Angle Hair Pasta with Chicken – Parmesan Sauce

February 17, 2014 by

 

 

Angle Hair Pasta with Chicken – Parmesan Sauce

Angle Hair Pasta with Chicken – Parmesan Sauce

Even though I own about 100 cookbooks, I always read the food section of the newspaper especially when I am food focused while dieting. I use these recipes to inspire me even though the recipes may not be low calorie, they always end up being portion controlled. I usually don’t even bother with calories if I know the portion is correct. In today’s post, I make an exception. Because I am on a 3 day plateau of 205 after a week of being careful, I am curious to see the damage this apparently rich meal caused. Still, 205 pounds is down from 208 on February 7, and 212 on January 23, my birthday which is pretty good.

This recipe attracted me precisely because it was apparently rich and fattening and I liked all of the ingredients individually. Well I cooked the meal in my coffeepot without checking calories and it was filling and delicious. I ate everything that was in the pot which is still one of my bad habits. “If I cook it I eat it all.” As we will see, this wasn’t really a diet disaster and I stayed at 205.

 

Primary Ingredients: Broth Garlic and Cooked Chicken

Primary Ingredients: Broth Garlic and Cooked Chicken

Ingredients:

1 T olive oil, 120 calories

1 head garlic, 52 calories

1 cup broth, 224 calories

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 215 calories

½ cup cubed chicken, 130 calories

1 T cornstarch (optional), 52 Calories

1 serving angle hair or fettuccine pasta, 200 calories

Total calories about 1000

Method:

I love simple recipes and nothing could be simpler than everything in the pot and let it cook for a few hours. Well, almost everything.

 

Garlic and oil in pot

Garlic and oil in pot

Put olive oil and garlic in coffeepot on warmer for about 1 hour.

Add everything else except cornstarch, stir then cook for 2 hours on warmer.

If desired add a tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken. Blend and heat for about 15 minutes. The original recipe did not have chicken and thickened the sause by blending the garlic sauce in a blender

As I said, I ate everything I cooked but by planning the meal and limiting the portion to reasonable amounts like 4 ox cheese and 4 oz chicken, without even measuring calories, the meal comes out in diet range.

If I was really looking to blame anything for my limited progress, I might look to Tuesday day when when we decided to party after our five mile hike and ended up drinking 3 beers and a couple of mixed drinks, took a nap and then had half a pizza and wine for dinner. Oh well, everyone knows that I’m more Sinner than Saint. Especially when it comes to food and drinks. 

Coffeepot Beef Liver

February 14, 2014 by

 

Liver and onions. Garlic Mashed potatoes and brown Gravy

Liver and onions. Garlic Mashed potatoes and brown Gravy

When it comes to liver, I prefer calves liver to beef liver. However, most people in St. Croix don’t like any liver at all and there are very few calves around so no calves liver in stores. Now calves liver properly done is a very tender richly flavored piece of meat whereas beef liver is much tougher and has a coarser heavier flavor which is hard to overcome.

All this changed when I stumbled upon a recipe for Serena’s “Lazy Liver” cooked in a crockpot. This recipe was simplicity in itself which is always a good way to start when using a new cooking method and slow cooking was definitely a new concept because with calves liver it is quickly fried and served slightly pink. Slow cooking calves liver on a stove destroys it and makes it tough. I tried Serena’s recipe a couple of times when liver was on sale and it was a lot better that beef liver cooked on a stove but not quite equal to the best of calves liver which is generally unavailable.

When I decided to return to coffeepot cooking, I found beef liver on sale for $1.25 a pound and purchased .84 pounds which I cut in half. This gave me a 7 oz portion size which is a lot better than cooking and eating a whole pound. I left the other half frozen and returned it to the freezer in a Ziploc bag for another day. The following is a simple recipe with simple directions. It is also the best beef liver I have ever cooked or eaten. While I still prefer calves liver, I will cook and eat this again because I cant always find calves liver when I am in the mood for liver.

Ingredients:

½ stick butter

1 medium onion

1 bullion cube

1 oz Cruzan white rum

5-7 oz liver

1 T room temperature soft butter

1½ T white flower

1 to 1½ cup water

Method:

Place butter and onion in coffeepot with bullion cube.

