Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Balsamic Mustard Chicken

Oh, how I love the many ways to cook chicken.  This one took boneless, skinless chicken breasts and marinated them in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, mustard, olive oil and sliced garlic.  This is very similar to a basic marinade I make using soy sauce instead of balsamic vinegar.  The vinegar definitely added a vibrant dimension to this dish.  I let the chicken marinate for 24 hours which made it really flavorful.

I served this with Oven Roasted Bacon Veggies which I will post the recipe for another day.

Balsamic Mustard Chicken
Makes 4 servings

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (each cut in half the long way)
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse off your chicken breast pieces and place them on a cutting board, seasoning both sides with salt and pepper to taste.  Place them in a ziplock bag, add the balsamic, extra virgin olive oil mustard and garlic.  Zip up the bag and massage the chicken in the bag to ensure it all gets coated nicely!  Place them in the refrigerator and let marinate for as long as you want.

Cooking the chicken:
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and let the pan get nice and hot.  Put in just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, place your chicken breast in the pan and brown on both sides (be sure to use tongs to lift chicken out of marinade and let excess marinade drip off).  Once you have browned both sides you can turn your heat down just a little to about medium and add in the marinade juices, cover with a lid and let the juices reduce down in the pan with the chicken.  Continue cooking, occasionally checking on the chicken and stirring around the sauce to make sure to pick up all the chicken bits on the bottom of the pan until the chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink inside.

Slightly adapted from Everyday Paleo

Our rating:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

I know I just posted a baked oatmeal recipe a couple of weeks ago, but I have really been enjoying these for breakfast.  This one had a layer of sweetened sauteed apple slices in the bottom of the casserole dish and the oatmeal layer baked on top.  This version combined both some steel-cut oats and old fashioned oatmeal for different textures.  It also had some brown sugar in both the apples and the oatmeal as well as maple syrup in the oatmeal mixture.  I found this to be a little too sweet so I have adjusted the recipe below slightly to cut back on the sweetness just a bit.

This recipe does take a bit of time (over an hour), so it is a good one for weekend cooking.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Makes 8 servings

For the apples:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large apples, peeled and sliced (your favorite variety)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar

For the oatmeal:
1 cup steel cut oats
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups hot water
3 cups old fashioned oats
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins (preferably organic)
1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the steel cut oats in a large bowl with the butter.  Pour the hot water over the oats and cover the bowl.  Let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile cook the apples - melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the apple slices, cinnamon, and sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

After the steel cut oats have finished soaking, stir in the old fashioned oats, brown sugar, salt  cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir in the dried fruit.  In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, apple sauce, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Stir the liquid mixture into the oat mixture.

Spread the cooked apples over the bottom of a lightly greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish.  Pour the oatmeal mixture on top of the apples.  Bake uncovered 35-40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

Our rating:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Seared Bean Sprouts and Beef

If you follow my blog, you know that I am not the biggest fan of grass-fed beef.  I think it really changes both the flavor and texture of beef and unfortunately, I have grown up eating commercially raised beef.  I have been gradually learning to like this grass-fed meat and the easiest way to make the transition is to combine the beef with something else, like this Pepper Steak I recently made. 

This meal was another way to appreciate the grass-fed organic option.  It was thinly sliced beef sirloin combined with bean sprouts and scallions and covered with a sauce made with coconut aminos, freshly squeezed orange juice and honey.  Toasted sesame seeds on top finished the dish.  I served this over brown rice.

Seared Bean Sprouts with Beef
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces grass-fed, organic beef sirloin or chuck, very thinly sliced*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 poun bean sprouts
3-4 scallions, white and green parts separated, all chopped
3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste

Put the sesame seed in a large dry skillet over medium-low heat and toast, shaking the pan often, until they begin to brown and don't burn, 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove them from the skillet.

Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet and turn the heat to high.  When the oil is hot, add the beef, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until it sears and loses its red color, just a minute or two.  Remove the beef from the skillet.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.  When the oil is hot, add the bean sprouts and the white parts of the scallions.  Cook, stirring frequently, until browned in places and starting to wilt, 2 or 3 minutes.  Add the beef, coconut aminos, orange zest, juice, and honey.  Cook and stir until the bean sprouts are just tender and everything is warmed through, a final 2 or 3 minutes more.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more honey if you like.  Garnish with the sesame seeds and scallion greens and serve.

* Beef is easier to slice thinly if you freeze it for about 15-20 minutes first.

From Wine Food Love

Our rating:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fast Shrimp

Since this recipe can be cooked in 10-15 minutes, the title is a very good description.  The fact that these were delicious was an extra bonus.  Some chopped red peppers and onions were quickly sauteed in coconut oil until tender.  Then shrimp and spinach were tossed in and allowed to cook through.  The dish was finally finished with curry powder and coconut milk and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Simply delicious!  I made a half recipe of this dish and it turned out perfectly.

Our dairy addition for today was Greek yogurt combined with fresh strawberries and topped with slivered almonds.

Fast Shrimp
Makes 3-4 servings

1 pound Wild-caught shrimp (fresh or frozen - I used frozen), tailes removed and de-veined
1 red bell pepper, chopped
11/2 onion, chopped
4 big hand fulls of baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon curry powder (or more to taste)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and bell peppers and cook until the veggies are tender.  Add the shrimp and spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp curls up and is no longer opaque in the middle.  Add the coconut milk and spices, mix well and serve.

Recipe from Everyday Paleo

Our rating:

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cilantro Rice Cakes

I almost passed by this recipe since it sounded so simple.  Simply combining freshly cooked brown rice with chopped cilantro, forming it into cakes and sauteeing in olive oil.  I was absolutely amazed at how the rice was transformed by this process.  We have been eating a lot of brown rice lately since we are avoiding anything containing gluten, so this recipe offered up a nice little change.  The cilantro is a strong flavor, which we happen to love.  If you are not a cilantro fan, you can just substitute parsley.  The light crunch on the outside of these cakes added a nice texture change.

I served these with a chicken stir fry containing chicken, red and green pepper strips, onion slices and broccoli florets.  I used olive oil for stir fry and finished it with arrowroot dissolved in coconut aminos.  Everything went together really well.

By the way, our dairy addition for today was our usual shake for breakfast made with kefir instead of coconut milk.

Cilantro Rice Cakes
Makes 4 servings (8 cakes total)

1 cup brown rice
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

Bring the chicken broth and water to a boil, then add the rice, lower the heat and cover.  Cook them until the grains get very soft and burst, adding water as needed. At the end of their cooking time, stir in the chopped cilantro. Give the rice a vigorous stir and you’ll start to tell when it’s all sticking together that it’s ready to be shaped into cakes.

Shape the rice cakes easily by pressing the cilantro rice into a quarter cup measure and tapping the bottom of it so they fall out in the right shape. Heat the oil over medium heat and cook them in batches. Fry them for just a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.

While the rice was cooking, I prepared all the components for the stir fry.

Chicken Stir Fry
Makes 2-3 servings

2 chicken breast halves, sliced thinly
1/2 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced
Broccoli florets
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat.  Add chicken and stir fry until just barely cooked through.  Remove chicken, heat additional tablespoon oil and add vegetables, stirring frequently until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Dissolve arrowroot in coconut aminos and set aside.  Return the chicken to the skillet, stir in the coconut amino mixture and stir for a minute or so.

Slightly adapted from Fledgling Foodie

Our rating:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Onions

I know the title of this dish just screams fall, but it sounded really good to me right now and so I decided to make it now.  I'm just a few months off (well really about six, but who's counting).  A wonderful lean pork roast surrounded by sweet potatoes, apples and a sweet onion, all cooked on a sheet tray in the oven.  I did have to sear the roast in a skillet since I don't have a broiler in the micro/convection oven in the motor home.  Once seared, I placed it on the sheet tray and placed the whole thing in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes and dinner was ready.  How easy was that?

Our dairy challenge for today was Black Bean Soup with shredded mozzarella cheese and a side salad with baby herbs and spinach with roasted chicken, mushrooms, sliced red pepper and onions drizzled with a vinaigrette.

Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Onions
Makes 6 servings

2 1/2 pound pork roast
Olive oil, salt and pepper
2 apples, quartered
2 sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
1 sweet onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
olive oil (about 1/4 cup) enough to coat

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat a skillet large enough to hold the roast over medium-high heat.  Rub pork with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Sear meat on all sides until nicely browned (about 15 minutes total).

Place seared roast on sheet tray.  Toss apple wedges, potato wedges and onions in olive oil to coat and arrange in the sheet tray around pork roast.

Place sheet tray in oven and roast for 20-30 minutes, until apples and sweet potatoes are tender and meat reaches 120 degrees.  This is a preference, most might say to cook to 140 degrees, but I like my pork moist.  Allow the meat to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing and it will continue to cook and will be juicy!  Return sliced pork and juices to the pan. 

Serve sliced pork with sweet potatoes, apples, onions and a simple salad.

Recipe from Gluten Free Fix

Gerry's rating:

 My rating:


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gingered Carrots with Swordfish

We are testing dairy products this week, so our dairy addition for today was cottage cheese and fruit.   We added half of a chopped apple to a cup of cottage cheese, sprinkled it with cinnamon and topped it with chopped walnuts.  We also had sliced red pepper and cucumber slices with a couple of tablespoons of hummus.  It was actually a very nice lunch!

Now on to dinner - the recipe I used for this dish called for mahi mahi, but since the fish market didn't have mahi mahi today, I substituted swordfish.  Swordfish is one of those really substantial cuts to me, so I find 4-5 ounces of it to be plenty for me.  I started this dish by sauteing carrot slices in coconut oil until starting to brown and then added sliced scallions and cooked for another minute or so.  The flavorings went in next with lemon juice, ginger and garlic and allowed to cook till just tender.

The fish was then seared in the same pan and then allowed to finish cooking in a sauce made with chicken broth, lemon juice and coconut aminos.  Gerry's opinion on this dish was this was the best swordfish he has ever eaten (very high praise)!!!

Our side dish was sauteed spinach and chard with garlic.

Gingered Carrots with Swordfish
Makes 2 servings

4 carrots, sliced
3 tablespoons coconut oil or grass fed butter
5 green onions, diced
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
3/4 pound swordfish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon coconut aminos or 1/2 teaspoon tamari
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

Saute the carrots in 2 tablespoons of the butter or coconut oil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the carrots start to brown.  While the carrots are cooking, mix the chicken broth, coconut aminos or tamari and black pepper together in a bowl and set aside.  Add the green onions to the carrots and cook for another minute.  Add the lemon juice, ginger, and garlic to the pan and sauté just until the veggies are coated with the ginger and garlic.  Sprinkle with a little sea salt, stir again, and remove the carrot mixture from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of butter or coconut oil to the same pan and melt over medium heat. Add the fish and cook for 1 minute on each side, making sure that your pan is nice and hot so that the fish sear and turn golden brown on each side. Now, pour the chicken broth mixture that you made earlier over the fish, cover and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes or until the fish is tender and flakes apart easily.  Do not overcook!!  Serve the fish over the gingered carrots.

Slightly adapted from Everyday Paleo 

Our rating:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pan-Seared Pork with Onions

Since pork is now so lean and safe, it's a great way to change up the proteins for a meal.  Tonight I simply seasoned some boneless pork chops with salt, pepper and some chopped fresh sage on one side and then sauteed them in a cast iron skillet.  Meanwhile another skillet held a sliced onion that was starting to caramelize when I added some water to deglaze the pan and fiinished the onions with some Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar.  The mustardy onions were served over the pork chops for an easy and tasty entree. 

Our side dishes were roasted butternut squash and peas.

Pan-Seared Pork with Onions
Make 4 servings

4 boneless pork chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh sage
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Season the pork on both sides with salt and pepper.  Mince the sage and press it onto one side of the pork chops.  You can do this up to an hour before cooking the pork, and leave it to rest at cool room temperature.  Slice the onion thinly.  Heat a small frying pan over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the sliced onion and a pinch of salt.  Allow the onion to cook, mostly undisturbed for 5-6 minutes.  The onion should be just starting to turn golden when you start the pork.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then add the pork, herb-coated-side down.  Cook for about 4 minutes, until stating to brown nicely.  Flip the pork and continue cooking for another 4-6 minutes, until the internal temperature is 145 degrees.

Once you flip the pork, pour the water into the pan with the onions.  Scrape up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan, then add the mustard and vinegar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  The water should reduce slightly to create a nice pan sauce.

Place a pork chop on each plate, ladling the saucy onions over the top.

