Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fourth of July Fruit Slaw

I have always loved cook outs. There is just something about being outside, with the sun shining and smelling whatever happens to be on the grill that day. I don't really eat red meat anymore, and even my chicken eating is few and far between...but when it comes to fish I could eat just about anything that swims in the sea, with gills that is! Erin's family had opted to have swordfish (grilled!) for the fourth of July dinner. We typically grill alot of hamburgers and fat free hot dogs at her house so it was a nice change up for the holidays. Since erin's dad is typically in control at the grill, and erin's mom had picked up corn and veggies to add to dinner, I decided to contribute with my own side dish.

As mentioned in the last post erin recently bought me the HG cookbook (hungry girl). This thing is chocked full of recipes for all sorts of taste. She has breakfast, snacks, soups, coffee name it. The good thing about this book is that almost all the ingredients are fairly common, and the recipes are often remakes of fatty/high calorie dishes. In keeping with the cookout feel I narrowed in on a Fruity Coleslaw. (i must mention that if you click on this link you only get a picture of the slaw...not the recipe probably due to the fact that they need to sell cookbooks :(

This slaw had tons of ingredients that I love, cabbage (2 kinds), purple grapes, green apple, fat free yogurt, grape juice concentrate and...jicama. Now I had never cooked or seen jicama before (well I had seen it in the supermarket but not really known what it was called) but HG assured me that it was similar to an apple texture and potato taste. It really added to the texture of the slaw more than the taste I would say. I didn't follow the measurements of this recipe because I figured the more cabbage the better. The one problem was figuring out how to mix the liquid into the overflowing bowl of cabbage...opps. The mix also calls to sit in the refrigerator for an hour in order to soak up the grape juice, vinegar etc. to wet the cabbage. I think next time I will definitely plan on measuring all the veggies/fruit to make sure the ratios are better.

Erin's dad is a HUGE fan of the fat filled coleslaw so I knew he would be the big critic of the day. Although it was the 4th I think I earned an 8+ in his ratings. He even insisted on taking the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Skinny Spinny Dip

Where has the time gone? Between working, travelling (for work, don't be jealous), weddings and date days I haven't spent much time in the kitchen. Sadly it hasn't been for lack of want, but rather lack of time! My girlfriend even bought me a few new cookbooks and that STILL did not force me back into the hot kitchen. I must say that I have missed it terribly. I miss the feeling that you get when you create something yummy and healthy that brings ah hmmmmm to the room. SOOOO when the fourth of July came I thought what better day then to state my DEPENDENCE on cooking!

Erin's family had already decided to grill fish that night for dinner and along side that we were going to have grilled veggies and corn on the cob (a staple of summer time in the Northeast). But enough of that menu as my addition to dinner will come in a later blog.

I had just returned from California on business and my eating time clock was all mixed up. I had not really eaten a meal that day and it was already three o'clock (keep in mind that my plane landed at 4:30am so I was fully justified for sleeping in!). I didn't want to ruin my dinner so I decided that it was a perfect opportunity to attempt one of the snacks in my new hungry-girl cookbook! The red sox were playing a day game and I thought everyone loves chips and dip during baseball so I choose the HG Rockin' Restaurant Spinach Dip!

First off the ingredients were super simple to find although I opted to not add the water chestnuts (not a huge fan) and I couldn't find any cheese that was completely fat free so I used the Cabot 75% reduced fat cheese instead. I also used skim milk as opposed to buying a carton of soy just for the recipe! She tends to use Soy in alot of her recipes but I think skim is fine to sub.

I went into the process a bit tentative. I was worried that the cheese wouldn't melt or would taste low fat and that the milk wasn't enough and that the recipe should have been doubled...boy was I wrong. Everything went together perfectly. I guess I will blame my lack of trust on my time away from the kitchen!
I normally would have served it with Guiltless Gourmet chips...but for the 4th we splurged and used the regular tostidos (plus that would have been another trip to a different grocery store...and didn't I mentioned I was already sleep deprived?). The dip was a hit, and extremely low in fat!! It was even good the next day warmed up. The only addition I would suggest next time is perhaps some artichoke hearts. I think it would add another texture and a bit of salt too!
I didn't ask Erin what her rating for this dip was, but never you fear I think that this will be a remake real soon, and I'll be sure to report the number status back!