Monday, December 19, 2011

Guest Post on Taming of the Celiac Sprue

Riskrem (a Norwegian Christmas dessert)
My friend Erin invited me to be a part of the holiday guest post series on her blog, Taming of the Celiac Sprue.  Fortunately, I discovered that two of my family's traditional Christmas desserts are gluten free!  It's been a lot of fun to see what other guests have posted about their favorite traditions and recipes, just as I had a good time last night typing up my (lengthy) post.

Click HERE to check out my post on her blog.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

From Annie's Eats.

Yes, more pumpkin.  I've gone a little pumpkin crazy, okay?  Pumpkin pie doesn't quite have the same appeal for me that it did when I was a kid, and so I guess I've been making up for the lack of pumpkin in other ways this Fall.  Anyway.  These pancakes are wonderful!  The day after I finished off the first batch, I made another.  It's like pumpkin pie, but better.  Much better.  I like to eat mine with maple syrup and a big scoop (dollop? not here) of sweetened whipped cream.  Mmm.  Just thinking about it makes me want to make them again.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
1 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 Tbs. vegetable oil or melted butter

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.  In a separate bowl (or large liquid measuring cup), mix together milk, pumpkin puree, egg, and oil or butter.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together just until combined.  Lumpy batter is perfectly acceptable.

Drop 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter onto a greased skillet or griddle heated over medium.  When edges are dry and little bubbles begin to form on the top, carefully flip with a spatula and cook the second side until golden brown, a couple more minutes.

Repeat with the rest of the batter until it has all been cooked.

- I really like to eat mine with maple syrup and sweetened whipped cream.
- I have also used buttermilk instead of the milk when I was trying to use it up.
- You can keep the cooked pancakes warm in a 200F oven while you finish using up the rest of the batter.
- I like to freeze leftover pancakes (regardless of what kind they are) wrapped in plastic wrap and/or in freeze bags with the air squeezed out.  To reheat, stick a couple of them in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and then finish in the toaster at a low setting, just to take out the sogginess crisp up the outside a little bit.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Honey Cinnamon Milk

From Healthy Cooking (Aug./Sept. 2011), page 47.

My husband and I tried this out one night when we wanted something slightly sweet before bed . . . just not hot chocolate.  It was exactly what we were looking for!  A little sweet with a bit of cinnamon.  Comforting.  Relaxing.  Yummy.  FYI: It's better at night than it is in the morning.  I don't know why.
Prep./Total Time: 10 min.
Yield: 1 serving

1 cup fat-free milk
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
Dash ground nutmeg
Dash ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp. honey

In a small saucepan, combine milk, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and allspice.  Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through; whisk in honey.  Serve warm; garnish with cinnamon stick.

- The first time we made this, we didn't have cinnamon sticks, so I think we used 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon per serving.

Nutrition Facts:
1 cup = 117 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 103 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 8 g protein

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours (Dorie Greenspan) via Perry's Plate.

I was craving something pumpkiny after Halloween ended and made my husband pick up a can of pumpkin puree at the store one day, even though he's not so fond of the stuff.  These muffins are so delicious!  Not too sweet, with just the right amount of pumpkin and spices.  Even my husband admitted that they were good, for a pumpkin muffin (he based his opinion on texture).  Our toddler was really excited about them and has eaten the equivalent of maybe one muffin; when it comes down to it, he's a cereal boy like his daddy.  So that leaves me.  I made these probably four days ago . . . and we have one muffin left. *sigh*  Good thing there's more pumpkin in the fridge.
Yield: 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground allspice
1 stick (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
About 1/3 cup slivered almonds, for topping

Preheat oven to 400F.  Prepare muffin pan by lining with paper cups or greasing 12 molds.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the butter at medium speed until soft.  Add both sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth.  Add eggs, mixing after each addition, then beating for one minute after the eggs are incorporated.  Beat in vanilla.  On low speed, mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk, then add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear.  Stir in nuts.

Divide the batter evenly among a dozen muffin cups and sprinkle a few slivered almonds over the top of each.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to a cooling rack.

- The recipe originally called for 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup nuts, but I don't do raisins.  It also called for 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds for the top, but I didn't have those and used the almonds instead.
- Don't be tempted to under-fill the muffin cups or divide the batter between more than 12 cups.  They will be very (and I mean it) full--to the point that the batter will likely be higher than the sides of your muffin pan.  But since it's pretty thick, you won't end up with a big runny mess.  Just trust me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Multi-Grain Twisted Cinnamon Ring

From Healthy Cooking (Oct./Nov. 2011), page 40.

I decided to try making this ring after one of my sisters raved about the rolls.  I typically don't have luck with yeast breads, so I was surprised that this actually turned out for me.  And it was yummy!  This recipe can also be used for rolls or a pull-apart loaf (just follow whichever directions you want at the end of the recipe).
Prep: 30 min + rising / Bake: 15 min.
Yield: 1 ring / 1 loaf / 1 dozen rolls

1 pkg. (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbs. butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup confectioners' sugar
6 1/2 tsp. half-and-half cream
4 1/2 tsp. butter, softened

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, butter, egg, salt, and 1 cup flour.  Beat on medium speed until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down.  Roll into an 18x12-inch rectangle; spread with butter.  Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges.

For Icing: In a small bowl, beat the confectioners' sugar, cream, and butter until smooth.

Now choose one of the following three methods of finishing the recipe:

For Twisted Cinnamon Ring:
Roll up jell-roll style, starting with a long side.  Cut roll in half lengthwise.  Place dough side by side on a greased baking sheet.  Twist together, cut side up; shape into a ring.  Pinch ends together.  Cover and let rise until doubled about 45 minutes.  Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pan to a wire rack.  Drizzle glaze over warm bread.

For Cinnamon Rolls:
Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seams to seal.  Cut into 12 slices.  Place cut sides down in a greased 9x13-inch baking pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.

