Thursday, July 26, 2012

Overnight Oatmeal in a Jar

I have seen several variations of this type of overnight oatmeal and so I tried it last week and it was really pretty good.  I decided to make another version this week and this one worked out much better.  We all know how good oatmeal is for us with helping to lower cholesterol but I have a tough time facing a steaming bowl of oatmeal in the heat of summer.  This is a fabulous way to get your oatmeal in the summer.  You simply place the oatmeal in a Mason jar or some other container with a tight lid, add some milk, yogurt, chia seeds and some fruit.  Last week, I tried blueberries and bananas and this week I added mango and almond extract.  The possibilities are endless as far as fruit and flavoring additions.

My vegan menu for the day:
Breakfast - Overnight Oatmeal in a Jar
Lunch - Baked Stuffed Sweet Potato
Dinner - Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and meat-substitute crumbles, Salad

Overnight Oatmeal in a Jar
Makes 1 serving

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup skim milk (I used soymilk)
1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt (I used coconut milk based yogurt)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon honey (or substitute any preferred sweetener)
1/4 cup diced mango (approximately half of a small mango)

In a half pint jar or container, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, almond extract and honey.  Put lid on jar and shake until well combined.  Add mangoes and stir with fork until mixed throughout.  Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.  Eat chilled.

Slightly adapted from The Yummy

My rating:


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Brown Sugar and Citrus Grilled Chicken Breasts

I just love to try new chicken recipes and especially grilling recipes in the summer.  This particular recipe hit all the high notes for us with the combination of sweet and spicy with the smokiness of the grilling.  This is really quick, easy and absolutely a flavor party in your mouth.  You certainly could grill this indoors on a grill pan just as easily as grilling it outside.

I served this with grilled corn on the cob and Sauteed Squash.

Brown Sugar and Citrus Grilled Chicken Breasts
Makes 2 servings

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha, or other hot sauce
2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, marmalade, mustard, paprika, and Sriracha in a small saucepan.  Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved and mixture has thickened.  Transfer half the sauce to a small bowl for basting and keep remaining sauce warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350-450 degrees).

Season chicken breasts to taste with salt and pepper.  Grill the chicken, smooth side down first, covered over direct medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Flip chicken and, using a basting brush, brush chicken with some of the reserved sauce.  cover and grill for another 4-6 minutes.  Flip chicken again, brush with sauce, cover, and grill for another 2-3 minutes or until chicken registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Remove chicken to a platter and brush with additional reserved sauce.  Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve warm with remaining sauce in saucepan.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crab Cakes

I am a huge fan of a good crab cake but the problem is they often don't live up to my expectations.  I am very cautious when ordering them in a restaurant unless I have a first hand recommendation from someone I know well.  A fishy tasting, dry crab cake is just not a fun thing to eat.  I am in heaven, however, when I find a good one.  I have had the same problem with trying to make them at home for a couple of reasons.  The first issue is with the crab meat which must be impeccably fresh (grocery store containers haven't cut it until now).  The crab meat I used tonight was from Central Market which I bought on June 29 (our anniversary).  I had used a little bit of it that night and stuck the rest in the freezer.  Imagine my delight when I realized this crab meat was just as delicious as the first night we had some.  The other key to a good crab cake is the binding ingredients and this recipe was just right.  It had the usual breadcrumbs and green specks of scallions and parsley, but it was held together by a mixture of heavy cream and eggs.  It might sound unusual, but trust me, it worked.

I served these with what we call "Pink Sauce" which is a combination of mayonnaise and chili sauce mixed together.  We often used this as a dipping sauce for vegetables as well.  I also served the rest of the French green beans that I had made the night before.

Crab Cakes
Makes 4 servings

3-4 slices French or Italian bread
Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup green onions, minced
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Lemon wedges for serving

Remove the crusts from the bread and discard.  Cut or tear the bread into small pieces and put into a food processor fitted with the metal blade or into a blender.  Pulse a few times to make coarse crumbs.  Measure breadcrumbs and add enough Panko breadcrumbs if necessary to total 2 cups of bread crumbs.

In a small saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter.  Add the green onions and saute until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the onions to the breadcrumbs along with the crab meat and parsley.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream and eggs until well blended.  Whisk in the lemon juice, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper.  Slowly add to the crab mixture, stirring continuously so the breadcrumbs are evenly moistened.  Gently form into 8 or 9 oval or round cakes about 1 inch thick (I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup and liked the size of these cakes).  Put the flour on a plate or on a piece of waxed paper.  Lightly and evenly coat each crab cake with the flour, shaking off the excess.

