Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Pasta Salad

There is nothing that says Memorial Day more than a good old American barbecue. But chances are that barbecue will have plenty of chips, dip, and desserts, and very few vegetables. Pasta salad is the answer to this problem, it is a socially acceptable, well-liked side that you can pile on with vegetables and people will just think it's got great color! The trick is to make sure your pasta salad is healthy ;)

12 oz Pasta
1 Yellow Bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup Brianna's New American Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

Cook the pasta and rinse it in a collander with cold water. Pour the prepared vegetables and pasta in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the salad dressing and Italian seasoning and mix well until the pasta is coated with dressing. Allow to "marinate" for at least an hour before serving.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Healthy Mac, Maryland Style

After a late night watching Food Network, I was inspired to try one of Ellie Krieger's Meal Makeovers!
Check out this Video, and Get Inspired!
First on the list was her "Macaroni and 4 Cheeses" - made with more than a pound of pureed butternut squash and low-fat milk. I stepped it up a notch by using whole wheat pasta, and using half the amount of bread crumb topping. 
After reading the reviews, I was concerned that the squash would overpower it, but after trying it, I thought there was a really great balance between subtle squash flavor and cheesy goodness. 
I served it with a sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning for an extra kick, instead of the Cayenne Pepper that Ellie recommends. On the side, I had some fresh asparagus from the University Farmer's Market yesterday. It was absolutely delicious after I brushed it with olive oil, sprinkled on some parmesan cheese and roasted it under the broiler until soft.
Cooking spray
1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash  OR 20 oz  (1.3 cans) canned butternut squash puree
2 cups 1% lowfat milk
2 cups Cheddar & Monterrey jack cheese blend, grated
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Old Bay (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.
Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

Allergens: Wheat, gluten, milk
Nutrition (1/8 recipe): 366 calories, 10 g fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 208 mg sodium, 294 mg potassium, 51 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 20 g protein, 102% vitamin A, 18% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 3% iron

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Tortilla Pizza Face-Off Part II

The last of the Tortilla Pizzas are baking in my oven, and they look spectacular! I think scallions and tomatoes are the perfect toppings for these little gems, and they toasted up very nicely. I am even considering eating one for breakfast tomorrow morning so I don't have to wait til dinnertime to enjoy them! 

Of course, I always end up tweaking the recipe a little bit when I'm making it, mostly if I'm missing ingredients. This time, I left out the chopped onion that was meant to be mixed into the refried beans. Since I only used about half of the refried beans in the can, I'm glad I skipped that step. 
Also, since the recipe makes so many servings, I'm testing the stability of the pizzas in the freezer and in the fridge. I'm always looking for new delicious leftover foods!

Honey What's Cooking? Mexican Tortilla PizzaNumber of Servings: 4 
Serving Size: 1 pizza
Non-stick cooking spray
8 small yellow corn tortillas
1/2 can refried beans
1/4 cup water
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp taco seasoning
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup Mexican Cheese Blend

1. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
2. Line a tray with foil.
3. Place 2 tortillas on a flat surface and lightly spray/brush both sides of the tortilla with non-stick cooking spray
4. Place both tortillas on the foil tray.
5. Once the oven preheats, place the tortillas in the oven for 10 minutes – 5 minutes on each side
6. Empty the contents of the refried beans into a small pot.
7. Add a 1/4 cup of water.
8. Place the pot over a stove on low-heat.
9. Add the seasonings paprika and and taco seasoning.
10. Mix the beans. Wait a couple minutes and once heated thru, turn off the stove.
11. In the meantime, chop the veggies.
12. Check on the tortillas. DON’T TURN OFF THE STOVE. See how they are crispy once baked.
13. Spread a couple dollops of beans over the tortilla.
14. Top off with a thin layer of salsa.
15. Place the second piece of tortilla on top.
16. Spread salsa again – very little.
17. Top with scallions and tomatoes.
18. Top with cheese, make sure you get the sides.
19. Using a flat ladle place the Mexican Tortilla Pizza on the foiled tray.
20. Into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned

Allergens: Soy & Wheat (Tortilla), Milk
Nutrition (1 pizza): 350 calories, 13 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 27 mg cholesterol, 823 mg sodium, 254 ,g potassium, 5 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 16 g protein, 15% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C, 27% calcium, 20% iron, 23% folate, 17% manganese, 12% niacin, 22% phosphorous, 18% riboflavin, 25% selenium, 22% thiamin

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Tortilla Pizza Face-Off Part I

I'm totally on a Mexican Food Kick these past couple months... Mexican Noodles, Mexican Pizza, Mexican Dip... but hey, I will always take advantage of an opportunity to use taco seasoning and tons of fresh vegetables! So when my work today brought me to the CDC recipe database - - I obviously chose the tortilla pizza to go in the cookbooks we are sending home with students next week after they visit the University Farmer's Market. 

And isn't it only fair that I try out some of these recipes first?  

And just to make this a little more interesting, I'm going to have a little nutrition face-off with a fellow blogger's Tortilla Pizza recipe - someone who "watches her weight" and tells us how her recipe is full of protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. We will see about that! 

Skip below for recipes - I'm warning you, I might ramble a bit!

Honey What's Cooking Mexican Tortilla Pizza

Let's talk about this Pizza. It is made with two tortillas "glued" together with refried beans and a layer of salsa. These tortillas are toasted to perfection in the oven and then covered with more salsa, as well as scallions, tomatoes and cheese.
What about her nutrient claims? As far as protein is concerned, I think 18 g is great for a vegetarian dish, and it's all thanks to the beans. Fiber comes in at 7 g, a respectable amount which you could increase if you used whole wheat tortillas (I used white flour tortillas in the analysis because I can never find whole wheat in the grocery store, but go for it if you can find them). It is a good source of vitamin A & vitamin C and an excellent source of calcium. At 415 calories, this recipe is a perfectly reasonable portion - if you can eat just one!
This is terrible but true - I want to make this pizza recipe way more than CDC recipe because it looks delicious, and the other recipe has no picture. So, in an attempt to be logical, I'll do a nutritional comparison. After all, you can't fight the facts right?

Fruits & Veggies More Matters/ CDC Tortilla Pizza 

This recipe has a similar construction - two tortillas are stuck together and crisped up in a frying pan. Then the refried beans and taco sauce are spread on top, along with broccoli, mushrooms, peppers or whatever other vegetables you have around. Oh, and don't forget the cheese - .33 oz or 1/12 cup per pizza, which seems a little wimpy, not to mention hard to measure.  
The "pizza" is then put back in the frying pan until the cheese melts. I'm not quite sure why we are recommending frying tortillas instead of baking them, but I'm not in support of that particular cooking method. 
The facts speak for themselves though. Ringing in at 298 calories, this recipe has 6 g protein and 12 g fiber per serving. The lower amount of protein is probably due to the smaller portion of beans. The high fiber is definitely because of the 1/2 cup of random veggies you are adding. 
The other nutrients are kind of disappointing though - vitamin A is 8% lower in this recipe and calcium is 16% lower. Vitamin C is 36% higher, but I'm not so easily impressed by a little extra vitamin C.
On the plus side, it is much lower in saturated fat and has 250 mg less of sodium. 

But what has lots of saturated fat and sodium? Cheese, and that is one big difference between these two recipes. The first uses 1 oz of cheese, the second uses .33 oz of cheese.

I'll make one of them tomorrow and let you know about this cheese situation, it seems to be the root of all my problems.

Honey What's Cooking? Mexican Tortilla Pizza

Whole Wheat Tortillas – 8 medium tortillas (2 pieces for each pizza)
Canola Oil – very small amount to glaze both sides of the tortilla
Refried Black Beans – 1 (1 pound) can
Water – 1/4 cup
Onion – 1 small (diced)
Paprika – 1 tsp
Black Pepper – 1/4 tsp (or omit – you don’t really need it)
Ortega Taco Seasoning – 1 tsp
Scallions – 1 bunch (chopped)
Jalapeno – 1/2 a jalapeno (deseeded & finely chopped)
Tomato – 1 (chopped)
Whole Foods 365 Organic Salsa – enough to spread over the pizza
Mexican Cheese Blend – enough to cover the pizza …you can use reduced fat cheese

1. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
2. Line a tray with foil.
3. Place 2 tortillas on a flat surface and lightly glaze/brush both sides of the tortilla with Canola Oil.
4. Place both tortillas on the foil tray.
5. Once the oven preheats, place the tortillas in the oven for 10 minutes – 5 minutes on each side so they crisp up. You can add multiple tortillas if you have room.
6. In the meantime, make the beans. Empty the contents of the refried beans into a small pot.
7. Add a 1/4 cup of water.
8. Place the pot over a stove on low-heat.
9. In the meantime, chop an onion. Add the onion to the beans.
10. Add the seasonings – paprika, black pepper, and taco seasoning. I don’t think you will need salt.
11. Mix. Wait a couple minutes and once heated thru, turn off the stove.
12. In the meantime, chop the veggies.
13. Check on the tortillas. DON’T TURN OFF THE STOVE. See how they are crispy once baked.
14. Spread a couple dollops of beans over the tortilla.
15. Top off with very little salsa.
16. Spread.
17. Place the second piece of tortilla on top. Now top with salsa.
18. Spread salsa again – very little.
19. Top with scallions and tomatoes.
20. Add just about 1/2 to 1 tsp of deseeded jalapeno – see how much you can handle.
21. Top with cheese, make sure you get the sides.
22. Using a flat ladle place the Mexican Tortilla Pizza on the foiled tray.
23. Into the oven for 12 minutes – I like my cheese slightly browned.

Serving Size: makes 4 pizzas
Number of Servings: 4

Fruits & Veggies More Matters Tortilla Pizza
Recipe Summary:
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Number of Servings: 6
Cups of Fruits and Vegetables Per Person: 1.00

12 small corn or flour tortillas
Vegetable Oil or Margarine
1 (16oz) can refried beans
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 ounces fresh or canned green chili peppers, diced
6 Tbsp red taco sauce
3 cups chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, and bell peppers
1/2 cup (2oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Brush one side of each of two tortillas with water. Press the wet sides of the tortillas together to from a thick crust for the pizza. Brush the outside of the tortillas with a small amount of oil or margarine. Evenly brown both sides in a heated frying pan. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Set aside. Heat refried beans, chopped onion, and half of the diced chili peppers together in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Spread about 1/3 cup of the bean mixture on each tortilla pizza. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of taco sauce, then top with 1/2 cup of the chopped vegetables, 1 teaspoon of diced chili peppers, and 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese for each pizza. Return to frying pan and heat until cheese melts. Top with cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately.

Cinco de Mayo with Ellie Krieger, RD :)

So, I know I've talked about Ellie Krieger in the past, but I'm not sure I've ever actually made one of her recipes. She is the only Chef on the Food Network that is also a Registered Dietitian, and you know I am in support of that! This past Cinco de Mayo, I finally decided to make one of her recipes - a five-layer Mexican dip. It disappeared in the first twenty minutes of the party, and it was pretty easy to make. The only time-consuming part of the recipe was chopping up the veggies, but it was worth it!

And the best part about Ellie's recipes? She does the nutritional analysis for me :)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo
4 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups corn kernels (10-ounce box frozen corn)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 ripe avocados
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion
1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeno pepper, optional
3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.

Put half of the onion mixture into a food processor with the black beans, chipotle pepper, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, cumin, water and salt. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Add the corn to the skillet with the remaining onion mixture and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro leaves.

In a small bowl mash the avocado with the remaining lime juice. In a medium bowl toss together the tomatoes, scallion and jalapeno, if using. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread the black bean dip into the bottom of an 8 by 8 glass baking or serving dish. Top with the corn mixture, spreading it out to form a single layer over the beans, repeat with the avocado, then the tomatoes. Top with cheese. Serve with baked chips.

Allergens: Milk
Nutrition (1/2 cup or 1/12 recipe): Calories 140; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 3 g, Poly Fat 0.7 g) ; Protein 5g; Carb 16 g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 6mg; Sodium 245 mg

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hungry Girl's Chicken Flautas?!

