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Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for 2

IMG_0076Pinterest is one of those sites that can suck you in and suddenly you have found that hours have passed.  I found this recipe at skinnytaste. I did not have the hoisin sauce that the recipe called for and used the same amount of oyster sauce in its place.  It was still very good.  I will be making this again.  I am trying to curb how much pasta I eat and the spiralized zucchini give me the satisfaction of having “noodles” without the guilt!  My 12 year old son also enjoyed it, though he thought it was a little spicy.

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for 2

adapted from


  • 2 medium zucchini, washed, trimmed of the edges and spiralized (cut into 6 inch strips to make it easier to eat)
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil (or canola)
  • 6 oz boneless skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • freshly ground pepper and sea salt (to season the chicken)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp freshly ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup roasted dry peanuts
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions

For the sauce:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce (or oyster sauce)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbsp Sambal Oelek Red chili paste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch


Spiralize the zucchini into noodles following the directions on the spiralizer.

Season the diced chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat a pan over medium high heat and add 1 tsp of grapeseed or canola oil. Cook the chicken stirring from time to time, until it is cooked through.  Remove the chicken to a bowl.

Combine the sauce ingredients together and stir to combine.

Add the sesame oil to the pan, reduce heat to medium, and add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the bell peppers and cook for two more minutes. Next, add the zucchini noodles and saute for 2 minutes longer.  Add the sauce to the zucchini and toss to coat.  Add the chicken back into the stir fry.  Sprinkle with peanuts and scallions and divide into two large bowls.

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Peach Crisp

IMG_9865When I think of summer, I think of peaches.. there are few things in the world that are as good as the peaches I have eaten in South Jersey – juicy, drippy, goodness.  Well, I am in Southern California, and bought some peaches that were begging to be used up.  I found this recipe for Peach Crisp in my America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook.  Unfortunately, I did not have as many peaches as the recipe called for, because two of them had gone bad, but I used what I had: 4 large peaches. Reading over the ingredients, I found I had everything except for lemon zest to make this dish, so make it I did. And yummy it was.

Peach Crisp

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook (15th Anniversary Edition page 804)



  • 3 lbs of peaches, peeled, pitted and cut up into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon, optional

Crumble Topping:

  • 6 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 375 F

Place the peach pieces in a pie dish. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Stir with a fork.  Add the pieces of butter and work with your hands to combine them into a crumb like topping. Stir in the pecan pieces.

Spread the crumb topping across the top of the peach filling.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Cook an additional 5 minutes at 400 if the topping is not browned.

Serve warm.  Great with ice cream of whipped cream.

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Old Fashioned Potato Salad

IMG_9625There is something about the recipes of Ina Garten – when I make them it always is very good.  This Old Fashioned Potato Salad recipe is no exception to that rule. The dressing consists of mayonnaise, buttermilk, mustard, fresh dill, and other ingredients that work together in harmony with the red potatoes.  My husband thought the potatoes should be cut smaller, but it has very good flavor!  I will make this potato salad again and again.  This recipe is from her Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook.  I made a smaller amount since it was just for my family, using 2 lbs of potatoes instead of 3.  I also reduced the amount of dressing because of that.

Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

adapted from Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa at Home (p 86)

Serves 10


  • 2 lbs small red potatoes
  • kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1.5 oz buttermilk
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup small diced celery
  • 1/2 cup small diced red onion


Place the potatoes in a large pot of water and cover with cool water.  Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to the water and bring it to a boil.  When it comes to a full boil, reduce the heat to medium low , cover, and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes in a large colander.  Off heat, place the colander over your empty pot and cover the potatoes with a clean kitchen towel and steam the potatoes for 10 minutes longer.

Meanwhile prepare the dressing.  Stir together the mayonnaise and buttermilk, Dijon and whole grain mustard, dill, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.

Chop the celery and onion.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into halves and quarters (or smaller if you desire).  Place them in a large bowl.  Add the celery and onion to the potatoes and pour the dressing over the potatoes. Stir to combine the potato salad.  Taste and adjust the seasonings (salt and pepper).  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.


Next time I will make additional dressing to add to the potato salad, because it does absorb into the potatoes as they sit.

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Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad

IMG_9603This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen.  With Independence Day quickly approaching, I wanted to try a new recipe for macaroni salad.  The ingredients caught my attention because of the addition of lemon juice.  I followed the recipe exactly – and what I liked was that the dressing was not overly thick.  The lemon added a nice fresh flavor to the salad.  What I did not like is that it seemed to be lacking something else.  I thought the parsley was overpowering.  I would change that to something like basil – and I bought a ham steak, diced it up and added about 1 cup to the salad.  It was now much better!  It still is not my most favorite recipe, but it is a nice change from the same old same old.  I also added about 1/2 tsp of Spike seasoning to the salad.  It is a seasoning I use in my Hawaiian Potato Mac salad and really like the flavors that it adds.

Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 8-10


  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced basil (originally parsley)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp Spike (optional)
  • 1 cup diced ham steak


Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions.  Do not overcook the pasta though, you want it to still have some texture once you add the dressing.  Drain the pasta.  Rinse the pasta in cold water and give it a quick drain (you want to keep a little of the moisture of the water in the pasta – it will keep the dressing from becoming overly thick.

Combine the chopped red onion, chopped celery, chopped basil (or parsley), lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper in a small bowl and add these to the cooled macaroni salad.  Stir together and allow to sit for 2 or 3 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb.

Add the mayonnaise to the pasta and stir to combine.  Season with Spike if you think it needs more flavor.  Add the chopped ham to the pasta salad and stir. Chill until serving.

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Mediterranean Chopped Salad

IMG_8936Here is another lovely salad that I made.  I found this recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook on page 74.  I love most of the recipes that I have tried from America’s Test Kitchen.  They are on TV on PBS as well.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook pg 74

Serves 6  Calories: 180/serving



  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I love Cherub brand cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pitted  kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste


Combine the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour over the salad and gently toss the salad.

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“Thai” Beef Salad Wraps

IMG_8882So I joined the April Health Challenge (, and in an effort to find new low calorie meals I hit one of my cookbooks in my expansive cookbook collection.  This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light.  Don’t let the “Thai” scare you off – this recipe is pretty mild in my opinion.  If you do not like much spice, leave out the red pepper flakes.  I sweetened the sauce a little, but the wrap was delicious! I cooked twice as much flank steak as the recipe called for, so I have enough to add some protein to some other salads this week. Win win!  If you want to eliminate gluten, eat it as a lettuce wrap or a steak salad!

Thai Beef Salad Wrap (really not very spicy.. not sure how Thai it is)

Yield: 6 wraps approximately 399 calories per serving

adapted from All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook (2006 Oxmoor House) p 444

  • 1 lb flank steak, trimmed of fat
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Cooking spray

Vegetable Filling:

  • 1 cup peeled cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


  • 2 (or 3) Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (or lemon juice works fine too)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Additional ingredients:

  • 12 leaves red leaf lettuce
  • 6 (10 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas


Season your flank steak with salt and pepper on both sides.  Prepare the grill with cooking spray. Grill the flank steak on high for 4 minutes each side.  Remove from grill.  Allow to rest 5 minutes, while you prep the remaining ingredients.

Combine the diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, shallots, mint, basil and fresh cilantro in a medium sized bowl (you will add the steak to this mixture)

Prepare the sauce: Combine the 2 Tbsp of brown sugar, soy sauce, lime (or lemon) juice, crushed red pepper flakes, and mix to combine.  Taste the sauce and adjust the sugar if you desire a little sweeter sauce (I added about 1 Tbsp of additional brown sugar).

Slice the rested flank steak into thin strips, cutting against the grain.  Add the steak to the cucumber mixture. Drizzle the sauce over the steak and cucumber mixture.

In the microwave, heat up the flour tortillas between pieces of damp paper towels for about 20 seconds.

Line each tortilla with 2 leaves of lettuce.  Spoon 2/3 cup of steak mixture down the center of the tortilla and wrap like a burrito (start at the bottom folding up, then fold the sides over and secure with a toothpick if you like (or eat it immediately)

Notes: if you wish to eliminate gluten you could easily serve this on lettuce as a salad.

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Gorgonzola Veggie Dip

IMG_8873I like Gorgonzola cheese – and found this dip recipe in a Health Magazine.  I read the ingredients and thought to myself that I should really try making a dip like this one.  It is delicious with fresh bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, celery or carrot sticks.  The beauty is: only 130 calories per 1/4 cup serving.  You could easily use fresh herbs to this dip instead of dried.  This dip is a winner in my book.

Gorgonzola Veggie Dip

Yields 8 (1/4 cup servings)


  • 1 (8 oz) container Philadelphia reduced fat garden vegetable cream cheese
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 4 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry dill weed
  • 1 tsp freeze dried chives


Microwave the cream cheese for about 30 seconds on high (be sure to remove the lid and foil seal first).  Combine all the ingredients together and stir with a rubber spatula until it is combined.

Serve 1/4 cup of Gorgonzola Veggie Dip with fresh veggies for dipping.

Approximately 130 calories per serving of dip.

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