My musings…

Archive for January, 2010

Recipe for week 3 – Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado – 6 servings, ~400 calories (AND SUPER DELICIOUS!)

Lomo saltado is a typical Peruvian dish.

1 pound(s) raw lean beef tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch thick strips
2 medium garlic clove(s), thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp table salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, leaves, divided
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
6 medium Yukon Gold potato(es), cut into 8 wedges each
4 spray(s) olive oil cooking spray, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 medium red onion(s), thinly sliced
2 average serrano chile(s), cut into thin strips
2 medium sweet red pepper(s), cut into thin strips
2 medium tomato(es), cut into wedges


  • In a nonreactive bowl, combine beef, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, cumin, 2 tablespoons of cilantro and lime juice; cover and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450ºF. Coat a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray; place potatoes on top. Coat potatoes with cooking spray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil; sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of salt. Turn potato wedges over several times to coat. Roast for 15 minutes; turn over and roast until both sides are crisp yet tender inside, about 12 to 17 minutes more.
  • While potatoes are baking, coat a large skillet with cooking spray and add 1 teaspoon of oil; heat over medium-high heat. Brown beef, flipping once, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side; remove beef and set aside.
  • Add remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and cook onions, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add chiles, peppers and tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more. Add beef to skillet and toss to coat. Serve immediately, topped with fries and garnished with remaining 2 tablespoons of cilantro. Yields about 1 1/3 cups of beef mixture and 8 potato wedges per serving.
  • ————————
    Elvis says the difficulty with me trying all these new recipes is that he likes everything and I’m making him fat!  Luckily most of the things I am making are healthy and fairly low cal!  He actually really loved the way the potatoes were done in this recipe because they ended up super crunchy and delicious.  We did use Russet potatoes instead of Yukon Gold, though I’m not sure this made any sort of a difference.

    Another one of our goals for this year is to save money.  One of the best ways to do that is to not spend it in the first place, right?  So, I’m turning into my mother and have started clipping out coupons from the newspapers…  Last week I got a pretty awesome deal, though.  I had 2 – 55cent off tortilla coupons AND the tortillas were on sale for $1.50 AND they double coupons at the store I went to, so the tortilla packs ended up costing me 40 cents each.  I don’t remember for sure if there were 8 or 10 in each pack, but that will cut down on the cost even more for the next time I make Freezer Burritos!

    The other thing we do is purchase almost all of our clothing at second hand stores. We have both been able to find quality clothes there at a mere fraction of the original price (like the almost brand new Calvin Klein Jeans I got the other day). Elvis has a bunch of compatriots that work at the second hand stores, too, so often we get an even FURTHER discount (those CK jeans? Marked at $14. Paid <$1.) We were especially lucky the other week, though. I had off MLK Jr Day from work and was bored, so we hopped in the car and headed to one of the stores nearest our house. Unbeknown to us, they were having a 50% off of everything sale! For $50, we were able to pick up 10 pairs of pants/jeans, 2 t-shirts, a sweatshirt 5 dress shirts, a leather jacket, and a small humidifier! Pretty cool, huh?


    Progress Report

    So yesterday I had finished typing a post about Ultimatum, the first book that I read this year, when my browser suddenly froze and I was unable to post it!  Hmph!  All in all, it was a good book.  The book’s about global warming and a secret bilateral deal with China that almost escalates into a nuclear war.  Set in 2032 after a new president takes office, more drastic and exact figures about global warming are released.  After San Francisco is annihilated by a nuclear bomb, the rest of the world decides they side with the US and eventually so does China.  I liked the book partially because it deals with the issues I work on on a daily basis.  It was also a quick and easy read (even though the book is 400 pages long).  One downside is that there’s a lot of talking and not a lot of action.  Instead of “sitting in” on the negotiations, we hear the report back to the President, for example.  There were also A LOT of characters, so it was hard to keep them straight sometimes.  Overall, however, I think I’d give it 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5.

    And now we have….MORE RECIPES!

    Freezer Burritos (Original Recipe) – 8 servings, 400 calories each

    1 lb lean ground beef
    1/4 c. finely chopped onion
    1 1/4 c. salsa
    2 t chili powder
    1 t cumin
    1 t paprika
    1 t oregano
    1 t sugar
    1/2 t salt
    1 1/3 c dry pinto beans cooked
    1 c shredded cheese
    8 8″ tortillas

    Brown the ground beef with the onion.  Add the salsa and the spices.  Process the beans in a food processor until smooth, then add to beef mixture.

    Assemble burritos – tortilla, beef/bean mixture, cheese.

    Wrap in waxed paper and aluminum foil to freeze.  When you’re hungry, take one out, remove the aluminum foil and microwave 2  to 2 1/2 minutes.