Place pot on coffee warmer and cook until glazed. About 1 hour.

Add partially frozen liver to coffeepot. (cut into chunks if desired)

Add rum, cover pot with foil and return to the coffeepot warmer.

Remove foil covering top and add the water. Recover with the foil when done.

Mix room temperature butter and flour to a smooth paste (rue) and let set.

After a couple of hours the liver will be completely cooked.

Add the rue to the pot, mix well and cook a couple more hours until a smooth gravy forms when stirred.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.

Notes: The meal was quite good and easy to make. All the times are flexible as long as the total is about four hours. Pretty sure that you can add the flower when the onions are glazed and make a paste, then ad the frozen liver and rum and water right away, cover with foil and leave for 4 to 6 hours and it will be fine.

Overall, portion controlled meals are starting to work, I am down to 205 today and that is slightly better than 208 where I started. I will feel better when below 200 and ecstatic for each 10 pounds dropped down to 175 where I will probably stay for a year or so before human nature kicks in and my weight starts creeping up. The biggest reasons for me to lose weight are not health or appearance. I just have more energy the lighter I am down to 175. Below that, I start feeling weak and tired. Of course all that excess energy can be put to bad use like enjoying parties and staying up too late partying and drinking.

Oh well, it’s the cycle of my life.

Pot Roasted Chicken

February 9, 2014 by
Coffeepot Chicken

Coffeepot Chicken; A Portion Controlled Meal

Cooking in my coffeepot is both amusing and it facilitates portion controlled meals. Sometime the amusing factor overrides the portion control especially when I pot roasted a whole chicken in my coffeepot in expectations of doing it for my granddaughters.

Well, it is definitely weird stuffing a chicken into a coffeepot and the girls and I had fun doing dinner for three in my 12 cup coffeemaker. Truth be told, it was a Cornish Hen, but the girls never noticed that it was a rather skinny chicken. The reason I violated the portion control rule the first time I did it was I had to make sure that it cooked all the way through in a reasonable amount of time. Check the link here and you will see that the chicken is falling off the bone.

Now that I have minimized my writing projects to spare the time to totally immerse myself into portion controlled meals, I decided to do a pot roasted thigh in my coffeepot using the method described in the pot roasted chicken link. Of course, none of the great cooks in my immediate family ever look at a recipe and usually never make a meal exactly the same. True to the tradition, I made the meal from memory and found I had substituted chicken bullion for the adobo I used the first time. It was great and I am using the leftover broth as part of my soup stock.

As an aside, the week before, I grilled three of the thighs with a big baked sweet potato and ate everything. My current Manta is: “If you don’t cook it, you cant eat it so start with the proper portion.”

Recipe:

Ingredients

1 potato

1 carrot cut to length that will fit in pot and quartered long ways

1 celery stalk diced

1 medium onion coarse chopped

3 garlic clove sliced or minced

1 bay leaf

Optional, piece of fresh scotch bonnet hot pepper. Size depends on your taste.

Chicken Bullion Cube

1 chicken thigh, about 5-6 oz.

1 oz Crucian Rum

12 oz water

Method:

Precook the carrots and potatoes and set aside.

Put chopped celery, garlic and onion in pot, cook with oil and cook until onion is glazed (about 1 hour).

Add half scotch bonnet and bay leaf so it can be retrieved when sufficient flavor is infused into the cooked veggies.

Wash one thigh with lime juice after skin is removed. Place in pot on top of bullion cube. Add rum to the coffeepot. Cover the pot and let chicken cook until chicken loses the pink color (about 2 hours.)

Add precooked potatoes and carrots and sufficient water through coffee maker to cover everything.

Let cook another two hours.

Serve with flowers and wine. If you are starving to death, you better make what little you eat an elegant experience.

Well, day one is a resounding success. I am down to 206 which is two pounds lighter than I was the day before and on my birthday on January 23. Guess it’s time for a glass of water and a three mile walk. The coffeepot is cooking my liver and onions, but that’s another story. 

