Breakfast Pizza/Chili/Spinach Fettuccine

I hope you have a full cup of coffee before starting to read this monster post – although it will mostly be pictures!

I am glad everyone was so concerned over my not having pizza Friday night.  Don’t worry – I took care of that as soon as I woke up Saturday morning!

spinach, Italian sausage and egg pizza!

I love the yolk like that – not runny, but slightly tender – YUM!  Tony still doesn’t get my obsession with pizza, but that’s okay! 😀

Tony had heard about a chili cook-off at the high end mall that my step-son Joe works at.  It was a fundraiser – $10 per person to visit 7 establishments and try their chili.  You could order a beer if you wanted, or they just had water – there was no pressure to buy anything, which was nice!

It started at Cooper Hawk’s.  We have not eaten there, but they are known for their winery – and they ONLY sell their wine.  Their chili was a short rib with blue cheese corn bread on top.   They had a list of the descriptions of all the chili’s, but I left it on the counter after filling out my winner 😦

their chili was good - we loved the short ribs, slightly smokey flavor, but all in all, just okay

The best chili of all was at Joe’s theater!   There is no picture, because they had the tasting in one of the theaters, and had previews of movies going on.  Tony and I split a beer here – $4.00 for one.   Their chili was three bean with jalapenos – just on the upper level of Tony’s heat register – I absolutely loved it, and told Joe they should put it on the menu.

Joe hard at work - so professional! 😀

Next up, Nozumi – a sushi place.   We have always walked right past this place, thinking it would be really expensive – and we were surprised that it was quite reasonable.  Mara, you and your husband would love this place – during lunch hours they have bento boxes are between $10 and $13 and come with shrimp tempura, house salad, rice and miso soup!

Their chili was also a short rib with Asian flavors – they handed it to us and it was loaded with red onion on the top and after taking that off, it was pretty good.

Then we went to Ruth’s Chris.  Tony and I have had the best steaks there – although the place is REALLY expensive.  With drink I think we normally spend between $125 and $150 for two people! Their secret is that right before the steak gets sent to the table, they drizzle clarified butter on the steak.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  And this place was the only one that offered Tabasco! 😀

Their chili was not memorable, in fact I think Tony just took one bite and put it aside.

but we'll go back for the steak!

The event turned out to be more popular than expected and places started to run out of chili.  Anyone who makes chili knows that you can’t really make chili on the fly – it takes time to develop the flavors.  So when we went to Froots – we both took one bite and threw it out – it tasted like tomato dish water with beans!  But Joe says they have great wraps!

Next up was L’Eiffel Bistrot & Creperie.  Mom, next time you come out by me I want to take you there!  This was our second favorite chili – mild heat but strong flavors.  And the guy serving it to us had a cool French accent! 😀

And what store happened to be right across the way??  Sur La Table!   A cooks heaven!

Actually, some of the stuff on sale was not that expensive – they had a whole wall full of wine glasses!

The store had really narrow aisles, and Tony wasn’t comfortable – next time I’ll take a longer look – I love touching everything when I shop!

Last stop – Pinstripes!  OMG, this place is huge!  Bocce courts, bowling alleys, restaurant and bar.  They even have an outdoor bocce court for the summer!  We didn’t even eat chili there, but filled out our ballot for Joe’s theater.  We then got reusable grocery bags and aprons for participating!  We sat down at the bar, I had a glass of wine and Tony had a beer.  The best part about this whole experience was that we went into places we never would have – and were mostly pleasantly surprised!

We were looking at the menu at Pinstripes, and I saw cream of tomato soup and had to get it!  I plan on making Noble Pig’s Bloody Mary tomato soup this week too!

leather couches and servers to bring drinks - score!

All in all it was a great time.  The weather, while cold, wasn’t too bad because the sun was shining and there was no wind.  It was nice to walk around and get some fresh air!

I had homemade spinach fettuccine on my menu last week, but quickly discovered since I am new at making pasta – it wouldn’t work for a week day meal.  I had to use up the spinach so last night was the night.  Hannah had to babysit, so it was a date night in for me and Tony!