For Cinnamon Pull-Apart Loaf:
Cut into thirty-six 3x2-inch rectangles.  Make two stacks of 18 rectangles.  Place, cut sides up, in a greased 9x5-inch loaf pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Drizzle glaze over warm bread.

- Confession: I don't hand-knead for very long if I can help it.  I just switch from the paddle to the dough hook attachment on my Kitchen-Aid mixer and call it good. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pork Chops with Apricot Glaze

Adapted from Healthy Cooking (Aug./Sept. 2011), page 52.

Prep: 5 min. / Cook: 15 min.
Serves 6.

6 boneless pork chops (6 oz each)
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup apricot preserves or jam
2 Tbs. hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or less if you like things milder)
3 Tbs. chopped peanuts
Thinly sliced green onions

Combine ginger, salt, garlic powder, and pepper; rub over pork chops.

Heat apricot preserves, hoisin sauce, and red pepper flakes until preserves melt; set aside 1/2 cup.

Grill pork over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until 160 degrees, basing with sauce.  Brush with reserved sauce; sprinkle with peanuts and onions.

- The original recipe says to grill the pork covered, but it came out great without covering it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Featured on Rate the Plate Utah

Just wanted to shout out a big thank you to my sister over at Rate the Plate Utah for featuring Fish Food Favorites in today's Saturday Spotlight!

Want to read the post?  Click HERE!  You may learn some things about me (and our blog) that you didn't know before. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Versatile Blogger

So I feel like a complete dunce.  Back in August, Rate the Plate Utah gave me a Versatile Blogger award, and I completely forgot to follow through with it.  Thank you, Diners of RtPU!  And may I ask your forgiveness for my untimely response to your recognition. :)

The rules after accepting the Versatile Blogger award are as follows:
  1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.
Step 1.  Done.

Step 2.  
  1. We're a family of four with two boys (almost three years and almost five months).
  2. We have an aquarium with five fish: Thing 1, Thing 2, Super Why, Peeta, and Katniss.  (Gru and Sid died within a week after we bought them because one or more of the other fish nipped off their fins.)
  3. Number two may have clued you in to what my favorite books are right now: The Hunger Games series.  I read all three books twice in a row in two weeks and would have started reading them again if I hadn't known how much teasing I'd get from my husband.
  4. Half of the huge shelf above our washer and dryer is devoted to (and overflowing with) cookbooks, and a Costco-sized plastic storage tote in the garage is full of cooking magazines.
  5. My husband is in his third year of dental school and only has four more semesters after this one finishes in December (hurray!).
  6. We love to try new foods.  Even our two-year old is willing to eat at least a little bit of everything we give him (and most of the time he likes it).  His absolute favorite meal?  Shrimp Curry.
  7. Our last name is a type of fish, which is where the title of this blog came from. :)
Step 3: Fifteen Blogs I'm Awarding

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Multigrain Cheerios Snack Mix

From Eat Better America.

My two-year old helped me make this snack mix, and I swear we ate half of it right after it was done cooling.  It's that yummy.  Plus it's extremely easy to make, which is always a plus!
Prep: 15 min / Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 cups

1 egg white
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cups Multigrain Cheerios cereal
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 300F.  Lightly grease cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, beat egg white on high speed until foamy; beat in salt.  Gradually beat in brown sugar until thick and glossy.  Gently stir in cinnamon, cereal, and pecans until completely coated.  Spread as thinly as possible on cookie sheet.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until set.  Immediately remove from hot cookie sheet to a cold cookie sheet or large pan.  Cool completely, about 30 minutes.  Break into pieces.  Store in airtight container.

- Next time I may either leave the salt out or cut it in half.  It's not that the snack was overly salty--I just try to cut out salt whenever possible.
- Not sure what to do with that leftover egg yolk?  Head over to "The Chewy" and make Alton Brown's delicious chocolate chip cookies.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Spaghetti Squash & Cheese

From Better Recipes.

Matt has always claimed to dislike spaghetti squash.  Until we tried this recipe.  He liked it enough to say that I should make it again sometime.
Serves 4-6.

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 tsp. olive oil
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Black pepper

Cut the squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds.  Rub the inside of the squash with olive oil.  Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet.  Bake in 350F oven about 30 minutes or until tender; let cool.

Use a fork to rake out the stringy squash pulp into a large bowl.  Add cheese, nuts, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer squash mixture to a greased baking dish.  Bake for 25-30 minutes more or until heated through.

- There's usually a sticker with cooking directions attached the the squash sold at grocery stores.  I didn't want to wait for it to cook in the oven and cooked it in the microwave (per sticker instructions) instead without the oil.
- I was in a hurry and didn't let my squash cool (I handled it with an oven mitt while I scraped out the inside).  No problems.

Quick Fettuccine Cacciatore

From Kraft Food & Family (Spring 2006).
Prep: 10 min / Cook: 15 min
Serves: 4-6

8 oz fettuccine, uncooked
2 tsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1 cup sliced green or red bell peppers
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Cook pasta as directed on package.  Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add chicken; cook and stir until no longer pink.  Add peppers; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in tomatoes, mushrooms, and dressing.  Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Toss pasta with chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

- I chose to use no-salt added tomatoes and pureed them slightly.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cauliflower "Mac 'n Cheese"

Adapted from People (13 June 2011, page 118).

I'm on a mission to find yummy recipes using vegetables my husband doesn't think he likes.  This recipe was on the back of another recipe given to him by a friend at school.  We agreed that this way of eating cauliflower is delicious (though possibly not super healthful).  My two-year old gobbled it down, as well.
Serves 6 to 8.

8 cups cauliflower florets (about 2 heads)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.  Toss florets in oil on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.  Roast until fork-tender and lightly browned, about 25 minutes.  Remove pan from oven.  Reduce oven to 350F.

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in milk.  SImmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes.  Whisk in half-and-half and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and all but 2 Tbs. of the cheese.  Stir over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.

Place cauliflower in an 8x8" glass baking dish or four 10-oz ramekins.  Pour cheese sauce on top.  Sprinkle with 2 Tbs. cheese.  Bake until sauce is bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.

- My picture is deceiving when it comes to the sauce.  The original recipe indicates that 1 head of cauliflower will give you 8 cups of florets, but the ones at my grocery store only gave me about 4 cups.  By the time I realized that, it was a bit late to halve the sauce.  Oh well.  Still good, just had too much sauce.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Turkey Breast with Jalapeno-Peach Jam

Adapted from Weber's Big Book of Grilling.
2 Tbs. black peppercorns
2 Tbs. cumin seed
2 Tbs. chili powder
2 Tbs. dried oregano
2 Tbs. dried sage
2 tsp. granulated garlic or 1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 bone-in turkey breast, about 8 lbs.

3 firm ripe peaches, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup apricot or peach preserves
1/3 cup peach juice
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Canola oil
Kosher salt

Crush the peppercorns and cumin seed, then combine with the remaining paste ingredients.

Coat the turkey breast with the paste.  Place in a large, resealable bag, press the air out of the bag, and seal tightly.  Refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the peaches, preserves, juice, sugar, and vinegar.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring often, until the peaches are cooked and then liquid has thickened, 30 to 40 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then pour into a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the jalapenos and cilantro.  Cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate.  (The jam may be made up to three day sin advance.  Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Follow the cooking instructions listed on the package of your turkey breast.  It will be about 3 1/4 hours at 325 F for an 8 lb. turkey.  A meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part should read 170 F. has a pretty good guide for how long to cook a turkey using various methods and temperatures.

Allow turkey to rest for 20 minutes prior to slicing.  Serve warm with jam.

- I'm not sure a resealable plastic bag large enough to accommodate the turkey exists, so I'l be honest: I used a clean, plain plastic, 13-gallon trash bag and tied a knot in it, then set it in a casserole dish, just in case.
- The jam ingredients were doubled in the original recipe, but it makes a TON, so I've cut it.
- The recipe also calls for mesquite wood chunks or chips, which I purchased but forgot to use.  Rather disappointing.  I've read that you can use them in the oven, but since I didn't actually try it, I'll just give you the link on how to do it.
- Technically this is a grilling recipe, but we decided to make it in the oven when we realized how long it would take to cook an 8 lb. bone-in turkey breast on the grill (we couldn't find 4-5 lb.-breasts as the original recipe called for).  If you opt to try it on the trill (I'm sure it would be delicious!), then follow these instructions:

"Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (350-450 F).
"Follow the grill's instructions for using wood chunks (soaked for at least 30 minutes).  Lightly coat the turkey with canola oil and season with salt.  Brush the cooking grates clean.  Grill the turkey breast, skin side up, over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the internal temperature reaches 165 F, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (remember, this is for a 4-5 lb. turkey).  Remove from the grill and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing (the internal temperature will rise 5-10 degrees during this time."

Avocado Fries

From Circle B Kitchen, adapted from Sunset Magazine.

I know, this sounds like one of the strangest things ever, but it is so good!  The panko coating is nice and crunchy, while the avocado insides get all soft and creamy.
Canola oil for frying
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko
2 firm-ripe medium or 3 small avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2" wedges
Grated parmesan for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 200F.  In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2" oil until it registers 375F on a deep-fry thermometer.

Meanwhile, mix flour with 1/2 tsp. salt in a shallow bowl.  Put eggs and panko in separate shallow bowls.

Sprinkle avocado slices with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.  Dip each slice in flour, shaking off excess.  Dip in egg and then panko to coat.  Set on plates in a single layer.

Fry a quarter of avocado slices at a time until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds.  Transfer slices to a plate lined with paper towels.  Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining avocados.  Sprinkle with salt and a little grated parmesan.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

- These do not make good leftovers, even if you crisp them up in the toaster oven.  They take on an unappealing, somewhat fishy flavor.  And I like fish.  So you want to make only the amount you plan on eating, and then toss the rest.
- Try mixing together ranch dressing and salsa for a yummy dipping sauce!

Southwest Rub

Good for red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, and vegetables.

Adapted from Weber's On the Grill.
Yield: about 1/4 cup

2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. granulated garlic or 1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

East-West Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the tenderloins over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until well marked on two sides, about 5 minutes, turning once. Brush the tenderloins with a thin coating of the sauce and continue to grill until the pork is barely pink in the center, 10 to 15 minutes, turning and basting with the remaining sauce every 5 minutes. Let rest for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing on the bias. Serve warm.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Green Chili Sauce for Pork or Poultry

Adapted from Weber's On the Grill.

Yield: about 1 cup
1 Tbs. roughly chopped roasted green chilies
1 medium garlic clove
1 Tbs. lime juice
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise

In a food processor or blender, puree the roasted green chilies, garlic, lime juice, cilantro leaves, and salt. Add the sour cream and mayonnaise and process until smooth.

- Matt brushed the sauce onto the chicken prior to grilling it.  We wished we had reserved some for serving, but oh well!
- Although you can roast your own chilies, we opted to just use some diced green chilies from a can

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mango Barbecued Jerk Chicken Thighs

From Healthy Cooking (June/July 2011), page 56.

Prep: 20 min + marinating / Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4-6 servings
This chicken is absolutely delicious!  It is so tender and full of bold, yummy flavors, even without adding the extra barbecue sauce.  My two-year old (who doesn't typically devour meat) asked for seconds.

2 Tbs. orange juice
1 1/2 tsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbs. Caribbean jerk seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs

Barbecue Sauce:
3 Tbs. mango chutney
1 1/2 tsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1/4 tsp. minced fresh ginger root
1 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp. grated orange peel

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, jerk seasoning, and garlic; add the chicken.  Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

For barbecue sauce, combine chutney, lime juice, honey, mustard, five-spice powder, and ginger; set aside.  In another small bowl, combine cilantro, sesame seeds, and orange peel; set aside.