I’m Back with Redneck Calamari and More

February 7, 2014 by
Redneck Calamari

Redneck Calamari

Half the reason I’m back to coffeepot cooking is that I love to cook with my Granddaughters; especially totally ridiculous meals like the one shown above. Of course this meal pretty much comes without a recipe but most people will figure it out. For those fathers who never cook and occasionally get stuck making a meal for children, the recipe is below with a little warning. Perhaps I should have left a link to my grandfathers and hotdog post.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Water, Enough

Hotdogs, Enough

Gold Fish Crackers, Enough

Garnish to make it look like seaweed, Optional, I used Cilantro

Method:P1000502a

Cut bottom 2/3 of hotdog into six legs so it looks like a squid.

Hotdogs in Pot

Hotdogs in Pot

Place in coffeepot

Run water throw the coffeemaker.

Let cook on hotplate for an hour.

Arrange on plates and serve.

Warning!

I used good all beef Hebrew National Hotdogs and “Frankly” they were too dry. If I ever do this again, I will intentionally buy the Brand X greasy cheap hotdogs made from pork and chicken so they have flavor at the end of the cooking process.

The other reason, I am returning to portion controlled coffeepot cooking is because I am becoming a “fat slob”. My daughter and niece were the bearers of the negative assessment this time. I first heard this as a medical assessment in Florida after I suffered a stroke in 2010. I was complaining to the doctor that it didn’t make sense as I had already lost 57 pounds which was morbid obesity at my height.

At the time of the stroke, I was at 210 and still medically classified as obese. Frustrated the doctor explained that he really didn’t care how much I had lost in the past, I was still officially obese and a fat slob.

Over the past 18 months, I have written two books, I never stopped exercising. But as I slid out of my comfort zone of 172 to 178, I never really noticed that there was a dramatic change in my cooking, eating and drinking.

Because  I was researching and writing about history, I stopped my passion for reading and writing about food. I quit cooking in my coffeepot and started grilling double portions on the grill and eating it all or cooking the food in my cute small crockpot which is still bigger than my coffeepot. When I am researching and writing about anything other than food and dieting, I sort of pace around the house and mindlessly eat. At night, I have a few extra glasses of wine so I can kill my brain activity and go to sleep.

Big Belly Man

Big Belly Man

So in 2014 just 2 pounds short of where I had my stroke, I have come to accept that I must split my time between doing what I want and doing what I need to do. I will start becoming food and diet focused again spending some time finding recipes and preparing meals based on quality not quantity. The next time I post a picture, I am sure it will be better than the one above or I must begin to accept that their may not be a next time if I don’t take care of myself.

Writing Books and Recipe Writing!

April 26, 2013 by
This is the cover to the Kindle Edition of my Coffee Pot Cook Book.

This is the cover to the Kindle Edition of my Coffee Pot Cook Book.

 

Over the past few years, I have started to focus more on writing and publishing books than I have on writing about cooking. My first is a narcissistic story of Coffee Pot Cooking and how I lost 100 pounds by walking and cooking portion controlled meals in my coffeepot.

Caribs:The Original Caribbean Pirates & Founding Fathers of American Democracy

Caribs:The Original Caribbean Pirates & Founding Fathers of American Democracy

During my walks I became fascinated by all the beautiful plants that I was seeing and found out many were medicinals of the Amerindians, Africans and Asians that came to occupy St. Croix and call it home. When I tried to learn about the Caribs of St. Croix, I found little published so this led indirectly to my second books entitled,  “Caribs:The Original Caribbean Pirates & Founding Fathers of American Democracy” which is available in a (Kindle Edition) and (Paperback Edition).

I have not given up on writing about cooking, it’s just when I start to write a book on any topic, nothing elses seems important.  Before I start my next book in mid May, I hope to publish a few more recipes because I still eat, have favorite foods and want to have all my recipes in the same place. .

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

April 25, 2013 by
Stuffed Peppers and Broccoli Side

Stuffed Peppers and Broccoli Side

In January last year, I published two posts about stuffed peppers on my blog as this is one of the foods from my youth that I really liked. I am glad that I was publishing recipes while I dropped my 100 pounds, because it allows me to see how much my tastes have changed over time. In the post fifteen months ago, I was still favoring ground beef and in transition over white rice.

