Tuesday, May 22, 2012



I’m back “dieting” again… sort of.  I haven’t gained back the weight I lost when last I was dieting, BUT… you can never be too thin… Well you can, but that’s a whole other blog.

The thing is, like most people, I hate to diet, so I’ve been scouring cookbooks and scrolling through Pinterest to collect recipes that sound deliciously fattening, but are low cal for Richard to make for me in my quest for “too thin” (aren’t I thoughtful?!).  My culinary diet efforts consists of broiling, baking or grilling lean meat, chicken or fish and steaming or roasting veggies. Maybe put the broiled, baked or grilled protein in a bunch of greens for a salad.  Good. Healthful.  BUT, (again with the “but”) BORING!

So, in lieu of diamonds or a trip to Europe, Richard makes me wonderful dinners (hence the title, “My Dinners With/ Richard,” in case you’re new to my blog).

The other night my dinner with Richard was Weight Watchers easy, no layering, stove top lasagna (so easy, in fact, I wouldn’t mind making it).  If this is diet food, I’m gonna be very, very thin.  Someday.

Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers One Pot cookbook.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • About 6 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into thirds & fully cooked
  •       (Richard used higher fiber whole grain pasta)

  • 2 tablespoons parsley (dried or fresh)


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, salt and pepper. Cook mixture until it thickens up a bit, around 5 minutes.
  2. Add noodles to skillet and stir into the mixture well. Add scoops of ricotta cheese over the noodles; add in mozzarella and Parmesan. Stir in parsley.  Cook about 2 more minutes, or until mixture is thick.

Serve immediately.

Nutritional information per 1 cup: 

Calories: 275
Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 42 grams
Fiber: 9 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 7

Tuesday, May 15, 2012



OK, I have a bone to pick.  If I planned a smorgasbord menu for my last supper it wouldn’t include trout. I mean, really, trout?!?!?

On my table would be a juicy medium rare cheeseburger… a steamed hot dog representing the red-dye food group... some veal parm and New York pizza. Roast chicken w/ crispy skin, and cheesy mac & cheese, garlic mashed potatoes and a baked potato w/ lots of butter and chopped chives.  Well, this is a last meal so I don’t think I need worry about clogging my arteries or a heart attack, right?  Oh, and did I mention lobster w/ clarified butter and Beluga caviar on toast points?  For sure. 

But fish, fish?  Nah.

So when Richard made Kathy Kitchens Downie’s whole trout stuffed w/ mushrooms and bacon, I wasn’t prepared to kvell.

But that’s what I did.  I kvelled.  Since then, he’s served it two ways (see pictures below) – filleted and "un"filleted.  Either way, even if I still won’t add it to my last supper menu, it’s a palate’s delight.  But, take note, even with the fish filleted, make sure you pick out the bones or this just may be your last meal.

Kathy Kitchens Downie


2 (1 ounce) slices of white bread
Cooking spray*
¾ cup chopped green onions (about 2 bunches)
¾ cup chop onion
1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms (about 4 ounces)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
4 center-cut bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
8 (8 ounce) dressed whole rainbow trout
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges and fresh thyme sprigs (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place bread in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until crumbly.  Sprinkle crumbs on a baking sheet; bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until golden.

Increase oven temperature to 400.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan w/ cooking spray*.  Add green onions and onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until mushrooms soften and most of liquid evaporates.   

Add chopped thyme; cook 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.  Combine mushroom mixture, breadcrumbs and bacon in a bowl.

*Richard uses olive oil or olive oil spray because he doesn’t think cooking spray is good for the nonstick skillet.

Open trout flat as you would a book. Drizzle trout evenly w/ lemon juice; sprinkle evenly w/ salt and pepper.  Spoon about ¼ cup mushroom mixture onto bottom half of each fish; fold over to cover w/ top half of fish.  

Arrange fish on a foil-lined broiler pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily w/ a fork or until desired degree or doneness.

Garnish w/ lemon wedges and thyme sprigs, if desired.
Serve immediately.



Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed trout)

Note:  You can serve it whole or filleted.  I prefer it served filleted.

Calories: 294 (26% from fat);
Fat 8.4 g (sat. 3.7 g. mono 2.4 g. poly 0.9g);
Protein 46,6 g
Carbs 8.2g
Fiber 0.9 g
Chol. 102 mg
Iron 3.7 mg
Sodium 436 mg
Calc. 34 mg

Wednesday, May 2, 2012



What do caviar and cauliflower have in common besides being a “c” word?  I’m here to tell you.

Friends came for dinner the other night and as Richard was scoping out our veggie bin, there, sitting comfortably on the bottom, was a large head of cauliflower we’d found at our local farmers’ market.  He didn’t want to steam or mash it, but he did want to use it.  So, after searching through all the recipes I’d cut out for him to make for me (love having my own personal chef), he found Tyler Florence’s recipe for cauliflower soup.  I didn’t cut that recipe out for the cauliflower, however.  I cut it out because the soup was garnished w/ salmon roe.  I love caviar – red, black, lumpfish – I don’t care.  In blinis, caviar pie, on toast points w/ cream cheese or butter – or just plain out of the tin – why not in soup?  And the sauteed Brussels sprouts leaves intrigued my taste buds.

Richard made it the previous night and before it cooled down, we tasted it.  Surpisingly, yum, even w/o the caviar!  The next day, however, was hot - a prelude to our Los Angeles - and Richard didn’t want to serve a hot soup. But, he didn’t want to waste it.  Why not a cauliflower vichyssoise?  We dipped our spoons into the refrigerated soup and tasted.  Double yum!

I dressed our dining room table in cool crisp white. 

And, the chilled creamy soup, topped w/ the salty salmon roe, crispy Brussels sprouts leaves, a dollop or two of good EVOO, along w/ snipped chives and thyme leaves turned out to be the perfect first course for a warm summer night.



3 tablespoons olive oil
6 Brussels sprouts, separated into petals
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ yellow onion, sliced
1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
5 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 ounces salmon roe (salmon caviar)
Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Finely chopping chives, for garnish


Set a large saucepan over medium heat and coat w/ olive oil.

Remove the core of the cauliflower and cut into medium-size pieces.

Remove the tough stem of the Brussels sprouts and separate into single leaves.  Add leaves to the saucepan and sauté for two to three minutes, until crispy and golden around the edges.  Set aside to drain on a plate lined w/ a paper towel.

Add butter to the same saucepan and lightly sauté the cauliflower pieces w/ sliced onion.  Cook over medium heat, letting them sweat so they cook w/o color.  Cook for two to three minutes until just tender.  Season w/ salt and pepper.

Tie the thyme sprigs and bay leaves together in a piece of cheesecloth to form a sachet.  Add sachet to the saucepan, then pour in the milk.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the cauliflower is soft.

Remove the sachet and discard.  Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor– take extra care as it is very hot and will expand when processed.

Puree until completely smooth.  Taste and season w/ a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Serve the soup in espresso cups (or tea cups as we did).  Garnish each cup w/ a crisp fried Brussels sprout leaf (or two), the salmon caviar, chives, lemon thyme leaves, and a drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil.

A Tyler Florence Note: 

The cauliflower in this recipe can be replaced by just about anything… potatoes, red cabbage and apples, butternut squash and sage.  That goes for the garnish as well – bacon bits, toasted bread crumbs, poached cranberries… as long as it’s a pleasant contrast.  Think salty-sweet.