Monday, February 28, 2011

Shrimp Boil

This is a very easy, but very impressive dinner. Serve with crusty bread and lots of wine.

2 lemons, halved
1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning
1 head of garlic, top sliced off
1 large onion, quartered
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 pound baby red potatoes
4 ears corn, husked and snapped in half
4 sausages, cut into thirds (any kind you like, the spicier the better)
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, de-veined but unpeeled (frozen OK)

Dipping Sauce
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tbs Old Bay
2 cloves garlic, crushed

In a very large pot, add 3 quarts of water, lemon, onion, garlic, Old Bay, and thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium and add the potatoes, cooking for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes soften. Reduce to a simmer and add corn and sausage, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes if using fresh and 4 if using frozen. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp, sausage, and vegetables to a large serving bowl and spoon a cup or so of the cooking liquids over.

For the sauce, melt the butter and stir in the old bay and garlic. Pour some over a plate of the shrimp or offer it for dipping.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Whole Wheat Pancakes

They are so easy to make and so delicious, you won't want to go back to a mix after this. They are much lower in sugar and sodium than a mix, and my version is also very low in fat. Plus, you won't miss the white flour, I promise. This recipe is based on the Better Homes and Garden recipe, but with my touches. I hope you enjoy!

Makes about 8 pancakes

1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs wheat germ (optional)
2 tbs flax meal (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c nonfat milk
2 tbs vegetable oil
butter, syrup, and berries to serve

In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, wheat germ, and flax. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add egg, milk, and oil. Stir together just until mixed. If batter is too thick for your liking, add a tablespoon of milk until desired consistency is reached.

Pour by 1/4 cup onto a preheated griddle or pan and allow to cook until bubbles form on the top and edges firm up. Flip pancake and cook for another minute or two. Keep cooked pancakes warm in a low oven until all pancakes are cooked.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Easy Baked Mediterranean Salmon

This dish is the perfect blend of flavors. You have the fresh salmon, the salty olives, the sweet peppers and tomatoes, and the garlicky couscous. Plus, I whipped up a little cumin yogurt sauce that is just about good enough to eat by the spoonful. YUM, YUM, YUM!

4 salmon fillets, skin on or off, your choice
1 large red pepper, sliced
1 cup whole, pitted olives
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 1/2 tbs dried oregano
1 recipe garlic couscous
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Drizzle a little olive oil on a baking pan and add the salmon and turn to coat. Add the peppers, olives, and tomatoes and stir to coat a bit. Sprinkle the oregano over the dish and add a little salt and pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes, until Salmon is flakey.

Cumin Yogurt Sauce

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs lemon juice
salt and pepper

Mix above ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Serve with Mediterranean style dishes, veggies, or pita bread.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tofu Pad Thai

I realize this isn't really Pad Thai, since true Pad Thai has peanuts galore. But here's the thing, we rarely eat nuts and never eat peanuts. It's not entirely intentional, and before you go spouting off all the wondrous nutrients in nuts, let me say that I never, ever ate nuts growing up. My mother is deathly allergic, so I never knew they glory of chocolate and peanut butter or candied walnuts. Don't feel bad for me, my backside has never minded. But that aside, now that I am a grown up of sorts I just don't care for the taste or texture of nuts and nut butter just doesn't do it for me.

Now, wasn't that a fun life story? Anyway, this is a yummy Pad Thai recipe without peanuts.

6 oz uncooked rice noodles
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package of firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch slices and then into four triangles
2 tbs soy sauce
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups bean sprouts (the white ones)
3/4 cup green onions, sliced,
1 carrot, shaved (use a peeler and shave off slices)
3 tbs rice vinegar
2 1/2 tbs fish sauce (I know, but give in and buy it, it makes all the difference in the world)
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp chili sauce (in the Asian food section)
1 cup shelled edamame

Cook noodles according to directions. Set tofu on paper towels to drain. After they tofu pieces have lost some of their water, put them in a bowl with soy sauce and garlic to marinate.

In a nonstick pan, heat about a teaspoon of vegetable oil and add tofu in a single layer, cooking in batches if necessary. Cook until browned on each side and keep warm.

In a wok, heat a tablespoon of oil over high heat in a wok until very hot. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 10 seconds. Add the egg and cook, stirring, until scrambled. Add noodles to the wok along with bean sprouts, 1/2 cup of the green onions, carrots, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and chili sauce. Gently toss with tofu. Serve and sprinkle with edamame and remaining green onions.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Healthy, yummy enchiladas.

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained
15 to 20 Corn tortillas
2 cups of red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese, such as a jack and cheddar blend
cilantro for garnish

Preheat an oven to 375 and spray a large casserole with nonstick spray.

Heat up a little olive oil in a large sauce pan and add peppers, carrots, garlic, and onions. Once the veggies are soft, add in the beans and warm through.

Microwave the tortillas for about 30 seconds to help soften. Pour 1 cup of enchilada sauce into a shallow dish and dip a tortilla. Add a couple table spoons of the bean mixture to the tortilla, a sprinkle of cheese, and roll up and place seam side down into the prepared dish. Repeat until the tortillas are all filled. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for about 25 minutes until the cheese melts and starts to brown. Serve with cilantro, salsa, avocado, and sour cream.

Steel Cut Oats in the Rice Cooker!

Steel cut oats are the new "it" breakfast. Didn't you know? Well, thank goodness you have me then. Anyway, they are crazy good for you and totally tasty, but they can take a little time to make. I for one am not often ready to spend 30 minutes standing over my stove first thing in the morning, which is why I usually revert to regular old fashioned oats that I cook in the microwave. That is until I fell in love with steel cut oats and now I'm not sure Mr. Quaker and I are nearly as good of friends. Yes, I am a traitor. Then in walked my rice cooker and a terrific threesome was created. I can combine the oats and water in the same time it takes to make a bowl of the old fashioned and end up with a heartier, yummier version of my usual breakfast staple.

**This must be made in a 7 cup rice cooker or bigger, otherwise you will have oatmeal water all over your counter

Makes about 3, 1 cup servings

1 1/4 c steel cut oats
3 1/4 c water
milk, raisins, and brown sugar for serving

Combine water and oats in the rice cooker and set to cook. If you have one of those fancy rice cookers with settings (and not the $15 cheapo one from Target like me) consider consulting your manual, but the oats will need to cook around 30 minutes.

Here are the before and after topping pics. YUM!