When I decided to make the stuffed peppers in my new Crockpot, there were several changes. First, it is much easier to get the stuffed pepper out of a Crockpot rather than a coffeepot because of the wider lid. But the really big change has been my evolution of ingredients. I no longer cook with salt. Yes, I have it on hand and use it occasionally but it is no longer a mindlessly included ingredient. I make up the lack of salt by using more spices.

I now use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Also, I no longer have any white rice in the house but favor brown rice or barley. Except for the cutting back on salt, the rest were not really conscious decisions and I don’t make a big deal out of them when my family is doing the cooking. I pretty much eat what is served and enjoy it. Without salt, I prefer the richer flavors of brown rice and barley over white rice. The original recipe which used ground beef, white rice and salt is here and my latest effort is below:

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
Stuffing Ingredients:
5 oz. (1/3 pound) ground turkey
1 small onion diced
½ cup cooked barley or brown rice
4 oz. Tomato sauce (canned or Italian)
1 tsp garlic
¼ tsp pepper
1 egg

Additional Ingredients:
2 medium bell peppers (Red or Green Look Best when cooked)
4-8 oz. Tomato sauce

Directions:
1.Combine all the stuffing ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until uniform.
2.Cut tops off of peppers, remove seeds and stuff with mixture.
3.Place in Crockpot
4.Add additional sauce until just completely covered.


Stuffed Pepper in Crockpot

Stuffed Peppers in the Crockpot

5.Cook covered 4-6 hours.
6.Serve with coleslaw or Broccoli

Best part no leftovers to tempt me!

My Christmas Crockpot

April 20, 2013 by
My Christmas Crockpot

My Christmas Crockpot

My daughter says that she and I both have minds like steel traps. According to her, there still is a huge difference between the two of us. Her trap is set to capture new concepts and ideas and my trap is sprung so it locks out everything new to me.

This discussion started a few years ago when she first tasted my coffeepot cooking including, Caribbean, Indian and Thai cooking. Her comment then was, “You could pick-up woman by cooking for them if you get rid of the weird factor of cooking in your coffeepot.” Of course my granddaughters reinforced the weird factor because all their friends at school told them that I was weird for cooking in my coffeepot.

Well of course I told my daughter and granddaughters, that crackpots were all the wrong size; I couldn’t find one that would safely work for my needs, and I was not going back to cooking monster meals.

Naturally, my daughter Dagny just ignored me and found a proper size (2 to 2 1/2 quart) Crockpot for Christmas. By proper size, I mean it holds pretty much the same amount of fluid as my 12 cup coffeepot so there is no temptation to super-size a meal. Over the past few months I have been checking it out and there are good and bad features compared to coffeepot cooking.

On the negative side, it has poorer temperature control than my coffeepot. When cooking a meal all day, the coffeepot will pretty much hold 165 degrees Fahrenheit and not change. With an aluminum foil cover it gets to 190. When set on low temperature, the crockpot varies considerably and will boil liquid after several hours. On high, it will actually scorch some foods. You have to pay closer attention to cooking times, When the food is done in the Crockpot, turn it off. The coffeepot is an excellent slow cooker and it is still at low enough temperature to act as a warmer. I used a Kill-A-Watt to measure the cost of electricity for cooking a meal and the Crackpot costs about twice as much to do the job compared to the coffeepot.

On the positive side it is much easier to get a pot roasted chicken out of the Crockpot because of the wider opening than the coffeepot. If you get stupid and stir the pot with a heavy metal spoon, you are less likely to break the ceramic pot than a glass coffeepot. Of course it is still easier to see when the glass pot is clean than it is to see when your black ceramic pot is clean.

Still my friends and family, male and female, are glad to see that I am conforming with societies values and using a standard tool of the kitchen rather than “abusing” my coffeepot. All things considered, I believe this is the best possible Crockpot when cooking portion controlled meals for one or two people. However, when warming things that probably don’t need to be cooked yet might scorch (Kielbasa and Baked Beans), I will use my coffeepot to warm them up especially if I don’t have time to watch the pot.

Kidney Stew, I Am My Mother’s Son!

July 8, 2012 by

Kidney Stew

I like Kidney Stew because my mother liked Kidney Stew. My brother and sister hated it and when we were poor under fed kids which was the last time I was underfed in my life until I adapted my new lifestyle of portion controlled meals, this was the only meal where I actually got enough meat to eat.

