Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Here Fishy Fishy....

I'm not a fan of fish, but Jamie is, so with trying to cook healthy and experimenting with different recipes, I came across this recipe for Lemon Garlic Tilapia on Allrecipes. It was very easy & used ingredients I had on hand, & Jamie loved it, so I'll definitely be making this one again. I served this with steamed broccoli & risotto.

Lemon Garlic Tilapia
Submitted by: Eireann Rated: 4 out of 5 by 385 members
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 40 Minutes Yields: 4 servings
"Tilapia fillets are bathed in lemon juice and melted butter, seasoned with garlic and parsley, and baked to flaky perfection."

4 tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons fresh lemon
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Rinse tilapia fillets under cool water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Place fillets in baking dish. Pour lemon juice over fillets, then drizzle butter on top. Sprinkle with garlic, parsley, and pepper.

Bake in preheated oven until the fish is white and flakes when pulled apart with a fork, about 30 minutes.

The Anti Buffalo Wild Wings Wings

The regular way that I make chicken wings included the evil deep fryer and stick of butter. Now that fried foods have been banned (well almost...) around this house, Jamie was dying for some of his favorite snack, so I tried wings cooked in a crockpot, which I found in the What's Cooking Low Fat Crockpot Recipe file. I don't eat wings, but Jamie gave them a thumbs up!

Chicken Wings in Teriyaki Sauce . 1.6 Points Per Serving (Weight Watchers)

3 pounds chicken wings -- about 16 wings
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup brown sugar I used 3/4 cup
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry -- or chicken broth I used broth, didn't have sherry
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
I added 1/4 teriyaki sauce

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut off and discard wing tips. Cut each wing at joint to make two sections. Place wing parts on broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat 20 minutes, 10 minutes a side or until chicken is brown. Transfer chicken to Crock-Pot Slow Cooker.

Mix together onion, brown sugar, soy sauce, cooking sherry (or chicken broth), ginger and garlic in bowl. Pour over chicken wings. Cover and cook on Low 5 to 6 hours or on High 2 to 3 hours. Stir chicken wings once to ensure wings are evenly coated with sauce. Serve from Crock-Pot Slow Cooker.

Per serving: 68 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat; 4g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 16mg Chol; 283mg Sodium 7I

Monday, January 14, 2008

Slow, But Easy Bolognese

I haven't made a bolognese sauce in a while, and the last time I did - I forgot to write down the recipe! A traditional bolognese may not have as much tomatoes, but since I like tomatoes - I added more! It turned out soooooo good - it's one of my favorite sauces I've made recently. If you have this in your fridge the next day, you won't be groaning about tasted even better the next day! I served it with a side garden salad and topped with freshly grated pecorino romano.

Tomato Bolognese Sauce

1/2 lb whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)
1 lb ground sirloin (Or whatever meat you prefer, round, chuck, veal, or a combo)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand, with juices
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup red wine (I used pinot noir)
1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3-4 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream (I used 1% milk) (optional)
1 bay leaf
1-2 tablespoons each of fresh parsley, chopped & basil chiffonade
salt & pepper to taste

Parmesan, or preferred cheese for topping (optional)On medium heat, add the olive oil & butter to a dutch oven or heavy pot. Add celery, carrots, mushrooms & onions and saute till soft & translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

Add garlic and meat to the vegetable mixture, and cook for about 8 minutes, or until no longer pink. Increase heat and add wine till it evaporates. Reduce heat back to medium, and add broth, tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, salt & pepper, & tomato paste till simmering.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered for 1.5-2 hours. If using, in the last 20 minutes, slowly add milk/cream and fresh basil & parsley and stir.

Toss with al dente pasta, and top with cheese, if desired.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Discovering Meyer Lemons

You are probably thinking - lemon chicken - again? But...I can't get enough of lemon chicken, but I don't like any syrupy sauces, like from Chinese food places. So I tried a new recipe from Allrecipes, and I made a few changes. Also, I finally found Meyer lemons in my local grocery store - they are more of a cross between lemons and an oranges - and added a great new flavor to the dish. I paired it with some brown rice cooked in chicken broth and The Food Network

**Update - I made the chicken, and took a much better picture just below than the original (thank you new camera!) Also, I cooked it differently and like it better following the updated suggestions, which I will post below.

Baked Lemon Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
Submitted by: Joyce Sokoloff Rated: 4 out of 5 by 205 members
"Lemon-infused chicken is graced with a delicately smooth mushroom sauce."
( scaled down the recipe, it originally uses 6 chicken breasts)

3 skinless, boneless chicken
breast halves
1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 lemon (I used one and a half meyer lemon, including zest of 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup chicken broth (I used 1/2 cup of fat free chicken broth)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used 1.5-2 tbsp)
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
I added one clove garlic, chopped
I added one teaspoon of herbes de provence

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Place the olive oil in an 8x8 glass baking dish. Place the chicken breasts in the dish, coating each side with oil. (I pounded chicken a little flatter to cook better) Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over all. Slice the rest of the lemon and place a lemon slice on top of each chicken piece. (Also added hebes de provence) Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until brown. (I baked about 50 minutes, the last 10 minutes were at 425 to get a bot more brown)

In a large skillet, melt the 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Add the sliced mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms are brown and have exuded their juices, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and blend. Add the chicken broth, stirring to make a medium thick sauce. (I also added some more lemon juice and garlic) Allow to reduce, adjusting with a little more broth to make a creamy sauce. Add fresh parsley at the last minute. Spoon the sauce over the lemon baked chicken breasts. Delicious!

**Alternative Cooking Method as quoted from the person who submited the recipe:

"Since writing this recipe I have changed to a skillet. Brown chicken breasts on both sides in olive oil. Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon over all. Cover with lid over medium heat. Cook til done. Turning a few more times. If you want it more lemony add a teaspoon of lemon zest. I have also added 1 more cup of mushrooms to the sauce. Thanks for the reviews."

Broccoli Florets with Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds broccoli florets
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon olive oil (I whisked some extra virgin olive oil with meyer lemon juice)

Fill a large pot halfway with water. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat. (I used a steamer basket) Salt the water and add the broccoli. Boil until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain, transfer the broccoli florets to a large bowl, and toss with the oil to coat. Season the broccoli florets with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Menu - Week of January 7th

Monday - Baked Lemon Chicken with Mushroom Sauce, Brown Garlic Rice and Broccoli with Meyer Lemon Oil

Tuesday - Grilled Sirloin Cheeseburgers and Baby Red Potato Packets with Fresh Parsley

Wednesday - Beef & Bean Tostadas

Thursday - Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Friday - Takeout Pizza

Saturday - Belated Xmas dinner @ my parents - turkey, potatoes, etc, etc

Sunday - Bolognese sauce with whole wheat pasta & side salad

Pesto Pasta

Still on my health kick, I wanted to combine my 2 favorite things - pasta and grilled veggies. I had prepared pesto on hand, but I'm sure it would have been better with fresh. But I did have fresh basil, which I added at the end. This is a light, quick and filling dish. I made a portion with just veggies for myself, and some with sauteed shrimp for Jamie, and you can omit the chicken broth and cream to make it lighter.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Three Tomatoes & Grilled Veggies

1/2 lb whole wheat rotini
1/4 cup fat free chicken broth
1/4 cup half & half cream
3 tablespoons of chopped sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
1/2 cup basil pesto
1/4 green pepper, cut in chunks
1/2 yellow pepper, 1/2 red pepper, cut in chunks
1/2 small red onion, cut in chunks
1 roma tomato, sliced
Small handful of yellow and red grape tomatoes
1/4 zucchini, sliced
extra virgin olive oil to coat veggie and sauteed shrimp
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
a few leaves of fresh basil, chiffonade

Heat an indoor grill or grill pan. Toss veggies in olive oil, salt & pepper, and some garlic and grill till desired, approx 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions.

If using shrimp, sauteed in a heated pan with a little garlic till pink on both sides, less than 8 minutes.

If you are not using cream, toss pesto pasta, and veggies (and sun dried tomatoes) and basil (and shrimp is desired). Top with basil chiffonade and serve!

If you are making it more creamy, heat the chicken broth, sun dried tomatoes and some garlic till simmering. Add pesto and combine. Add creamy slowly while at a low simmer till creamy, adding more pesto or cream till desired amount is achieved. Turn on low and add in drained pasta, veggies and shrimp. Top with basil chiffonade and serve.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year, New Healthy Recipe

It's a fact - the most popular New Year's resolution is a combination of losing weight/eating right/exercising. I've already been trying to cook well, so the trend is continuing, and I've decided to have one vegetarian meal per week. So when I came across this recipe from a fellow Nestie's blog, The Way The Cookie Crumbles, that also included my long time favorites garlic, tomatoes & cannellini beans, I just had to try it out. I made a few alterations, and it turned out great. Simple, healthy & delicious!

Braised White Beans with Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Garlic
(adapted from Vegetarian Classics, by Jeanne Lemlin)Serves 2 (plus leftovers)
I’ve taken to drizzling a bit of extra-virgin olive oil over everything right before serving.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced (I used 5 cloves)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1 (14-ounce) can ready-cut diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted tomatoes and I added 2 fresh roma tomatoes, diced)
¼ cup water (I also added 1/4 cup chicken broth)
1 medium boiling potato (red or Yukon gold), cut into ¼-inch dice (I used 6 baby red potatoes)
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into ¼-inch slices (the size I buy depends on how healthy I want to be) (I used 1/2 large sized zucchini)
1 (14-ounce) cans small white beans, such as Great Northern or navy, rinsed well in a strainer
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed (I used 1/4 tsp fresh and 1/2 tsp fried Italian seasoning)
¼ teaspoon salt (I added 1/4 tsp freshly ground mixed (red, white, black) pepper)

Heat the oil, garlic, and red pepper in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 30 seconds after the garlic begins to sizzle. (It should not become at all colored). Stir in the tomatoes, water, and potatoes, and cover the pan. Cook at a lively simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost cooked through.

Mix in the zucchini, beans, rosemary, and salt. Cover the pan again and cook, stirring often, 10 minutes more, or until the zucchini and potatoes are tender. At this point check the consistency of the sauce; it should be thick and soupy, not dry or watery. Add a bit of water if the mixture doesn’t have much sauce; cook it uncovered if the juices seem watery. Serve in large pasta bowls, preferably, or on plates.

Menu - Week of December 30th

I usually try and make my weekly meal plan on Sundays and do most of my shopping for the week all at once. This is my first menu post, which I will try to do weekly. Hopefully it'll give you ideas when making your plans ;)

Sunday - Chicken, Broccoli & Spaghetti Squash

Monday - Homemade Pizza with turkey pepperoni, part skim mozza cheese, green peppers, tomatoes and fresh basil (using pre-made ball of dough), salad

Tuesday - Out for Italian - New Year's Eve!

Wednesday - Braised White Beans w/ Tomatoes, Zucchini & Garlic, salad

Thursday - Whole Wheat Rotini w/Pesto, Grilled Vegetables & Shrimp

Friday - leftovers

Saturday - Out

Spaghetti - Minus the Pasta???

I'm trying to incorporate new vegetables in my diet, as well as constantly trying new things. I looooove pasta, and have now switched to whole wheat, however there is still those annoying carbs. Many people on the Nest cooking board love spaghetti squash - after baking, the insides are pulled apart and become noodle-like. You can top it as you would with regular spaghetti - marinara, etc. But I was looking for an alternative to a red sauce, which I make often. The following recipe was just perfect - I only made a couple of changes, since I love lemon & garlic. The site Cara's Cravings also has some other spaghetti squash recipes I hope to try.

Chicken, Broccoli & Spaghetti Squash

1 medium spaghetti squash, roasted, seeds discarded, and stringy flesh removed (about 4 cups)
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
salt and pepper
2 small stalks of broccoli
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 3-4 cloves)
1 tbsp olive oil
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, minced (I had only dried on hand)
4 oz dry white wine (I used 6 oz)
juice from 1/2 of a lemon (I used a whole meyer lemon)
1/4 cup half and half
grated lemon zest
freshly chopped basil
2 tbsp parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

Heat a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and add to hot pan. Cook for a few minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Add broccoli, garlic, thyme and olive oil to pan, stirring to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 3-5 minutes, till broccoli softens a bit.

Add wine and lemon juice to pan and scrape up bits from the bottom; bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add half and half and continue simmering till slightly thickened. Add spaghetti squash, tossing to coat and heat through. Garnish each serving with grated cheese, lemon zest, and basil.

*I prefer to do this in the oven. Pierce the squash all over, and bake in a pan with a little water for about an hour at 400F. Cool and then split open, remove seeds, and pull out stringy flesh with two forks. This can be done ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a couple days.