Sunday, July 29, 2007

Linguini with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Broccoli

This has a creamy, spicy, and thick sauce that provides just
the right coating for the linguini noodles and veggies!
It also provides great cold leftovers!
(adopted from this recipe)

Sun-dried Tomato, Pesto, and Cheddar Frittata

Sunday morning breakfast time!
(adopted from this recipe)

Week Day Highlights

Farmer's Market Succotash
(served with chicken sausage links, not shown)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, optional
1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 ears corn, or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (10-ounce) package frozen lima beans, thawed
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

If using ears of corn, cut the kernels off and set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers, season with s&p; cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the corn, lima beans, and tomatoes, season with s&p; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.

Three Cheese and Chicken Pizza

Toppings: low fat ricotta cheese, italian seasoning, diced red onions, garlic cloves, diced chicken, mozarella cheese, and parmesean cheese. These same toppings would also be great on top of pesto instead of the ricotta. (Check previous posts for cooking details)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Quick “Pastitsio”

I dare say this is the best pasta I have ever had!!!

This is a traditional Greek dish made with ground lamb that slowly simmers. I quickened up the cooking time and lightened the dish by using ground turkey and skim milk. When it comes out of the oven you can hear it bubbling! Enjoy!

1 pound penne
1 pound ground lamb/beef/turkey, your choice
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup red wine (or lager beer:)
1 - 6oz can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons EVOO
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups skim milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place a large pot on the stove and bring about 6 cups of water to a boil.

In a seperate large skillet, over medium heat, cook meat and onion, breaking apart pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, once water is boiling, add a handful of salt and cook pasta 6 minutes, then drain and reserve.

Add wine to the meat mixture; cook 2-3 minutes until almost all liquid has evaporated. Stir in tomato paste and cinnamon, season with salt and pepper. Once meat is cooked through add cooked pasta to the meat mixture and stir. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish.

Make Parmesan Cheese Sauce: In the same empty pasta pot, add EVOO and melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour until incorporated, about 30 seconds. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cayenne and Parmesan.

Pour sauce over the top. Bake until browned in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 15 minutes before serving.

(Alternatively, after topping with cheese sauce you can also cool it down to room temperature, wrap with plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer. When ready to serve, thaw in refrigerator overnight and then bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes with foil on, remove foil and continue baking for 15 minutes until cheese is golden brown.)

Spinach Pie

1/4 cup EVOO plus 2 tablespoons
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 cup roasted red peppers or sun dried tomatoes, sliced
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian or plain dried breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried dill
2 eggs and 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
4 ounces frozen phyllo sheets, thawed and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and 2 teaspoons salt, cook 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl then stir in spinach, roasted red pepper OR sun dried tomatoes, feta, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, dill, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Fold in eggs until combined. Place mixture into a 9-inch springform pans or a 9 ½-inch deep-dish pie plate; press firmly to flatten.

In a large bowl, gently toss sliced phyllo to separate, add EVOO and toss until coated. Place phyllo lightly onto pie, covering the top evenly and completely.

Bake until heated through and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

I had to call in the "big guns" to help me squeeze out all that spinach.

**I just ate a leftover piece of this cold from the fridge - I think it's even better!! This is a must try if you are a greek food lover.

Garden Risotto and Tuscan Vegetable Soup

My favorite chef and nutritionist on Food Network has come out with some new recipes/episodes. You will see several of her items starting to appear on my blog. I always try each of her recipes at least once, since I am constantly on the lookout for great tasting and healthy recipes for Andy and me.

Garden Risotto - (click for recipe)
*calls for asparagus, I used broccoli this time though

I also made her Tuscan Vegetable Soup on Sunday - which was delicious.

Pizza Margherita

Andy and I were on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill a couple weekends ago browsing the local shops and we came upon a pizza storefront with pizza margherita for sale. Andy commented on how good it looked...and the next night just what do you think appeared on our dinner plate?

My Pizza Margherita

Whole Wheat pizza crust (I picked up one at the grocery this time)
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Tomatoes, sliced and patted dry
Basil, chiffonade
Fresh Mozzarella, sliced

Place crust on baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO and red pepper flakes. Layer on tomatoes, s&p. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Lower oven to 350 degrees, layer cheese slices and basil then bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Allow to cool 5 minutes and slice.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pasta for dinner and sweet Pancakes for dessert!

(5 stars)
A couple dishes with protein for Denver...
Rigatoni with Squash and Prawns
This was very satisfying and yet different enough to keep pasta interesting. I used frozen squash puree; quicker and easier than cubing and cooking down a fresh squash like the recipe above calls for.

Ricotta Pancakes*****
These may look like regular pancakes, but they are made with lowfat ricotta cheese (so you get a little protein too). Yum-o! I then drizzle them with honey or maple syrup for extra goodness!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hearty Vegetarian Lunch

Italian Zucchini
from Sara
4 small zucchini (or small eggplants)
1 bell pepper
1 1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
4 medium tomatoes
1 large onion
4 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 t garlic salt
1/4 t oregano
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

Wash and slice zucchini without peeling in 1/2 in. slices. Cut onion and pepper into rings. Slice tomatoes thinly. Heat oil in skillet over med heat; place zucchini in skillet and lightly brown on both sides. Add onion and green pepper. Sprinkle w/ seasonings. Add tomatoes. Turn heat to low, cover & simmer for 15 min. Uncover and sprinkle w/ cheese.