Spinach Fettuccine

  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour

That’s it! I decided to make it in my food processor and it was so simple.  First you start out what seems like a ton of spinach:

I put about 1/2 cup of water in the bottom, put a lid on and in 10 minutes it was wilted

it reduced down to this! Run cold water over it to stop the cooking process, then put in paper towels and ring out all the water

I pureed the spinach with one egg at a time

I love the color!!

then I added 1 cup of flour at a time. And yes, I am using my steel blade in the food processor and it worked out just fine

Once the flour is combined, I just dumped it on my counter and kneaded it for all of about a minute.

So while the teacher at the pasta class I went to at Williams-Sonoma was on the annoying side – I learned what I was missing while making pasta.  The last time I tried, once I ran it through the pasta roller, it had holes all over it.  But you need to take that long holey sheet, fold it in thirds, then run it through again.  And again.  And again.  It takes about 10 times at the widest setting to get it to look good.

look at how pretty!!

The woman at the store had an attachment to her kitchen aid, so was able to make the pasta by herself.  I have the old fashioned crack version, so I needed Tony’s help – he cranked while I guided the pasta out.   The picture of him helping me was hilarious, but I had it on the wrong camera setting so it didn’t turn out – but thanks for your help Tony! 😀

I have three attachments to the roller – spaghetti, angel hair pasta and fettuccine.  I decided to make the fettuccine.

don't worry if it is sticking together at this point - once you add it to the boiling water you can use your spaghetti spoon and separate the strands while they cook

don't forget to add lots of salt to the water!

the color is just amazing - I thought maybe after it cooked it would change color, but it didn't

I heated up some previously made pasta sauce and just added about 4 ounces of Italian sausage for me and Tony to split.  Then shaved good parm over the top.  After Tony finished eating he said “This is a keeper!”  Music to my ears! 😀

If you are still here, thanks for reading this giant post!   Off to go check the grill.  Yes, you read that right – we have a giant ham on the grill and it’s 20 degrees outside! 😀

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


BSI – Tofu!

Thanks to Run Beans Run for hosting the BSI recipe contest this week!   I was glad she chose tofu because I already had some in the fridge! 😀  I had been tossing around an idea about making orange chicken but subbing in tofu.  I didn’t have any honey, so I decided to use a tablespoon of my red pepper jelly – it worked!

Let’s face it – if you have a meat eating husband like I do, it’s really hard to pass of tofu or quinoa meatballs!  That is why I made this dish for one person! 😀

Red Pepper Jelly Glazed Tofu for One!


1 tablespoon pepper jelly
10 ounce tofu
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons water


  1. Dice the tofu and stir fry over medium heat until browned on both sides.
  2. In another pot, add pepper jelly, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, curry powder and Tabasco and stir over medium high heat until thickened – about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add to mixture and stir well. Pour over tofu and mix until combined.
  4. Serve over white or brown rice.

I didn't have orange juice, so I squeezed the juice out of an orange = 1/4 cup

I browned the diced tofu on high heat to get a nice crunchy edge

I reduced the sauce while the tofu was cooking - BE CAREFUL - this is spicy and when hot if you lean over you can choke yourself

pour half of sauce on tofu and mix until the sauce gets incorporated into the tofu

be sure to drizzle the remaining sauce over the rice!

Not to pat myself too hard on the back but this was AMAZING!  Everyone knows I love spicy, but it has to be FLAVORFUL spicy, not just knock my socks off spicy.  This one fit the bill – spicy, slightly sweet from the pepper jelly, and then the cut of the acid in the orange juice – I could have rounded out the meal by adding fresh broccoli, but it got freezer burned.

Without the rice, this comes in at: – it gets an A-!

I have a feeling my vegetarian friends will love this!  Marisa, Val,  or Melinda – let me know what you think of this recipe!

Come back tomorrow for our recap of our chili cookoff and my first attempt at homemade spinach fettucine – this one is a keeper!!

No Party Pizza Friday?

I can’t believe I even typed the heading of this post!  But yes, we had no pizza last night 😦

I started out my day with the best grapefruit!  Fresh from my parents-in-law’s backyard!  And ruby red is my all time favorite.  I sometimes put honey on the top and put it under the broiler – when I asked my MIL if she had ever had it like that, she said her grandmother made it like that all the time! 😀

Look how juicy!!

