Friday, February 25, 2011

Spicy Potatoes with Peas and Chicken

This is a good example of a recipe that uses meat as a condiment and not as the star player. It is very flavorful. I found it in the magazine Every Day Food  and, of course, made some changes. This is a keeper because the potatoes are SOOOOOOO good!

Spicy Potatoes with Peas and Chicken

3  boneless chicken breasts (I used one for this recipe which served 2 people and then will use the other two cooked breasts for something else)
1/2 t cumin
1/2  t ground coriander
1/2 t cayenne pepper
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in med. chunks
salt and pepper
1/2 bag frozen peas
olive oil
juice of a lemon
Need a large oven proof skillet.

Preheat oven to 400
Bring potatoes to boil in salted water and cook for about ten minutes. Transfer them with a slotted spoon into a bowl and then bring the water to boil again and add the peas, cook for three minutes. Drain the peas into another bowl.

Meanwhile, salt and pepper the chicken breasts and cook them in some olive oil--Brown for about five minutes on one side and the flip and put the skillet in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove chicken from skillet and then add a bit more olive oil if you need it to the skillet and add the potatoes. Sprinkle on the spices, salt and pepper and stir around cooking for about 7 minutes or so while you brown the potatoes a bit. Then throw in the peas and juice of the lemon. Slice one of the chicken breasts and throw on top and serve in bowls for two! Really tasty!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baked Cantonese Cod

If you fear cooking fish, this recipe is for you. It's so so easy. And, yummy!

1 pound cod fillet
1 t ginger puree ( I use ground ginger in a tube--cheat!)
6 scallions,chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

I cut the cod fillet in half and put each piece in the center of its own large square of foil. Patted on the ginger puree, sprinkled the scallions and garlic over the fillets. Drizzle each piece of fish with a little soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil, and sprinkle with a few red pepper flakes. Pull the corners of the foil together and fold over the edges to make a tent around each fillet. Put the bundles on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

I served the fish with brown rice that I mixed with some fresh chopped cilantro. Pour the fish juices over all---yum yum!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Steak Sandwiches with Peppers and Onion

Here's a great idea if you happen to have some leftover flank steak like I did!

1/4 lb leftover flank steak, sliced thinly
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thinly
1 green pepper, sliced thinly
1 poblano or Cubanelle pepper thinly sliced
salt and pepper
submarine rolls
shredded mozzarella

Heat oven to 350
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and sauté peppers, and onion, season with salt and pepper--cook about 8 minutes or so until the peppers are soft and browning. Transfer to bowl and keep warm. Toss the cooked flank steak into the hot pan and warm up the meat.
Put rolls on baking sheet and pile on meat and then pepper mixture and then cheese. Warm in oven for about five minutes until cheese melts.

We also added some jarred chopped chili peppers but we like spicy!!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Pre heat oven 375

Yukon Gold potatoes-cut into large chunks
Mix a 1/4 cup stone ground horseradish mustard with 1/4 cup olive oil
Add cracked pepper
Roll each potato chunk in the mustard mixture and roast 40 minutes, turn potatoes over after 20 minutes.
These are quite yummy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Napa Cabbage Salad

 I saw this salad and it made me think about the fact that I rarely use Napa (Chinese) cabbage. I love cabbage and am always on the look out for new and different ways to work it into our menus. I also recently purchased a bottle of agave nectar at TJ Maxx--you can find good stuff in the foods section there! Now when I say TJ's I'll have to be more specific--Joe or Maxx?

This is a nice refreshing salad and a change of pace.

 Napa Cabbage Salad with Red Bell Pepper, Cilantro, Almonds, and Dijon-Ginger Dressing
(adapted from Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast.)

1/2 of large head napa cabbage, chopped (about 5-6 cups chopped cabbage)
1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced into same-length slices
a bunch  thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped unsalted almonds

2 T rice vinegar
2 tsp. grated ginger puree (I use the grated ginger you can purchase in the tube-cheater!)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T agave nectar (could also use a slightly smaller amount of white sugar
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
3 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)

Stir together the rice vinegar, grated ginger puree, Dijon mustard, sesame oil, agave nectar, salt, and pepper, then whisk in the oil one tablespoon at a time. Let the dressing sit to develop flavor while you chop the salad ingredients.

Chop 1/2 head napa cabbage to make 5-6 cups chopped cabbage. Cut off stem and remove seeds from red bell pepper, then cut into thin slices, trying to make them about the same length. Thinly slice green onions, chop cilantro, and chop almonds.

