Girl Scouts the art of making jewelry to obtain their jewelry badges. We started off with some jewelry history, how to craft jewelry ourselves, materials (AKA, borrow Dad's tools), and how we can use vintage and found items in jewelry. Then, Rachel taught them how to make paper beads, and while we waited for the beads to dry enough to string, everyone decoupaged some jewelry boxes. Who doesn't love Mod Podge?!?

I know I can speak for Rachel in saying that we had a great time spending the morning with the girls, and moms. Thank you so much for letting us share our knowledge (and love!) of jewelry with you!

Here are a few pics.


Beads Drying

Et Voila! Art!

intenyears. display

Rachel Taliaferro Art Jewelry display