On the side I had spinach/potato/egg white hash with an English muffin:

Before lunch I had the saddest workout of my life.  My co-worker I usually work out with was out of the office.  I couldn’t get motivated at all, so I did a lackluster 4.0 jog for 30 minutes.  Some days its just not there!  But maybe I cut it short because I wanted to eat this!

There is a baked potato underneath there – with 1 cup of my Cincinnati Chili with 1 ounce cheddar cheese – lots of splashes of Tabasco and an apple on the side.

I did have low blood sugar in the afternoon – not too bad – this did the trick to hold me over until dinner:

Can I tell you excited I was to leave work at 5:00 and it was still somewhat light outside??  Come on summer!!

We decided on buffalo wings and since the fryer was out, I cut up a couple potatoes for fries.  After downloading the pictures, I realized that this meal was a bit light on the vegetables!!

I put my food in Calorie Count, and even with the wings, my day gave me a B+!

Yesterday was my neighbors birthday!  Her husband emailed me the day before asking for restaurant ideas, and I asked if I could bake her a cake.   Now regular readers know I don’t bake that often, but when I told Tony that I was making a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, he said “I am pretty sure you need to make two cakes – one for us to try to make sure its worthy of the neighbors!”  It’s all about quality control, right?

So I went to my trusty Cooks Illustrated and found an easy chocolate cake.


1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (2 ounces)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)
1 cup fresh black coffee, hot
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar (for serving; optional)


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. 2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. In separate bowl, combine cocoa and chocolate; pour hot coffee over cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth; let cool slightly. Whisk in mayonnaise, egg, and vanilla. Stir mayonnaise mixture into flour mixture until combined.
  3. 3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. 4. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack, 1 to 2 hours. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into squares, and serve straight from the pan; or turn cake out onto serving platter and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

I used this 60% cocoa baking bar:

Baked exactly 30 minutes - it called for an 8x8 pan, which I don't have, so I used a 9 inch cake pan

Then I found this frosting recipe, also Cook’s Illustrated – I love the hot coffee in it!


4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into 4 pieces
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate , chopped
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
3/4 cup cocoa
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
7 tablespoons skim milk


  1. 1. Melt butter and chocolate over double boiler, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in salt and coffee granules, and transfer to bowl of standing mixer. Let cool slightly.
  2. 2. In medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and sugar. With standing mixer on lowest speed, gradually add to melted chocolate-butter mixture. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar is well moistened and frosting is no longer stiff, stopping once to scrape down bowl. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until creamy, stopping once to scrape down bowl, about 1 minute.

the hot coffee melted the chocolate

Hannah declared it the best frosting she’s ever had!

So while I was striving for a Portillo’s chocolate cake (which is THE BEST chocolate cake I’ve ever had) while this was a GREAT cake, it’s still about two notches below that cake – I am sure Tony won’t mind me going back to the drawing board to try again! 😀


Okay, this post is long enough, but I have to say thank you for Christina for giving me a blog award – I’ll post it tomorrow! 😀

And don’t forget – one more day to submit your Tofu BSI recipes! 😀

Tony and I are planning on going to a chili cook off – only $10 per person – we just have to be careful of the onion factor!

New Feature of BDL!

Thanks to Gina, I found and I love it!  The best feature is that you can enter recipes and it will give you an individual grade on how well that recipe is – and tell you what the good and bad parts are about it.  I still haven’t figured out how to cut and paste the label in my post yet (help Gina!), but I’ll have nutritional info on all my recipes going forward.  It’s also Gina’s birthday tomorrow so click on her name to wish her a happy birthday!

First up?

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

Makes 8 servings

So filling – 2 is plenty!


1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
12 ounces fat free half and half
1 egg
1/2 cup blueberries


  1. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Liquid in a second bowl. Mix until combined then add 1/2 cup blueberries.
  2. Let batter sit for AT LEAST 15 minutes to let the baking powder do its thing.
  3. Pam fry over medium low heat – you don’t want the outside getting done before the inside.

158 calories per pancake - it gave it a grade of B+

these blueberries were so sweet!

it's key to let the batter sit to let the baking powder do its work - you'll be rewarded with fluffy pancakes!

with 1/4 cup sugar free syrup and a shmere of peanut butter between each pancake

I ate these around 9:00 a.m. yesterday and I didn’t end up eating lunch until 2:00!  Very filling!

