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Archive for April, 2010

Believe it or not, I’ve made this recipe three times in the last week trying to perfect it!  The only reason I’ve been able to make brussell sprouts so many times in one week is because my husband, Joe has been traveling the past few weeks – this is the one food he just doesn’t love.  So, I figured what better time to work on a great roasted brussell sprout recipe than now!  You would think with him traveling, I would be blogging a lot, but sorry, I’ve been making a lot of random things that just haven’t turned out to be “blog” worthy.    So, just what was it that made my third attempt at these brussell sprouts work?  Well, it may seem silly but I quartered them instead of halving them (this helped them cook faster so apples didn’t get too mushy) and I added minced garlic to give it a kick .  The roasted green apples add a nice sweet flavor – and helps make this dish seem a litte more “spring” like.  In my failed attempts, the apples turned to almost an apple sauce consistency, and it was still good, but I wanted them to be firmer.  If you have any other suggestions, I’m all ears!  For all of you who haven’t tried brussell sprouts since you were a kid – well, give them anonther try.  Roasting them really brings out their wonderful, earthy flavor.  Hey, I’ve had them three times this week and I’m not sick of them yet!

Ingredients:

7-8 brussell sprouts, ends trimmed and quartered (remember I just made these for me, so you may need to add more)

1/2 large green apple – medium dice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 lemon juice

1-2 capfuls apple cider vinegar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt/ Pepper

3 Tbs. Grated Parmesean cheese (or more if you’d like)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 375.  Clean and quarter brussell sprouts.  Place in a small baking dish (spray with Pam).  Add apples, garlic, onion, lemon, olive oil, and salt/ pepper.

2)  Roast for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with 3 Tbs. grated Parmesean cheese.  Add back to oven and let cheese melt – 2 minutes more.

3)  Serve!  You could also add toasted walnuts or almonds – I just forgot tonight.

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In case you haven’t noticed, I eat a lot of chicken and seafood, so I have to find ways to reinvent my favorite ingredients.  This recipe takes your ordinary sauteed chicken to a whole new level! I’ve crusted the chicken with special k, a little bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese then paired it with a lemon/ thyme white bean salad and fresh arugula on top.  The cannellini beans are so light and creamy and the crust from the chicken adds the perfect crunch too.  I think the key to this recipe though is making sure to pound your chicken very thin – it helps it maintain its moistness and it cooks more evenly.  If you don’t have a meat tenderizer, use an empty wine bottle like I do!

Ingredients:

1 can cannellini beans, strained

3-4 sprigs of thyme, stems removed and slightly chopped

1 clove garlic minced

1 Lemon (1/2 for beans, 1/2 for arugula)

2 handfuls fresh arugula

salt/ pepper

For the Chicken:

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts – pounded thinly

3/4 cup crushed Special K cereal

1/4 cup bread crumbs

2 Tbs. shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup egg beaters (equal to 2 eggs, but without the cholesterol!)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Directions:

1)  You will need three small plates to prepare your chicken cutlets.  This can be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to saute.  You will form an assembly line of three plates.  Place flour, and a pinch of salt/ pepper on the first plate, eggs on the second, and mix the special k, breadcrumbs, and cheese on the third.  Dredge the chicken cutlets in the flour, dust of any extra, then the eggs, then the cereal mixture – making sure to press the topping into the chicken so it sticks.

2)  Add 1/4 inch of extra virgin olive oil in saute pan and make sure to get very hot before adding chicken.  Add chicken and saute for approximately 4-5 minutes per side.

3)  Meanwhile add 1-2 tbs olive oil to second pan with minced garlic and thyme.  Add the cannellini beans, lemon juice from half a lemon, and a pinch of salt/ pepper.  Cook until heated through about 3-4 minutes.  Make sure not to over cook – they tend to break apart because they are so delicate.

4)  Plate beans, then chicken, and top with a handful of fresh arugula.  You will want to add a twirl or two of olive oil to the arugula along with lemon juice and salt (no pepper – it’s already peppery enough).

This is a great weeknight meal – and should take you less than 30 minutes to make.  Enjoy!

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My mom has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember.  It’s definitely one of our go to meals – especially when we need to feed a big crowd.  It is by far my favorite chicken tortilla soup.  It’s loaded with veggies and I love that the chicken is shredded – it gives it really nice texture.  I’m not sure what else I can say about this soup except that I know you won’t be disappointed.  Hope you like it as much as I do!

Ingredients:

4-6 chicken breasts with bone (boneless works too, but only cook for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp basil

dash of Tabasco

1 can tomato sauce- Hunts

3 12oz. cans stew tomatoes (check labels for brand with lowest sodium)

1 large can reduced sodium/ low fat chicken broth

4 carrots peeled and chopped

4 celery peeled and chopped

1 large green pepper chopped

1 large onion chopped

1 bunch green beans

1 head corn (fresh or canned)

1 clove garlic minced

Directions:

1.  Saute onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil

2. Add pepper, green beans, and corn. Stir in cumin and basil.

3. Add broth, tomato sauce, stew tomatoes, and chicken.

4. Cook on medium heat for 1 hour.  When chicken is cooked through, remove from soup and shred using two forks – return to soup and let simmer until ready to serve.

Top with shredded cheese, scallions, and toasted tortilla strips.