Hungry Girl is a great resource for low-calorie recipes, but as with most things, it's all checking your nutrition labels and making the best choices at the grocery store. I learned that the hard way when I tried to make Hungry Girl's Chicken Flautas. The Hungry Girl (HG) wants fat-free cheeses, corn tortillas and plenty of spices. My little downtown grocery store has none of this. 
Let me cut to the chase - this 188 calorie recipe became a 420 calorie recipe out of no where! Mostly, I blame the tortillas, only afterward did I realize that flour tortillas have more calories than corn tortillas.
It is still a great recipe even with my inadequate groceries, and it makes me think I want to start an under-500 calories series. It is a bit overdone, but being informed is always a good thing!

1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
4 oz. cooked and finely chopped skinless lean chicken breast
3 tbsp. diced onion
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (I sprinkled some red pepper flakes on the mixture instead)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
Four 8-inch flour tortillas
2 tsp. chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine picante sauce with cheese and mix well. In another bowl, combine chicken, diced onion, and seasonings; mix well. Set both bowls aside.

Dampen two paper towels, and place tortillas between them. Microwave for about 1 minute, until tortillas are warm and pliable. Set aside.

Place one tortilla flat on a clean dry surface (keep the rest between the paper towels), and spread 1/4th of the saucy cheese mixture (about 1 tbsp.) onto the bottom third of the tortilla. Top with 1/4th of the chicken mixture (about 3 tbsp.). Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. cilantro. Tightly roll tortilla up from the bottom around the filling. Repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese mixture, chicken mixture, and cilantro, for a total of 4 flautas.

Carefully transfer flautas to the baking sheet, seam side down. Spray the tops with nonstick spray. Bake in the oven until tortilla edges are lightly browned and crispy, 15 - 20 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Adapted from:

Allergens: Wheat, gluten, milk
Nutrition (1/2 recipe): 420 calories, 12 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 69 mg cholesterol, 1269 mg sodium, 274 mg potassium, 48 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 28 g protein, 10% vitamin A, 18% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 18% iron, 22% copper, 26% folate, 22% manganese, 16% niacin, 12% phosphorous, 14% riboflavin, 25% selenium, 28% thiamine, 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pasta Salad made for a Picnic

What better time to blog about warm weather and picnics than when it is rainy and cold outside! Last week, when it was warm and sunny, I rounded up some of my girlfriends and we set out for Patterson Park with Tuna Sandwiches, Pasta Salad, Watermelon Slices and a Bottle of Wine. Sitting under a tree, watching baseball and eating refreshing food makes for an idealistic Sunday afternoon. I can't wait to do it again.
I used bowtie pasta and added fresh basil. I just wish I had taken a picture of it, it looked even better than the picture on the website. A lot of pasta salad recipes use salad dressing, but I like that this dressing is relatively natural and simple.

Serving Size 6 servings (1-1/3 cups each)
12 ounces dry rotini pasta, uncooked (12 oz = 4-1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 tablespoons Gulden's® Spicy Brown Mustard
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1 large cucumber, sliced
1 can (2.25 oz each) ripe olives, drained
1 pkg (3.5 oz each) crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
Fresh chopped basil (optional)
Coarse ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
Meanwhile, mix together oil and mustard in large bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients, except pepper, until combined. Toss in cooled pasta. Sprinkle with pepper, as desired.

Allergens: Wheat, gluten, milk
Nutrition (1 serving): 292 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 6 mg cholesterol, 654 mg sodium, 164 mg potassium, 37 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 11 g protein, 12% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 10% calcium, 17% iron, 12% vitamin E, 12% copper, 21% folate, 19% manganese, 10% niacin, 33% selenium, 16% thiamine

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my birthday this Saturday, but everyone wins when there are funfetti cupcakes! I've been  baking for the last three hours, and I'm bringing the extra into work tomorrow to celebrate my last day of trauma. Staff relief here I come! There are so many reasons to celebrate!

Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes
Yield: 42 large cupcakes

10 large egg whites at room temperature
1 1/2 cup 1% milk, at room temperature
4 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
24 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
1 cup rainbow sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease cupcake pans or line with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, 1/2 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
4. Add the butter and remaining 1 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition. Stir in rainbow sprinkles.
6. Pour batter into the cupcake pan.
7. Bake 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks.
8. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.

Adapted from

Allergens: Wheat, Gluten, Milk, Eggs, Soy (in the sprinkles)
Nutrition (1 cupcake): 185 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 194 mg sodium, 16 mg potassium, 29 g carbohydrates, .5 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 3 g protein, 5% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 6% calcium, 6% iron, 11% folate, 5% niacin, 3% phosphorous, 6% riboflavin, 8% thiamine

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Very Minty, Green St. Patrick's Day to You!

When St. Patrick's Day comes along, I feel obligated to produce baked goods involving either green food, green food dye, or beer. This year, pinterest led me to this lovely recipe:

Green Food Dye it is! 
A lot of reviewers complained of the intense minty flavor, and at first I wondered what they were talking about. Then I realized, I used peppermint extract, instead of peppermint oil. 
The substitution is: 

1/4 teaspoon oil = 1 teaspoon extract

So basically, I only used a quarter of the amount of peppermint called for in the recipe. I'm sure I would have complained too, if I used that much peppermint! I used 3 teaspoons of peppermint extract, and I was happy with the results, but I'll post the original recipe below:

Mint Meltaway Cookie Recipe 
Makes 24 cookies

You will need:
1 cup unsalted organic butter
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
3 teaspoons of peppermint oil (see note above)
A few drops of green food coloring
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cream butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, peppermint oil and a few drops of green food coloring together in your mixer. Stir flour and salt together and then blend into butter mixture.

Drop dough by the teaspoonful, or roll into a ball and flatten for a cleaner look, on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. While warm, dust cookies with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Allergens: Milk, wheat, gluten
Nutrition (1 cookie): 115 calories, 8 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 24 mg sodium, 3 mg potassium, 11 g carbohydrates, 2 g sugar, 1 g protein, 6% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 0% calcium, 4% iron  

Turkey Noodle Concoction

Don't let it's looks deceive you, this Turkey Noodle Casserole is pure delicious-ness. The peppers gave it a nice little kick without being overwhelming. Now if you like a little heat, you could probably use two or three chipotle peppers with no problem, but I liked it with just one.
Doing the recipe analysis for this recipe, I was shocked how many calories 1 cup of cheese can have (about 400 calories for the brand I chose)! It's easy to forget at the grocery store that the cheese is all made with whole milk, unless it says otherwise. I feel especially silly for buying whole milk cheese, since I know 2% tastes exactly the same. Just making that simple switch could save you around 120 calories in this recipe and 12 g of fat!

Turkey Noodle Casserole (Serves 6)
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for preparing the pan
10 ounces rigatoni or other shaped pasta
1 medium onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes and juices, crushed
1 to 2 chipotles en adobo, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, low-sodium
2 cups cooked ground turkey, or diced cooked turkey, chicken, or smoked chicken breast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1 lime, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush an 8 x 8-inch casserole dish with oil. Set aside.

Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Transfer cooked pasta to a plate.

Saute the onion in a large skillet, over medium heat, until light golden. Add the garlic, oregano, taco seasoning, and bay leaf, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and the chipotles, increase the heat to high, and cook for 2 minutes, until thickened. Add the broth and pasta to the skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle simmer, lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the turkey. Turn the mixture into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese over and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve the casserole with  lime wedges on the side.

Allergens: Milk, Wheat, Gluten, Soy (found in chicken broth)
Nutrition (1/6 casserole): 485 calories, 23 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 91 mg cholesterol, 520 mg sodium, 517 mg potassium, 44 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 27 g protein, 4% vitamin A, 8% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 12% iron, 15% vitamin B-6, 11% vitamin E, 11% folate, 15% manganese, 23% niacin, 27% phosphorous, 16% riboflavin, 35% selenium, 10% thiamine, 17% zinc

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another Delicious Valentine's Day

For my first single Valentine's Day in a couple years, I felt I owed it to myself to keep up the tradition, and cook myself a nice meal. My roommate was also home last Tuesday, so we teamed up and made a meal that we could be proud of. This salmon recipe from Giada De Laurentiis was perfect for our purposes. By the time we got home from work, we didn't have much patience to wait around for a nice meal. Really, this is a perfect every day meal, but we felt like we were eating gourmet food just the same.
I made it even easier for myself, and instead of mixing all of those vegetables, I just steamed up some snow peas, and covered them with glaze too. Couscous was an easy addition as well. After dinner, we made cupcakes :)

Giada's Balsamic-Glazed Salmon
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed or chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional)

Four 6-ounce center-cut salmon fillets, skinned
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed or chopped
2 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame (12 ounces), thawed
2 cups sugar snap peas (6 ounces), halved

For the glaze: In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and garlic to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thick, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

For the salmon: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the salmon on the baking sheet. Drizzle both sides of the salmon with the olive oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

For the vegetables: In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook until the shallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the edamame and snap peas and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the vegetable mixture among 4 serving plates. Top with a piece of salmon and drizzle with the glaze.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Restaurant Trend

This past week was Restaurant Week in Baltimore, so my roommate and I made reservations for dinner Friday and Today at an Italian restaurant and a steak house. At the steak house, we both got the prime rib dinner with salads, sides and dessert for a great price, but found ourselves with more food than we knew what to do with. 
Well, I think this steak house had the right idea. When they came back with my leftovers all packaged up they also attached a card with this website that had recipes using leftover steak. I think this would be a great trend for restaurants to start!

Less overeating and less waste? That's what I'm talking about!

Sugary Sweet Treats at the End of the Week

Persian Ghotab, Almond-Filled Cakes

I always love to try new foods, and these cakes/pastries/cookies were certainly fun to make. My old college roommate is Persian, and she loves to make Ghotab with her mom for parties and family get-togethers. It's wonderful how food can remind you of so many traditions and memories. Although, she admitted to me that this recipe from the internet, is better than her mom's.

I plan to reproduce this recipe in my own kitchen some day. But until then, I have no way of knowing exactly how much of any ingredient we added (The dough was too moist so we added more flour then the recipe called for). This makes it pretty much impossible for me to do a nutritional analysis. So, for the time being, I can live in ignorance, and actually enjoy this indulgent, fried dessert!

2 egg yolks
½ cup butter
½ cup yogurt
1½ cups flour
2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

½ cup ground almonds
¼ cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Beat the egg yolks, butter, and yogurt until creamy. Stir in the flour gradually, and knead well with the hands. If the dough is sticky, add more flour. Place the dough in a plastic bag and keep it at room temperature for 2 or 3 hours.

For the filling, mix together the almonds, confectioners sugar, and ground cardamom.

Roll out the dough on a floured board to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut it into circles with a floured cookie cutter. Place a small amount of filling in the middle of each cookie. Fold the edges up, pinch together, and crimp the dough together all along the open side. Heat the cooking oil in a deep saucepan to 375 F. Drop the cookies in and deep-fry until golden brown (3 to 5 minutes). Drain them on paper towels. While still warm, roll them in confectioners sugar. When they are cool, roll them again in confectioners sugar.

Allergens: Egg, milk, nuts, wheat, gluten

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lighten it up!

I just finished prepping to make my favorite Jambalaya recipe tomorrow, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to update the recipe with nutrition information.
 Of course, as soon as I look at the nutrition breakdown, I realize the sausage is full of saturated fat and sodium. So I may consider switching out the sausage for shrimp. Replacing one sausage link with 3 oz of shrimp saves 76 calories, 10 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat and 810 mg sodium per serving! 

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

Allergens: Soy (broth)
Nutrition (1/4 recipe w/ 1 sausage link): 345 calories, 12 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 51 mg cholesterol, 1249 mg sodium, 523 mg potassium, 38 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 23 g protein, 4% vit A, 7% vit C, 5% calcium, 18% iron, 15% copper, 26% folate, 11% magnesium, 36% manganese, 15% niacin, 18% phosphorous, 11% selenium, 16% thiamin

"Lighten it Up!"
Allergens: Shellfish, soy (broth)
Nutrition (1/4 recipe w/ 3 oz shrimp): 269 calories, 2 g fat, .5 g sat fat, 167 mg cholesterol, 839 mg sodium, 677 mg potassium, 37 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 26 g protein, 5% vit A, 10% vit C, 8% calcium, 29% iron, 23% vit B-12, 12% vit B-6, 22% copper, 27% folate, 18% magnesium, 38% manganese, 26% niacin, 30% phosphorous, 10% riboflavin, 59% selenium, 18% thiamin, 16% zinc

Monday, January 9, 2012

In Which Super Tracker Helps Me Justify my Love of Fatty Meats

As a future dietitian, I should know better. I know which fats are the "healthy" kind and which ones to avoid. 
But I love my sausage, be it at breakfast or dinner, be it in patty form or bulk, be it Italian or Andouille. In this case the good outweighs the bad. And I can prove it. (If you trust me already, skip to the bottom for a delicious recipe; if you want my evidence, read on.)
I just learned about this great new tool called the Super Tracker. It is part of the government's MyPlate campaign, and it tracks just about anything you could want. In this case, I wanted to know how many servings of vegetables I am getting. The Super Tracker tells me that one half a squash has 1 cup of vegetables (40% of my Daily Value), and 1 1/2 oz protein (27% of my Daily Value). (The other 1/2 oz sausage per serving contributes to my discretionary calories due to the fat content.) In my opinion, for the average healthy person can handle a little fat from a natural, minimally processed source.
You won't see me substituting leaner meats for this pork sausage because the spices and the flavor make the recipe and deliver the satisfaction you crave. However, when you look at the sausage's nutrition label, please do me a favor. Make sure that the ingredients list does not include the words "monosodium glutamate", "autolyzed yeast extract" or "MSG".

1/4 cup chopped apple
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 pound bulk pork sausage
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

In a medium bowl, combine apple, onion, sage and pepper. Add sausage; mix well. Spoon into squash halves; place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more or until sausage is no longer pink and squash is tender.

Allergens: None
Nutrition (1/2 squash): 255 calories, 12 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 56 mg cholesterol, 332 mg sodium, 839 mg potassium, 26 g crabohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 13 g protein, 16% vit A, 44% vit C, 9% calcium, 13% iron, 18% vit B-6, 8% copper, 11% folate, 18% magnesium, 20% manganese, 21% thiamin

Adapted from:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I finally brought some of my cook books from home when I came back from winter break, and the Pioneer Woman Cooks was first on my list. Just out of sheer luck, one of my friends mentioned he loved pineapple upside down cake, so when I found this recipe, I had to make it for him. 
Unlike Ree Drummond, I don't happen to own a cast iron skillet, so I had to adapt a little and transfer my caramelized pineapple into a cake pan, and drizzle the buttery brown sugar on top. On the plus side, I didn't have to pour the entire half-stick of butter in.
The cake portion was super moist and the pineapple looked great (even though they stuck to the bottom of the pan at first). 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 stick  (3/4 cup) butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
One 20 oz can sliced pineapple, 2 Tablespoons juice reserved
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
Maraschino cherries (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, 1 stick of butter, milk, eggs, vanilla and reserved pineapple juice. 
3. Mix until well combined, set aside.
4. Melt the remaining half stick of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Swirl to coat. 
5. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter, making sure it's evenly distributed. You want the entire surface of the butter to be covered in brown sugar. Do not stir. 
6. Once the sugar dissolves, place a layer of pineapple slices over the top.
7. If desired, place maraschino cherries in the center of the pineapple slices.
8. Transfer the pineapple slices and maraschino cherries to a 10" cake pan and drizzle some of the butter mixture on top.
9. Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple slices.
10. Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
11. Immediately run a knife around the edge of the cake.
12. Place the cake pan upside down on the plate, and patch the cake
back together if needed. 
13. Cool slightly, and serve warm

Allergens: Wheat, gluten, eggs, milk
Nutrition (1/12 recipe): 440 calories, 12 g fat, 7 g sat fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, 194 mg potassium, 86 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 66 g sugar, 5 g protein, 9% vitamin A, 6% vitamin C, 7% calcium, 10% iron, 14% folate, 30% manganese, 16% vitamin B-1, 14% vitamin B-2, 15% selenium