From Three Squares

Our rating:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Grilled Halibut Fillets with Tomato Salad

I have been trying to have halibut as much as possible lately since it has been on special at the fish counter and it's usually quite pricey.  It is one of my favorite fresh fish since it is firm and mild and therefore adaptable to many different ways to season it.  In this case, the halibut fillets got a really quick marinade in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice before being grilled.  I served the fillets on a bed of herb salad, topped with the tomato salad and sprinkled with a gremolata which added a wonderful zing to the dish.

The whole thing came together really well since all the components were impeccably fresh.

Grilled Halibut Fillets with Tomato Salad
Makes 2 servings

Tomato Salad:
2 large heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3/4 teaspoons finely minced garlic
3/4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Pinch sea salt

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 (8-ounce) halibut fillets
Pinch sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Herb salad mix, washed and rinsed dry

Make the tomato salad:  In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients and set aside.

Make the gremolata:  Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix.  Set aside.

Make the halibut:  Place the olive oil and lemon juice in a baking dish or resealable plastic bag.  Rinse the fish and pat it dry, season with the salt and pepper.  Place the fish in the dish or bag, turning once to coat with the marinade.  Let the fish marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Place the herb salad on serving plates.  Grill the fish over a medium hot fire for 5 to 6 minutes per side, until the flesh is opaque through to the center.  When finished grilling, remove the hot fish immediately to the salad.  Top with the tomato mixture, and sprinkle the gremolata over the top of the tomatoes.  Serve immediately.

Slightly adapted from The Food Network

Our rating:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Creamy Chicken Verde Bake

The recipe for tonight's dinner sounded quite good but the reality is, it was delicious.  We just kept murmuring how good it was with every bite.  The nice thing is how uncomplicated the recipe was.  I bought organic Salsa Verde (medium spice level) and combined it with some canned coconut milk, and added salt and freshly ground black pepper.  I poured it over a pound of bone-in, skin-on chicken parts and placed the casserole dish in a hot oven for 1 hour.  I dissolved some arrowroot in water and stirred it into the sauce and then continued to cook for another 30 minutes.  The chicken turned out with crisp skin and meat that just fell off the bone with the fork.  The sauce was flavorful but subtle adding a nice touch to the dish. 

Our sides were mashed yams (not sure what kind I bought, since they were not orange but still sweet tasting) and sauteed spinach with sliced garlic.  All we heard were our sighs on contentment with each bite of this delightful dinner.

Creamy Chicken Verde Bake
Makes 2 servings

1 pound chicken parts (I used 4 chicken thighs, weighing 1 1/4 pounds with bone and skin)
1 cup Green Verde Salsa
7 ounces canned coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon arrowroot, dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the chicken in a large glass baking dish.

Mix the salsa, coconut milk, salt and fresh ground pepper in a mixing bowl.

Pour over the chicken.

Bake for 50 minutes, and add the arrowroot/water mixture to the verde sauce, stirring everything to incorporate evenly.

Bake 30 minutes longer or until the sauce has thickened, and the chicken is cooked through.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro just before serving.

Slightly adapted from My Living Nutrition

Our rating:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Poached Eggs over Chard

This was our lunch today and since it was the recommended egg dish for the day, I stuck with the recipe.  I wasn't sure about serving poached eggs over sauteed chard with fresh tomato slices since it didn't sound particularly appetizing.  We were very pleasantly surprised at how good this dish turned out to be.  The earthiness of the chard with the cool acidity of the tomato slice all topped with a perfectly poached egg was a real treat.  The runny yolk of the egg added a creaminess and richness to the dish.

We have discovered no ill effects from our addition of eggs this week, so it looks like it will be a safe addition for us.

Poached Eggs over Chard
Makes 2 servings

4 cups chard, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 heirloom tomato slices
4 poached eggs

Saute the greens in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on plate.  Top with sliced tomatoes and then with poached eggs.

To poach eggs:
In a large nonstick skillet add 1-1 1/2 inches of water.  When water is just simmering, add 1 tablespoon white vinegar.  Crack each egg in a measuring cup and swirl egg in cup before slipping into the just simmering water.  When all four eggs are in pan, set timer for 3 1/2-4 minutes for a perfectly poached egg.  Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and drain excess water on paper towels.