Drain and discard marinade.  Broil chicken 4-6" from heat for 7  minutes.  Turn and broil for 6 minutes.  Divide barbecue sauce, using half to baste chicken and saving the rest for serving.  Broil 3-5 minutes longer or until chicken juices run clear.  Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with cilantro mixture.  Serve with remaining sauce.

- I used Jamaican jerk seasoning; I'm not sure if there's a difference.

Nutrition Facts:
- 1 chicken thigh = 232 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 76 mg cholesterol, 297 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 21 g protein

Banana Oat Muffins

Adapted from

Prep: 15 min / Cook: 25-30 min.
Yield: 12-18 muffins

1 cup + 1 Tbs rolled oats, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 large very ripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Streusel topping:
1/3 cup rolled oats
4 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbs. butter, chilled
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups

Place 1 cup rolled oats in a food processor and process until ground.  In a large bowl, combine ground oats with flours, 1 Tbs. rolled oats, chopped nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the banana and vanilla.  Stir in sour cream.  Mix oat/flour mixture into the egg mixture.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.

To make topping, combine 1/3 cup rolled oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in 1/4 cup chopped nuts.  Generously sprinkle muffins with topping.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

- One reviewer said she chose not to process the oats because she liked their texture, so do what you want.
- The original recipe also called for 1 tsp. of baking soda but neglected to say when to add it.  I completely forgot about the baking soda and the muffins turned out just fine.
- I didn't pre-mash my bananas even though the original recipe said to.  I'm getting lazy.
- I was short on sour cream and ended up using a Tbs. or so of vanilla yogurt to make up for it.  No problems.

Stuffed Zucchini

Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Yield: 6-8 servings
4 medium zucchini (about 8 oz each), stems removed
4 Tbs. olive oil
3 medium red potatoes (about 1 lb), cut into 1/2" cubes
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 medium tomatoes (about 1 1/4 lbs), seeded and chopped
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil leaves or 1 Tbs dried
6 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper

Adjust one oven rack to the upper-middle position and one to the lowest position, then place a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on each rack.  Heat oven to 400F.

Meanwhile, halve zucchini lengthwise.  Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and most of the flesh so that the walls are about 1/4" thick all the way around.  Brush the cut sides with 2 Tbs of the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the potatoes with 1 Tbs. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread in a single layer on the hot baking sheet that has been preheating on the upper rack; return to oven.

Place the zucchini halves, cut-side down, on the hot baking sheet that has been preheating on the lower rack; return to oven.  Roast the zucchini until slightly softened and skins are slightly wrinkled, about 10 minutes, while simultaneously roasting the potatoes until they are tender and lightly browned, 12-14 minutes.

When the zucchini has finished roasting, remove it from the oven using tongs, flip the zucchini halves over on the baking sheet, and set aside.

While the zucchini and potatoes are roasting, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and cooked potatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in basil, 1/2 cup cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Divide filling evenly among zucchini halves on the baking sheet, packing it lightly; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Return the zucchini to the oven, this time to the upper rack, and bake until heated through and cheese is spotty brown, about 6 minutes.  Serve immediately.

- I felt like the zucchini flesh was going to waste, but I was so preoccupied with everything else I was making for dinner that I forgot about it.  I wonder how it would be to chop it up and add at least some of it back in with the onions and garlic.
- The original recipe uses 1 whole medium onion and 5 large cloves of garlic.
- Perhaps pepper jack cheese would be yummy, too.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Portobello & Basil Cheese Tortellini

Adapted from Simple & Delicious (June/July 2011), page 51.

Prep: 15 min / Cook: 30 min
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 pkg. (19 oz) cheese tortellini
1 lb. sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
1/3 cup butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbs. minced fresh basil or 3 tsp. dried basil

Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onion in butter until tender, adding mushrooms a couple minutes into cooking.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Stir on broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

Add the cream, half-and-half, salt, and pepper.  Cook 4-5 minutes longer or until slightly thickened.  Drain tortellini; add to the skillet.  Stir in cheese and basil.

- Check your tortellini package to see how long it cooks and then add it to the boiling water that much before you'll add it to the skillet.  It's never fun to have your pasta cooked way before the rest of the food.
- I love basil, so I'm tempted to say it needs more.
- My sauce didn't really thicken.  I might add a little cornstarch or flour next time, but just a little.

Southwest Sourdough Chicken Panini

We came up with this recipe based on ingredients we already had on hand, and it turned out to be delicious!  Matt has said multiple times how much he liked it.
Prep: 10 min / Cook: 5 min.
Yield: 3 sandwiches

6 slices sourdough bread
1 tomato, sliced
6 slices pepper jack, Monterey jack, or provolone cheese
3 tsp. diced green chilies
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp chipotle adobo sauce, or to taste
Grilled chicken, sliced (we prefer to use this Southwest rub)

Mix together mayonnaise and adobo sauce.  Spread on each slice of bread.  Cover with cheese slices.  Spread diced green chilies on half of each sandwich (so 3 slices of bread).  Place chicken and tomato slices over chilies.  Cover with other half of sandwich.

Grill in a panini press for about 5 minutes on high, or until cheese has melted and bread is golden and crispy.  You may also make these in a skillet, flipping them over to grill both sides.

- I recommend starting with a little less adobo sauce and adding more until it reaches the heat you'd like.  You can chop up part of a chipotle pepper to mix in with the mayo, too, if you like.
- We used some leftover grilled chicken that had been seasoned with a delicious southwest rub.
- Instead of making your own chipotle mayo, you can buy it at the store if you like.

Havarti Shrimp Quesadillas

Adapted from Taste of Home (June/July 2010), page 22.

Prep: 10 min / Cook: 5 min each
Yield: 6 quesadillas
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 tsp. canola oil
2 tsp. butter
6 Tbs. apricot jam
6 flour tortillas
6 oz. Havarti cheese, shredded or thinly sliced
1/2 lb cooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped

In a large skillet, saute mushrooms in oil and butter until tender.

Spread 1 Tbs. jam over half of each tortilla; top with cheese, shrimp, and mushrooms.  Fold tortillas over.

Grill quesadillas, uncovered, over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese is melted.  Cut and serve.

- Diced fresh tomatoes would probably be really good in these.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Firecracker Grilled Salmon

From Healthy Cooking (Feb./March 2011), page 36.

Prep: 20 min + marinating / Cook: 5-10 min.
Yield: 4 servings

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. maple syrup
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. salt
4 salmon fillets (6 oz. each)

In a small bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients.  Pour 1/4 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag.  Add the salmon; seal bag and turn to coat.  Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.  Refrigerate salmon for up to 30 minutes.  Drain and discard marinade.

Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.  Place salmon skin side down on grill rack.  Grill over high heat or broil 3-4" from the heat for 5-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting occasionally with remaining marinade.

- I tend to buy salmon fillets without the skin.
- The recipe says to cover the salmon while grilling--I didn't.  I did, however, carefully flip it over halfway through cooking time.

Nutrition Facts:
1 fillet = 306 calories, 18 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 85 mg cholesterol, 366 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 30 g protein

Shrimp Enchiladas

Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Prep: 20-30 min / Cook: 30-35 min.
Yield: 8-10 enchiladas

Cheese Sauce:
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small onion, diced
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. flour
3/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 small onion, diced
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
8-10 soft taco size flour tortillas

To make cheese sauce, saute peppers and onion in butter until crisp-tender.  Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, and flour; blend well and cook, stirring constantly for about a minute.  Whisk in half-and-half and continue cooking for 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  Add cheese; stir until melted.  Add sour cream; stir to blend.  Set aside.

In another skillet, melt butter.  Saute onion and peppers until crisp-tender.  Add shrimp; saute until pink (don't overcook!).  Add tomatoes and 1/2 of the cheese sauce.  Spoon about 1/3-1/2 cup shrimp mixture into each tortilla.  Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top of filling, leaving some to sprinkle on top of enchiladas.  Roll the enchiladas up tightly.  Arrange seam side down in a 9x13" glass baking dish.  Spoon remaining cheese sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.

- Don't forget to add the cheese into the enchiladas.  I forgot that step and had to go back and unroll each one to add it--not easy when they've already absorbed some of the liquid from the filling.  They weren't pretty, hence no picture.
- The original recipe uses whipping cream and regular sour cream, which I'm sure makes richer enchiladas.  Having jumped straight to the no-fat and low-fat ingredients, I have nothing to compare it to.
- If you use small shrimp, I don't see why you'd need or want to chop them up.

Skillet Ziti with Chicken and Broccoli

Adapted from Simple and Delicious (Feb./March 2011, page 30).

Prep: 20 min / Cook: 20-30 min.
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 lb. chicken, cut into short 1/4" strips
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fat-free milk
2 1/2 cups uncooked ziti (I used mini)
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped or julienned*
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, if desired.  Saute in a large skillet in butter until no longer pink.  Remove.

In the same skillet, saute onion in olive oil until tender.  Add garlic, pepper flakes, and oregano; cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in broth and milk; bring to a boil.  Add ziti; cover and cook 7-8 minutes or until ziti is tender, stirring occasionally.  Add zucchini and red peppers during last 5 minutes of cooking.

Return chicken to skillet; heat through.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*Brush bell pepper with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 375F oven for about 15-20 minutes, rotating about every 5 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before removing stem, seeds, skin, etc.

- You can buy jars of roasted red peppers if you don't want to roast it yourself.  The original recipe called for 1 cup.
- The "sauce" is a little thin, but it really didn't bother me.  I don't think it was supposed to be a sauce in the sense that Alfredo and marinara are--you know, thick and obviously there.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro

Adapted from
These grilled sweet potatoes are quite delicious!  The salty-citrus flavor from the seasoning really complements the sweetness from the potatoes.

3 sweet potatoes, with peels (see first note!)
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Canola oil
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Parcook the potatoes: Place in a pot of water and boil until fork-tender, about 20 minutes; let cool.  Slice each potato lengthwise into eighths.

Preheat a grill to medium or place a cast iron grill pan over medium heat.  Mix salt, lime zest, cayenne pepper, cilantro, pepper, and oil.

Brush the potato wedges with oil mixture.  Grill until golden brown on all sides (including the skin) and just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.  Serve.

- Make sure you buy actual sweet potatoes, not yams.  Sweet potatoes are lighter in color and the uncooked flesh is a pale, pale yellow or cream when you scratch a little of the skin off; yams have darker skin and pinkish flesh.  (Most sweet potato fries you buy are actually yams, but I prefer to make this recipe with sweet potatoes.)
- Our potatoes don't have any grill marks on them, probably because we cooked them over indirect heat on the grill (other food had already claimed the direct heat seat.)
- Next time I think I'll increase the lime zest or squeeze a little juice over the potatoes--I'd like a little more of that lime flavor.
- The original recipe has you brush the potatoes with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill.  The lime zest, cayenne pepper, and salt are mixed together and sprinkled over the potatoes, along with the cilantro, after grilling.  We've tried both ways and actually prefer the way I've written the recipe (which was actually a complete accident the first time we made these).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rate the Plate Utah

My oldest sister has started a food blog called Rate the Plate Utah.  She and her family post dining deals, share favorite products, and rate dining experiences at home and at restaurants.  I'm excited to see all of the things they try, even though I don't live in Utah myself.  I noticed she wrote a post about a Lindt white chocolate coconut bar that I may have to pick up the next time I go to the store.  They also shared a recipe for butterbeer.  Mmm.

Check it out!

On the home front, I'm sorry I haven't posted anything for a few months.  Our family welcomed a new addition last month, so I've been a bit occupied in other ways.  We did try two new recipes last week, however, which I will be posting soon!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sweet 'n Tangy Carrots

From Healthy Cooking Holiday Recipes 2010, page 6.

Prep: 5 min / Cook: 30 min.
Yield: 6-8 servings.
2 lbs carrots, sliced
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Place 1 inch of water, carrots, and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until tender.  Drain.

Return carrots to pan; add brown sugar, butter, mustard, and pepper.  Cook and stir over low heat until well coated.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Serve with a slotted spoon.

Nutrition Facts:
1/2 cup = 143 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 11 mg cholesterol, 257 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein

- You can use black pepper--I did.
- If you don't have fresh parsley, use a few teaspoons of dried parsley.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sensational Spiced Salmon

Adapted from Healthy Cooking (Dec./Jan. 2011), page 63.

Prep/Total Time: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings

This is one of the easiest salmon recipes we've tried so far, and it just happens to be delicious, too.  The blend of sweet and savory seasonings is amazing.

2 Tbs. brown sugar
4 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 salmon fillets (4 oz each)

Combine the first six ingredients; rub over salmon (both sides if fillets are skinless).  Place in a single layer in a greased baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Nutrition Facts:
1 fillet = 244 calories, 13 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 67 mg cholesterol, 196 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 23 g protein

- All I changed from the original recipe was the amount of salt; I'm always reducing it.
- I used two frozen salmon fillets from Costco and cut the rest of the ingredients in half (even though I'm sure the fillets were more than 4 oz each).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

From Hershey's Made Simple, page 82.

Yield: 24 scones
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups (12-oz. pkg) dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
2 cups whipping cream, chilled
2 Tbs. butter, melted
Additional sugar
Powdered sugar, optional

Stir together 3 1/4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired.

Stir whipping cream into flour mixture just until ingredients are moistened.

Turn mixture out onto floured surface.  Knead gently until soft dough forms, about 2 minutes.  Divide dough into three equal balls.  One at a time, flatten into 7-inch circle; cut into 8 triangles.  Transfer triangles to greased baking sheets, spacing 1-2 inches apart.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with additional sugar.

Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar, if desired.

- The dough is really, really sticky!!  Don't be afraid to use flour when you're handling it.
- I used one package of mini semi-sweet chips by accident, but it was still delicious.

Curried Tofu with Rice

Adapted from Healthy Cooking (Feb./March 2011), page 61.

Prep: 10 min / Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
1 pkg (12.3 oz) extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 Tbs. canola oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 tsp. curry powder
Cooked rice (brown is best)
Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle tofu with seasoned salt.  In a large nonstick skillet, saute tofu in oil until golden.  Remove; keep warm.  Add mushrooms to skillet and saute until lightly browned but not completely cooked.  Remove and set aside with tofu.

In the same skillet, saute onion and garlic until tender.  Stir in the coconut milk, cilantro, curry, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Stir in tofu and mushrooms; heat through.  Serve with rice.

- Consider adding vegetables, like carrots, potatoes, or zucchini.  If you're not trying to make a meatless meal, adding cubed chicken would be good, too.  My son really liked shredded coconut and chopped hard-boiled egg on top of his.
- Originally, the recipe called for 3 cloves garlic, minced.  That's a bit much for me; in fact, the last time I made it, I didn't add any garlic.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Raspberry-Chipotle Chicken Panini with Smoked Gouda and Spinach

Prep: 5-10 min. / Cook: 5 min.

We made up this panini recipe last night and really enjoyed it.  I'll apologize now that I didn't measure anything; just use as much of each ingredient as you want.  If you don't have exact ingredients, improvise!

Ciabatta bread
Cooked chicken, sliced
Portobella mushrooms, sliced
Fresh spinach
Smoked Gouda, sliced
Mayonnaise (use the kind with olive oil if you can--it's better for you)
Raspberry-roasted chipotle grill sauce

Briefly cook mushroom slices in a small amount of olive oil (or even cooking spray) over medium to medium-high heat (about a minute total).

Spread mayonnaise on one piece of ciabatta bread and grill sauce on the other.  Cover each piece with slices of smoked Gouda.  Spread a little more grill sauce over the cheese on the mayo piece.

Layer spinach, mushrooms, and chicken over one piece of bread; top with other half.

Grill in a hot panini press for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Slice and serve!

- I sliced a chicken breast in half (as if I was attempting to butterfly it and cut too far--which didn't happen), seasoned each side with ground pepper and rosemary (you could add salt, but you know me), and cooked it in a little olive oil over medium heat for probably 5-8 min on each side.  Then I sliced it.  (I didn't account for using raw chicken in the time estimate.)
- Slice the mushrooms about twice as thick as you think you'll want them.
- Use at least twice as much spinach as you think you'll want.  Like the mushrooms, it will cook down significantly.
- Next time we're going to try regular Gouda.  Although we liked the smokiness, it was ever so slightly overpowering (though still delicious).
- I realize not everyone has raspberry-roasted chipotle grill sauce on hand.  If you fit into that category, you could probably make your own by mixing raspberry jam with a little finely diced or pureed chipotle pepper (you can find cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Mexican food section at most grocery stores).  Start small with add more to taste.  I probably wouldn't use more than 1/2 a chipotle pepper in 1/4 cup of raspberry jam.  That's totally guessing, so you may want to start with less.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oven-roasted Tomato Salsa

Yield: 3 pints
6-7 lbs. fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 anaheim peppers, quartered
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, halved and cut into wedges
1-2 serrano chiles, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
3 limes
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. oregano

Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil.  Preheat oven to 400F.

Mix tomatoes, garlic, anaheim peppers, serrano chiles, and onion in a large bowl.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Remove to baking sheets using slotted spoon; reserve liquid.  Bake for 1 hour.  Let cool to the touch.

Add half of vegetables to a food processor and puree until mostly smooth.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Add remaining vegetables to food processor and pulse until it reaches desired consistency.

Pour reserved liquid into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add cumin, brown sugar, oregano, lime juice, vinegar, and cilantro.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Add both vegetable mixtures to pot.  Stir and heat through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Store in refrigerator.

- It's been a little while since I created this recipe, and so I don't remember if the version I wrote down was the one I actually made or the one I thought would be better.  If you're not very fond of spicy, only use 1 serrano chile, perhaps not even the whole thing.

Steak Rub / Marinade

Yield: 3 1/4 tsp. (dry)

1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. dry minced onion

3 tsp. lime juice
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbs. orange juice

For dry rub, mix dry ingredients together and rub all over steak.

For marinade, mix dry ingredients with lime, lemon, and orange juice and add to a Ziplock bag.  Add steak and marinate at least 1 hour.

BBQ Chicken Marinade

1/4 cup Jack Daniels BBQ sauce
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
3 Tbs. brown sugar
3 Tbs. ketchup
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. (or dash) cayenne pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dry minced onion
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 Tbs. canola oil

Mix all ingredients together.

To marinate chicken, place in a Ziplock bag.  Add 2 Tbs. marinade for each chicken breast or 1 Tbs. for each drumstick.  Seal bag, pushing out air, and place in a bowl.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Reserve 1/2 remaining marinade for serving.  Use the rest for basting chicken on the grill.

Shrimp Curry

From Grandma Wayman.

Prep: 5 min. / Cook: 15 min.
Yield: 4-6 servings
2 cans shrimp OR about 1/2 lb. fresh or frozen cooked shrimp
1 Tbs. chopped onion
1 Tbs. butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk (approx.)
1 Tbs. curry powder, or to taste

If necessary, thaw and devein shrimp.

Lightly brown onion in butter.  Add soup, milk, and curry powder.  Then add shrimp; heat through.

Serve over rice.

Optional toppings:
Golden raisins
Chopped, boiled egg
Green onion
Shredded coconut
Crisp, crumbled bacon

- I rehydrate about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion in some hot water, then measure from there.
- My grandma's written recipe wasn't super specific on a lot of things (when you cook as long as she did, you just get a feel for things), so I make it with the measurements my mom guessed it (she doesn't measure things in this recipe either).
- The recipe my aunt wrote out also includes flour (add after onion browns) and dry mustard (add with curry powder)--no measurements specified.
- Do not overcook shrimp--it will turn rubbery!

Mesa Grill Pretzels

Adapted from Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, page 33.

Yield: 20 pretzels
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 oz. yeast
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1 large egg
3-4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled and pureed
Kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
3 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
Cayenne pepper

Line 2 baking sheets with Silpat liners or parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and sprinkle with an even layer of the cornmeal over each.

Combine the water and yeast in a large bowl and mix together with your fingertips until the yeast has dissolved.  Whisk in the sugar, egg, and garlic until combined.  Add 2 tsp. salt, the pepper, 3 cups flour (add more if necessary to form a smooth dough), and poblanos; mix until combined.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth.  Place the dough in a lightly greased large bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in half.  On a floured work surface, roll each half out into a 12x12" square.  Cut each square into 10 even strips.  Hold the dough by the ends; stretch it to the length of one of the baking sheets, keeping the shape as uniform as possible.  Place the pretzels on the baking sheets, spacing 1" apart.  Let rise, uncovered, in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Season the tops with a combination of kosher salt and cayenne pepper.  Bake until crisp and golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  Remove to baking racks and let cool.

Roasting Garlic
Preheat the oven to 300F.  Separate the cloves of a head of garlic, but do not peel.  Drizzle the cloves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap the garlic securely in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until very soft.  Squeeze the pulp from the skins, discarding the skins.  Roasted garlic will keep covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  (If you're doing less than 1 head of garlic, you'll want to check it before the 45 minutes.)

Roasting Peppers and Chiles
Preheat the oven to 375F.  Brush the peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet and rotate until charred on all sides, 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place the roasted peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 15 minutes to allow the skin to loosen.  Then peel, halve, and seed.  Treat chiles exactly the same way as the peppers.  Roasted peppers and chiles can be covered and stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

- The original recipe calles for 1 head of garlic, but that seemed like a bit much to me.  It also calls for jalapeno chile pepper, which I've never seen, so I used cayenne pepper.
- Bobby says to roll the dough out into a 12x12" square about 1" thick.  I honestly wonder if it was a misprint because I can't figure out how that would have been possible . . . unless my dough didn't rise nearly enough.  My squares were about 1/4" thick.

Banana Caramel Bars

From 365 Favorite Brand Name Cookie Recipes, page 125.

Prep: 20 min. / Cook: 35 min.
Yield: 24 bars
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup margarine, cubed
1 large egg, beaten
2 extra-ripe medium bananas, peeled
1/2 cup caramel topping

Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in medium bowl.  Cut in margarine with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Slowly stir in egg, mixing with fork until crumbly.  Put half of mixture into 9x13 baking pan to form crust.

For filling, mash bananas (1 cup).  Blend bananas with caramel topping.  Pour over crust; spread evenly.

Sprinkle remaining crust mixture over filling.  Pat gently.  Bake in 375F oven 35 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.  Cut into bars when cooled.

- Somehow I forgot to add the egg when I made these, but they still turned out yummy.  They're a lighter color than the picture in the book, and I'm sure they weren't quite as firm.  But they were good.

Slow-cooker Mashed Potatoes

From Quick Cooking (Dec. 2000), page 48.

Prep: 5 min. / Cook: 2-4 hours
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 pkg. (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
6 cups warm mashed potatoes (prepared without butter or milk)

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, butter, salad dressing, and parsley; stir in potatoes.

Transfer to slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 2-4 hours.