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Weekday Snacks

Sundays for me are my days to mentally prepare for the week ahead.  I like to jog in the mornings, go to the grocery store, and relax/ cook in the afternoon.  I find a little prep work on Sundays goes a long way during the week.  It’s simple stuff like washing my vegetables, making salad dressings, and making some weekday snacks so I can grab and go in the mornings.  It just helps take a little stress off during the week.  Now, some Sundays this doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I always feel happier.

Today, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite, healthy snacks I like to munch on throughout the week.  They really don’t take a whole lot of effort – they’re almost too easy to even post, but maybe it will give you some ideas about how to choose better snacks than potato chips (although those are good too!).

The key here is buying some of those really little Tupperware containers at the grocery store – I love them!  Perfect for hummus, peanut butter, dressing…

Homemade trail mix.  Pick your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits, a little dark chocolate, and maybe some healthy cereal.  Nuts can be expensive, but it’s actually cheaper to make your own trail mix than buying it pre-made – and it lasts a long time.  The best part is you can create your own – there are a million different combinations.  Last week I discovered dried blueberries – they’re addicting!

Again, this is simple.  Just blanch some sugar snap peas until they’re bright green – maybe 2 minutes depending on how crisp you like them.  They will stay for the week, and they’re the perfect, slightly sweet snack.

And one of my favorites – roasted chick peas!  I recommend pinching off their outer skin first, toss them in olive oil, salt pepper, cayenne, cumin, paprika (really any spices/ combination’s you like), then roast in a 450 degree oven for a good 35-40 minutes.  It sounds like a lot, but it’s not.  You should toss every 10 minutes or so.  These are really wonderful – and of course, healthy!

In my cous-cous recipe I gave away one of my other favorite snacks – homemade pita chips.  Check it out!

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Lemon Sole Provencal

Oranges and Kalamata olives – who would have guessed it would be so good?!  This recipe is so light and so super easy – really!  All you have to do is saute onions and garlic, add some canned tomatoes and olives, and then steam the fish.  You finish by topping the fish with the tomato mixture and oranges.  This fish really melts in your mouth because it’s so light and flaky.  Whoever thinks recreating restaurant quality fish is difficult, hasn’t tried this recipe.  I have to admit, sometimes when you saute fish it’s hard to get that perfect golden brown on both sides – but here you don’t have to worry about that.
In case you’d like a little bit of history, Provencal is actually a dialect spoken mostly in the region of Provence in Southern France.  In this part of France, they actually tend to use more olive oil than cream/ butter, and lots of fresh ingredients like tomatoes, herbs, and seafood.  They are famous for Bouillabaisse – which is their classical seafood stew.  Many of the ingredients in the lemon sole Provencal are reminiscent of those found in their traditional Bouillabaisse.

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine

Ingredients

  • 1 orange cut into segments (cut in between the white membranes – see details below)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 12oz can chopped canned tomatoes, drained
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 Kalamata olives, pitted and cut into thin slivers(or add more if you’d like!)
  • 2 8-ounce lemon sole fillets
  • 2 Tbs. Parsley chopped
  • 2 tsp. thyme chopped
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice

Directions

1.  Using a sharp knife, cut the peel off the oranges making sure to remove all of the white pith. Cut in between the membranes to release the orange sections into a medium bowl.

2. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and wine and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Add the olives and set the fish fillets on top in a single layer. Season the fish with salt and pepper, cover and cook until the fillets flake easily, about 7 minutes. Using a long spatula, carefully transfer the fish to a platter and keep warm.
3.  Stir the oranges, parsley and thyme into the sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Spoon the sauce onto plates and set the fish fillets on top. Squeeze with lemon juice.

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My mom and sister just went to Giada’s book signing today in Arlington, VA – so jealous!!!  I’ve been a huge fan of hers ever since I returned from my summer in Italy in 2003 and fell in love with cooking.  I think I started watching her show during her second season on the food network.  Eventually I just started watching everyone on the food network – but Giada was the first 🙂  This mediterranean cous-cous salad is not a Giada recipe, but she did inspire me to use some of her favorite ingredients:  grilled eggplant, lemons, basil and parsley, and of course good extra virgin olive oil.  If you don’t have cous-cous, whole wheat pasta will work too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small eggplant cut into 1 in. rings
  • 10 medium size shrimp (I got lucky and found wild gulf shrimp)
  • 1/2 bag spinach
  • 2/3 cup Cous-cous (for 2 servings)
  • 4-5 basil leaves (lay them flat on top of each other, roll, then thinly slice)
  • 1 handful parsley, minced
  • feta cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • pita bread – toasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • red wine vinegar

Directions:

1)  Cook cous-cous according to directions.

2)  Toss shrimp and eggplant with olive oil, salt, pepper.  Grill eggplant on medium/ high heat for 2 minutes per side (until you see grill marks).  Once cooked, roughly chop into 1 in. pieces.  Grill shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side – depending on the size of the shrimp (ours were huge!).

3)  Toast pita bread (sliced in wedges) with olive oil, salt, and pepper in 400 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn

4)  Begin layering salad.  Place spinach on the bottom, then add couscous, eggplant, shrimp, herbs, feta, lemon juice, 2 tbs. olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Buon Appetito!

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