Black Bean Burgers*****
I Love These!

These were so moist and flavorful. Andy requested that I start making these more often - next time I plan to make atleast a double batch, cook them all, and then freeze so they are ready to just reheat.

Makes 8

5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and finely chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons ketchup, plus more for serving
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained
1 cup cooked basmati rice
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
Hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add cumin, turmeric, and ketchup. Cook for 1 minute.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine onion mixture, beans, and rice. Process until well combined. Transfer to a large bowl. Add breadcrumbs, and mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Drop 1/4-cup balls of bean mixture into skillet. Flatten into 3-inch patties. (At this point freeze individaully if you wish).
Cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Repeat process with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and bean mixture. Serve immediately with ketchup, if desired.

I served this with a diced cantaloupe and grape salad.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jessica's Deep Dish Pizza

This pizza turned out perfectly! It even holds together after being sliced - I was truly amazed with this quick creation!

CHEESE Deep Dish Pizza*****

1 ball of whole wheat pizza dough
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
1/3 of a jar of your fav pasta sauce

Drizzle dough ball with 1-2 tsp EVOO, press dough into an oiled 9-10 inch cast iron skillet (that's the secret). Bake for 8-10 minutes at 425 degrees. Pull out of oven and top with mozzarella cheese slices, then slather on the sauce! Return to oven for another 20-25 minutes. After baking allow pizza to cool for 5-10 minutes. Cut (with a serrated knife) and enjoy!

This one's for the best mom and sister anyone could ask for, come on down and I'll serve it up!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Well, I had to resort to something to cool these Carolina temps down...

Kona Coffee Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Blend

4 cups plain yogurt (if preferred use 3 cups whole milk instead of blending with yogurt)
1 ½ cups whole milk or half and half
5 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
Pinch salt
½ cup kona coffee, chilled
2 ½ teaspoons ground instant espresso
1 tablespoon Kahlua
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional

**Place yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. At end of 12 hours, discard the liquid and cheesecloth.

Heat the whole milk until it forms bubbles around the edge of the pan and steam starts to rise. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until mixed. Slowly add the milk until combined. Pour the mixture back into the clean pan. Add the kona coffee. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 10 minutes, until it's thickened and the cream coats the back of the spoon.

Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. Add the ground espresso, coffee liqueur, and vanilla and refrigerate until completely chilled. Slowly whisk yogurt into the cream base.

Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and process per manufacturer's instructions, about 25 minutes. After 20 minutes add the chocolate chips. Transfer ice cream/yogurt blend to an airtight container, freeze for at least 1 hour.
Served with Espresso Brownies

Fresh and Delicious

Open-Faced Ricotta Cheese and Tomato Toasts

Whole Wheat bread, toasted
Ricotta Cheese
Tomato, sliced

Spread toast with ricotta cheese (as much as you desire!), top with fresh tomato slices. Dress with a drizzle of EVOO, s&p.

*Served with papaya and avocado slices, dressed the same way.

Italian Green Bean Salad

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 potato (any kind), diced and roasted
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons pesto, store bought
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, add green beans and steam for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, add diced tomatoes, roasted potatoes, lime juice, pesto. Toss with s&p. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Monkey-ing around

Peanut Butter Banana French Toast - oh yeah!

4 slices whole wheat bread
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
pinch of cinnamon
4 Tbsp peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
1 banana, thinly sliced
bacon (optional)
blueberries (optional)

Heat griddle over medium-high heat. Whisk (with a fork) the eggs, milk, and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Dip each side of the bread slices into the egg mixture and place on griddle. Turn heat to medium and cook 2-3 minutes on the first side. Flip bread slices, then spoon peanut butter onto all four of them (the already cooked side) and top two slices with banana. After 2-3 minutes (once the reverse side is cooked) place peanut butter sides together - serve with syrup, bacon, and blueberries. Serves 2

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July "Grillin and Chillin"

Spicy Thai, Roasted Red Pepper, and Artichoke/Kalamata Olive Chicken Sausages - served with grilled polenta rounds (bought premade, sliced, and grilled then topped with salsa), sliced fresh melon, and grilled romaine lettuce (drizzled with EVOO, s&p).
- this was the best bbq sauce
with stove top mac and cheese and fruit salad
Berry Pavlova - again :)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fresh Fig and Gorgonzola "Pizza"

Oh, this was really good!! It may look like a pepperoni pizza...but looks can be deceiving.

Fig and Gorgonzola Pizza - Makes 4

4 whole wheat tortillas
6 fresh figs, sliced (in season now)
4 Tbsp roasted red pepper glaze or Vidalia onion dressing
4 Tbsp Gorgonzola cheese crumbles

Place tortillas on a baking sheet, spread 1 Tbsp glaze on each, scatter with fresh figs and 1 Tbsp gorgonzola cheese per tortilla. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Slice and eat up!

Served with chili sweet potato fries and spinach salad – slice, sprinkle with chili powder and s&p. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Pull out of oven and squeeze with fresh lemon juice. Toss spinach with EVOO & lemon juice and s&p, add chopped scallions (optional). AND a glass of Reisling - a must!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Busy Day Supper

Let this cook for you while doing weekend errands.
Add a scoop of rice, if you wish.