Lunch was leftovers of sorts.  I sliced some of the turkey breast we had last week and made a Rachel – 1 point WW pita on the bottom, 4 tablespoons of sauerkraut (squeezed dry), 4 ounces sliced turkey and 1 ounce of muenster cheese – I heated it in the toaster oven.  On the side was “mystery” chili – not sure when I made this one, but I tossed a few pickled jalapenos in the mix for an extra kick!

Dinner was yet another version of Cincinnati Chili – I think my third?  I adapted it from Cooks Illustrated, of course leaving out the onions! 😀

Makes 8 servings

2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 cups tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce


  1. Bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teasoon of salt to a boil. Add the ground beef, stirring vigourously to separate the strands. As soon as the foam from the meat rises to the top (about 30 seconds) and before the water returns to a boil, drain the meat into a strainer and set it aside.
  2. Rinse and dry the pan. Add oil and garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, allspice, black pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, water, and tomato sauce.
  3. Add blanched ground beer and increase the heat to high. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce and simmer for up to 1 hour.
  4. Chili 3-ways: cooked spaghetti on bottom of plate, chili on top and add cheese, kidney beans or diced onions.

Tony loves that there are no beans!

My plate:  a bed of baby spinach, 4 ounces cooked pasta, 1 cup chili and 1/2 ounce of cheddar cheese.

226 calories a cup and a grade of A-

The one thing I need to figure out on caloriecount is that I don’t see where I can print out a report of my day with all my stats, not just the calories – my total calorie intake was 1,403, but I don’t see how many grams of fiber, etc.  Anyone know?

A big thank you to my MIL for sending me Florida grapefruit from their backyard!!  Can’t wait to try some!

Don’t forget – there is still time for BSI  this week – check it out here!   I love tofu and am trying to come up with a recipe for a spicy orange tofu with broccoli and brown rice – does that sound good?

Eek – its getting late, I need to jump in the shower – thank God I am low maintenance! 😀  HAPPY FRIDAY!

Great ideas!

Wow, thanks for all the suggestions on how to get a better nights sleep.  But with all your ideas, no one recommended this, which is what I did!

Yep, I took the easy way out and had a bit of wine before bed.  My Mom did suggest Sleepy Time over the counter sleep aids, but I forgot to pick some up on my way home.   I was asleep in about 30 seconds!  I feel great this morning too.  😀

My breakfast and lunch was pretty much a repeat of yesterday – instead I had my eggs in a corn tortilla and had a 60 calorie yogurt with fresh blueberries on the side:

I actually felt like running yesterday at lunch.  My blood sugar was at 102, so I decided to have a pre-run snack.  Probably not the best choice, but it did the trick!

I should have insomnia more often (kidding!) because I ran my fastest 5k on the treadmill yesterday – 39:01!  While I know I am not going to be breaking any records soon, I was pretty happy with that time.  And I got an idea for a dinner next week – of course I watch FoodTV while I work out – Rachael Ray had a Greek inspired meal that looked delicious – I’ll have to make a different side dish because Tony doesn’t like feta, but keep a look out for it next week! 😀

I had the last of my Mexican lasagna – yesterday’s picture was a bit better!  With veggies with salsa/sour cream dip:

in case it ws dry, I added more salsa on top

Who’s totally in love with all the great recipes in the Jan/Feb Cooking Light??  They had a recipe for beer battered fish tacos with mango salsa that looked amazing.   I took that idea and cheated!

3 tenders for 230 calories

These were so crunchy out of the oven!  While I am sure its only 10% fish, these were really tasty!

I had this taco x 3! And not pictured - 30 tortilla chips 😦

I heated up some leftover Chinese food rice for a side dish – I ended up just adding about 2 tablespoons to each taco – its just 1/2 cup queso and 1/2 cup salsa mixed with the rice.

I love Mexican food – as you can tell by my whole day of food!  But tortilla chips are like crack to me 😦

Gotta scoot – I am making whole wheat blueberry pancakes for breakfast – have a great day – two more work days til the weekend!