Seems, my sister and brother hated kidneys so bad that I could trade one piece of carrot or one potato for a couple of pieces of their kidneys. So I ended up with all their meat and still retained some of my potatoes and carrots. When I mention that I still make kidney stew, and have actually ordered kidneys in mustard sauce as an appetizer, it just confirmed to them that I am still nuts. Well, Mom lived to be 93 years old with her mind still functioning so she must have been doing something right with her diet.

The recipe is a standard stew recipe with a few adaptations to make allow for cooking in my coffeepot. The single biggest one being to stew the kidneys n olive oil and rum for a couple of hours to tenderize them and avoid that rubbery texture you can get when you cook kidneys too fast at high temperatures.

Ingredients:

1 T Butter
1 T flour

2 Potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
2 Carrots coined
1 tsp salt
6 cups water

1 pound kidneys (trim off all the fat and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 T crushed garlic or 3 cloves minced
1 onion rough cut
1 oz Rum
2 T olive oil
2 stalks of celery cut into small pieces
1 bay leaf
1 beef bullion cube
12 oz of water

Method:

1. Let the butter come to room temperature then mix in the flour until a smooth paste. Let sit at room temperature until needed.

2. Wash then peal the potatoes or not, it’s your choice. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces.

3. Wash then slice carrots into coined pieces.

4. Add carrots and potatoes to coffeepot with salt and pass about 6-8 cups of clean water through the coffeemaker.

5. When done, cover with foil and cook covered for about 2 hours until soft.

6. While waiting, all of the fat has to be cut off the kidneys prior to cooking. This is a tedious process so go slowly until you get the knack of it. Cut the kidneys into bite sized pieces

7. When done drain the potatoes and carrots and set aside.

8. Add the kidneys,onions, garlic, olive oil, rum, bay and celery to the pot.

9. Cook covered for 2-4 hours, until tender.

10. Add bullion to the pot and then pass the 12 ounces of water through the coffeemaker.

12. When water is done steaming mix it into the flour and water mixture in the bowl until you get a smooth gravy.

13. Add the carrots and potatoes to the pot and return the gravy to the coffeepot. Cook covered for a couple more hours.

If you like kidneys, you will love kidney stew. If you have never tried it, they are very inexpensive to cook and you just may like them. They are in the same texture and flavor range as beef liver. For me, they also bring back fond memories of my Mother.

Is Over Eating a Cure for Chronic Pain?

July 2, 2012 by

Subjective Pain Measurement Scale

For the past 16 days, I monitored everything I ate with regards to my pain level. Anyone suffering from either chronic pain, back pain or specific joint pain has been introduced to the concept of the happy face pain scale and the one I am most familiar with was the scale that runs from one to ten. Of course this is a very subjective measurement but then pain is a subjective concept. What bothers you, may not bother me at all.

I started exploring the concept of the Inflammation Factor Diet when my pain level was consistently an eight last winter and it was starting to damage my sense of humor. The first thing I found when trying to work with Inflammation Factors was that some of the food ratings were counter intuitive with tomato products bouncing all over the place between good and bad and Turkey and chicken legs being inflammatory but chicken breast being good. All this was just too much for me to remember until I discovered my list of five spices that fight inflammation. Using the five spices in combination and at normal amounts, almost guarantees that your Inflammation factor will be positive by over 1000. Of course, I took some days and nights off from spicy food to grill outside so my daily Inflammation Factor from Nutritiondata.self.com wandered between negative 246 and a positive 2327 when I totaled all the foods I ate for the day.

Except for a few foods like beer and candy, most foods seem to have a greater impact on the following day’s pain levels especially since I ate my primary meal at night and this had my higher spice loading. As a scientist, I am familiar with multiple linear regression and so I checked the values of pain for both the current day and the following day with calories, protein, Inflammation Factor and Carbohydrates as the dependent variables.