    My modifications:
    I didn’t add any sugar…no reason for it to be in there.  Also, I didn’t have any store bought salsa on hand, so I added in 2 chopped plum tomatoes, 1/4 of a green pepper chopped up and 1/8 to 1/4 c. of chopped fresh cilantro.  Instead of using pinto beans, I used black beans since we always have those on hand.  Also, I processed about 1/2 of them in the food processor and left the rest whole.

    I made a double recipe and froze them so that Elvis can heat them up for breakfast in the morning on his way to work.  They would also make a good snack or small meal on the weekends when we don’t want to cook.  I think in total it cost less than 75 cents per burrito – including the wax paper and aluminum foil – a much better deal than stopping at 7-11 or something like that to pick up breakfast.

    Hamburger Buddy – 8 servings, 260 calories

    1 lb lean ground beef
    3 cloves garlic, crushed
    2 carrots, grated
    10 oz white mushrooms, sliced
    1 lg onion, finely chopped
    1 t dried thyme
    3/4 t salt
    1/4 t black pepper
    2 c water
    14 oz beef broth
    2 T Worcestershire sauce
    8 oz noodles
    2 T flour
    1/2 c low fat sour cream

    Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan, drain off any fat.  Add in garlic, carrots, mushrooms, onion, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook until veggies start to soften.

    Reserve 1/4 c. broth.  Add rest of broth, water, Worcestershire sauce  and noodles to beef mixture.  Cook until pasta is tender.

    Add flour to reserved broth, whisk.  Add to pasta/beef mixture with sour cream.  Simmer until sauce is thickened.

    This was delicious and a much healthier alternative to Hamburger Helper.  Elvis loved it and it’s definitely on my to-make-again list.

    Another Recipe

    Okay, so this recipe is another new one that we tried in 2009 – on Thanksgiving, actually, but it was a twist on a traditional vegetable dish and something that we all enjoyed. Also over at Life As Mom, she runs a weekly recipe exchange and the theme this week is veggies, so I thought I’d add this recipe to her exchange, too!

    Broccoli with Garlic Butter and Cashews (originally found on
    6 servings, 180 cal/serv.

    1 1/2 pounds of fresh broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
    1/3 c butter (can use less or use margarine)
    1 T brown sugar
    3 T soy sauce
    2 T white vinegar
    1/4 t ground black pepper
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/3 c chopped salted cashews

    Place the broccoli into a large pot with about 1 inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes, or until tender but still crisp. Drain, and arrange broccoli on a serving platter.

    While the broccoli is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and garlic. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Mix in the cashews, and pour the sauce over the broccoli. Serve immediately.

    New Year, New ME! :-)

    So I’m going to try to start off this new year right by posting more often which means that my posts will have to be PROactive instead of REactive. To that end, I think I’ll use this blog to track progress on some of my goals for 2010 in addition to update you all on my life.

    All of my life I have set goals for myself. I have some long term goals which include things regarding family, travel and financial goals. I created a “bucket list” a long time ago before the movie came out, actually, of things I want to do before I die, but that’s a topic for another post.

    For 2010, I have several short-term goals as well. I think that I’ll make progress reports on 2 of them here:

    1) Read 8-10 “classic literature” books.
    After I finish the book I am currently reading (Ultimatum by Matthew Glass), I plan on digging into some books that I have never read that are considered classic literature including The Grapes of Wrath, Lolita, 1984, Catch 22, and we’ll see what else I get to.

    2) Try at least 1 new recipe a week.
    I enjoy cooking, I really do.  I often write down recipes that I think would be interesting to try and then don’t actually get around to making them.  That’s about to change. 🙂

    The new recipe I tried this week was for my Turbo Cooker (Thanks Gram and Aunt Jean!), but I won’t post it here because making it requires you to have a Turbo Cooker and if you have a Turbo Cooker, the recipe (for chicken, roasted potatoes and veggies) came along in your pack.

    I will, however, post a recipe for one of our favorite things that we tried last year:

    Serves 4

    2 T Olive Oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1 green bell pepper, diced
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 large tomato, chopped
    1 cup quick cook rice (I used plain white rice, but you can use Spanish rice or any other variety)
    7 ounces chorizo sausage, casings removed and cut into 1/4″ slices
    2 c chicken stock
    1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
    2 T fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish (original recipe called for parsley, but we used cilantro and it was delicious)

    Heat olive oil in a large lidded frying pan over med-high heat.  Add onion and bell peppers, cook for 2 minutes.
    Add garlic, continue to cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Add tomato, rice, salt and pepper to taste and cook for 2 minutes.
    Add in chorizo and stock.  Bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the rice is tender, but the dish is still moist.
    Add shrimp, stir and cover.
    Cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp are no longer pink and the liquid has been absorbed.
    Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

    About 550 calories, but high in sodium and fat.  Leaving out the chorizo drops the calories to 320.  The fat and sodium also drop drastically.  This probably changes the final taste, though adding some other spices could help!

    I think that’s enough for today’s post!  Stay tuned for more recipes and book reviews.