Archive | January, 2009

Shrimp Etouffee

27 Jan

The Filthy Fowl and I have both been sick, and haven’t been on a good eating schedule. We had no appetite Saturday, and then around 9:30 pm decided we HAD to have Thai noodles. It’s been one of those weekends.

Because I was sick, I planned to spend a good amount of time watching our brand new TV. Now, I’m sure many of you can relate to the fact that besides some of my cheesy teen dramas, the majority of my TV time is spent on The Food Network and TLC. I was excited to see how the cooking shows would look in HD and if Stacy London’s streak of grey hair would be any less annoying (although I love the show and Stacy, if you’re reading, plllllease hook me up!). However, when we switched to the new HD box, we had NO Food Network OR TLC!

The cable people came Saturday afternoon and fixed it, but now the cable box has completely stopped working and the Filthy Fowl has to wait around tomorrow between the convenient hours of 10 and 2 for the geniuses at Time Warner to once again visit our apartment.

Anyway…that’s a long way of telling you that during the 20ish hours that we DID have cable, I saw this recipe for Shrimp Etouffee on Paula’s Party. This is something I would never think of making, but for some reason it sounded really good for tonight, and I had most of the ingredients on hand.

Because Paula is Paula, and I am me, I made some adjustments to the recipe to make it a little more figure-friendly. Where Paula used oil, I used chicken stock. Where Paula used a half stick of butter, I used one tablespoon. I’m not sure what the difference in taste is, but mine was pretty darn good and I don’t think we missed all that extra fat and calories. I think overall this is pretty healthy, and I served it over brown rice to up the fiber content and soak up all of the sauce.

A warning: I read and saw on the show that this is extremely spicy. We like spicy, but I got a little nervous so I left out the hot sauce and figured I could add it later. Well, this certainly didn’t need any more spiciness. It was pretty spicy, and I have a high tolerance. So if you have any doubt, leave out the hot sauce and decrease the cayenne. You can always add it in later, but you can’t take it out.

There are a lot of ingredients, but most are basics. Enjoy!

Shrimp Etouffee

Adapted from Paula’s Party (my camera is out of battery so see a picture here!)

Serves 6-8


  • 1 cup chicken stock, plus more as necessary
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra flour, optional
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if desired
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 to 3 dashes hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can clam juice
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • Salt (Cajun seasoning has salt already)
  • 2 pounds small or medium shrimp peeled and deveined (recommended: (31/35 size count)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Rice, optional
  • Diced green onions, for garnish


Make the roux, mix chicken broth and flour in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk flour into the broth to form a paste. Add more broth as necessary. Continue cooking over low heat and whisk continuously, until the mixture turns a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma, about 15 to 20 minutes.

To the roux, add the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic and cook over low heat about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are limp. Add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, green onions, parsley, and hot sauce to taste.

Add 1 can clam juice and the tomatoes with their juice, stir to blend. Add the salt, starting with 1 teaspoon, then add more if needed. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add shrimp and stir. It will take about 3 minutes for shrimp to cook, don’t overcook. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir; the heat from the dish will melt the butter. Transfer the etouffee to a tureen, serving bowl, or if you prefer, over rice. Garnish with the green onions.


Pulled Pork & Other Football Food

22 Jan

Last weekend was cold, snowy, and perfect for staying in. Although the Filthy Fowl and I did get out, we got in a good amount of lounging. On Sunday, we had a whirlwind HDTV-buying experience, just in time for football and the Lost premiere (tonight!!).

Although the Patriots weren’t making an appearance on Sunday, the Filthy Fowl loves football regardless. Our friends K & E were coming over to watch with us, and I wanted to plan something good for dinner. Plus, they were bringing their brand new baby, so I wanted to keep them here as long as possible so we could play with little Levi!

On the menu: artichoke dip, ranch oyster crackers, pulled pork, and coleslaw. I have to say – all were delicious. Recipes are below.

Unfortunately, as the first game started, so did the snow, and they had to leave a little early so they weren’t driving in a snowy mess back to Connecticut with the baby in the back (responsible, aren’t they?). We packed them up with some pulled pork and coleslaw, and they left us with some addicting ginger-chocolate chip and sugar cookies (I want both recipes, by the way!).

