Friday, October 28, 2011

Classic Black Beans & Rice

Classic Black Beans & Rice
(6-8 as an entrée, many more as a side)


¼ cup Olive Oil (EVOO)
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 large Yellow Onions, chopped
1 large Green Pepper, chopped
2 15 oz. cans Black Beans, rinsed and drained
3 large Tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
3 each Green Onions, chopped
¼ cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
5 cups Cooked Short-grain Rice


In a large sauté pan, warm oil over medium heat and add the garlic, onion and green pepper.  Sauté until onions are just starting to brown.  I would start the rice cooking just after you get this started.  Now add the black beans, tomatoes, salt and both peppers.  Continue to cook over medium heat for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the green onions and mix in well.  Now serve over the cooked rice and garnish with the chopped parsley.

Note:               You can adjust the cayenne pepper to meet your heat level.

Note:               This is a great vegetarian dish but I like to add some cut up
                           Andouille sausage to meet my taste.  Just add it for a couple
                           of minutes just before you add the black beans.

Note:               This dish could be done in a Slow-cooker too.  Just throw it
                           all in and cook it on low for 8 hours.  You could even add
                           the rice to the pot but make sure you add the extra water
                           for the rice.

Note:               For more heat, I’ll add some finely chopped Jalapeno peppers

Ideas for Future Efforts

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Notice the Difference in the Two Pesto Recipes

It's kind of nice when accidents happen and they actually help show people something you have expressed before on the subject.  Two Fridays before, I gave my Basil Pesto recipe.  Last Friday, I gave another Basil Pesto recipe from Chef Cody Lewis.

The accident was that I had asked Cody to do a little piece on sauces and then give one of his favorite sauce recipes.  I didn't limit him on what recipe he gave me.  Just by chance he picked the same recipe I had just posted.  He didn't know I had posted that recipe before he submitted his recipe.  It was just his favorite.

My question becomes "How many readers of the blog compared the two recipes?"  If you had, you would have noticed that they basically used the same ingredients but in definitely different amounts.  The only difference in the ingredients was that I also used black pepper and Cody did not.

I the cookbook,as well as in the blog recipes, I have always said that once you make a recipe it usually is different each time after that.  I encourage you to make changes to the recipes to meet your personal taste.  I love that these two recipes reflect that statement.

Of the six common ingredients, only two of them are of equal amounts.  They are the olive oil and the Parmesan cheese.  Cody uses twice as much basil as I do.  While I use 50% more garlic and more than double the pine nuts.  Cody uses double my salt but then I use black pepper too.

We even toast our pine nuts differently.  Me on top of the stove and Cody in the oven.

But the amazing thing about all of this is that both recipes work and taste great.  One has a little more basil flavor while the other is a little nuttier.  If you would go out on the net and look, you could check five different Basil Pesto recipes and most likely none of them would be exactly the same.  Everybody has put their influence into them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this is what cooking is all about: Create what tastes good to you and be happy.  Now go out there and put your mark on your food.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WeightWatcher Points - Sandwiches

More Than Your First Cookbook
Sandwiches Chapter
My calculations for WeightWatcher Points

I don't think the points are too bad for the sandwiches chapter with the exception of two.  The Meatball Sub and  Patty Melt high and you'll just have to watch your portion size.  I hope this helps you a little.

Bacon Dogs - 10 pts.

Chicken Panini - 13 pts.

Chicken Quesadilla - 12 pts.

French Dip Panini - 12 pts.

Grilled Cheese - 10 pts.

Hamburger - 9 pts. /Cheeseburger 12 pts.

Italian Sausage w/Peppers & Onions - 11 pts.

Meatball Sub - 24 pts.

Patty Melt - 23 pts.

Taverns (Sloppy Joes) - 5 pts. (no bun)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cookbook Released Today

Today is a very exciting day for me.  I am officially a published author and I'm sure the nuns from grade school are rolling over in their graves.  English and writing were not my strong suits with them.  Thank God it got better as I continued my education.

It really is amazing when something you set out to do is accomplished.  I'm sure there were many people that, when I told them I wanted to write and publish a cookbook, thought "oh sure."  Some told me they figured it was a 5 to 10 year project to keep me busy in retirement.

The fact that I put a timetable to it from the beginning (when I didn't know what I was doing or how big the project would really be) and kept close to it made me feel good.  I really had no clue what I was getting myself into with this retirement dream.

Fortunately, I come from a family (and a mother who still is at 94) that has always been curious and ask a lot of questions.  I've had a great time learning a whole lot of new things about myself and what I've been pursuing.

I want to truly thank everyone that has had anything to do with this project.  Without your support and encouragement, I would have never been able to get this far.  I really do mean "Thank You" and it makes me feel wonderful knowing that so many people care.

I have started listing all my events that evolve around the cookbook on my website,  So please check them out and if you're available to make one, please do so.

This week on the blog, I will list the WeightWatcher points for the Sandwiches chapter of the cookbook.  On Thursday, I will talk about the fact that we have had two Basil Pesto recipes in a row and why they are different.  This week's recipe on Friday is "Black Beans & Rice."  A hearty dish for the fall.  Have a great week and a big "Thanks" to Cody Lewis for contribution to the blog last week.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Baked Salmon with Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pesto

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
By Chef Cody Lewis
(1 cup +)


1 cup Oil-packed Sun-dried Tomatoes, drained (see note)
½ cup Grated Fresh Romano Cheese (Parmesan if Romano isn’t available)
¼ cup Fresh Basil Leaves
2 tbsp. Pine Nuts, toasted (see note)
3 cloves Fresh Garlic
½ cup Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Capers (optional) (see note)


Start with oil and garlic in food processor or blender.  When finely chopped add the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, pine nuts and cheese.  Make a paste.  Fold in capers if you like.  Be sure to cover with a thin layer of oil it storing for any length of time.

Note:               Anything packed in oil instead of water will hold its flavor better;
                           especially olives and sun-dried tomatoes.  Drain and discard
                           the oil in this recipe.

Note:               I like to toast the pine nuts a little, gives them a richer flavor.
                          Toast in oven (350 degrees) until lightly brown and fragrant.

Note:               Fold capers in after the pesto is processed.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Baked Salmon with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
By Chef Cody Lewis
(4 servings)


1 tsp. Olive Oil
4 each 6 oz. Salmon Filets, with skin
To Taste Salt and Black Pepper
1 recipe Sun-dried Tomato Pesto (recipe in blog)


Take your salmon filet skin side down and season the top lightly with salt and pepper.  The skin side will be flat and slightly discolored.  The top side or presentation side will be a very nice color and look rounded.  In a sauté pan on medium-high heat, place a small amount of oil.  Use just enough oil for the fish not to stick.  Take the salmon filet in your hand with the skin side down and while facing the pan.  Place the salmon filet gently into the pan so that the side closest to you touches first.  When the rest of the filet falls into the pan, it falls away from you so that there is no chance of oil splashing and burning you.  It is important that you sear the top of the filet (presentation side) first and not the skin side.  After one minute take a spatula and remove the filet from the pan.  You are only searing one side and there should be a nice golden brown sear on the salmon.  If not, the heat was either too high or too low.  You can’t write this skill in a recipe, it just takes practice.  Try it for yourself before doing it for company.  Place into a glass baking dish or any baking pan with sides (oil dripping off of the salmon on a sideless pan will run off and on to the bottom of the oven and make a mess).  Place a generous layer of the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto on top of the filet.  Repeat process for remaining salmon filets.  Place the dish into a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness (12 minutes for thin filets and 15 minutes for very thick filets).

Note:               I like to pair this with roasted baby Yukon gold potatoes and
                           asparagus drizzled with olive oil and salt & pepper only.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chef's Basil Pesto

Chef’s Basil Pesto
By Chef Cody Lewis
(1 cup plus)


4 cups Fresh Basil Leaves
½ cup Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Pine Nuts (see note)
2 whole Cloves Fresh Garlic
½ cup Parmesan Cheese (see note)
1 tsp. Course Kosher Salt (see note)


Using a food processor or a blender, add the olive oil and garlic.  Start blending these ingredients and then add the pine nuts and basil leaves continuing to process until smooth.  You will need to stop and scrape the sides with a spatula a few times.  Next comes the cheese and then the salt.  Blend until smooth and then place in a storage container.  You can refrigerate if not using immediately.  Be sure there is a thin layer of olive oil on the top of the mixture; this will preserve the sauce and keep its color and flavor.