In a large saute pan or fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter with 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil.  When hot, fry the first batch of cakes, turning once, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Repeat procedure with remaining butter and oil to fry remaining cakes.  Transfer to a warmed plate and keep warm until all the cakes are cooked.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

My rating:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hummus Dressed Salad

The salad I made for lunch today was so good and quick to prepare, I decided that's what I needed to blog about today.  I love to make hummus and often I don't quite finish it all.  This recipe is a great way to use up some of that hummus without using it as a dip or a spread on a sandwich.  Are you intrigued?  I simply thinned some of it out with water and used it as a salad dressing.  I don't know why I never thought of doing this.

We enjoyed a wonderful salad and I felt we were being quite healthy.

Hummus Dressed Salad
Makes 1 serving

2 tablespoons of your favorite hummus (I used homemade)
1/2 tablespoon water
2-3 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
1/4 red apple, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together the hummus and water until well-combined.

Arrange the greens and salad toppings in a salad bowl.  Pour the hummus dressing over, toss and enjoy.


My rating:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Spicy Pepper Jelly Marinated Pork Tenderloin

I did an inventory of the freezer this morning and decided it was the perfect week to start cycling through things since we will be away next week.  I had a couple of pork tenderloins stashed away and decided it was the perfect night to try this recipe since I also had a jar of pepper jelly.  I quickly defrosted the frozen tenderloin in a bowl of cool water before proceeding with my recipe.

I combined some of the spicy pepper jelly with red wine, orange zest, juice, red wine vinegar, freshly chopped rosemary and crushed red pepper flakes and marinate the pork tenderloin in this mixture for a few hours.

The tenderloin was removed from the marinade and seared in my cast iron skillet on all sides.  I added some sweet potato wedges to the pan around the tenderloin and popped the entire skillet in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until the pork was done.  I removed the pork and tented it with foil to allow it to rest while the potatoes went back in the oven to finish cooking. 

While the tenderloin and potatoes were in the oven I heated the marinade in a small saucepan to a boil  and allowed it to boil until thickened.  The boiled marinade got brushed on the tenderloin as it came out of the oven to rest.  My sides were the oven roasted sweet potato wedges and French Green Beans with Shallots.

I love it when I can have the flavors and spices from dinner lingering in my mouth still 5 minutes after I have finished eating.  The spiciness of the marinade and glaze on the pork were offset beautifully by the creaminess and sweetness of the sweet potatoes.  The green beans just added another contrast in flavors.

Spicy Pepper Jelly Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Makes 3 servings

1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin
1/4 cup spicy pepper jelly
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 small orange, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in wedges
Canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pat the pork dry and remove any excess fat.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients and then pour over the pork in a resealable bag.  Marinate at least two hours or overnight.  Turn the pork several times to distribute the marinade evenly.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the pork from the bag and pour the marinade into a small saucepan.  Liberally salt the tenderloin.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (I used my cast iron) over medium high heat.  Once hot, add the pork and sear on all sides, about 8 minutes.  In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato wedges with some canola oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the potatoes to the skillet and place the entire pan in the hot oven.  Cook until the internal temperature of the pork reads 135-140, about 15 minutes.  Remove the pork when done.  Return the potatoes to the oven to finish cooking.

Meanwhile, bring the marinade to a boil on the stove.  Boil for about 5 minutes, until thickened.

Brush the cooked tenderloin with the boiled marinade.  Tent the pork with foil and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing. 

Barely adapted from

My rating:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili

I just love sweet potatoes and the idea of combining sweet potatoes and red lentils in a chili was something I knew I had to try.  This was a really tasty and hearty chili.  It had the usual components of sauteed vegetables, spices, tomatoes and beans and was filled with sweet potatoes and red lentils.  The red lentils helped to thicken the chili while the sweet potatoes mellowed out the spices.

My menu for the day:
Breakfast:  Oatmeal Pancakes
Lunch:  Pita Bread with Homemade Hummus with sliced Cucumbers, Peach
Dinner:  Sweet Potato Lentil Chili, Crackers

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili
Makes 6 servings

Splash of water
1 3/4 cups onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 - 2 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch cubes
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 1/4 cups dry red lentil
2 1/2 cups water
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14 ounce can black or kidney beans, drained and rinse
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Lime wedges (for serving)

In a large pot on medium heat, add water, onions, celery, sweet potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, and spices and stir through.  Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; reduce heat if onions are sticking to bottom of pot.  Rinse lentils.  Add to pot with water, tomatoes, beans, and bay leaf, and stir to combine.  Increase heat to bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are softened, stirring occasionally.  Stir in lime juice and serve portions with lime wedges.

Adapted from 21-Day Vegan Kickstart

My rating:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Herbed Fried Chicken with Black Pepper Gravy

There is just something about summer and fried chicken that go together.  I decided to try this updated version of fried chicken using boneless, skinless chicken breasts that were shallow fried in canola oil and then topped with a black pepper gravy.  I am not a huge black pepper fan, but my husband loves it so I knew this would be right up his alley.  This turned out to be a nice change for a fried chicken dinner.  I served the chicken over Pimento-Cheese Grits with a side of glazed carrots.

Herbed Fried Chicken with Black Pepper Gravy
Makes 2 servings

For the chicken:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the pepper gravy:
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

For the chicken, combine 1/2 cup flour, parsley,  1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon pepper and salt in a shallow dish.  Place buttermilk in a second shallow dish.  Dredge chicken in flour mixture, dip in buttermilk, then dredge again in flour mixture.  Chill coated breasts on a rack placed over a baking sheet at least 5 minutes.

Heat 1/4-inch oil in a saute pan over medium-high until shimmering.  Fry chicken until golden on one side, about 6 minutes.  Flip chicken and fry until brown and cooked through, 5-6 minutes more.  Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon oil.

For the pepper gravy, cook garlic in same saute pan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Whisk in 3 tablespoons flour and  1 1/2 teaspoon pepper; slowly whisk in milk.  Boil gravy, whisking constantly, until thick, 2-3 minutes.  Stir in 1 teaspoon thyme.

Serve gravy over chicken.

Adapted from Cuisine Tonight for Two

Our rating:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce and Cauliflower

Pasta cravings must be satisfied in my book and using a whole wheat pasta makes it feasible when trying really hard to eat healthy and so tonight's dinner totally satisfied my pasta craving.  I used whole wheat rotini and made a sauce using a roasted red pepper as the base.  I also oven roasted cauliflower to add to the nutritional aspect which was tossed in with the pasta and sauce.

Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce and Cauliflower
Makes 3 servings

For the sauce:
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted
1 small garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable broth

For the pasta:
7 ounces Whole Grain Pasta (I used rotini)
1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 1/2 tablespoon capers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon minced cilantro (optional for garnish)
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional for garnish)

For the sauce:
In the bowl of a food processor or heavy-duty blender, combine roasted red pepper, almonds, garlic, cilantro, Parmesan cheese and lime juice.  Puree together until just combined.  With motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and puree until the sauce is smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat.  Whisk in vegetable broth and heat the sauce.  Keep warm on low.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.   Place on a baking sheet.  Roast in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes shaking baking sheet halfway through roast tine. 

Cook the whole grain pasta according to package instructions.  Drain.

Once the pasta and cauliflower are done, combine the pasta and about 3/4 of the cauliflower in the pasta pot.  Pour in roasted red pepper sauce and toss to coat.  Stir in the capers.

Set the pot over medium heat and re-heat to serving temperature.  Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve, topping each portion with the remaining cauliflower, minced cilantro and grated cheese (if using).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Greek Turkey Meatballs

I took my inspiration from Greece tonight for dinner.  I made Greek Turkey Meatballs with a Tzatziki Sauce, Greek Salad and warm whole wheat pita breads.  I made the meatballs earlier in the afternoon since they needed a resting time in the refrigerator before cooking.  This dinner totally reminded me of some of the simple meals I had in Greece.  The meatball and tzatziki recipes were both from Skinny Taste so I felt fine with the calorie count even though it tasted anything but low calorie.  The meatballs actually had a grated zucchini to help lighten the calorie count and boost the nutrition.

The Greek Salad was a combination of chopped seedless cucumber and tomato along with sliced green pepper and red onion.  The dressing was a lemon vinaigrette with dried Greek oregano and once tossed, the salad was topped with feta cheese and kalamata olives.  Yum!

Greek Turkey Meatballs
Makes 4 servings (about 17 meatballs)

1.25 pounds lean ground turkey
1 cup zucchini, grated and liquid squeezed out
2 slices whole wheat bread
1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 large egg
2-3 garlic cloves, grated
1/4 red onion, grated
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

Wet bread with water, squeezing excess out.  Tear into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Combine with turkey, egg, zucchini, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, mint, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, form each meatball a scant 1/4 cup in size.  For best results, refrigerate before cooking to help hold their shape.

In a pan: heat olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan and cook over medium-low heat turning frequently to brown all sides for about 10 minutes total.

On the grill:  clean grill well before cooking and spray grate with oil.  Cook on low until cooked through.

Adapted from

Our rating:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tilapia with Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

Do you remember my recent comment on having a fresh basil plant in the backyard?  I love having fresh basil at my fingertips and so I decided to use some on this recipe tonight.  This recipe has a lot of the aspects of Chicken Parmesan, but it is made with tilapia fillets instead.  The tilapia fillets were floured, dipped in egg, and dredged in Panko breadcrumbs combined with an equal amount of grated Parmesan cheese before being sauteed (just as you would chicken).  I served it over a bed of baby spinach and topped it with a roasted Caprese Salad.

Gerry and I both loved this dish which had similar flavors of Chicken Parmesan but it was much lighter using the fish and the fresh tomato Caprese salad on top.  I'm sure this will make another appearance on our menu this summer.

Tilapia with Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
Makes 2 servings

For the Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad:
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup cup cubed fresh mozzarella
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

For the tilapia:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
splash of water or milk
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tilapia fillets, patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil

For serving:
Baby spinach leaves

For the roasted tomatoes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the tomatoes with the oil, salt, and sugar.  Spread in a single layer and cook about 20 minutes, tossing once.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Using tongs, transfer to a medium bowl, squeezing some of the tomatoes to break them (it lets the juices permeate the whole salad).  Toss with the mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and add more oil if necessary as well.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the tilapia:  set up an assembly line with three shallow bowls (pie plates work really well).  In the first bowl, add the flour and a pinch of salt.  In the second, beat the eggs with the milk/water.  In the third, mix the panko, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and garlic powder.

Preheat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Season the tilapia fillets with salt and pepper.

One at a time, dredge the tilapia in the flour, then dip in the egg, allowing excess to drip off.  Finally coat with the panko/Parmesan mixture, pressing lightly to adhere the crumbs to the fish.  Repeat with the remaining piece.

Cook the tilapia in the oil about 2-3 minutes per side, or until it flakes easily with a fork.

Place baby spinach leaves on two serving plated.   Place the tilapia fillet on the bed of spinach and  top with the roasted tomato salad.  Serve immediately.

Slightly adapted from Pink

Our rating:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pan-Seared Cod with Basil Sauce

Gerry and I both happen to love fish and all types of seafood and since I am definitely on a basil kick lately (could be the huge plant I have growing in a pot in the backyard), I knew I had to put this on the menu this week.  It turned out great and the fish with the sauce came in at 199 calories per serving.  Not bad for 32 grams of flavorful protein.

My side dishes were Garlic Smashed Potatoes and Oven Roasted Broccoli which complemented the fish wonderfully.

Pan-Seared Cod with Basil Sauce
Makes 2 servings (1 fillet and 1 1/2 tablespoon basil sauce)

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fat-free low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (6-ounce) cod fillets (about 1 inch thick)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Combine basil, broth, cheese, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and garlic in a small bowl.

Sprinkle fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray.  Add fish, saute 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Serve fish with basil mixture.

Adapted from Cooking Light Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook

Our rating:


Monday, July 9, 2012

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash seemed like the perfect starting point for tonight's Meatless Monday dinner.  I cut the squash in half lengthwise and put it in the oven to roast.  Once done and cooled enough to handle, I shred it using a fork into the spaghetti-like strands.  This is really not a substitute for spaghetti but I love the taste of it.  I covered it with a simple pesto made with basil, garlic, olive oil, Pecorino Romano cheese and salt and pepper.  The last touch was some chopped tomato added to the mixture.  This was very light and refreshing making it perfect for a light summer dinner.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash
Makes 2 servings

1 small spaghetti squash
15 large basil leaves
1 small clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tomato, diced

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Place both halves, cut side down on a baking sheet and roast in a 375 degree oven 35-40 minutes until squash is tender.  Allow to cool slightly and shred squash with a fork into a large bowl.

In a small blender or mini food processor combine basil, garlic, olive oil, shredded cheese, salt and pepper and puree until smooth.

Combine pesto with the shredded squash, add the tomatoes and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from

Our rating:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

South Beach Mashed Potatoes

I turned to steak and potatoes for dinner tonight since that is what I was craving.  I did my research and discovered that one of my favorite steak recipes comes in at 267 calories per serving so I knew we could certainly manage Giada's Flat Iron Steak with Red Wine Sauce.  One of the side dishes tonight was Ellie Krieger's Green Bean Salad which had fresh, steamed green beans tossed with toasted walnuts, chopped parsley, diced red onion and dressed with a light vinaigrette. 

The green bean salad was a very nice side to this dinner, but the item on the plate that looks like mashed potatoes is actually cauliflower, steamed until tender and pureed with a little butter, fat-free half and half and seasoned with salt and pepper.  The first time we had these "potatoes" was probably ten years ago and I still remember how good these were.  The best part is they come in at less than 50 calories per serving.  Don't get me wrong they really don't taste like mashed potatoes, but if you like cauliflower and mashed potatoes, these make a great substitute.

Cauliflower Puree
Serves 4

1 small cauliflower (4 cups florets)
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ounce fat-free half and half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Steam or microwave cauliflower until tender (I steamed mine for about 10 minutes).  Once tender, puree in a food processor adding butter, half and half and salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from South Beach Diet online

My rating:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Vegetable Couscous

Vegetables and couscous made the perfect quick vegan meal for dinner.  I started by browning garlic and onions and added my spice mixture, stirring and cooking for a couple of minutes.  I added a cut up zucchini, some canned chickpeas, canned tomatoes, and raisins.  The pan got covered and allowed to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The vegetable mixture was simply served over couscous that I cooked in vegetable broth.

This was a nice mix of vegetables with great seasoning and just a hint of heat.  With the warmth of the cumin, turmeric and paprika, along with the heat from the Cayenne pepper mixed with the sweet pop from raisins, every bite was a flavor sensation.

Vegetable Couscous
Makes 2 servings

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch of Cayenne pepper
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 ounce can tomatoes, diced, with their juice
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup couscous

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onion and saute for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle in the cumin, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne and cook 2 minutes more, stirring often.

Stir in the zucchini, chick-peas, tomatoes, and raisins.  Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the couscous.  Bring the vegetable stock to a boil and stir in the salt and couscous.  Cover, remove from heat, and let sit 5 minutes, or for up to 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork before serving.

Serve the couscous with the vegetable mixture mounded in the center.

Adapted from

My rating:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

In my quest to plan a really healthy menu for this week, I really didn't take into consideration that Wednesday was the 4th of July, so I won't be talking about smoky grilled ribs, or steaks or even hamburgers.  I will tell you about these healthy fish tacos that I have been making for a few years now.  This is an Ellie Krieger recipe and I love her twist on eating and making healthy foods.

I chose mahi-mahi today and it got a quick marinade in a lime juice/olive oil mixture.  The fish came out of the marinade and on to the hot grill to cook through.  The tortillas were warmed briefly on the grill and then spread with some chipotle cream,  filled with some of the grilled, flaked fish and topped with cabbage and corn.

The recipe calls for 6" corn tortillas but I substituted flour tortillas since I really don't like corn tortillas.  Using the corn tortillas and having 2 of them brings in the calorie count at 405 calories.  Not bad for two fish tacos with chipotle cream.

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
 Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound white fish, firm flesh, like tilapia, mahi-mahi, or halibut
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt or 1/3 cup Greek-style nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoon chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
4-6 flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage or shredded lettuce
1/2 cup corn, cooked (thawed if frozen)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges

In  a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Pour over the fish fillets and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

If using regular yogurt, put it into a strainer lined with paper towels set over a bowl to drain and thicken for 30 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade and grill on a preheated grill or nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.  Set the fish aside on a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

In a small bowl, combine the thickened yogurt or Greek-style yogurt, mayonnaise and chipotle.

Heat the tortillas on the grill or grill pan for 30 seconds on each side.

Flake the fish with a fork.  Spread each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the chipotle cream.  Top with the fish, cabbage, corn, and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Adapted from Ellie Krieger

My rating:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chicken, Peppers, Onions, and Mushrooms with Marsala Wine

The title of this post kind of says it all, except how good it was.  I started by sauteing a chicken breast that I had sliced up in a skillet until golden brown.  I removed the chicken and sauteed onion and red peppers and finally mushrooms.  Once the mushrooms were tender and the onions started to caramelize, I added the Marsala and chicken back to the pan.  I let it cook for a minute or so and spooned this fragrant mixture over brown rice.  I just love the smell of Marsala wine cooking down.

I served this with a Greek Salad consisting of romaine, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese dressed with a lemon/oregano vinaigrette.

Can't wait to have this again!

Chicken, Peppers, Onions and Mushroom with Marsala Wine
Makes 4 servings (1 3/4 cups each)

Cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (either tenders or sliced boneless breast)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 cup thinly vertically sliced red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces exotic mushroom mixture (shiitake, cremini, and oyster), I used button mushrooms
3 tablespoons Marsala wine

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray.  Add chicken to pan; saute 7 minutes or until chicken is done.  Remove chicken from pan.  Add onion and bell pepper to pan; saute 5 minutes or until onion starts to brown.  Add oil, salt, black pepper, and mushrooms to pan; saute 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and onion starts to caramelize.  Add wine and chicken to pan, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.  Serve immediately.

Adapted from Cooking Light's The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook

My rating: 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tofu Tacos

I turned to tofu for our protein for today's Meatless Monday dinner and made tacos with it.  I used a 12 ounce block which I drained and sliced.  I then laid out the slices on paper towels, weighed them down to drain out even more of the water.  The tofu slices were brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with taco seasoning and browned in a nonstick skillet on both sides.  The tofu slices were cut into strips and placed in warmed whole wheat tortillas and topped with a coleslaw mixture and finally drizzled with a yogurt sauce and green salsa.  Yum, just like a fish taco but with tofu.

These were not only delicious, but healthy and came in at 481 calories for 2 tacos. 

Tofu Tacos
Makes 4 Servings

12 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into 8 slices
4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 limes (1 zested and juiced, 1 cut into wedges)
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
8 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella or pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup jarred salsa verde

Lay the tofu slices flat on a stack of paper towels; top with more paper towels, then put a heavy skillet on top to pres out the excess water, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, toss the coleslaw, radishes, cilantro, scallions, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lime zest and half of the lime juice in a large bowl.  Mix the yogurt with the remaining lime juice in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Brush the tofu on all sides with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the taco seasoning.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the tofu and cook until it begins to crisp, about 5 minutes; flip and cook 2 more minutes.  Cut into strips.

Toast the tortillas in a dry skillet, 1 minute per side or wrap in a damp towel and microwave 1 minute.  Fill with the tofu, cheese and slaw, then drizzle with the yogurt sauce and salsa.  Serve with the lime wedges.

From Food Network

My rating


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Filet Mignon with Chipotle Butter

The title of this post sounds decadent, doesn't it?  I thought I would do something special since it is Sunday and this is post number 500.  I can't believe I have blogged 500 times about the foods we enjoy.  I love blogging since it keeps me focused on trying new recipes or techniques.  We all have our favorite go to recipes, but the challenge is keeping it new and interesting. 

Gerry and I decided that we needed to cut back a little on the excess of food choices and amounts of the past few weeks with all the wedding preparations and activities.  My plan was to start on Monday and so I chose tonight's menu based on a last splurge, but ironically the filets came in at about 248 calories and the side dish of Grilled Corn and Fresh Pepper Salad came in at 151 calories...BONUS!!!  I really did not look at the health and/or calorie aspects of tonight's dinner, but I'm feeling pretty good about the head start.  This dinner certainly tasted decadent even though the calorie count wasn't.

Filet Mignons with Chipotle Butter
Serves 2

For the rub:
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the filets:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 beef tenderloin filets, 1 1/2-inch thick (4-6 ounces each)
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat grill to medium-high.  Brush grill grate with oil

For the rub, toast cumin seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Transfer seeds to a small bowl to cool, 5 minutes.  Stir in brown sugar, salt, and pepper, set aside.

For the filets, combine butter, chipotle, and garlic in a small bowl.  Shape butter mixture into a log and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to serve.

Score both sides of filets, then brush both sides with oil.  Coat both sides of filets with rub, pressing to adhere.

Grill filets, covered, 5-6 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Transfer filets to a plate, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.

Divide chipotle butter among the filets.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue Number 94, July/August 2012

My rating: