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!
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