Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Questionably Cajun

I spent last week in Ocean City, MD and after eating out for three days in a row, I was actually craving vegetables. The result? A combination of Paula Deen's Dirty Rice, a Dirty Rice recipe from AllRecipes, and the Sausage Jambalaya recipe on the back of Uncle Ben's Parboiled Rice. I took onion, celery and bell peppers from Paula Deen, kidney beans from AllRecipes and garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth and Andouille sausage from Uncle Ben. 

Cajun Rice a la Ocean City

1/2 onion, finely diced
1 can dark red kidney beans
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 pack of precooked Cajun Andouille sausage, sliced
Bouillon cube (Recommended: Edward & Sons Not Chick'n) 
Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups white rice
Salt & Pepper

1. Boil 3 1/3 cups of water, drop in 1 bouillon cube and allow to melt, pour in rice
2. Sauté onion, celery, and bell pepper, flavoring with Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to taste
3. Stir continuously, adding more sauce as it cooks
4. When the onions are browned, heat up the beans and sausage with the other vegetables
5. When the sausage is heated through, serve vegetable mixture on top of the white rice

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Tofu Experiment

I finally got up the courage to try making tofu the other day. I used what they call the dry method. You chop the tofu into small cubes, pat them down with a paper towel and fry them in a non-stick skillet with no oil until the sides are golden.While they are browning, press them down with a spatula to steam out the water. Then marinate for 30 minutes or more. 
We used a Balducci's Thai Marinade. I am going to have to experiment with marinades because the one I used was a little salty. 
After marinating, we stir-fried the tofu with olive oil and mushrooms. I cooked the scallions, carrots, snow peas and bell peppers separately and added them in later.
Deliciousness complete! I'm going to test out different marinades this week and see which ones are best :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Health" Food

I have been working at a hospital and helping them run a Wellness Program all summer. Each week we send out recipe ideas and workout tips in a newsletter to the participants. Each week I promise I will try the recipe before hand to make sure I am not going to discourage people from eating vegetables or trying a new food. And each week, I fail to do it.

Well, this week the recipe is not a vegetable or a new way to bake chicken, but muffins. Muffins I can do. I have no problem finding the motivation to bake up a batch of Fig Muffins. Especially because there is a valuable lesson in recipe substitutions to be learned. And the added bonus? The recipe was written by a Registered Dietitian! Check out Ellie Krieger on the Food Network if you get a chance - she is the real deal.

Cooking spray
1 cup chopped dried figs, plus 3 whole dried figs
1 1/2 cups bran cereal (recommended: All-Bran)
1 cup lowfat milk
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup natural applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1 large egg, beaten

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-capacity muffin pan with cooking spray. Thinly slice the whole figs.
2) In a large bowl, combine the cereal and milk. Let sit until softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
3) Add the applesauce, honey, oil, molasses, and egg to the cereal mixture and stir until combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently stir in the chopped figs. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and top each muffin with a fig slice. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
4) Bake for about 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. If necessary, run a knife around the muffins to loosen. Unmold and cool completely on a rack.

Note: Make a batch of these muffins on the weekend, then wrap them individually in waxed paper and freeze them in a sealable plastic bag. When you want a muffin all you have to do is take 1 out the night before to defrost at room temperature. Enjoy with a skim latte or a to-go container of lowfat milk for a perfect start to a busy day.

Nutritional analysis per serving (Serving size: 1 muffin)

Calories 230; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 1 g, Mono Fat 4 g, Poly Fat 2 g) ; Protein 5 g; Carb 42 g; Fiber 6 g; Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 135 mg

Excellent source of: Fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folate, Manganese, Phosphorus

Good source of: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc