Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spicy Turkey over Greens

I really enjoy taco salad and I saw a recipe that I thought I could adapt into being a bit like the taco salad concept but with different flavors. This dish is made with ground turkey and although it is a healthful alternative to beef, I often don't like how it looks when it cooks up. I admit I was skeptical about this dish but decided I would tweak it and see what happened. Well, we loved it! It's a little unusual in some ways but I'm here to tell you it works.

3 T olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1 T (yes, tablespoon) cayenne pepper
1 T coriander
1 T turmeric
1/2 T cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

spinach and chopped romaine
1/2 avocado, in chunks

Heat the oil in large skillet. Sauté the onions and garlic stirring constantly for about 4 minutes. Add the carrots and all the spices and mix well. After a minute, add the turkey using a wooden spoon or fork to crumble into separate pieces. Keep stirring but let the turkey cook for a while to get browned on the bottom, then stir around to brown the crumbles on other side. After ten minutes or so, pour in the chicken broth to release any browned bits. Turn heat off and add cilantro.

To serve, put some spinach and chopped romaine in bowl and top with the meat mixture and top with avocado.

This is delicious!  Leftover turkey mixture was wonderful the next day for lunch over sautéed cabbage and radishes :-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Flank Steak over Bok Choy

This is a pretty yummy dish. I usually broil or grill flank steak but this time I cooked it on the stove in my cast iron pan and it turned out great. The vegetables are steamed for this dish so you'll need one of those steamer baskets to put in a large pot. The bok choy starts out big and shrinks. The thing about this dish is that you do it all at once so get all your ingredients ready and then cook at the same time. Get the flank steak ready and let it sit, get the vegetables sliced and ready to steam and make your sauce. You can start the vegetables first cause they need to steam and get tender and they can hold in the pot until you've got the meat cooked and the sauce ready.

3 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
1 T Dijon mustard
1 t black pepper
salt to taste
1 lb flank steak

Combine the olive oil, garlic, pepper, and mustard and rub the mixture over the flank steak and let sit for 30 minutes. Save the salt to season the steak right before cooking.

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch diagonals
1 big bunch of bok choy sliced in 1/4 pieces

Place about an inch of water in pot with lid. Insert steamer basket.

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
2 T tamari or soy sauce

In a small pan, lightly sauté the garlic and onions, the add the broth and tamari and just let that sit until you're ready to use.

Bring water to boil in pot for veggies. Steam your veggies starting with the carrots for about 8 minutes or so and then add the bok choy and continue to steam for 5-8 minutes.

While that's happening you can heat up your grill pan or in my case, a cast iron skillet to very hot and then lower to medium high heat to sear the steak to your desired degree of doneness. We like medium rare so that's about three minutes per side and then let the meat rest for several minutes before slicing. It will slice easier and it still continues to "cook" a bit.

Add the beef stock and tamari into the pan you cooked the meat in. Bring to a boil scraping up the browned bits, then lower heat and let the sauce reduce a bit.

To serve, put the veggies in a bowl with flank steak on top and drizzle with sauce.

For two, we ate all the vegetables and had half the flank steak to save for another  dinner.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Egg Muffins!

These are sort of cute when you want a little something different from eggs in the morning. Be forewarned that there's a lot of chopping so if you're short on time in the morning you could have all the ingredients pre-chopped the night before. These would also be fine to serve for brunch or lunch along with some fresh fruit.

10 eggs, whisked *
1 T olive oil
1 onion finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup spinach, chopped
1/2 t cumin, 1/2 t turmeric, 1/2 t chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro, minced

Preheat oven to 350
Whisk eggs in large bowl
Heat oil and sauté onion for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low
Add garlic and stir to combine. Add peppers, spinach, all the spices including salt and pepper and jalapeno (if using). Stir to combine around three minutes.
Turn heat off. When mixture has cooled a bit, add cilantro and then add all that to the eggs in the bowl and stir to combine.
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with papers. Fill each muffin cup with about 1/4 cup egg mixture.
Bake about 25 minutes--but begin to watch after 15 minutes because ovens vary. You want them lightly browned on top and to spring back when touched.

*Is it frustrating for you when you're cracking a lot of eggs for a recipe and invariably a few pieces of shell fall into the eggs? Instead of trying to fish it out with a spoon, take one of the half egg shell pieces and scoop it out that way. Works every time. :-)  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Roast Lemon Chicken with Carrots and Onions

I really like chicken thighs. They're flavorful, versatile and inexpensive! This dish comes together pretty quickly and then the oven does all the work while you put your feet up and relax with a magazine for an hour.

Roast Lemon Chicken with Carrots and Onions

1 pkg boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 large carrots, peeled and cut in 1 inch chunks
1 large onion, peeled and cut in thick slices
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
salt and pepper
1 T dried rosemary
1 large lemon, cut in quarters

Preheat oven 325

In a large oven proof pan with lid, brown the chicken thighs in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes, turning midway. Then add the onion slices and stir the chicken and onion around for a couple minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute. Add salt and pepper, the rosemary and squeeze each lemon quarter over it all and add the squeezed lemons to the pot. Put a lid on it and shove in the oven for an hour. (remove the lemons when you take the dish out of the oven)

I served this with oven roasted asparagus. Easy, healthful, and delicious.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Salmon with Onion Jam and Wilted Greens

We eat salmon quite a bit. I usually buy my meat and fish at Arbor Farms Market because I trust them. When they say their beef is grass fed and their fish is organic, etc. I think they're telling the truth. Some grocery stores I'm not so sure. The other day I bought two really nice thick portions of salmon. I decided to serve it with caramelized onions and some greens. The sweetness of the onions really paired well with the fish, if I do say so myself :-)

2 thick pieces of salmon--at least an inch thick
2 large sweet onions, peeled and sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper
cider vinegar

Bunch of greens--chopped up--I used a combination of spinach and kale (you need a lot cause greens notoriously shrink like crazy!)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
some dried red pepper- what could it hurt?

First, heat some olive oil in medium skillet and get your onions started because they need to cook for a while. You don't want your heat too high because you are caramelizing them--not going for crispy fried onions. While they're cooking you can get your fish ready. I always put a little olive oil on the fish and then salt and lots of pepper. Let it sit for a while and get the refrigerator chill off.

Preheat your oven to 450

Chop up your greens and have a pretty good size pan with a lid for cooking them.

So your onions have been cooking down--around maybe 20 minutes or so and now it's time to get the fish and greens cooked.

For the fish you'll need a skillet that is oven proof.  I use cast iron. Heat your pan, put a T of olive oil in and let that warm (be sure your fan is on) Lay your fish pieces in flesh side down and let them cook for 5 minutes--don't fiddle with them.  Set a timer for five minutes

Now you can do the greens:  Heat a little olive oil in the pan for your greens and briefly cook your garlic-don't let it burn. Throw in the greens a bunch at a time, stir--they'll wilt--then throw in some more. When all the greens are  stirred in, add a couple T of cider vinegar and a few shakes of dried red pepper flakes, cover the pan and let them simmer on low heat.

When the timer goes off, turn each piece of salmon over and cook maybe a minute more and then put the pan in the hot oven to finish. Cook another 6 minutes. You need to adjust these cooking times depending on the thickness of your salmon.

Plate it up with those wonderful onions on top of that delicious fish next to your heart healthy greens!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

I adore cauliflower. In my book, it can do no wrong. As much as I love it, I can't believe I've never made a soup with cauliflower as the main ingredient. This soup's title is Creamy Cauliflower Soup and it is indeed creamy but the good news is---there's NO cream! How can that be, you ask? Read on......