Anyway…here goes.

It started with cheese, crackers, chips, salsa, and artichoke dip. This was another Cooking Light recipe and it was so good! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures, but trust me, it’s good.

Creamy Artichoke Dip

Recipe from Cooking Light/My Recipes


  • 1/2  cup  (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4  cup  reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 3  tablespoons  grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 2  teaspoons  minced garlic
  • 2  teaspoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  (9-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts (about 2 cups), thawed and chopped
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Stir in artichoke hearts. Spoon artichoke mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until artichoke mixture is hot and begins to brown. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 72 (30% from fat)
Fat: 2.4g (sat 0.8g,mono 0.2g,poly 0.0g)
Protein: 5.7g
Carbohydrate: 8.3g
Fiber: 4.1g

The strangest thing on today’s menu were the Ranch Oyster Crackers. I know, it sounds kind of nasty to mix oyster crackers with powdered ranch dressing. The Filthy Fowl thought I was crazy and I know he had low expectations. Well, these were so good. SO good. It was hard not to inhale them by the handful!


Ranch Oyster Crackers

Adapted from (link is to original recipe, which had more spices and oil than I used)


  • 1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 cups oyster crackers (I used one box from Trader Joe’s)


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dressing mix, dill weed, and vegetable oil. Add oyster crackers, and toss to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring gently after 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool before serving.

And on to the main dish. We now have 3 crockpots, and have used one, once. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out, since it’s all make-ahead. I’m not the hugest fan of pork, but this was so good that I wanted to make it again the next day. And it’s just so easy! Enjoy…

Crockpot Pulled Pork

Recipe from The Way The Cookie Crumbles (go there for amazing pictures!)

In the slow cooker

In the slow cooker

Note: I used a 5-lb pork shoulder and this fit perfectly in my 3.5-qt slow cooker. It took about 8 hours to become very tender. I wouldn’t recommend a bigger shoulder in this size crockpot.

Spice Rub:
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground white pepper

1 (6-8 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional – I omitted)
2 cups barbecue sauce

1. Mix all spice rub ingredients in small bowl.

2. Massage spice rub into meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (For stronger flavor, the roast can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

3. Unwrap roast and place it in slow cooker liner. Add liquid smoke, if using, and ¼ cup water. Turn slow cooker to low and cook for 8-10 hours, until meat is fork-tender.

4. Transfer roast to cutting board; discard liquid in liner. “Pull” by tearing meat into thin shreds with two forks or your fingers. Discard fat.

5. Place shredded meat back in slow cooker liner; toss with 1 cup barbecue sauce, and heat on low for 30-60 minutes, until hot. Serve with additional barbecue sauce.

With coleslaw and extra barbeque sauce

With coleslaw and extra barbeque sauce

Healthy muffins…really!

19 Jan

Muffins are one of those foods that we all know are bad for us, but they’re so tempting. Luckily I don’t love them enough to eat 700 calories worth of muffin, but many people do. Before he was on his health kick, the Filthy Fowl ate one several days a week. Even the reduced fat blueberry from good old Dunkin’ Donuts has a lot of fat and calories.

So, wanting something that I can grab in the morning and eat on my way, I looked for a muffin recipe that’s a little lighter on the calories. What I found was Strawberry-Cinnamon Muffins from Cooking Light. These are delicious. I’ve only found two problem with these. One – they’re actually kind of hard to eat on the run, because the strawberry part of the recipe is right in the middle of the muffin, and two – it’s hard to eat just one of them.

These taste great and the strawberry surprise in the middle is so good, especially if you use jam with whole strawberries like the one I got at Trader Joe’s. Yum.

Wait until you see what's inside...

Wait until you see what's inside...

Told you!

Told you!