Slightly adapted from The Virgin Diet

Our rating:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chili-Lime Grilled Chicken Skewers

As part of our food discovery process, we are re-introducing eggs this week.  The first day of our egg addition, featured a vegetable frittata which I forgot to take a picture of.  I really wish I had taken a picture since it was a wonderful frittata with mushrooms, onions and red peppers.  The second day of our testing phase was a mixed green salad with two hard boiled eggs sliced on the salad.  Our third day started with two eggs this morning with a side of turkey bacon.

Our dinner tonight was Chili-Lime Grilled Chicken Skewers served over brown rice and sauteed asparagus spears with mushrooms and garlic.

Chili-Lime Grilled Chicken Skewers
Makes 2 servings

2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 large organic free-range chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise, 1/2-inch thick
4 wooden skewers, soaked in water at least 30 minutes

In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, red pepper flakes and orange zest.

Brush the raw chicken with this mixture until all sides are covered.

Skewer the chicken lengthwise, like threading a needle.

On a clean grill, cook the chicken on medium heat about 5 to 6 minutes per side until cooked through.

Slightly adapted from The Virgin Diet

Our rating:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lamb Kheema

In looking over my blog posts for the last few days, I noticed a definite oriental flair.  I made Thai Green Curry Coconut Shrimp, Asian Chicken Salad and now Lamb Kheema, a traditional Indian dish.  I really do love all the different spices and flavors of so many different cuisines.  It would be impossible for me to pick just one favorite cuisine.  The beauty of cooking at home is being able to decide which country to visit with the menu.

I served this Kheema over brown rice.

Lamb Kheema
Makes 4 servings

1 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, chopped
2 teaspoons butter or ghee
1 pound lean ground lamb
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup frozen peas
1 jalapeno minced (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, heat ghee or butter and onion on medium heat.  Cook about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger; cook another 2 minutes.

Add ground meat to pan and brown.  Season with salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.  Stir well.  Add chili pepper, cilantro, bay leaf, tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of water.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer about 15 minutes.  Add frozen peas and simmer covered another 5 to 10 minutes.

Slightly adapted from Skinny Taste

Our rating:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit

We have been able to add oatmeal back into our meal plans, so it was a nice treat to have this baked oatmeal.  I did cheat a little with the addition of an egg and some maple syrup and we thoroughly enjoyed every bite.  This does take about 5 or 10 minutes of prep time and 35 to 40 minutes of baking which may make it a weekend meal for a lot of people.  The nice thing is there are leftovers so you can enjoy it for several days.  I just add a little more coconut milk when heating it up.

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit
Makes 4-6 servings

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (I used ghee)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 cup blueberries, divided

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.  In a medium bowl, combine the rolled oats, half of the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir with a fork to combine.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the maple syrup, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.  Spread the sliced bananas in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with half of the berries.  Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer.  Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats.  Sprinkle the remaining nuts and berries over the top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe from Annie's Eats

Our rating:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Asian Chicken Salad

Since the weather has started to warm up here in Texas, I decided to go with a salad for dinner.  This meal was the last of our soy testing meals so there was edamame in the salad and I marinated the chicken breasts in a marinade including soy sauce.  The salad was delicious even if it does look a little too green.

Asian Chicken Salad
Makes 2 servings

4 cups cabbage and romaine mix
8 ounces chicken breast
4 ounces steamed snow peas
1 cup edamame
2 or 3 diced green onions
2 tablespoons, toasted slivered almonds

For the marinade:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Stevia (or sugar) to taste

Combine ingredients for marinade in a bowl or zip-lock bag, add chicken and marinade for a couple of hours (or as long as 8 hours).  Remove chicken and grill over medium high heat until cooked through.  Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Combine all ingredients for the dressing and toss half of it with the salad, edamame and diced green onions.  Divide the salad between two plates and top with the sliced chicken, steamed snow peas and slivered almonds.  Drizzle with the remaining dressing.

Slightly adapted from The Virgin Diet

Our rating:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Thai Green Curry Coconut Shrimp

Thai food makes me automatically say yum.  This dish turned out well, but I thought it could have used quite a bit more heat.  I used one heaping tablespoon of green curry paste, but next time I will add two full tablespoons to up the heat level.  I served this curry over brown rice.

Our soy addition for today was Lettuce Wraps made with sauteed tofu and vegetables and seasoned with soy sauce.

Thai Green Curry Coconut Shrimp
Makes 4 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil
4 small scallions, whites and greens separated, chopped
1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste (I recommend 2)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (from 1 1/4 pounds unpeeled)
6 ounces light coconut milk
2 teaspoons coconut milk
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Salt to taste

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat oil on medium-high flame.  Add scallion whites and green curry paste; saute one minute.

Add shrimp and garlic, season with salt and cook about 2-3 minutes.

Add coconut milk, fish sauce and mix well; simmer about 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through.

Remove from heat, mix in scallion greens and basil.  Serve over rice and enjoy!

Slightly adapted from Skinny Taste

Our rating:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lemon Piccata Turkey Tenderloin

This was a nice variation on either Veal or Chicken Piccata.  Turkey tenderloins are readily available and easily adaptable to a variety of dishes.  In this case, I pounded one turkey tenderloin (weighing about 10 ounces) thin and cut it in half.  I then marinated it in a mixture of white wine, fresh lemon juice and sea salt for about 8 hours.  The recipe calls for a marinating time of 12 to 24 hours, but I forgot to marinate them the night before, so they got about 8 hours and it seemed to work out fine.  About 15 minutes before dinner, I sauteed them quickly in a little olive oil until lightly browned on both sides.  I used the same pan to make a quick sauce and they came out perfectly.  Our side dishes were mashed sweet potatoes and steamed green beans.

Our soy addition for today was a Boca veggie burger (a soy product) spread with Dijon mustard with tomato and avocado slices wrapped in Bibb lettuce leaves.  So far, no reactions to the soy except for some puffiness around our eyes.

Lemon Piccata Turkey Tenderloin
Makes 2 servings

1 turkey breast tenderloin (about 8-10 ounces)
5 ounces white wine, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground cracked black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon butter or ghee
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/2 tablespoon capers
Lemon wedges for serving, optional

Flatten the turkey breast tenderloin to about 1/4" thick.  Marinate for 12 to 24 hours in 1/2 cup white wine, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat and saute the cutlets for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and cooked through (will vary with thickness of cutlets).  Remove and cover with foil or lid to keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the remaining white wine and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, loosening all the browned bits stuck to the pan.  Bring to a boil.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and whisk in 1 teaspoon butter (I used ghee) until melted and add the parsley and capers.    Drizzle sauce over plated turkey and serve with lemon wedges.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Halibut Packets with Tomatoes, Capers and Olives

Last week we reintroduced gluten to our diet for four consecutive days and then went back to clean eating for the last three days of the week.  We ended with mixed results from adding gluten  - we both had trouble sleeping all the way through the night which we thought was a strange result.  One of both of us was awake from about 2:00 a.m till 4:00 or 5:00 and some days till we got up in the morning.  Gerry had some slight indigestion but nothing major.  We have decided we will test gluten again at the end of re-introducing other foods.

This week we are testing soy products and we'll monitor how this affects us.  Our soy addition for today was tofu in our miso soup that we had for lunch.

I love the idea of placing the main component of dinner in its own little package and then adding a few ingredients on top and letting it all steam together in the oven.  Dinner prep doesn't get much easier than this.  I used impeccably fresh halibut, simply seasoned with salt and pepper and then topped it with garlic flavored olive oil and grape tomatoes, capers and kalamata olives.  Wrapped tightly in foil, the packets spent about 10 minutes in the oven and dinner was done.  I served the contents of the packets over brown rice.

Halibut Packets with Tomatoes, Capers and Olives
Makes 2 servings

2 15" x 15" pieces of aluminum foil
2 halibut fillets (6 ounces each)
1/2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon capers
6 kalamata olives, halved or quartered
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons unsalted butter (I used ghee)
4 fresh thyme sprigs

Heat oven to 450 degrees

In a small skillet, warm the 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Saute sliced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes until garlic turns golden, about 1 minute.  Remove skillet from heat and stir in tomatoes, capers and olives.

Place one piece of halibut in center of each foil square.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Divide tomato mixture among fish.  Top each fillet with 2 tablespoons wine, 1 teaspoon butter and 2 thyme sprigs.  Fold edges of foil to make a tight packet.

Place packets on a large rimmed baking sheet; roast 10 minutes.  Slit open with a knife and gently open.