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

2 T olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium cauliflower, cut in 2 inch chunks
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 T tahini
4 cups of water
1/4 avocado, chopped up
salt and pepper to taste
some chopped fresh parsley
a good hot sauce

Heat the oil in a soup pot and sauté onion for 5 minutes--throw in the garlic and stir around for a minute or so. Add four cups of water and the cauliflower, cashews, and tahini. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool five minutes. Transfer to a blender (or use a hand-held immersion blender to puree the soup directly in the pot) and blend in the avocado until it's all smooth. An aside: if you don't already have one of these hand-held blenders--go get one! Season with salt and pepper. I garnished with fresh parsley and added a swirl of hot sauce-what could it hurt?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I have a couple other recipes for ratatouille on the blog but there's always room for another. This is pretty good but is a little time consuming because you sauté several of the vegetables individually. However, the final product was yummy so the effort was worth it. I served this as a side dish with grilled chicken.


1 eggplant cut in 1 inch pieces (I don't peel it)
1 t salt
4 T olive oil
2 zucchini, diced in 1 inch pieces
2 red peppers, seed and cut in 1 inch pieces
2 medium onions cut in 1 inch pieces
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 t dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
optional chicken or veggie stock

Sprinkle the eggplant with the salt and put in colander to rest for about ten minutes. In large deep skillet heat 2 T oil, add the eggplant and cook for five minutes-should be lightly browned. Remove the eggplant and set aside in medium bowl. Add another 1 T oil and cook the zucchini for 3 or 4 minutes--getting it browned slightly. Remove and set aside in the bowl. Add the red pepper and sauté for five minutes--then remove and set aside in the bowl. Add last 1 T of olive oil and sauté the onions for five minutes, then add the garlic and cook for about a minute and then pour in the can of tomatoes and cook all that for about 5 minutes. Return all the veggies from the bowl, add the thyme and salt and pepper and simmer for about 20 minutes--if you want it thinner you can add some chicken stock ( I didn't). Top with the parsley. Nice thing about this dish is that it waits patiently while you prepare other stuff. It just improves with sitting :-) I wish I did!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

White Fish on Greens

I love bowl dinners. Tonight's dinner was a delicious combo of pan-sautéed whitefish over veggies. Yum!

1 lb of whitefish, brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper (cut in two pieces)
a bunch of kale, washed and chopped
1 large red pepper, sliced
1 large sweet onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
apple cider vinegar

You'll need two good size pans. Put some olive oil in one and begin sautéing the red pepper and the onion--you want the red pepper to soften and onions to brown a bit. in the meantime spray the other pan with Pam or whatever and get the pan hot--add the fish, flesh side down. Let it cook for about four minutes. While the fish is cooking add the garlic to the red pepper mixture and stir around and then begin adding the kale in bunches, stir as each bunch cooks down. Flip the fish over and let it cook a few more minutes. Add some cider vinegar to the kale mixture, stir and divide between two large bowls. Flip the fish back over the take the skin off and then place each fillet piece on top of the veggies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pizza and Salad, Please

Tonight we had pizza and salad for dinner. I decided to make my rendition of a pizza that I saw in the New York Times magazine. Of course, that was made with homemade dough but I'm way too lazy for that. I used Trader Joe's whole wheat crust which is plenty homemade enough for me. After all, I didn't dial up for Cottage Inn delivery. This pizza was pretty good actually. It's fairly simple and is topped with arugula. I also took shortcuts with the salad I made. My daughter-in-law taught me how to roast beets, but I bought these already roasted at Arbor farms Market. So lazy!

Red, Green and White Pizza

1 pkg Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough
4 oz fresh mozzarella, broken into small pieces
1/4 grated Parmesan
2 small tomatoes sliced thinly
salt and pepper
2 handfuls of arugula
Juice 1/2 lemon
some olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and wait about half an hour so the oven is really, really hot. Hopefully you have a pizza stone in there getting hot.

Flour the counter top and stretch your pizza dough out to whatever shape suits our fancy--circle, oval, rectangle--keep your hands floured up so the dough doesn't stick to you. I put my pizza on a pizza peel but you could use parchment or foil--you need to have a way to convey the pizza to the hot pizza stone waiting in the oven.

Once the pizza is stretched, you can crimp around the edges a bit and then drizzle lightly with some olive oil, sprinkle with mozzarella, tomato slices, some salt and pepper and then the Parmesan. Slip onto pizza stone and bake between 5-8 minutes. It will bake fast.

In the meantime, toss the arugula with the lemon juice and some olive oil, salt and pepper. When the pizza is done, slide out onto a cutting board and top with arugula mixture and cut and serve!

Beet, Feta, and Toasted Walnut Salad

Three small beets, cut in large chunks
Some greens--I used romaine and  spinach
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Newman's Balsamic Vinaigrette

Combine and toss with dressing.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Breakfast for Dinner!

I really love breakfast foods but not always in the morning. Sometimes it's fun to turn the day around and have breakfast for dinner. Tonight's dinner was really easy since I didn't even make the waffles from scratch. I used Van's Flax Waffles and they are pretty tasty actually, especially with pure maple syrup. I have a couple of tips about scrambled eggs that you probably already know and do but if not here you go: Never make scrambled eggs in a skillet (which I always used to do). Make them in a smallish saucepan and for some reason they turn out so much better. For five eggs scrambled I melt a T of butter, whisk the eggs, add a touch of water and pour into the saucepan and just continue stirring gently as the eggs cook up. I don't add any salt or pepper--better to do that at the table and to each person's preference. Tonight I threw some cheddar and chopped scallions on for color. Now to the bacon--I always bake my bacon in the oven. I put parchment down on a cookie sheet and lay however many pieces I'll need on that. Preheat oven to 400. I bake for 20/25 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon. you may have to play around with the timing of that given the differences in ovens and bacon thickness. I then drain on paper towels well.

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

I had some leftover cooked spaghetti squash lurking the fridge and decided it would be yummy if I turned it into a tasty side dish to accompany a pork tenderloin. I love one pot dishes--cook and serve from one vessel. Saves time and my back standing at the sink doing the dishes.

I had about a cup and a half of leftover squash. I sautéed a half an onion in 2 T butter in my cast iron skillet. To that I added a T of dried thyme, a couple t of dried red pepper, some salt and pepper. Mixed in the squash, 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt and a 1/4 cup shredded cheddar. Mixed that around thoroughly and then topped with 1/4 of shredded cheddar and put in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Could have left it in a bit longer to brown the top more but didn't.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Taco Time!

I was in the mood for  fish tacos tonight. I decided to go with whole wheat flour tortillas because we find them easier to eat--all the goodies stay in them better.

Fish tacos usually have some sort of slaw and a sauce. I made both of these items earlier in the day so the flavors could blend for several hours.

8 oz pkg of coleslaw mix
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced in slivers
a little diced onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 large lime, juiced
2 T sesame oil
2 t rice wine vinegar
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt

In bowl, combine the slaw mix, the jalapeno, and the onion.

In small bowl make the slaw dressing: whisk the 3 T fresh lime juice, sesame oil, vinegar, salt and cayenne pepper. Drizzle over slaw and mix and then refrigerate for several hours.

Chipotle Sauce
In small bowl combine 1/2 cup greek yogurt, one diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, and 1 t of mayo and 1 T of lime juice. Refrigerate.

For Tacos:
3/4 lb of cod
1 cup panko crumbs
1 t of cumin
6 small whole tortillas
1 avocado, sliced

Mix the cumin into the panko.

When ready to cook, heat some oil in a large fry pan, salt and pepper the fish and then dredge in the panko mixture. Sauté about 3 minutes per side or when fish has formed a crust and is flaking easily.

Warm tortillas in the micro.

To assemble: spread some chipotle sauce on a tortilla, add chunks of fish, top with slaw and some avocado.

Enjoy! Not exactly like those in southern Cali but pretty darn close :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spaghetti Squash!

I just love squash. My hubby-not so much. However, if I top it with some spicy tomato sauce and a few turkey meatballs then as my good friend DA says, "well, now, you've got something." Baking a squash is always a little messy as you have to cut it and that's not easy and then you have to clean out the seeds and they can be stubborn. But, if you use my new best friend, The Crockpot, it's really quite simple. Dinner is even made easier with the use of good old Trader Joe's Arriabbiata Sauce and their turkey meatballs. Decided to throw in some yummy roasted green beans for color and there's dinner.

To do the squash in the the slow cooker:
1.  Wash squash
2.  Pour in two cups of water
3.  Place squash in cooker
4.  Cook on high for 3 hours
5.  Carefully remove squash (it will be hot), slice in half, scoop out seeds and then with fork scrape out the meat of the squash. You can use in a variety of ways from here--I put sauce and meatballs on top. Topped with some Parmesan cheese.

Roasted Green Beans
Preheat oven to 450
Put cleaned green beans on parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle about 2 t olive oli and 2 t fish sauce and some cracked black pepper over the beans and stir around. Be careful to not overuse too much oil.

Roast for ten minutes, and then stir around. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes more. Yep-these are good--sort of like green bean fries.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sausage and Yellow Pepper Risotto

I was poking around in the pantry wondering what to make for dinner tonight and I noticed I had some arborio rice in there. Hmmmm..........maybe I'll make a risotto? I rounded up a few ingredients and in no time at all we had ourselves a tasty dinner in a bowl. I heated up a couple frozen Alexia brand Flax dinner rolls and poured some Malbec---dinner:  done!

Sausage Yellow Pepper Risotto (this dish can be made with many different ingredients!)

2 links (fully cooked) hot Italian sausage, diced
Pkg. of sliced mushrooms, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 medium onion,  diced
3/4 cup arborio rice
4 cups water
1 t smoked paprika
1 t pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
olive oil

Heat 2 T olive oil in deep skillet. Sauté onions, pepper, and mushrooms for five minutes letting them brown and cook down a bit, add sausage and cook for a few more minutes. Sprinkle paprika and pepper over all. Stir in rice and stir around a bit and then add the water. Bring to a boil and then settle the cooking down to a medium simmer for about 25 minutes or so. Keep simmering until the water is absorbed.  Scoop into bowls and top with Parmesan. Some people might want to add some salt to this dish. I didn't think it needed it, but my hubby added some to his.

The final result was tasty but not really a proper risotto. I would call this a first cousin of risotto.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Recently, I saw a dish featured in the Ann Arbor News that looked and sounded absolutely mouthwatering. And, furthermore, I fell in the love with the sound of the dish as well: shakshuka, shakshuka, shakshuka! This dish is so good. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly as Jessica Webster, food and dining writer at the News, outlined in her article. Her description of the dish and its origins is so good, I am giving you the link to her words and the recipe. However, my advice: do not hesitate-make this dish. You will not regret it. I served it for supper with rosemary potato wedges, and toasted English muffins. You definitely want some kind of bread to go along with the yummy tomato sauce! Below is the picture of my dish but the picture of hers is much better.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Crackpot" Lasagna?

So I was a perusing a magazine the other day and a recipe title caught my eye, "Crackpot Lasagna"---what? really? double take and I realized it was Crockpot Lasagna. Okay, once again I am thinking....what? lasagna in a crockpot just sounds WRONG. Well, I like a challenge and I decided I would just make this ridiculous dish and show them what a bad idea this is. Funny thing, as it turns out, it really was pretty darn good! Who knew? Obviously not me.

On the nights I go to yoga I'm always looking for something I start before I leave and is ready when I come home and this fits the bill.

Here's the dish I made--it is meatless but I'm sure browned ground beef or sausage would work well, too.

I have decided to title mine Crackpot Lasagna because basically that cracks me up.

1 jar Classico Tomato and Basil Spaghetti Sauce
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 container part-skim ricotta cheese
Half a bag fresh spinach chopped
2 egg whites
2 cloves garlic, minced
red pepper flakes 1/2 t ( used more)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1.  Coat slow cooker with cooking spray. Mix ricotta, spinach, egg whites, garlic, and red pepper in medium bowl.

2.  Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in slow cooker. Lay 4 noodles over sauce breaking them to fit and cover with 1/3 ricotta mixture and 1 cup pasta sauce. Repeat. Top with a final layer of noodles, ricotta and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

3.  Cover and cook on low 4 hours. Let cool 25 minutes--will cut easier.