Low-Fat Strawberry-Cinnamon Muffins


  • 1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 2 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2/3  cup  vanilla fat-free yogurt
  • 1/4  cup  butter, melted
  • 3  tablespoons  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4  cup  strawberry jam
  • 1  tablespoon  sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375º.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Combine yogurt, butter, milk, and egg in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Place 12 foil cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each liner. Top each with 1 teaspoon jam (I used a makeshift piping bag – a Ziploc with the tip cut off). Top evenly with the remaining batter. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375º for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; place on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 165 (24% from fat)
Fat: 4.4g (sat 2.6g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g)
Protein: 3g
Carbohydrate: 29g
Fiber: 0.6g
Cholesterol: 28mg
Iron: 1mg
Sodium: 206mg
Calcium: 94mg

Italian Wedding Soup

19 Jan

I keep seeing this recipe, or variations of it, on different cooking blogs and recipe sites. Since I’ve been wanting to make soup in the new Dutch oven, and the Filthy Fowl loves anything with the word “Italian” in it, I decided to make this based on the cooking blog Annie’s Eats.

Sadly, this recipe was not our favorite. I made a few modifications which may have taken away from the taste (hey, I’m still getting this whole cooking thing down). We did like it, and I’d make it again with some tweaks. It was mostly the meatballs that we didn’t like, although when I reheated it for lunch yesterday, the meatballs tasted better. I haven’t given up on it, because the non-meatball part was delicious, and soup is a really great winter meal, and reheats well.

I would definitely encourage people to try this, and maybe add some of your own spices or stick more closely to the original version.

UPDATE 1/19: This was MUCH better when I reheated it the next day (and again two days later). The flavor of the meatballs totally mellowed out and it was delicious!


Here’s the recipe, with my modifications italicized.

Italian Wedding Soup

Adapted from Annie’s Eats
For the meatballs:
3/4 lb. ground chicken (I used 1 lb ground turkey)
1/2 lb. Italian sausage (I omitted)
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs (panko)
2 tsp. minced garlic
3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (I used 1/2 cup Parmesan)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of dried rosemary (I used too much, I think this was part of the problem)
3 tbsp. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and black pepper

For the soup:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup 1/4-inch diced carrots
3/4 cup 1/4-inch diced celery
8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta (I used mini penne because that’s what I had, smaller would probably be better)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
7 oz. baby spinach, washed and trimmed (chopped regular fresh spinach)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl.  Mix gently with a fork until well combined.  Form the mixture into 1- to 1 1/4-inch meatballs and place onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned.  Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5-6 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6-8 minutes or until al dente.  Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 additional minute.  Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.  Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted.  Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Hearty winter meal

Hearty winter meal

Pita Bread

19 Jan

I know, I know it’s been a few days since I last posted. Sorry…I know you were all waiting on the edge of your seats to see what the City Girl would cook up next. My new job has been very exhausting, especially because I haven’t worked full-time since May. I’ve been so tired that just cooking dinner has been a challenge, let alone blog about it. I do have to give a shout out to the Filthy Fowl, who has also been working very hard and late this week and still managed to help with cooking even more than usual. I think he was feeling extra loving because it was our three-month anniversary last weekend. Or he secretly ruined a favorite article of clothing in the wash or something. Hmmm…

Anyway, I have a few things that won’t disappoint – and a few that will. I’ll start with my favorite, though…pita bread from another blog, Loves to Eat.

Yes – I made pita bread! It was so good and so surprisingly easy. I don’t know why pita bread seems harder to make than regular bread, but to me, it does. I made it with Italian Wedding Soup (another entry) and I have to say, I enjoyed the pita more than the soup itself. I just have to say it again because I’m so amazed – I made pita bread!



Here’s the recipe…

Pita Bread

Recipe from via Loves to Eat

Makes  8 rounds

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water (but not boiling)
  • 1-1 1/2 cup flour
  1. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Beat well about 1 minute.
  3. Then mix in the remaining flour, using just enough to make a soft, sticky dough.
  4. Turn out on floured board and continue to knead for 5 minutes.
  5. Divide into 8 balls.
  6. Roll out each one to about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter.
  7. Place on very lightly greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (although cornmeal is really not necessary if you don’t have it).
  8. Let rise in warm place for 25-35 minutes .
  9. Bake at 450 for 4 min, and then turn over for 4 more minutes or until lightly browned.
  10. Wrap immediately in a dishtowel for 3 or 4 minutes.
Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

Enchilada Casserole

13 Jan

Tonight was Mexican night in the City Girl kitchen! It was slightly unusual because I generally don’t love Mexican food, but the Filthy Fowl was away for the weekend and got back this morning, so I wanted to make something I knew he would like. However, since his weekend trip included a hot dog-eating contest, I wanted something that was pretty healthy (although not light). And, adding to my challenge was the fact that today was my first day at a new job (!!!) so I wanted something easy that I could just throw together when I got home. This recipe fit the bill. With only 249 calories and 5.7 grams of fat, it’s amazing that it tastes so good. I did make some substitutions which may have affected the calorie/fat count, but I don’t think it changed TOO much. Also…I didn’t even have to throw this together…because I made it yesterday! I assembled everything then put it in the fridge (covered in foil) uncooked. When I got the call that the Filthy Fowl was on his way home, I threw it in the oven. It doesn’t get easier than that!

I assembled last night

I assembled last night

I found this recipe from a link on I think the site,, puts together recipes from several different magazines. It’s a great site for lots of healthy recipes. This originally called for turkey, but since 97% lean ground sirloin was on sale at Whole Foods (and I had a gift card), I used that instead. Oh, and did I mention that it was DELICIOUS? We both loved it. I served it with a vegetable salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and celery tossed with lemon juice, salt and pepper. The Filthy Fowl added a little olive oil, but I liked it with just the lemon juice. Here’s the finished product…it tasted better than it looks in these pictures! Cooked casserole It wasn’t light, but it didn’t leave you feeling gross like a lot of Mexican food. You can’t tell that you’re eating healthy with all this gooey (low-fat) cheese. blog-pics-029 I noted my adaptations in italics…

Enchilada Casserole

adapted from MyRecipes Makes 8 to 10 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast (1 lb 97% lean ground sirloin)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (mix of cumin, coriander, chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salad oil (olive oil)
  • chopped pickled jalapenos – the kind that come in the jar
  • 1 can (29 oz.) red enchilada sauce
  • Salt
  • 12 corn tortillas (6 in. wide)
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat jack cheese (8 oz.)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (omitted, by accident)


1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, stir turkey, onion, garlic, oregano, and cumin in oil until turkey is crumbly and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. (At this point I did have to drain the mixture a little. I’m not sure if this would also happen with turkey.) Stir in 1 cup enchilada sauce. Add salt to taste. 2. Meanwhile, cut tortillas in half. Arrange a fourth of the halves evenly over the bottom of a shallow 3-quart casserole, overlapping to fit. Sprinkle a fourth of the cheese evenly over the tortillas, then top with a third of the turkey mixture, the chopped jalapenos, and a fourth of the remaining enchilada sauce, spreading each level. Repeat to make two more layers of tortillas, cheese, turkey mixture, and sauce; top with another layer of tortillas and sauce, then cheese. 3. Bake in a 425° regular or convection oven until cheese is melted and casserole is hot in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 249 (20% from fat)
Protein: 27g
Fat: 5.7g (sat 3.1)
Carbohydrate: 23g
Fiber: 1.7g
Sodium: 1048mg
Cholesterol: 58mg

Cookies & Milk

12 Jan

Maybe it’s dumb to post such a commonly used and easily available recipe, but I’m going to anyway because they’re just plain great cookies. Despite our New Year’s resolution to eat healthier (and for me to get back to my pre-wedding workout routine), I made some cookies. I used the recipe on the back of the chocolate chips, and it was delicious. Since Filthy Fowl loves peanut butter cookies, and I love chocolate chip cookies, I used the mixed peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.

Because I know us, and knew we would eat the whole batch in one sitting, I froze some of the dough for future use. The way to do this is to drop the batter onto a cookie sheet as if baking, but stick the sheet in the freezer until they’re hard (took about 20 minutes, but longer is better). Then I just threw them in a big Ziploc bag and back into the freezer they went.

Certain people think they taste better this way anyway, after sitting overnight and letting the flavors develop. We thought we should try this out so took a few out of the freezer the next day and baked them. Yup, still good, maybe better!


Great with milk

Great with milk

Chocolate Chip/Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

recipe by Nestle Toll House

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (I used the mixed PB/Choc chip)
1 cup chopped nuts (I omitted)

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: PREPARE dough as above. Spread into greased 15″x10″ jelly-roll pan. Bake in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.