The results were incredible but not what I expected. First these variables correlated much better for the following day’s pain so there is a delay factor for eating and adsorbing all of the food value. The effect of protein and carbohydrates were minuscule and ignoring them did not change the correlation coefficient significantly. This was actually surprising because there is an awful lot published about high protein diets being important in fighting chronic pain. Over my 16 day period, I ate a fairly decent low calorie diet which was well balanced and averaged about 95 grams of protein per day (range, 54 to131) and about double that for carbohydrates, 187 grams (range, 133 to 307). The highest carbohydrate day came from a modest sugar candy binge.

Two variables were able to explain about 75% of the reduction on low pain days. It appears that in my body pain is a continuous state of affairs and that increasing my Inflammation Factor in a positive way is accompanied by a slight decrease in pain. Since I already like, cook and eat spicy foods, it would seem that my primordial instinct was already at work protecting me. The totally unexpected and even dangerous result is that there is a five times greater impact from the calories I consume. So eating more has a therapeutic effect on reducing pain.

Since I had my disc replacement surgery, I have been cussing my doctors for messing up my back and causing me a severe increase in pain which occurred the winter after my operation. It would now appear that I caused my own increase in pain by greatly reducing the calories I consumed each day to lose weight.

What had not occurred to me, was the pain got more sever as I ate fewer calories and dropped from obese to overweight to near normal in weight. It got so bad I complained to my daughter and her only comment was does it hurt when I walked? Yes! Does it hurt when I don’t walk? Yes!. Then stick to the diet, stop complaining and keep walking. Her logic was that being lighter and physically fit had to be a lot easier on my joints, than than being obese.

It seems the opposite is true: overeating helps mitigate chronic pain.

Go figure, another counter intuitive result but this one could have dangerous consequences if I give up on a pain free diet and revert to overeating as I had in the past.

Coffeepot Lasagna: Oxymoron or Good Eating?

June 23, 2012 by

Rolled Lasagna: Coffeepot Style

When my parents started getting older, it seemed that all they wanted to talk about was the weather and their grandchildren. Now the first topic is boring and there is not much I can do about it, but I must admit that I spend a lot of time talking to my children about their wonderful and sometimes not quite so wonderful children. I also spend a significant amount of time talking to my children about business, exercise (their’s and mine) and cooking.

My daughter discovered a recipe for rolled lasagna in early April and was concerned that it was not quite perfect. We talked about it and it sounded like something that could be done in my coffeepot but I didn’t get around to it until just before Memorial Day and have been too busy since then with my anti-inflammatory diet to worry about publishing new recipes.

However, I get two of my three Granddaughters for the first three weeks in August and this is another one of those fun meals that shouldn’t be possible to make. Even the name Coffeepot Lasagna sounds like an oxymoron. One of the most important things I learned with his meal is that you can cook the whole box of lasagna noodles and the ones that you don’t use can be frozen between layers of wax-paper and are perfectly fine for another day.

Naturally, my daughter and I never cook anything exactly the same way. She tends to be aware and adapt to the contemporary interpretations of old recipes and I tend to do it the old-fashioned way. It’s all good. When I cook, she loves it. When she cooks, I love it. The biggest difference in this recipe is that she included crumbled cooked sausage in her cheese mix for the filling, I sliced cooked meatballs and made it a layer on top of the filling. If I were including sausage, which I have in the past, I slice it and include it with the meatball slices or in a separate layer. Oh well, to each their own.

Rolled Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 egg
4 oz shredded Mozzarella
handful fresh parsley minced

3 Lasagna noodles cooked as per box directions.

Method:

1. Cook all the noodles and freeze the ones you don’t use between sheets of wax paper.

2. Microwave one portion of frozen meatballs for the appropriate amount of time.

3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

Spread the Cheese Mix on the Lasagna Noodles

4. Spread the cheese mix on the noodles.

5. Place the sliced cooked meatballs on top of the noodles and dab a little sauce on top of everything.

6. Roll and spike with toothpick to hold.

7. Put a little sauce in bottom of coffeepot so nothing sticks.

Cooked Rolled Lasagna

8. Place meatballs inside and cook for two to four hours.

9. Enjoy

I haven’t made this in the three years since Dolores died but I am definite I will make it when my granddaughters are here. Truth be told, I forgot to dab the sauce on top of the cheese and meatball layer before rolling because it’s been too long, but that is the traditional way to do it.

Ah, I remember it well!


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