Nutrition Facts:
1 serving (3/4 cup) = 199 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 30 mg cholesterol, 671 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein

- I'm not sure what was with my potatoes, but they were extremely dry and I ended up adding milk to keep them from scorching.  My mom didn't have this problem when she made the potatoes, so perhaps it's my crock pot, which we already know is notorious for cooking things too quickly.
- I think I used neufchatel cheese (less fat than cream cheese) and light sour cream, which would help out a bit when it comes to the amounts of fat and cholesterol.  You could take things even further by replacing the sour cream with fat-free sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (I'm really into that right now).
- Because I didn't want so strong of a ranch flavor in the potatoes (this was for Thanksgiving), I probably only used about 1 Tbs. of ranch seasoning.  It was subtle, but I liked it.  Play around with the amounts depending on your taste--the less you use, the lower the sodium content will be.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sesame Shrimp and Rice

Adapted from Simple & Delicious (Aug./Sept. 2010), page 51.

Prep./Total Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4-5 servings

2 (8.8 oz) pkgs. ready-to-serve long grain rice
1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh or frozen snow peas, thawed
2 green onions, sliced
1 tsp. canola oil
1 lb. cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/3 cup sesame ginger salad dressing
3 Tbs. slivered almonds, toasted

Microwave rice according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, stir-fry snow peas and onions in oil for 1 minute.  Add the shrimp, pineapple, oranges, and salad dressing; cook until heated through and vegetables are crisp-tender.

- I debate whether I'd include the pineapple next time or not.  If I do, I think I'll use even less than I did this time--it just seemed to make it a little too sweet.
- Be careful not to overcook your shrimp or it will be rubbery.

Potluck Sloppy Joes

Adapted from Healthy Cooking (Aug./Sept. 2010), page 31.
Serves: 4-5

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 celery rib, chopped
1/4 medium onion, diced
2/3 large red pepper, diced
1/2 cups ketchup
2/3 (8 oz) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
Whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the turkey, celery, onion, and pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in ketchup, tomato sauce, flour, sugar, vinegar, and mustard.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until heated through.  Spoon 2/3 cup turkey mixture onto each bun.

Nutrition Facts:
1 sandwich = 360 calories, 11 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 90 mg cholesterol, 785 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 24 g protein

- The nutrition facts are for the original recipe (from the magazine), which for the most part triples the amounts I've listed above, with a few exceptions (onions, bell pepper, tomato sauce).  I think the nutrition facts include the whole wheat bun, though I'm not sure how--it will vary depending on what brand and size you buy.
- You can make this even healthier by using no-salt-added or reduced-sodium ingredients whenever possible (look for ketchup--I have yet to find a mustard that qualifies, probably because salt is a large part of mustard).


Adapted from Mom Larsen.

1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb (or ground beef)
2 medium eggplants, peeled and ends trimmed off
2-3 potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 (8 oz) cans tomato paste
2 Tbs. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Cheese Sauce:
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash nutmeg
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten until frothy

Saute onion in butter until transparent.  Push to side of pan.  Add ground meat and minced garlic; cook until no longer pink, breaking up the meat as it cooks.  Add basil, oregano, cinnamon, and tomato paste; stir.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer 10 minutes, then stir in bread crumbs.  Set aside.

Cut eggplants in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into 1/2"-thick slices.  Brush both sides of eggplant slices and potato slices with olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425F for 20-25 minutes, turning slices once.  (Potato slices may need to be removed sooner than eggplant slices; check at 15 minutes.)

For cheese sauce: Melt butter in saucepan.  Add flour and cook 1 minute.  Gradually add milk and chicken broth to saucepan and cook, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Add salt and nutmeg.  Stir in parmesan cheese.  Add a little sauce to eggs and stir, then carefully add eggs to sauce and mix well.

Spray 9x13" pan with cooking spray and line bottom with potatoes.  Layer 1/2 eggplant, 1/2 meat; repeat.  Pour cheese sauce over top.

Bake at 357F for 20-25 minutes.

- My mom's recipe doesn't call for the potatoes and uses melted butter instead of olive oil.
- This can be prepared ahead and kept in the refrigerator but will need to cook longer.

Makeover Taco Soup

Yield: 7 cups

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/2 medium red onion, diced
8 oz. no-salt added-tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 1/2 oz) can no-salt-added or low-sodium whole kernel corn, undrained
1 (15 1/2 oz) can no-salt-added or low-sodium kidney beans, undrained
3 1/2 Tbs. Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
1-2 cups water

Shredded cheese
Light or fat free sour cream OR plain, fat-free Greek yogurt

Brown turkey and onion; drain.  Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, beans, taco seasoning, and water.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Facts:
1 cup (no garnishes) = 225 calories, 5.32 g fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 304 mg sodium, 25.2 g carbohydrates, 7.3 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar, 19 g protein

- The nutrition facts listed use no-salt-added corn and reduced sodium kidney beans.  Amounts will actually vary by brand.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

Adapted from Healthy Cooking (April/May 2010), page 46.

Yield: about 1 cup

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chili powder
3 Tbs. dried minced onion
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground coriander

Combine all ingredients.  Use in place of packaged taco seasoning.  Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

To prepare taco meat:
Cook ground meat (beef, turkey, etc.) over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Add 1/4 cup taco seasoning mix and 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:
1 Tbs. dry mix = 14 calories, 0.07 g fat (0.01 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 191.5 mg sodium, 2.5 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g sugar, 0.3 g protein

- The original recipe called for 2 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Do what you want, but I thought it turned out great the way I made it!  It was just spicy enough for my taste, but if you like things a little milder consider cutting the cayenne to 1/2 or 3/4 tsp.
- You will save money and cut out a CRAZY amount of sodium from your diet if you use this recipe instead of the stuff you buy at the store.  I compared this to my bottle of Tone's taco seasoning; 2 tsp. (yes, 2 tsp.) of the Tone's contains 470 mg sodium!
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