Slightly adapted from Lexi's Kitchen

Our rating:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fish Stew

Even though this dish is called Fish Stew, it is more like a soup than a stew.  It was flavored with coconut milk and fresh cilantro giving it a Thai influence and since we love Thai food, it was a big hit.  The recipe calls for 2 pounds of fish so I used 1 pound of salmon, 1/2 pound each of scallops and shrimp.  It was a wonderful combination.

Fish Stew
Makes 4 servings

2 pounds fish (I used salmon, shrimp and scallops)
4 tablespoons palm fruit or coconut oil, divided
16 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (such as So Delicious brand)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Thai red curry paste or crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Cut fish into bite size pieces; I cubed the salmon and cut the shrimp in half.  I used bay scallops (the little ones), but if using sea scallops, cut in half or quarters.  Cook fish in 2 tablespoons oil for 2 1/2 minutes per side at medium heat.  Remove fish and set aside.

Next saute rest of vegetables and garlic in rest of oil.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.  Add the previously sauteed fish and allow to simmer  in the broth for another 10 minutes.

Add additional coconut mil if you would like the stew a little thinner.

Add red curry paste or crushed red pepper flakes if you want a little zing.

Slightly adapted from The Virgin Diet

Our rating:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Simple Lentil Dal with Cumin and Dried Red Chiles

Every once in a while I crave this simple, spicy soup.  The first time I tried this recipe from my Indian Home Cooking cookbook, I fell in love with it.  It's quick, healthy, flavorful and inexpensive.  In my book, you can't beat that combination.  This was actually our lunch on one of our Meatless Mondays and I was surprised to find that I had not already posted this recipe.

Simple Lentil Dal
Makes 4 servings

1 cup red lentils, picked over, washed and drained
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups water

Tempering Oil:
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 small whole dried red chiles
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 lime or lemon, juiced

Put the lentils into a large saucepan with the turmeric, salt, and water.  Bring to a boil and skim well.  Turn the heat down and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft, (15 minutes for  red lentils) 20 to 30 minutes for brown lentils.  Add more water if necessary.  Taste for salt and add more if you need to.

Ladle about 1/2 cup of the lentils into a small bowl and mash them with a spoon.  Return the mashed lentils to the pot and give the dal a stir.  Then continue cooking at a simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes to thicken.  If you like a thicker dal, use a whisk to break up the lentils into a puree.  If you like a thinner dal, add water.

For the tempering oil, combine the oil and the cumin seeds in a small frying pan over medium-high heat and cook stirring, until they turn a light brown color, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the whole chiles and cook, stirring about 30 more seconds.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the cayenne, and sprinkle in a few drops of water to stop the cooking.

Stir half of the tempering oil and all of the lime or lemon juice into the dal and simmer gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes  Transfer the dal to a serving bowl and drizzle the remaining tempering oil over the top.  Serve hot.

Slightly adapted from Indian Home Cooking

My rating:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Angel Hair Pasta with Tomato and Basil

I love the fact that we have had pasta twice this week and now that we have not had any wheat products in a while (except for the past few days), whole wheat pasta feels decadent.  For tonight's dinner we had whole wheat angel hair that was tossed with Roma tomatoes and garlic sauteed in olive oil in the pan that I seared scallops in.  I then added the pan seared scallops to the pasta along with fresh basil.  This dish turned out really well, especially with the simplicity of the ingredients.  It was a wonderful treat since the scallops were impeccably fresh and seared perfectly.

Angel-Hair Pasta with Tomato and Basil
Makes 2 servings

8 to 12 large scallops or 12 to 16 medium ones
4 Roma tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh basil, chopped
1 to 2 cup cooked angle-hair pasta

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, sear the scallops in olive oil until the scallops are golden brown on both sides.  Remove the scallops and cover with foil to keep warm.  Add the tomatoes and garlic in same skillet until just tender.  Remove from heat and add the basil leaves.  Add the scallops and cooked pasta and toss to combine.

Slightly adapted from The Virgin Diet

Our rating:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Bistro Salmon

Once again, I found a new way to try salmon.  This recipe had a Mediterranean flavor to it with the addition of lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and capers.  Basically the salmon fillets were placed in a baking dish and covered with a lemon vinaigrette containing the tomatoes. olives and capers.  The dish went into the oven for 8 minutes and the salmon was perfectly cooked and wonderfully flavored by the sauce in which it was roasted.  I used Sockeye salmon which is a wild caught fish and the fillets are somewhat thinner than Atlantic salmon.  I found 8 minutes to be perfect cooking time for this thinner fillet.  Our side dishes were brown rice and sauteed Brussels sprouts.

