Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Skewers, Grilled Caprese Kabobs, and Garlic Couscous

Yummy, easy, and healthy.

Veggie Skewers
You can always sub in other veggies, and if it is grilling season where you live, try grilling them!

1/2 a medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 basket of baby portobello mushrooms (white button would work as well)
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch squares
1 onion, cut into one inch peices

Using wooden skewers, slide pieces of vegetable onto them in a pattern. Leave at least a 1/2 inch on each side of the skewer. Drizzle with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper.

If grilling, heat grill and add skewers, cooking until vegetables are soft. Avoid charring. If roasting, preheat your oven to 375 and cook on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes.

You can do these on a grill pan, but they may not cook as evenly, so I suggest sticking to the oven unless you are using a grill with a closeable top.

Grilled Caprese Kabobs

4 oz of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 pint of grape tomatoes
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp dried basil (dry works better than fresh in this case, because it will stick better and packs in a little more flavor)

Heat a grill pan or counter top grill to medium heat. Using wooden skewers, slide on mozzarella and tomatoes. Drizzle with a little olive oil, vinegar, and the basil. When grill is hot, add skewers and allow to cook for a minute or two, just until cheese begins to melt slightly. Turn over and do the same.

Garlic Couscous

Follow directions on the box for ratios of couscous and water/broth, it may vary between brands and varieties.

Boil water or broth (I suggest broth for this recipe, it adds a little extra flavor). Put couscous in a serving bowl and add 2 minces garlic cloves. Add boiling water or broth and cover with plastic wrap for at least 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

White Chicken Chili

Soooooo good. My recipe is spicy, but a good spicy, so tone it down if you need to by omitting the jalapeno. I made this with half and half, so it is not fat free, but it is only a 1/2 a cup in the whole pot, so don't feel too guilty!

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 4 oz can chopped green chillies
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped into fairly small pieces (wear gloves when handling!!)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 15 oz cans white kidney beans
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 c half and half
3 tbs flour
Diced green onion

In a skillet, heat oil and add chicken. Cook through, but avoid browning too much. Meanwhile, heat over medium high a little oil in a medium size pot and add onion. Cook until the onion begins to soften and add garlic. Cook for a minute or two then add canned peppers, jalapeno, chicken, beans and spices. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, beat together half and half and flour. Quickly stir in half and half mixture, return to a boil, and then turn down heat to low and allow chili to thicken a bit, stirring regularly. Serve in bowls with green onion.

Capellini Pomodoro

When I was younger I would go through phases of ordering the same thing whenever we went out to eat. For some time it was steak sandwiches, followed by Chicken Parmesan, and most definitely Capellini Pomodoro. This pasta is so fresh tasting and flavorful it is hard not to love it. Plus it literally takes 10 minutes to make, so if you are in a rush, make this!

1/2 a package of angel hair pasta
6 Roma tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, minced
A handful of fresh basil, chopped or 1 tbs dry basil
A dash of salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat a little olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Meanwhile, cut tomatoes in half length wise and using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Dice each half of the tomato. Add the tomato, garlic, basil, a little salt and pepper and cook until just heated through. Add the hot pasta to the tomatoes, drizzle a little olive oil over the pasta, and toss to combine.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cheddar Bacon Biscuits

Little man and I spent the weekend at my sister in law's house recently while the big boys went on a sailing adventure. The morning they came home they were exhausted and starving, so I whipped together these yummy biscuits based on my Cheddar Thyme Biscuits.

2 1/2 c Bisquick
1/2 a stick of cold butter, chopped into pieces
3/4 c milk
6 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces and fried until just crisp
1 c cheddar cheese
Honey or real maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400. In a mixing bowl, use a fork or pastry blender mix together Bisquick and butter until butter breaks up into pea size bits. Mix in milk, cheddar, until just blended. Stir in bacon. Drop onto a an ungreased cooking sheets in about 2 tbs portions. Bake for 15 minutes or until tops of biscuits have browned. If desired, drizzle with honey or maple syrup (it's good, I promise!).

Thyme Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Asparagus and Sweet Potato Fries

Thyme Glazed Pork Loin

2 tbs ground thyme
3 tbs garlic, minced
6 whole cloves of garlic
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbs honey
2 lb pork loin

Preheat oven to 400. Place pork in a roasting pan lined with foil. Using a knife, make 6 slits on the top of the roast that zigzag. The slits should go about halfway down to the center of the roast. Stick a whole clove of garlic in the slit and then press the opening back together. In a bowl, combine thyme, garli, lemon, oil, and pepper. Brush mixture all over pork loin and bake for 45 minutes. Brush on honey and roast for another 25 minutes. Pork should reach an internal temperature of 160.

Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let sit for 15 minutes.

Roasted Asparagus
This is the best asparagus, and the only way to cook it in my opinion.

1 lb fresh asparagus, bottoms removed
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp sea salt, kosher salt, or another coarse salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. On a cookie sheet or roasting pan with side, lay out asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil and add garlic. Shake pan to distribute garlic and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes or until asparagus is soft and begins to crisp.

Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato, scrubbed
1 tbs sea or kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Cut sweet potato in half, width wise, and then each half into quarters. Cut each quarter into wedges that are no bigger than a half an inch. In a gallon size baggie, place potato wedges, salt, cinnamon, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and 1 tbs oil.

Drizzle oil generously onto a cookie sheet. Place seasoned potato wedges onto pan in a single layer. Place in oven and roast for 45 minutes turning halfway.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup

Another low fat, satisfying soup.

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 c packed basil, shredded or chopped
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c milk (nonfat is fine)

In a soup pot, add a little oil, the onion, and the garlic. Cook until soft and fragrant. Add tomatoes and heat through, then add broth and basil. Puree soup in a blender or food processor or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Return to pot and add milk and bring to a boil.

Serve with a grilled cheese for a perfect, homemade classic combo.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Carne Asada Tacos with Homemade Salsa and Guacamole

2 lbs thin cut top round (often marked as Carne Asada), sliced against the grain in about 4 inchpeices
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt (I like Kosher)
Juice of 1 lime
A handful of chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Corn tortillas

Combine all of the above in a gallon size plastic baggie. Allow to marinate over night or for at least 6 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour contents of baggie into skillet. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until meat is cooked.

Preheat another pan over medium-high and add a tortilla, cooking about a minute on each side. Fill with meat, salsa, and guacamole (recipes below).

Homemade Salsa
I usually stick to pico, but it can be a little tedious to chop everything up, so I found this recipe (actually I found it over and over again on a ton of different blogs and websites) and perfect! I added garlic, because like I have said before, it's just what I do.

1 28 oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes (don't drain, you need the juice!)
2 cans Rotel
1/2 a chopped onion
3 cloves garlic (throw them in whole)
1 Jalapeno, seeded (unless you want a hot salsa, I suggest removing half of the seeds)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
A handful of fresh cilantro
1/2 of a lime, juiced

Toss all of the above in a food processor or blender (I suggest a blender unless you have a monster food processor). You may need to do this in batches as well.

Makes around 6 cups.


2 avocados, mashed
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Combine. Eat. Love.

Asparagus Soup

This soup is very creamy, but totally low fat.

2 cups fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups broth
1 medium Yukon gold potato or half a russet, peeled
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1/4 c nonfat milk (you can use cream or half and half, but it will increase the fat content, of course)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. Add asparagus, potato, onion, and garlic and reduce to medium heat. Cook until asparagus and potato is soft. Using an immersion blender or a food processor or blender, puree broth and vegetables until smooth. Bring to a boil again. Stir in milk, cayenne pepper, and add salt and black pepper as needed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tofu Stir Fry

I love this recipe. It is such a yummy, healthy meal that always satisfies me.

1 block firm or extra firm tofu
1 bunch baby bok choy
1 onion, cut into large chunks
1 carrot, cut into large chunks
1 c (or one small basket) whole shitake mushrooms
1 handful snow peas, roughly chopped
1 small head of broccoli
1/2 c white mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp water
black pepper to taste
1 tsp corn starch plus 1 tsp water

Slice the tofu into 4 chunks and press each chuck into paper towels to drain some of the water. Cut each piece into 1 inch cubes. Now, heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat and add a little olive oil. In batches, add the tofu and cook until browned on all sides.

In a wok, heat a little oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and broccoli and cook until are softened. Add in mushrooms, snow peas, and bok choy and stir fry while you make the sauce.

In a small bowl combine hoisin, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, water, and pepper. Add to veggies and bring to a boil. Mix together corn starch and water and into veggies. Allow sauce to thicken and then add tofu. Stir to coat.

Serve with brown rice.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Simple Marinated Grilled Chicken with Tomato and Avocado Salad Over Quinoa

Aren't these gorgeous?!

Simple Marinated Grilled Chicken

4 grilled chicken breast
1 tbs olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp oregano
A couple dashes salt and pepper

Place all of the above in a large plastic baggie and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill and grill chicken on each side for about 8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear and inside is no longer pink.

Tomato and Avocado Salad
I came across these gorgeous little heirloom cherry tomatoes at a farmers market and had to get them. They were sweet and juicy and perfect along side avocado.

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halving the larger ones
1 firm, but ripe avocado
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine above and serve over chicken.

For the quinoa:
Combine 2 cups water and 1 cup quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until grain is soft and germ ring is visible.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Perfect Breakfast Porridge

This is a spin off of a recipe in the Eat Clean Diet book, and it makes for a perfect breakfast. It is amazingly high in protein, upwards of 10 grams per serving and is so even good my 21 month old eats it like ice cream. I usually make a big pot once or twice a week and have it for breakfast most days. It reheats beautifully, just add a little milk, raisins, and brown sugar. You will feel amazing after eating it and it really keeps you satisfied.

1 c quinoa
1 c rolled oats (do not use instant!)
4 cups water
1 apple, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 c flax meal (optional)
1/4 c wheat germ (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
Brown sugar

Combine grains, water, apple, flax, and wheat germ in a pot with a lid. Bring pot to a boil and reduce to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if it begins to looks dry. Porridge is done when the quinoa puffs and the germ ring is visible. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.

Serve in bowls with raisins, brown sugar, and milk.

Doesn't that look like a great way to start the day?

And just to prove my child eats it (or should I say bathes in it?)...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wonton Soup and Egg Rolls

Wonton Soup
I borrowed the wonton recipe from a fellow food blogger, "Natesgirl" and changed it a smidge. She has a great blog and an amazing confection business, so check her out.

For the wontons:
3/4 pound ground turkey
1 small carrot finely grated
2 cloves, garlic grated
1/2-1 inch ginger grated
1 tsp soy sauce
black pepper
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce (she calls for oyster, but my market was out)
1 egg
dash sesame oil
wonton wrappers, I used the large egg roll wrappers and made giant wontons

Combine all ingredients except wonton wrappers. On a dry surface, lay out a wonton wrapper and place 1 heaping tablespoon in the middle of the wrapper and wet the sides of the wrapper. Bring the side up and pinch the egdes to seal. Curl the tips of the wonton around to one side and pinch together.

For the soup:
32 oz container of chicken or vegetable broth
1 head of baby bok choy, chopped into 1 inch peices
1 green onion, chopped

Bring the broth to a boil and add wontons, bok choy, and green onion. Place a lid on the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Allow soup to cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Egg Rolls
These were delish. I wanted to make egg rolls and had the bright idea to get broccoli slaw and dress it up for the filling. It turned out perfect.

12 egg roll wrappers
1 package brocolli slaw
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil (omit if you do not have it, no extra oil is needed)
1 tbs hoisin sauce
pepper to taste

Combine slaw, soy sauce, oil, hoisin, and pepper to taste. Take an egg roll wrapper and position it so that a point is facing you, put about two table spoons of the filling across the wrapper and fold one point over the filling, then bring together the two points on each side and roll up the egg roll, like you would a burrito. If that made no sense, there should be directions on the egg roll wrappers.

Now fry a few egg rolls at a time until the wrapper is crisp and browned. Drain on a paper towel, and if possible, set them so they are at an angle so any trapped oils can drain from inside.

For the sweet and sour sauce:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz can pineapple chunks, reserve juice
1/2 c white vinegar
1/3 c white sugar
1/4 c orange juice, plus 2 tbs
1/3 c pineapple juice (or whatever is in the can)
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs ketchup
2 tbs corn starch

Add vinegar, 1/4 c orange juice, pineapple juice, salt, and ketchup. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Allow to simmer for a few minutes. Now mix cornstarch with 2 tbs orange juice and add to sauce. Stir in and cook for a minute until thickened.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crockpot Chicken Ragu Over Polenta

This sauce is usually served over pasta, but I thought it might be nice over polenta. It is spicy and full of flavor and the polenta balances that out with it's creamy, salty flavor.

2 chicken breasts
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tsp salt
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small can of tomato paste
3/4 c red wine
1 32 oz can whole tomatoes
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp red peper flakes (use less if you don't like spicy)
1 recipe Perfect Polenta

In a saute pan over medium high heat, brown chicken on all sides. Remove chicken and add carrot, celery, and onion. Cook until just softened. Add to crockpot and add garlic, tomato paste, wine, tomatoes, and herbs. Turn crockpot to high for 3 1/2 hours or low for 6. After cooking for 3 hours (if cooking on low, 5 if cooking on high) remove chicken and shred, return to crockpot and break up tomatoes. Allow to finish out cooking time. Serve over polenta.

Be warned, this didn't photograph well!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Three Bean Turkey Chili and Sweet Cornbread

Three Bean Turkey Chili
Chili is one of those foods that instantly warms you. It is a must in our house during winter, especially when we need something hearty.

1 lb Ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
A handful of chili powder
1 tsp of cayenne pepper (or more if you like a spicy chili)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
15 oz can black beans, drained
15 oz can pinto beans, drained
15 oz can kidney beans, drained
32 oz can diced tomatoes (do NOT drain these!)

In a dutch oven or large pot over medium high, cook ground turkey until mostly done. Drain only if meat renders a lot of fat, ground turkey is very juicy and low in fat (usually only 7% fat) so it is more likely that is just juice. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Now add chili powder, cayenne, and cumin. Stir to coat the meat and onion. Add beans and tomatoes to pot and stir to combine. Turn down to medium low and allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes to render juices and allow the flavors to blend.

If desired, serve chili with chopped onion, avocado, shredded cheese, and sour cream.

Sweet Cornbread
This is pretty much the recipe off the Albers box, but doctored up. I much prefer a sweet cornbread, in fact I have been known to add a box of cake mix to my cornbread when I want something really sweet, and I use both brown and white sugar to make this sweet and moist.

1 c corn meal
1 c flour
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c milk
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 c corn (frozen is fine, thaw first)

Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl combine dry ingredients. Separately, combine the milk, oil, and egg. Make a crater in the center of the corn meal and flour mixture and pour milk mixture into the crater and mix together until just combined. Fold in corn. Pour batter into a greased 8x8 inch pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

1 Bread, Two Fabulous Sandwiches

The bread is super easy, in fact, I used the pizza dough that I usually make and let it bake free form to make more of a focaccia. It is very tasty and perfect for paninis and other fancy sandwiches.

For the bread:
1 1/2 c warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 c olive oil, plus a little more
4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder

In mixer, stir together yeast and water. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and using a bread hood attachment, blend ingredients together on low for about a minute and then on medium speed for 10 minutes. Once dough is stretchy and smooth, pour a little more oil (about a tbs) onto the dough and using a spatula, coat dough ball in oil. Cover with a towel and let sit for about an hour, until dough has doubled in size. Punch down and let rise again for a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle a baking sheet with oil and turn dough out onto it. Stretch the dough out until it is about a half and inch thick. Bake for 20 minutes, until dough is light brown.

Now for the sandwiches....

Chicken, Pesto, and Roasted Bell Pepper Paninis
I usually make a panini with pesto, tomatoes, and mozzarella, but I figured it was time to branch out a bit. This was delicious and the flavors were perfect.

1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 jar roasted red peppers
1/2 a cup of pesto (prepared or you can use the recipe here)
6 slices good mozzarella in water, about 1/4 inch thick
2 large sections of the focaccia bread

Slice the focaccia section in half and spread a couple table spoons on each side. Layer two slices of the mozarella, a few slices of the chicken, and a few sections of roasted red pepper. Top with one more slice of mozzarella and top with the other peice of bread.

Preheat a panini press to medium. Cook the panini until the cheese is melted and the bread is browned, 10-15 minutes. You can also pop it in the microwave for a minutes to melt the cheese and then cook on the panini to toast the bread.

Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Sandwich
This sandwich is bursting with veggies and the tangy goat cheese pulls everything together

1 zuchini, thinly sliced, lengthwise
1 yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 a red onion, shalved and sliced into 1 inch slices
1 handful of asparagus
1 roma tomato, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced into 1 inch slices
1/2 an egg plant, skin removed and cut unti 1/2 inch round slices
4 tbs of goat cheese, you can also use a cheese spread like Boursin

Spread vegetable out onto a pan and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Roast vegetables in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Slice a section of the focaccia in half. Spread 1 tbs of cheese on each side and layer on the cooked vegetables and top with the other half of the focaccia.

And just because...

Spinach Salad

3 cups of spinach, well washed and dried
1/4 of a red onion, sliced
A handful of cherry tomatos, halved

Combine above and top with:

Dijon-White Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 c white vinegar
2 tbs dry white wine (think Chardonnay)-this is optional, but does add a great flavor
1/4 c olive oil
2 heaping tbs Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, finely chopped (use can also use 2 tbs of finely chopped strong red onion)
1 clove garlic, minced

In a small bowl combine vinegar and wine. Whisk in oil and then whisk in Dijon. Add shallot and garlic and stir to combine. Refrigerate any extra.