Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Panko-Crusted Salmon with Orzo and Mango Salsa

You'll need:
Salmon filets (I used 2)
Soy sauce (~3 tbsp)
Toasted Sesame Oil (~1 tbsp)
Worcestershire (~1 tsp)
Wasabi powder (~1 tsp)
[Wheat] Panko Bread Crumbs (~1/4 c)
Toasted Sesame Seeds (~2 tbsp)
Edamame (or green peas, or any other vegetables of your choosing)
Boxed orzo pasta (really fancy, right?)

For the salsa:
1 mango (peeled and chopped)
1 avocado
1/2 red onion (small)
apple cider vinegar (~1 tsp)
olive oil (to taste)
agave nectar (to taste)

This super easy salmon dish only took around 30 minutes (because that's how long the rice took...) to make and tasted way more decadent than the work it took to prepare.

I started by following the directions on my multi-grain boxed rice with orzo pasta (which consisted of "pour rice into boiling water, add seasoning packet, let simmer for 32-37 minutes")...
While that chef-created masterpiece was simmering, I mixed the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and worcestershire in a bowl, and marinated the salmon filets for around 20 minutes (flipping after 10).
Next, I mixed the panko, wasabi powder, and toasted sesame seeds in another bowl, and dipped the salmon into it, hoping it would stick... it did.

I added some olive oil to a non-stick skillet, and while that was heating, I worked on a little mango/avocado/red onion salsa. I simply mixed all the ingredients in a small tupperware container (knowing I'd want to save the leftovers), and shook it up.

I cooked the salmon for around 5 minutes on each side, and they were done perfectly! Such an easy and healthy option for dinner, I often will cook a salmon filet when Mike chooses to have steak. But this made a perfect dish for girls' night at my house, and was very well received!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Turkey Osso Buco

On Sundays, I prefer to have a more labor-intensive cooking day because it's one of the days I have time to spend in the kitchen. This past Sunday, we were having my dad over for dinner, so I decided to cook Giada's Turkey Osso Buco. It tastes so delicious, and makes even better leftovers, so even though it's a little intense, it's SO worth it!

You'll need:
1/2 breast of turkey (cut into 3 pieces) and 2 turkey thighs (if you like the dark meat)
1/3 c flour (I use whole wheat)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 medium to large onion (yellow), chopped
As many carrots and celery stalks as you'd like (recipe calls for 1 each but I usually at least quadruple it for extra veggies)- put those in the mini-chop, too
Tomato paste (recipe calls for 1 tbsp, but again, I at least doubled it to thicken the sauce)
1c (or so) of dry white wine
4 c chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
Rosemary, Thyme, bay leaves, and garlic (lots of garlic)

I started by chopping (in the food processor) 4 carrots (peeled), 1 onion, and 3 stalks of celery

Next, I cut the turkey breast and dried it with the turkey thighs with a paper towel. Then I covered them with salt and pepper and dredged them in all-purpose flour.

Next, I heated up my roasting pan with some vegetable oil and browned the turkey on both sides for about 6-7 minutes each over medium heat.
Once the turkey was browned, I removed it and placed it on a plate. I added all my chopped vegetables, along with S&P, oregano, thyme, and rosemary (all dried because I didn't have it fresh), and cooked the vegetables until they were tender (~5 minutes).
Next, I added 1c of white wine, and let it simmer. I forgot to add the tomato paste until after I'd already put the turkey back in... but it worked out ok.

Once it was done simmering and reduced by about half, I put the turkey pieces back into the sauce, and added about 1/2 small can of tomato paste, 3 cloves of garlic, and enough vegetable broth to cover 2/3 of the turkey pieces. I covered it tightly with foil and baked for 1hr and 50 minutes, turning the turkey pieces about halfway through.

It turned out great and everyone was really pleased. My substitution of vegetable broth actually made it a little less rich, which was a good alternative to an otherwise filling dish. This is a healthy way to have some comfort food, and the leftovers are outstanding!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mini Dinner Party: Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes

When I have people over for dinner, I like to choose easy recipes that won't keep me in the kitchen the whole night. For Sunday dinner this week, we had our families over, and I decided to make a mixture of this recipe and this recipe from Bethenny Frankel's "Naturally Thin" cookbook.
In the morning, I took out the chicken breasts, poked holes in them with a fork, and marinated them in 1 container of Fage greek yogurt, Worchestershire, garlic salt, pepper, lemon juice, Tabasco, and Dijon mustart. I refrigerated it all day until around 30 minutes before our company arrived.
Next, I mixed some Sundried Tomato goat cheese (I had lots of tomato-haters so I didn't want to use the actual tomatoes), italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and sliced pockets in the thicker sides of the chicken breasts. I stuffed around a spoonful and a half into each breast, and warmed the pan with olive oil.

I couldn't pass up these fingerling potatoes at the grocery just for their packaging!

I sliced them into around 4 pieces each, sliced an entire red onion, and put them into a casserole dish with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then I covered them with foil and baked at 375 for around 45 minutes while I focused on the chicken.

I placed the chicken into the pan with the warmed olive oil, and cooked it until it was browned on both sides (around 8-10 minutes per side). Then, I placed each piece into a casserole dish, covered it with foil, and turned down the oven so that I could keep them warm with the potatoes.
Next, I deglazed the pan with some white wine (around 1 cup), and scraped all the bits and pieces off the bottom. I added some soy milk (around 1 cup), minced garlic, and salt and pepper, and let it all come to a simmer for a few minutes. It wasn't thick enough for my taste so I added some Cornstarch.

He just wanted to be in a picture...

While my sauce was simmering, I took a minute to admire my table with all my favorite patterns on it.

Everything was warmed at the same time, and served up! Delicious, AND I had time to spend with my guests!
(Salad with caramelized peaches and walnuts)

Pizza Night

I love having pizza for dinner because it's a way that we can each customize our own serving to be exactly what we want. I start buy buying the dough from Whole Foods (at the pizza counter, you can ask for enough raw dough for 1 large pizza, cost is only around $3).
We start by rolling the dough out (make sure you put some flour both on your rolling pin and your pizza stone to prevent sticking)

Once we designate the two servings, I bake the crust for around 8-10 minutes in a 400-450 degree oven in order to get the bottom extra crispy. Then, we dress the pizzas the way we prefer. I did mine with a spinach/pesto base, he uses marinara smooth style.

Next, I added left over sauteed vegetables (zucchini, red onion and mushrooms) along with a sprinkle of mozzarella. He added lots of mozzarella and deli sliced pepperoni. We baked them at 400-450 for around 15-20 minutes, or until they were bubbling, and let them cool for a few minutes. While mine was cooling, I added some crumbled goat cheese to the top for some extra flavor. I find another great, low calorie, addition is Jennie-O's lean turkey bacon. At only 20 calories per slice, it adds a lot of flavor and extra protein.

Slice and serve!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Asian Invasion: Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

I recently subscribed to "Cooking Light" and received my first issue (August 2011) in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I was really excited about this recipe for Rice Noodle Salad, since earlier in the week I'd sauteed some vegetables from the Farmer's market with sesame oil and soy sauce, so I had some extra bulk to add to the dish. (Seen below are carrots, mini eggplant, okra, mushrooms and onion.)

Since Mike would likely not eat tempeh, I decided to substitute chicken. I sliced about 1 1/2 lbs of chicken, and sauteed it in a little bit of toasted sesame oil in a separate pan. Then, I sauteed garlic and shallots in another pan, added eggs, the soy sauce mixture (vegetable broth, ketchup, lime juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha) and the cooked chicken. I also added some shelled edamame from my freezer, and sauteed it all until it came to a boil.
At the same time, I boiled some Wheat Udon noodles I found at Whole Foods, then drained them and tossed them in a little bit of sesame oil.
Next, I added the noodles and bean sprouts to the pan, and let it all simmer for a few minutes.

I skipped all the toppings the recipe suggests, except for the lime, since I had a key lime left over from our Farmer's market trip.
I topped it with some Toasted Sesame Seeds, and it was very well received. I saved the leftovers and will add my other sauteed vegetables to it for lunch later in the week.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stuffed Mirliton

I decided to attempt to make an old recipe healthier than the one I found on the internet... Mostly it worked out, some of it didn't. When I was little, I remember my grandmother used to have this little southern vegetable, mirliton, growing on a rather large vine in her backyard. We used to pick them when they were seasonal and she always used to show me which ones were ripe. I've never made stuffed mirlitons, but when we went to the farmer's market and saw they were in season, I had to take the challenge. I found this recipe online from the Crescent City Farmer's Market, and wanted to give it a try.

I started by halving then boiling the mirlitons, then did as the recipe described, de-seeding them, and chopping the meat out of the vegetable. Next, I substituted chopped carrots for the celery (because I didn't have any in my house), and sauteed the vegetables (carrot, onion, and green bell pepper from the Farmer's Market Box) in a little bit of butter, then added the shrimp. Instead of adding the french bread the recipe called for, I added quinoa. This did a pretty good job of sopping up the broth, and seemed like a great, more nutritious, substitution.
Next, I added the meat from the mirliton, and Italian Style bread crumbs, as well as green onions, parsley, Worcestershire, black pepper, italian seasoning, and salt... Then I decided to get lazy and not measure the Tabasco... BIG mistake... Measure and USE HALF of the recipe's Tabasco suggestion...unless you like your mouth to be on fire.
Anyway, I cooked that for around 6 minutes, and removed it from the heat.

Next, I stuffed the mirlitons with the mixture, topped it with some grated parmesan, and put them in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes.

When I pulled them out, they looked delicious. Mike wasn't a huge fan, and I think next time I try this dish, I'll pulverize the mirliton pieces (he said they reminded him of tomato, which he doesn't eat). I also plan to eliminate the Tabasco all together- you can always add it later.
I saved the stuffing leftovers and will likely either add more quinoa, or some cream to it and sautee it for some peppers later in the week. Hopefully that cuts it a little, because the spice was almost too much to handle!
PS, I can't take credit for the yummy looking gumbo, it's my Mom's.