Toss together the chopped napa cabbage, red bell pepper strips, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro in a medium-sized salad bowl. Add  dressing and toss to coat the salad. Top each serving with chopped almonds.

Before and After photos follow:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Stuffed Mini-Peppers

The other day I saw a package of mini peppers at Trader Joe's and just had to buy them-they were so cute! Hmmmmmm, now what to do with them?  Decided to stuff them so they would remain cute. These turned out to be absolutely delicious and you could use any kind of stuffing that appeals to you. I just made up a stuffing from what I had on hand but I can think of other combinations that would be equally as good.

Package of mini peppers (there were nine in the pkg I purchased)
cup of feta cheese
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (chopped up)
salt and pepper
some dried oregano, basil, and a few shakes of dried red pepper flakes
some olive oil

Prepare the peppers by cutting long ways and taking out the seeds (there aren't many in these little guys)
Mix the cheese, and sun dried tomatoes, spices and add a little olive oil.
Stuff the peppers, drizzle with a litltle olive oil

Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes.

Let cool a bit before serving--the flavor develops and they're easier to pick up-great finger food!

Here's a  picture of them before I popped them in the oven:

Spring............not really!

But we can always hope, right???

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Stir-Fry?

I won't lie: this is not your typical recipe. I was looking through a new cook book (Food Matters) by Mark Bittman of NYT fame and this recipe caught my eye.  I switched up his original recipe so this is Sara's adaptation. It's basically stir fried sweet potato over brown rice but I have to tell you it is darn yummy. Now, be forewarned: the recipe calls for two chopped jalapeno peppers which I love but that might be spicier than some people would like. 

Vietnamese Sweet Potato Stir Fry

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and grated  (I did this in the food processor-just regular steel blade not the shredder)
olive oil
1 cup sliced green onions
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 T minced garlic
salt and pepper
1/4 cup fish sauce (get in the Asian section of grocery where you find soy sauce)
juice of one lime
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, basil(preferably Thai basil)  or mint (whichever appeals to you--I used Thai basil this time because I had frozen some from my herb garden this past summer.
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet, add sweet potatoes, green onions, peppers, and  garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally maybe 10 minutes or so.  Add the fish sauce,  the lime juice and the fresh herb that you chose. Serve over brown rice and top with toasted slivered almonds.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Low Fat/Low Salt Olé!

Chip and Salsa Soup
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

* 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
* 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1/4 cup chopped green onions
* 1 cup salsa, (I used medium Pace brand)
* 2 tablespoon canned diced green chilies
* 1 cup corn kernels
* 2 cups  tortilla chips, broken into bite-size pieces (I used blue corn chips)
* 1 cup avocado chunks

Place the broth, beans, salsa, corn, green onions and chilies in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes to blend flavors.

Place 1/2 cup of chips and 1/4 cup of avocado in each of four bowls. Ladle the soup over the avocado and chips and serve at once.

Mexican Bean Burritos
Servings: 10-12
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-4 hours

* 2 cups dried pinto beans
* 8 cups water
* chopped tomatoes
* 1 chopped bunch green onions
* shredded lettuce
* shredded rice cheese (I purchased this at Arbor Farms)-you can use regular cheese
* Assorted Mexican salsas
* whole wheat flour or corn tortillas

 Place the beans in crock pot with the water. Cook on high for 8-10 hours. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.

Mash the beans in a food processor adding some bean cooking liquid after mashing and mix until the beans are a soft, moist consistency.

Place all the ingredients in bowls, except the tortillas. Let each person make their own burrito by layering on the ingredients of their choice.This makes a lot of bean mixture so plan to have a lot of leftovers for other dishes or freeze some.

Burrito before the roll!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fast Appetizer

Ever looking for a fast appetizer that's quick, looks good, and is fairly healthful??

Look no further, behold the Medi-Mex Quick Plate!

1.  Find a nice plate!*
2.  Use stuffed grape leaves from a good place
3.  Spread some hummus on wafer thin flat bread (I like the WASA brand)-sprinkle on some smoked paprika (if you don't have any smoked paprika-get it--It's so good!)
4.  Throw on some Kalamata olives and green ones stuffed with jalapenos-

Add a glass of red wine or a nice cold beer and you're in business :-)

*My nice plate was a gift from my son who traveled to Mexico many years ago on a school trip-I was happy that he brought me this pretty memento. I was more happy that he returned alive however, AFTER I heard about his adventures while there! Mon Dieu!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spinach with Toasted Almonds and Raisins

So, is it just me or when you hear the word raisin do you start hearing the song, "Heard it Through the Grapevine" in your head? I loved those singing raisins back in the day. For those of you who may not remember, have a look:

Now, that you're amused (or not) here's a great twist on a spinach side dish--the raisins are a surprise................or so that's what I heard through the grapevine........

Spinach with Stuff

1 lb fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2 cup raisins
some olive oil

Lightly sauté garlic in olive oil, throw in the spinach and a couple tablespoons of water, stir around while it warms and wilts and then throw in the almonds and raisins.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tired of Turkey?

We eat a lot of turkey sandwiches around here for lunch it seems. Sometimes, it's nice to switch the old lunch routine up a bit. Here's a good sandwich spread made with a can of white beans!

Sandwich Spread
1 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed (I used cannellini, but you could use garbanzos, great northern, etc.
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 dill pickle, chopped up
whole wheat bread*
stone ground mustard
Texas Champagne Hot Sauce or other fave brand

I whirled my can of beans in my mini food processor and then mixed that in a bowl with the celery, onions, and pickle. If mixture seems dry to you, you could add a bit of light mayo. Chill to blend flavors.

Spread bread with mustard, if desired. Put whatever amount of spread on the bread that looks good to you and add lettuce and tomatoes. Add hot sauce if you like :-)

*Really good bread is critical for this sandwich. I have found a wonderful brand that I get at Arbor Farms from Avalon Bakery in Detroit. The bread is heavenly--a lot of whole grain varieties with a good crust--yum! This particular loaf is their Motown Multi-grain

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Scrumptious Spuds with 'Shrooms

Who doesn't like mushrooms? If that's you, go to another blog now. I LOVE mushrooms (almost as much as I love alliteration) but sometimes they get lost in dishes where they're not the Star. Mushrooms have a leading role in this dish. I'm trying to prepare foods with as little fat and salt as possible--so here's an interesting combo for you: mushrooms over a fluffy baked potato! Absolutely delish and super healthful! Turns out that mushrooms are packed full of all kinds of good nutrients and the much maligned potato is also good for you (when you don't bathe its goodness in butter and sour cream!).

Marvelous Mushrooms
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1  4 ounce can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
 fresh ground pepper to taste
Place water in a large pan or wok.  Bring to a boil, add mushrooms, green onions, garlic and chilies.  Cook and stir for a minute or two, then add the remaining ingredients.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until all liquid has been absorbed, about 10-12 minutes.

Bake potatoes at 400 for an hour and 15 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes--nothing worse than an underdone baked potato. Ok there are worse things, but you get my drift.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yummy side dish

I made my Quick Cauliflower Garbanzo Curry (June 2009) tonight for dinner and wanted a tasty low fat side dish to go along. This is so good. Worked well as a side but could easily be a main dish over rice or pasta.

Spinach with Sun-dried Tomato

1 vegetable bouillon cube dissolved in a cup of boiling water
1 lb. fresh spinach
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 bag of Trader Joe's frozen artichoke hearts (run water over them in a colander for a minute or so)
1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes ( I used Sonoma brand from Arbor Farms--really good)
1/4 cup tomato paste

In large skillet pour a bit of the bouillon in and heat, add spinach and cook until tender, remove from skillet. Add some more of the bouillon and sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms until golden--you may need to add some more broth if it needs it. Add the artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir around until warm. Add a little more broth if it looks like it needs it. Add the spinach back in and heat through.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stuffed Portobellos-Spinach and Artichoke

This is an adaptation of a recipe from Rachel Ray on the Food Network--We love mushrooms, spinach and artichokes so...........what's not to like??

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, a drizzle
5 medium portobello mushroom caps
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
10 oz bag fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
½ bag frozen artichokes from Trader Joe's, cooked and drained or can, 6 to 8 count, 15 ounces, artichoke hearts in water, drained well on paper towels
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp thyme
2 slices bread (Italian or Farm bread), toasted and chopped into small cubes
1/2 cup packaged or canned chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a handful

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and the portobello caps. Season caps with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook 3 minutes on each side. Add balsamic to the pan and allow the vinegar to cook away as it coats the caps. Transfer balsamic glazed caps to a cookie sheet.

Return pan to the stove and add oil, garlic and onion. Saute onions and garlic 3 minutes, add spinach to the pan and let it wilt. Coarsely chop artichoke hearts and add to the spinach. Season veggies with salt and pepper and thyme. Add chopped toast and dampen stuffing with chicken or vegetable stock. Combine stuffing and sprinkle in a little grated cheese. Top each mushroom with 1/5 of the filling. Set mushrooms in oven for 10 minutes to set the filling.