Phase One, Day 4 – Garlic and Soy Pork Chops

I was going strong almost a full week into the South Beach Diet, Phase One. I made delicious Turkey Burgers Friday night and Saturday night the roomie (Laura) and I made pork chops and veggies. They were amazing. I had never made pork chops before so I literally had no idea what to expect. It was so simple and definitely a recipe I am going to keep on hand for a weeknight dinner.

South Beach Diet Phase One - Garlic and Soy Pork Chops

Garlic and Soy Pork Chops

2 boneless center-cut pork loin chops, trimmed of all visible fat
1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoons minced garlic (I used garlic powder and worked great)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sprinkle the pork chops all over with soy sauce, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Coat a grill rack or broiler-pan rack with cooking spray. Preheat the grill or broiler.

Cook the pork chops 4″ from the heat, turning once halfway through cooking time, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the center of a chop registers 155°F and the juices run clear. Garnish with the herbs.

Recipe from The South Beach Diet Cookbook.

The roomie was nice enough to play along with my South Beach Diet rendezvous and decided to stay in with me all weekend because I was banished from alcohol. I was worried I might go into shock, so I needed her by my side just in case (kidding of course…). It was a crappy weekend here in Chicago (when is it not these days) and we had decided to have an extremely productive and sober weekend. On Saturday we went to the gym and then headed to Ikea to get some essentials for our apartment. We decided to sign another year lease and figured we should put the final touches on the apartment if we were going to commit to 12 more months. We also got up the energy to finally paint our living room and re-paint the kitchen. The kitchen was a really pretty light green, but the “white” table we ordered to go with the green turned out to be “antique white” aka YELLOW. So the green kitchen and the yellow table didn’t mesh well and made us feel nauseous. They also say green makes you hungry and neither of us need help increasing our appetite, so we decided to paint the living room Lipstick (which is a coralish red) and the kitchen blue. We thought the blue would tone down the yellow table.

This is the living room before the “lipstick”

Living room before

and after…

We had so much fun painting the living room on Saturday, we woke up bright and early on Sunday to paint all over again. I think we were a little overly excited because I am not sure why we thought it was a good idea to paint the kitchen bright blue…Maybe it was the lack of alcohol in our system. I often say I make my best decision after a few drinks 🙂

Once the kitchen was finished,  we took a step back and realized we had turned our tiny apartment into the American flag. We had white walls with a blue kitchen and basically red living room. So after some thoughts on how we could fix this situation, we decided the only solution was to go back to the drawing board and paint our kitchen. Again. Third time is the charm, right?

We think so! Monday night we painted the kitchen a very pretty grey. Finally, after 8 months of living in this apartment, we like our kitchen! It goes well with our very bright living room (which I love!) and blends well with our decorations. All in all, it was a really fun and busy weekend and I woke up Monday morning feeling extremely refreshed. I might have had a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) all weekend, but in the end, it was worth it! I don’t think I will be doing that every weekend from now on, but every now and then I think it’s good to relax and recharge.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend! I am off to Indy (as usual) to sit poolside with my sister and not move all weekend.

Phase One, Day 3 – Spicy Turkey Burgers

With summer quickly approaching I decided it was time to take the “Fat” out of “My Big Fat Italian Life.” It’s not that I’m fat, because I’m not, but I want to start feeling better about myself and overall, healthier. I joined a gym again and decided to start the South Beach Diet. I started almost two weeks ago and by the first Friday I was still doing OK, but for a girl who eats a lot of carbs (and I mean a lot), this has been a shock to my system. My dad even asked me if I was going through withdraw symptoms because I am a carb addict. During Phase one on the South Beach diet you also have to cut out all alcohol and fruit from your diet. The fruit I can handle. The alcohol has been a challenge as being social in Chicago pretty much requires drinking. So, in response I have holed myself up in my apartment and plan to do so until I complete phase one.

I was worried that I would get bored with the food I was allowed to eat in phase one, but after making these Spicy Turkey Burgers, my attitude changed. I decided this was actually going to be fun and something I could incorporate into my blog! I altered the original recipe a bit, as I didn’t have all of the ingredients, and they were still delicious! I even froze a few and had them for dinner a few days later.

Phase One Spicy Turkey Burgers

South Beach Diet Phase One Spicy Turkey Burger

Ingredients:

1 tbsp cumin
1 dash pepper
1 dash salt
3 tbsps olive oil
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
1/2 cup chunky salsa
3 tsps hot sauce

Mix ground turkey (lean if available), 1/2 cup mild or medium chunky salsa,  3 tablespoons oil, hot sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Shape turkey mixture into four 3 1/2 to 4″ diameter patties on wax paper. Heat cooking spray in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add burgers; cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Do not move around burgers until they have browned or they will fall apart. Reduce heat to low. Cover pan and sautĂ© burgers for 2 minutes. Cover and sautĂ© until burgers are cooked through  – another 2 minutes.

The picture of the turkey burger may not look that delicious, but trust me, it was. I was so glad I came across this recipe and not just because it helped to get me through the first week without carbs. It was delicious. I can’t wait to make these again and I will even recommend that my family and friends make these even while they are not on the South Beach diet! They were that good. I can’t even imagine how they would have tasted with cheese, ketchup and a bun!

Stay tuned for more yummy South Beach diet recipes! I promise, as soon as I am back to my “normal” self, the yummy pasta recipes will be back! Life is all about a healthy balance…and I’ve been off kilter for a little too long!

Page Family Meat Pie

While I was home for Easter I got to spend that Saturday with my mom and my cousin Concetta cooking, laughing and just having a fun girls day. When I woke up Saturday morning, it was to my favorite smell in the world, my mom’s spaghetti sauce! I told her that I hope heaven smells like her sauce and she laughed at me. She might have been laughing at the fat girl who is inside of me, or maybe she was just flattered. I will choose to go with the latter. Her sauce not only smells delicious, but it reminds me of home. It reminds me of my childhood, of my Grandparents house for Sunday dinners and our Thursday night pasta dinners we had growing up. It reminds me of family and is always equated with good memories and most of all, love. I may just love to eat pasta, but honestly, there is more to it. There is a history that I enjoy “coming home to” every now and then.

While the sauce was cooking, I decided to make something of my own. I had come across a recipe in a family cookbook for a meat pie that was my Grandpa’s family recipe and thought it would be the perfect addition to my family recipe collection. It turned out great (I did a little altering though!) and I got the seal of approval from my Grandpa and his sister, my Aunt Marie, who happens to be the “Meat Pie Queen.” It was actually her recipe I used, so thank you for sharing Aunt Marie!

Page Family Meat Pie

Ingredients (makes 2 pies)

3 lbs ground beef

1 large onion, chopping finely

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp ground sage (taste before using all the sage)

5 potatoes

2 pie shells

1/2 cup milk

1/2 stick of butter

Peel potatoes and finely chop onion. Add the potatoes to a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. In a large skillet, heat oil and add beef and onion. Season with sage, salt and pepper. Once the beef is cooked, set aside to cool. Then, once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove and put into a mixing bowl. Add the milk and butter and mash. Be sure to leave some chunks in the potatoes. Mix with the beef and add to the pie shell.

Once the mixture is in the pie shell, spread some melted butter to the top of the pie in order to make the pie shelly crispy and to get a golden brown color.

Preheat the oven to 350° and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Slice and enjoy!

I had dinner plans that night to go to my Uncle Hank’s Italian restaurant in Indy, Amici’s, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the pie for dinner, but luckily my Uncle Phil stopped by for a visit and had dinner with my parents.

It’s been a pretty busy spring and I have been really bad about posting, and just as bad about cooking. It’s sad, but it really is hard to find the time to get to the grocery store and make the time to actually cook something! I was at a wedding last weekend though, and had some of the BEST food I’ve ever had. I ate so much my dress barely fit by the end of the night!

It was such a fun weekend! We had a great girl’s getaway and spent the weekend gambling, eating, laughing and dancing the night away to celebrate Leah and Rob’s wedding!