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Beef Pot Roast Marsala

Pretty sure that my husband has garnered all of his parenting skills from George Bluth on Arrested Development. This bodes quite poorly for our dear sons.

Take, for example, the stories he tells the boys about ‘Larry’. Larry is apparently the son we used to have, before he played with the bathtub drain and got sucked down it. Poor, poor Larry. The moral of the story is: Never play with the bathtub drain.

And then there are the stories about Darryl, and his other brother Darryl, also imaginary former children of ours. Each met equally terrible fates as a result of their naughty mischief.

The kids have learned all sorts of lessons from these stories, like never to play with the fireplace screen and to always put the caps back on the markers, lest they meet the same sad fate of Larry, Darryl, or Darryl.

The kids don’t know what to make of these stories. Their sense of real and pretend is still developing…as is their understanding of spatial relations. They giggle nervously as their dad talks of Larry, while I quickly reassure them that their daddy is just kidding. My husband then counters with comments like, Yes there really was a Larry. Mommy’s just too sad to talk about it. And then, when their father is not around, the boys quietly ask me if kids can really go down the drain. No, sweethearts. Your daddy is just a joker. (And later he’ll wonder why you won’t listen when he tells you it’s important to wear your bicycle helmet.)

If you haven’t seen Arrested Development, fire up your Netflix right now. You’ll laugh. And laughing is good. This pot roast is good too! I mean like, I-could-eat-this-every-night kind of good. Tender, flavorful, comforting. The idea entered my mind after looking for a pot roast recipe for a friend. During that search, I ran across a simple pot roast with mushrooms recipe, which got my gears turning. I bought the ingredients for my marsala-based twist on pot roast that afternoon. I sense this recipe is going to become a frequent Sunday night dinner.

Ideally, I’d have served mashed potatoes on the side of this pot roast, but under the rules of my current diet, potatoes are a big no-no. (You thought those were mashed potatoes in the picture, didn’t ya?) So, I decided to give something else a try; a cauliflower mash. Now, you may be thinking that there is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that mashed cauliflower is going to satisfy your mashed potato craving. I was also quite skeptical. But I’ve got to tell you, I would eat this cauliflower mash even if I weren’t on an anti-potato diet. It’s surprisingly delicious. Parmesan cheese and garlic powder make this side dish a real winner! You won’t even miss the potatoes.

Beef Pot Roast Marsala

Ingredients

  • 2.5-3 pound chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1 cup marsala wine
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • A few sprigs of fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Trim the chuck roast of any excess exterior fat. Season with the salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven or oven safe pan, heat olive oil over medium/medium-high heat. Place the meat in the pan and brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the meat and set aside. Reduce the heat slightly. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender. Add the mushrooms. Cook for another minute or two. Add the marsala wine and simmer for a minute or two. Return the meat to the pan. Add the beef stock and the sprigs of parsley. The beef stock should come almost to the top of the meat, but not cover. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then cover the pan and place it in the oven. Cook for 3.5 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully remove the roast. Place it on a cutting board and loosely cover with foil. Simmer the sauce in the pan for about 5-7 minutes to reduce. Turn off the heat, wait for a few minutes, then skim the excess fat from the surface of the sauce. (My favorite way to skim the fat is to pour the sauce into a clear container, like a pyrex measuring cup, and allow it to cool for a few minutes. The fat will rise to the surface. Carefully lower a large spoon into the fat layer to collect and discard the excess fat.) Finally, taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Slice the meat or shred it with a fork (I went with shredding, since it was so tender, it fell apart when I attempted to slice.) Pour the sauce over the meat when serving.)

Serves about 6

Garlic-Parmesan Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cauliflower, steamed until tender
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning as desired.

Serves about 6

Diet Day:  15    Weight Loss: 10   Motivation: Unwavering

*We finished phase 1 (the hard part) of South Beach diet yesterday. As of today, we get to welcome back whole grain breads, fresh fruits, dark chocolate…yum!

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Broiled Salmon Bruschetta

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After weeks of overindulging in holiday treats, I’ve been craving a good healthy dose of fresh, nutritious fare. While this new year won’t be bringing any immediate weight loss goals for this expecting mom, I can certainly focus on improving nutrition and increasing my ratio of healthy foods to cookies and Cheez-Its. Oh, Cheez-Its, how I adore thee!


But, it’s still winter, and I yearn for heavy blankets and hearty foods during these chilly months. Salads and other light dishes just don’t fit the bill right now. As such, I decided on a hearty piece of broiled salmon for my main course. Full of healthy fats and flavor, it has the same satisfying effect as a nice piece of steak.

I decided to serve my salmon over a bed of fresh, garlic-sautéed spinach with just a bit of orzo pasta and parmesan cheese. Those of you who’ve taken on low-carb diets for the new year can easily eliminate the orzo for a perfect low-carb dinner option. A generous spoonful of fresh tomato and olive bruschetta topping adds a burst of Mediterranean flavors to the dish.

If salmon is not your fish of choice, you can easily substitute another type. Broiled sea bass or halibut would be delicious. Pan-seared or broiled shrimp or scallops would work nicely too!

Broiled Salmon over Sautéed Spinach and Orzo with Tomato and Olive Bruschetta Topping

Ingredients

For the Salmon:

  • 2 Salmon fillets (about 5 ounces each)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Spinach and Orzo:

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • 3 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Orzo, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/8 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Bruschetta Topping:

  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Olives, chopped
  • 1/8 cup Capers
  • 1/8 cup Balsamic
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

Preheat broiler. Rub the salmon fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook, several inches under the broiler, for about 8-10 minutes, until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees.

Meanwhile, prepare the spinach. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s wilted. Turn the heat down the low. Add the cooked orzo and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

To prepare the bruschetta topping, combine all ingredients in a small container with a tight fitting lid. Gently toss the mixture to combine.

To serve, place the broiled salmon over a bed of the sautéed spinach and orzo. Top with a generous spoonful of the bruschetta topping. Garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Bonus: Serve your leftover bruschetta topping with slices of toasted bread.

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