Note:               I like to toast the pine nuts a little, gives them a richer flavor.
                          Toast in oven (350 degrees) until lightly brown and fragrant.

Note:               You can buy the already grated cheese, but for the best flavor
                           buy cheese whole and grate fresh.

Note:               Because of its very fine crystals, a single teaspoon of table salt
                           is more than a tablespoon of kosher salt.  They cannot be
                           interchanged without adjusting quantity.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sauces with Cody Lewis

If I had to choose one component of a dish that can separate a good meal from a great meal, I think of sauces.  Sauces can add many different flavors, textures and color, more than any other single component in cooking.  There are simple sauces, which are made from the natural juices of whatever you are cooking.  There are very complicated sauces that require many hours of simmering, careful attention and care to perfect the balance of flavors and consistency desired in the finished sauce.

I think that is what I fell in love with about food and cooking.  I can study food for the rest of my life and not run out of material to learn about sauces.  With any sauce that you choose, just as in life, there are natural principles that you must understand and follow.  Even if the recipe does not go into why you are doing each step and in what order the steps come in, it is imperative that they be followed as listed.  With my "Classical French" education I am partial to the more complicated and heavy sauces, but it seems that the trend today is away from heavy cream and butter to lighter, more health conscious dishes.

My favorite way to add flavor to any dish while keeping it healthy, is the addition of herbs.  One great thing about herbs, you can add herbs without adding calories or fat.  For those on a diet to lose weight or if you are on a sodium restricted diet, adding herbs can add much needed flavor and excitement to your food.  Basil would have to be my favorite herb of all and the main ingredient in the sauce I want to share with you, pesto.

Today pesto is pretty common and even comes pre-made at the grocery store.  But you should really try making it at home instead of buying it in a jar or tube.  It's amazing how different (and much better I might add) the taste is when you make it fresh.  Basil is also fun and easy to grow at home and much less expensive.

The term pesto does not exclusively mean the traditional basil pesto as in the recipe I offer.  It just means paste, so there are a wide variety of ingredients you can blend together into a pesto.  My second recipe Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pesto is an example.  Experiment with the different ones you come across in recipes.

Pesto, any pesto, can be used in so many different ways.  Some of my favorites are; topping for fish (my 3rd recipe), stuffed inside of a chicken breast, coating for any kind of pasta, to flavor risotto, to flavor soups, to coat summer vegetables grilled or sauted, in place of traditional pizza sauce, added to cream cheese or mayo to make spread and even to mashed potatoes.  There are many more as well and pesto is delicious hot or cold.

As I mention in the pesto recipes, usually you need a food processor or blender to make the pesto.  However, before these appliances existed people used a mortar and pestle to make pesto.  If you have one, try making the pesto with it.  If you don't know what a mortar and pestle are then Google it.

My wife and I recently had a baby and I read everything I could about the foods I could make that would provide the best nutrition for her and our growing baby.  One fun recipe I ran across was a twist on the traditional pesto.  It substituted arugula and sunflower seeds for the basil and pine nuts.  It was amazing and provided many much-needed vitamins and minerals.  Arugula contains the vitamins A, C & K and is a good source of Iron also.  Sunflower seeds are a source of polyunsaturated fat, folic acid and vitamin E.  Other fun facts:

Herbs with antioxidant properties: Basil, Cilantro, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme.

Substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs in a recipe: 1 tsp. dried = 1 tbsp. fresh.

I hope this has been informative and helpful.  Enjoy the 3 recipes and thank you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WeightWatcher Points - Salads

More Than Your First Cookbook
Salad Chapter
My calculations for WeightWatcher Points

Some of the points will seem high for a portion.  There are two reasons that help account for the higher portion points.  First, the portion are definitely larger than many people really need.  But the second reason is more to blame.  In figuring the nutritional information on each of the salad recipes, all the salad dressing in the recipe was used.  I've actually never used all of the dressing when I make them on the salad.  It may have been better if we had done the salads and the dressings separate.  For the taco, Jane's, ruby red and the shrimp Louie I use about half of the dressing the recipe makes.  I would cut a third of the points if you do the same.

Barry's Healthier Taco Salad - 9 pts.

Bleu Cheese Salad - 11 pts.

Classic Caesar Salad - 5 pts.

Chicken Salad - 5 pts.

Egg Salad - 6 pts.

Greek Salad - 7 pts.

Jane's Salad - 19 pts.

Ruby Red Grapefruit Salad - 14 pts.

Shrimp Louie Salad - 24 pts.

Tuna Salad - 7 pts.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chef Guest Blogger

This week we start our "Guest Blogger Series."  This series will feature 12 people over the next twelve months.  We will start with a guest chef this month and then alternate with a guest Registered Dietitian.  They will each blog on some topic of their choice that relates to cooking and eating.  Some of them will be healthy ideas and ways to help you.  Others will be, let's say, less healthy but very tasty.

To start the series, our first chef is Cody Lewis.  Cody is a hometown boy that actually went to school with my children through high school.  He hasn't lived here in many years but still stays connected because of family that are still here.

Cody has been involved with food for 16 years professionally.  He is a graduate of the American Culinary Federation Culinary School in Panama City, Florida.  Cody is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.  He has worked in all areas of the food industry during his career.

I had asked Cody for a few interesting facts about his career.  He gave me three that I've known about him for years that I thought you would enjoy hearing.

1. He was taught by a Master Chef while in culinary school.  After he finished his schooling, Cody went to work for this Master Chef, Jack Shoop at his restaurant.  The restaurant was in Destin, Florida and was called Bistro Bijoux.  The reason this is interesting or significant is that there are fewer than 100 Master Chefs in the United States.  So not a lot of people have the opportunity to work with one.  In my 40 plus years, I've only met a couple of Master Chefs.  I was lucky enough to take a class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York from a Master Chef.

2. One of Cody's experiences in his career was to have the opportunity to be in-charge of hospitality on a ship.  The ship was moving an oil rig across the Atlantic ocean to Africa.  He prepared all the meals during the trip.

3. Lastly, Cody has worked in New Orleans.  He worked at what is probably one of the most famous restaurant in that town, Commanders Palace.  The restaurant has a 4 Diamond rating and is considered to be one of the top 40 restaurants in America.  It is owned by the Brennan family and has two famous former chefs in Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.  I don't believe Cody worked with either of these chefs but gained great experience at the Palace.

Tomorrow's blog will have WeightWatcher points for salad.  Thursday, Cody will talk a little about sauces and a recipe of his on Friday and two more recipes on Saturday.  Have a good week.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Homemade Basil Pesto

Homemade Basil Pesto
(1 cup)


1/3 cup Pine nuts, toasted (see note below)
2 cups Fresh Basil Leaves
3 cloves Garlic, peeled
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ tsp. Salt and Black Pepper (each)


Place toasted pine nuts, basil and garlic in a food processor with the blade attachment.  Plus this mixture on high for 5 or 6 times and then leave in the on position as you add the olive oil slowly.  Let this process for 30 to 45 seconds and then scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula and process another 15 seconds.  Scrape sides one more time and add the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Process another 15 to 20 seconds and scrape into a small bowl.  It is now ready for use.

Note:               My favorite way to use pesto is with gnocchi.  Gnocchi is
                          an Italian dumpling made from potato, flour and eggs.
                          You can find them dry, frozen or fresh in supermarket’s
                          ethnic aisle.  Just cook according to directions and toss
                          with some pesto.  You can substitute any pasta shape for
                          the gnocchi if you prefer.

Note:               There are many other uses for pesto.  Just find the one that
                          works for you.

Note:               Pesto freezes well too.  I know some people will put in ice
                          cube trays to freeze and then will what they need for an

Note:               To bring out the flavor of the pine nuts, it is best to toast them.
                          Just use a dry small sauté pan over medium heat and toast for
                          about 5 minutes.  Remember to toss continuously until golden

Ideas for Future Efforts

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Live Performance Tonight

The Cookbook's official release is Tuesday, October 25th but we're getting started early.  The first event which involves the cookbook, More Than Your First Cookbook, is tonight.

Northwest Missouri State University's office of Campus Activities holds an event each Thursday for students called "Late Night Thursday" and I'm it tonight.  For those of you that follow my blog, the university of over 7,000 students is in Maryville, Missouri.  Now I spent over 20 of my last years in the food industry here in the northwest corner of Missouri.  I'm excited and nervous at the same time about this opportunity to work with students on improving their cooking skills.

Tonight starts at 9:00 PM on the 3rd floor of the Administration Building in the Family & Consumer Science kitchen area.  I will talk about the cookbook and answer questions from the audience throughout the evening.  However, the main fun will be the working with volunteer students making food for everyone to sample.  The students will do the cooking and I'll be there to direct and encourage them.

We will be making five recipes from the cookbook tonight.  First, we will make Nadine's Corn & Black Bean Salsa and serve with multi-grain tortilla chips.  The next recipe will be Italian Baked Chicken.  Since this recipe takes a little time in the oven, while it bakes we will work on Jane's Salad and Jane's Dressing.  The last item of the night will the French Dip Panini.  We'll do that after tasting the chicken dish.

This should be a fun interactive evening for all.  There will be door prizes as well including several of my cookbooks.  If you are close and have the time, please try and make the event.  I'll let you know next week how it the night went.

This has been a busy week.  Tuesday night we had fun being a celebrity judge at Hy-Vee's Fall Soup Contest.  The first two guest bloggers (one chef & one dietitian) are finalizing their material for their blog.  I hope to have one of them as next week's blogger.

Remember that the recipe tomorrow is Homemade Basil Pesto.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WeightWatcher Points - Soups

More Than Your First Cookbook
Soup Chapter
My calculation of WeightWatcher Points

For the soups, one cup is a portion.  Remember that you can get all the nutritional information for the recipes in the cookbook on my website .

Baked French Onion  -  7 pts.

Barry's Chili (No Beans)  -  11 pts.

Beef Stew  -  6 pts.

Chicken Noodle  -  3 pts.

Chili (Ground Beef & Beans)  -  8 pts.

Cream of Broccoli  -  7 pts.

Dave's Green Chili  -  11 pts.

Ham & Bean  -  4 pts.

Hearty Vegetable Beef  -  4 pts.

Lentil (Vegetarian)  -  5 pts.

Minestrone  -  3 pts.

Robinson's Hearty Hodgepodge  -  7 pts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Update - Six Months In

It's hard for me to believe that last week's blogs were the end of my first six months of doing Cabana Boy Cooks.  Where does time go?

I have had so much fun doing this blog four days a week.  I just hope that all of you that have been following the blog have enjoyed it as much.  We have covered a lot of topics together that I hope have helped in the kitchen and made cooking more fun or interesting at least.  In these six months, there have been 30 new recipes for you to try.  I doubt that anyone but Claudia and I have tried all of these recipes.  If any of you have, please let me know.  In fact, if any of you have made over half of the recipes I'd love to know.  Please click on the comment area right after the blog and tell us how many you have tried.

I'd love to know that everyone was successful and pleased with each recipe.  That's probably not possible because everyone has different tastes.  But, again, let us know.  The thing that is more likely, someone had a bad experience following one of the recipes.  If you had a disaster and can now laugh at it, please let us hear from you on what went wrong.  It might help someone else down the road.  Or remind us all that we need a sense of humor when working in the kitchen with food.  I'm serious, please don't be shy as we all want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly (my favorite western).

In these first six months, the blog has averaged over 100 hits a week.  When I started this was beyond my dreams.  But now as we start the second six months, I want to get that average up to 200 hits a week.  That is 200 hits a week by the one year anniversary of starting the blog.  I'll need help to do that.  Please spread the word about the blog to everyone you know.  Even if they are great cooks, they may know someone that would enjoy checking it out.

The blog has had hits from over 15 countries outside of the USA.  A few of the countries have had only one hit like Burma and United Arab Emirates, but seven countries are in double digit counts.  Germany leads the way with over 50 hits since the start.  I've got a nephew in the military over there.  He must have told some friends to check out the blog.  The tough part for anyone from another country is the measurements and temps.  They don't use the same system as we do here in the USA.  I may have to work on converting all the recipes for them.  I'll have to see how much work that would be.

Tomorrow's blog will have the WeightWatcher points for the soup chapter of the cookbook.  For the soups a portion is one cup.  The points range from 3 to 11 but remember they are hearty soups.

This week's recipe is for Home Basil Pesto.  It only makes one cup but pesto goes a long ways.  My favorite way to serve pesto is over Gnocchi.  Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling made with potato, flour and egg.  You can find it dry, frozen or fresh.  I got mine at Tenuta's in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Remember the hanging 300lb piece of cheese in an earlier blog.  You should be able to get 10 to12 servings of pesto gnocchi out of this one cup.  A little garlic bread (week 7 in blog) and a salad make for a great dinner with the pesto gnocchi.  Try it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Whole Roasted Chicken

Whole Roasted Chicken
(4 to 6 servings)


4 to 5 lb. Whole Fresh Chicken
1 Carrot cut in 4 or 5 pieces
1 Stalk, Celery cut into 4 or 5 pieces
½ Small Yellow Onion cut into 4 pieces
4 Tbsp. Butter, room temperature
1 Tsp. Rosemary, crushed
1 Tsp. Thyme, crushed
Salt & Black Pepper, as needed
1 Cup Liquid


To start, remove any giblets in the chicken’s body cavity and toss or safe for a future dish.  Now rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water and let drain.  While chicken is draining, rinse and cut up the carrot, celery and onion and set aside.  Combine the butter, rosemary and thyme in a small bowl with a fork until thoroughly mixed and set aside.  Take the chicken and pat dry.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper in the body cavity and add the vegetables.  Pack them in if necessary.  Place the chicken in a roasting pan on a rack.  Take your hand with some of the butter mixture in it and spread under the chicken skin all over the breast.  Using some more of the butter mixture and spread it all over the outside of the chicken.  Now add the cup of liquid to the pan and place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.  Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until a thermometer registers 165 degrees.  Remember to check the chicken from time to time to see if you need more liquid.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving/serving.

Note:               For the liquid, you can use just plain water or chicken broth.  I
                           personally like to use white wine.

Note:               Some people like to set the oven as high as 425 degrees when
                           roasting a chicken.  If you do that, watch your time and how
                          dark the skin may get.

Note:               For a taste change, instead of the vegetables, try some citrus.
                          Lemons, limes and oranges add great flavor.  Just use some
                          zest in the butter mixture and cut up the fruit and place in the
                          body cavity.

Note:               One more note for those not wanting to use butter in this dish.
                          You can use olive oil to rub under and over the chicken skin.
                          It will still help with the browning of the skin.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oven Thermometers

This week's recipe is for Whole Roasted Chicken and it will be out on the blog tomorrow.  One of the things that recipes usually tell you is a cooking time for an item in the oven.  Then they will say or until it reaches an internal temperature of XXX.  Well how do you know when it hits that internal temperature?

The only way to know is by using an oven thermometer.  There are basically three types of thermometers out there for you to choose and use.  I have and use two of them but have to admit that one doesn't get used much anymore.
Oven Proof Thermometer

The first type is your old standard meat thermometer which is oven proof.  This is the one I don't use much because technology has improved to make it much easier to get a temperature.  However, there is nothing wrong with this thermometer.  To use this thermometer, you simply insert it into the thickest part of the meat and leave it while your dish bakes.  Remember not to touch a bone with the thermometer as that will cause an incorrect reading.  The thermometer usually has readings in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.  Here in the US we use Fahrenheit in our recipes.  I believe the rest of the world uses Celsius.  The reason most people don't use this thermometer today is the convenience of the other two types.  This thermometer requires you to either stick your head in the oven to read it or pull the dish out of the oven to check the temperature.
Demote Oven Thermometer

Our second type is the one I use when I'm looking for an internal temperature of a dish.  It really works the same way as the thermometer above but it has a remote temperature reader that sits outside the oven.  This remote reader has an oven proof cord that connects the probe in the meat with the remote reader.  So you stick the probe into the meat just as you would with any other type of thermometer and set the reader on the counter next to the oven.  One of the main reasons I like and use this thermometer is the bells and whistles that come with it.  The best one is an alarm that you can set for the desired temperature.  So if you are looking for a temperature of 165, you just set the device to 165 and an alarm will go off when the dish reaches that temp.  I think they are pretty slick and help me so I don't forget to check the temperature when using the first or third type of thermometer.

Speaking of the third type, it is an instant read thermometer.  You just stick it into the meat or item being tempted and it will give you an instant reading.  This type of thermometer is better suited for checking temps of burgers and steaks than items in an oven.  As with the first one, you either still have to stick your head in the oven or pull the item out.

I'd probably would be better off if I got rid of the first one and used just the second and third choices in thermometers.  The choice is yours as to which one or ones will meet your personal needs.  My favorite places do carry these items so check them out at Kohl'sFood Network and QVC.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WeightWatcher Points - Breakfast

Below are the estimated WeightWatcher points per serving for each recipe in the Breakfast chapter of the cookbook, More Than Your First Cookbook.  I used their PointsPlus calculator to figure the points per serving.

Remember that the nutritional information may vary because of the brands you used.  If you change the portion size, it will change the points per serving.  Make sure you make that adjustment.

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy - 12 pts. per serving
Boiled Eggs - 2 pts. per serving
Breakfast Casserole - 15 pts. per serving
Breakfast Soft Tacos - 6 pts. per serving
Cheese Omelet - 9 pts. per serving
Double Cinnamon Baked French Toast - 7 pts. per serving
Eggs Benedict - 6 pts. per serving
French Toast - 3 pts. per serving
Fried Eggs - 2 pts. per serving
German Puffy Pancakes - 12 pts. per serving
Ham and Scrambled Eggs - 7 pts. per serving
John's Pancakes from Scratch - 9 pts. per serving
Matt's Ham Strata - 13 pts. per serving
Poached Eggs - 2 pts. per serving
Quiche Lorraine - 13 pts. per serving
Scrambled Eggs Deluxe - 7 pts. per serving

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


October is finally here and three weeks from today is the official release of my cookbook More Than Your First Cookbook.  It seems like forever since I was told the release date.  But everything has been working towards the 25th of October.

My website is now done.  It is up and running at so please check it out.  The website consists of five pages; Home, About the Author, About the Cookbook, Nutritional Information and Events.  The two pages I'm most excited about are the Nutritional Information and Events.

The Nutritional Information page has the breakdown on each recipe in the cookbook.  The page is actually set up by the recipe chapters in the cookbook.  So if you click on the Breakfast chapter, all the breakfast recipe nutritional information comes up.  Now information is in a format that should be familiar to everyone.  The format is the same as you would find on any item you buy at the grocery store.  Some will look healthy and some will not.  All you need to do on those that are not so healthy is serve a smaller portion.  Remember that all my dietitians over the years say it is alright to eat or try everything but to do it in moderation.  I know that I will have to go through all of the recipes for my wife and convert to WeightWatcher points.

The Events page will list all the events that I will be involved in for the cookbook.  There is nothing listed as of today but I will be learning how to go in and add/delete events this week.  I hope to have some listed by the beginning of next week.  So be sure to set the website as a favorite on your computer and check out the upcoming events.

Because I'm figuring the points for my wife, I will be putting them on the blog each week on Wednesday a chapter at a time.  This week I'm also talking about oven thermometers and the recipe will be for a Whole Roasted Chicken.