On the third day of our gluten testing, we had roasted veggies and chicken stuffed in a whole wheat pita for lunch.

Bistro Salmon
Makes 4 servings

3/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
4 ounces pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-8 ounce) wild-caught salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together lemon juice and Dijon mustard, then gradually whisk in olive oil.  Add tomatoes, olives, capers, salt and pepper.

Arrange salmon fillets in a baking dish and pour sauce over top.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven.

Slightly adapted from The Virgin Diet Cookbook

Our rating:


Friday, April 5, 2013

Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce

I turned to pork chops for our dinner tonight since it has been a while since we have had them.  I found a recipe that met all the requirements of our restrictive diet plan right now.  The pork chops were seasoned with salt and pepper and simply sauteed in butter (I substituted ghee) just until done.  I then used the same skillet to make the sauce which was really quick and easy to pull together.  This just might be my favorite way to cook pork chops now since they came out wonderfully moist and tender.  Our side dishes were black beans and roasted mixed vegetables (onions, red peppers, zucchini and eggplant).

Our gluten addition for today was a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with Dijon mustard and lettuce and avocado for lunch.

Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce
Makes 4 servings

1 teaspoon butter
4 pork chops (22 ounces with bone, fat removed), 1 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons chopped onion
3/4 cup fat free chicken stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (like parsley and chives)

 In a large frying pan, heat the butter or ghee over moderately low heat.  Season pork with salt and pepper.

Raise heat to medium and add the chops to the pan and saute for 7 minutes.  Turn and cook until chops are browned and done to medium, about 7-8 minutes longer.  Remove the chops and put in a warm spot.

Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the stock and boil until it reduces to 1/2 cup, bout 3 minutes.  Stir in the mustard, herbs and black pepper to taste.  Put the chops on a platter and pour the sauce over the meat.

From Skinnytaste

Our rating:


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pasta Primavera

After three weeks of restricting our diet to exclude the seven categories of typical food intolerance items, we are ready to start the re-introduction process.  As a reminder, we have eliminated corn, dairy, eggs, gluten, peanuts, soy and sugar/artificial sweeteners.  This week for the first four days we will include a whole wheat item for either lunch or dinner to test our gluten tolerance.  The last three days we will go back to the restrictive abstinence of all seven categories.  This should allow us time to evaluate any reactions we may have to gluten. 

Today's test meal was Pasta Primavera for dinner.  I cooked some whole wheat spaghetti and sauteed some mixed vegetables while the pasta was cooking.  I then quickly sauteed some shrimp and tossed everything together when all was cooked.  I finished the dish with some chopped basil.  Our side dish was spinach dressed with a little fresh lemon juice with a drizzle of olive oil.

Pasta Primavera
Makes 2 servings

2 cups mixed vegetables (I used mushrooms, red bell pepper, onion and zucchini)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons chopped basil
1 to 2 cups cooked whole wheat pasta
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups baby spinach
Lemon juice
Olive oil

Cook the pasta as the package directs.

Meanwhile, saute the vegetables in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until crisp-tender.  Remove and set aside.  In remaining tablespoon of olive oil, saute shrimp just until pink on both sides.  Add the cooked pasta and the sauteed vegetables to the skillet and toss with the chopped basil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with baby spinach dressed with fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

Slightly adapted from The Virgin Diet Cookbook

Our rating:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Simple Roasted Salmon

Since salmon is so healthy for us, I am always on the lookout for new methods of preparing and cooking this most nutritious protein.  I came across this unique method of cooking on another blog and just had to try it.  The salmon was simply prepared by rubbing with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.  The salmon was then placed in a baking dish and placed in a cold oven.  The oven was turned on to 400 degrees.  25 minutes later, you have perfectly cooked salmon.  Could it get any easier?  I don't think so.  Our side dishes were cauliflower and turnip puree and grilled asparagus spears.

Simple Roasted Salmon
Makes 2 servings

1 pound salmon fillet
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set salmon on a rimmed baking sheet; coat both sides with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Place baking sheet in the cold oven, then heat oven to 400 degrees.  Roast until salmon is just opaque throughout, about 25 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Slightly adapted from Pioneer Woman

Our rating: