Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Easy, Healthy, Quick Meals Part VI

There is a lot to be said for a recipe that cooks up quick and requires minimal prep time. Even more so if it is also healthy, cheap, and uses nonperishable ingredients. So even though this is not my favorite Giada recipe, it is definitely worth keeping the ingredients around in case I ever need to cook up  a good amount of food in a short amount of time. I promise you, it will grow on you as you eat, especially if you are generous with red pepper flakes and the parmesan ;)

1 pound farfalle pasta - I had gemelli so that's what I used
2 heads broccoli, trimmed to florets (about 4 cups) - I used frozen
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 anchovy fillets, diced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan - I used Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally. Cook the broccoli according to the package directions. Drain pasta and broccoli together in a collander, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, pasta, salt and pepper and toss. Add some of the reserved pasta water, if necessary, to make a light sauce. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Allergens: Fish, milk, wheat, gluten
Nutrition (1/6 recipe): 476 calories, 16 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 68 mg cholesterol, 327 mg sodium, 444 mg potassium, 64 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 1.5 g sugar, 22 g protein, 43% vitamin A, 113% vitamin C, 26% calcium, 14% iron, 42% vitamin B-12, 17% vitamin D, 15% vitamin E, 41% folate, 13% magnesium, 14% niacin, 31% phosphorous, 20% riboflavin, 17% thiamin, 10% zinc

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Recipe Re-do: Spinach Artichoke Dip

Look Familiar? I last posted about this recipe in March 2010.
This Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe from Juan Carlos Cruz has served me well over the past few years, so it is too bad that they took down the recipe from the Food Network website. Luckily, one of my fellow bloggers shared her version of the recipe, and I tend to agree with most of her revisions. Thanks, "Tiny Kitchen Cooking"

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Recipe courtesy Juan-Carlos Cruz & the Food Network

1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, plus more as needed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
Carrot sticks, celery sticks or baked tortilla strips, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Squeeze all excess liquid from spinach, place in a food processor with sour cream, Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, the cream cheese, garlic, pepper and hot sauce. (I just mixed them together in a bowl, and crushed the garlic in a garlic press).

Process until just blended but still slightly lumpy. Add artichokes and pulse to form a chunky mixture (I just made sure the artichokes were chopped small and mixed them in. Pour into an 8"x 8" dish). Top with remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes (~45 minutes to achieve a nicely browned top). Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks or baked tortilla strips.

Allergens: milk
Nutrition (1/8 recipe): 189 calories, 12 g fat, 39 mg cholesterol, 415 mg sodium, 178 mg potassium, 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 11 g protein, 52% vitamin A, 8% vitamin C, 24% calcium, 5% iron, 11% phosphorus, 11% riboflavin

Roasted Winter Vegetable Lasagna

 This week was my turn to work the weekend, which meant I had Thursday off, so I spent the day grocery shopping, prepping veggies, making dip and baking lasagna. With the thermometer stuck below 20 degrees, it was too cold to do much else. 
I was inspired by a roasted root vegetable lasagna that I had at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle a few years ago. You wouldn't think that radishes, squash and leeks would make for delicious lasagna, but it did. So I had high hopes for this recipe from "The view from great island" blog.

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and sliced (I used the pre-cut squash)
1 leek, sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
a couple of handfuls of Brussels sprouts, quartered
about a cup and a half of thickly sliced mushrooms
3 garlic cloves,whole with skin on
olive oil
1 package of no cook lasagna noodles (I used a little more than half the box)
1 large jar of your favorite tomato sauce, or tomato puree
1 1/2 lb of whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
large handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped
salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 -3 8 oz balls of fresh mozzerella, thinly sliced (I used ~20 oz)

1) Set the oven to 400 degrees for the roasted veggies. Spread the vegetables out on baking pans in one layer. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Roast them in the hot oven just until they brown a bit and are almost tender. This will only take 10 or 15 minutes. Stir or shake the pan once or twice during roasting. 
2) After you take the vegetables out of the oven, turn down the heat to 375. Squeeze out the roasted garlic from its peel and chop it up.
3) Mix the ricotta with the eggs and sage. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
4) Ladle some of the tomato sauce to cover the bottom of your 9x12 lasagna pan and lay a first layer of noodles down. Try to cover most of the space, breaking noodles to fit, if necessary. Put down 1/2 of the veggies, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, and 1/3 of the mozzerella.
5) Make 1 more layer the same way. Press down on the noodles lightly as you layer and season with salt and pepper.
6) For the last layer put down the noodles, top with sauce, and mozzerella. Make sure all exposed noodles are covered in sauce. No-cook noodles need extra sauce to cook in and absorb.
7) Cover loosely with non-stick foil and bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes, and run under the broiler to brown if necessary. Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting. Cool completely before freezing.


Allergens: Eggs, milk, wheat, gluten
Nutrition (1/12 lasagna): 367 calories, 22 g fat, 11 g sat fat, 94 mg cholesterol, 677 mg sodium, 561 mg potassium, 23 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 21 g protein, 69% vitamin A, 37% vitamin C, 12% iron, 39% calcium, 22% vitamin B-12, 11% vitamin B-6, 17% folate, 11% magnesium, 32% phosphorous, 24% riboflavin, 13% thiamin, 16% zinc

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Taste of Hawaii

"Waking up too early
Maybe we can sleep in
I'll make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it's the weekend now
And we could pretend it all the time
- Jack Johnson

This recipe makes me think of Jack Johnson playing in the background on a quiet Sunday morning, the early morning light poring into the still dark kitchen, as I meditatively combine ingredients and wait for my macadamia sauce to thicken. It is a nice thought, but very far from the reality. 
In reality, it was 12:45 in the afternoon, and the football game was going to start soon We were starving hungry and popping turkey sausage links, waiting anxiously for the macadamia nut sauce to thicken. Pretty soon, he was splitting his time between watching the pancakes and watching the game for the most part, but once the sauce started to thicken up and fill the air with delicious smells, neither of us could stay away from the stove, and we stood arms around each other, proud of our success.
You can't get that kind of moment at IHOP, ladies and gentleman.

Banana Pancakes
Makes enough to serve 4 people

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil and bananas.
2. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.
3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.

Macadamia Nut Sauce
1 cup macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Grind macadamia nuts in a food processor until fine. Place nuts into a medium saucepan and fry over medium high heat for 5 min or until fragrant. Remove from pan, and set aside.

Lower heat to medium and add the butter, stirring until melted. Stir in flour and cook 1 min. Slowly pour in milk and cream, constantly whisking the whole time. Add sugar, salt, vanilla to the pan. Cook 5 min or until thickened, stirring constantly (I ended up adding an additional 1/2 Tbsp of flour out of impatience at this point). Stir in lemon juice and half of the ground macadamias.

Pour sauce into a serving dish. Serve warm and sprinkle remaining ground macadamia nuts on top of each serving.

Allergens: Wheat, gluten, egg, milk, tree nuts
Nutrition (1/4 pancake recipe): 300 calories, 11 g fat, 7 g sat fat, 53 mg cholesterol, 435 mg sodium, 373 mg potassium, 44 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 7 g protein, 4% vitamin A, 9% vitamin C, 22% calcium, 12% iron, 20% vitamin B-6, 19% folate, 11% niacin, 18% phosphorous, 22% riboflavin, 20% thiamin, 19% selenium, 15% manganese (1/8 sauce recipe): 235 calories, 21 g fat, 7 g sat fat, 27 mg cholesterol, 326 mg sodium, 146 mg potassium, 10 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 3 g protein, 5% vitamin A, 1% vitamin C, 8% calcium, 4% iron, 15% thiamin, 35% manganese

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Giada's Roman Chicken

I'm a fan of just about every thing Giada makes, and I had my eye on this recipe for quite some time. A perfect healthy date night meal.

4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs
2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.

Allergens: none
Nutrition (1/6 recipe): 266 calories, 13 g fat, 2 g sat fat; 28 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 4 g sugar, 1.5 g fiber, 76 mg cholesterol, 1,307 mg sodium

Food making Memories

I took a bit of a break from blogging while looking for a job, but I am excited to jump back into it now that I am gainfully employed. When I don't have time to cook every day, or every week, cooking is a special treat to share with those I care about - and can be a lot of fun. Plus, it's healthier and cheaper than going out. 

This simple combination of pasta, sauteed onions, grape tomatoes, basil, feta, olive oil, garlic and Italian herbs was a great success when my old college roommate and I wanted a quick lunch to share on the patio on one of the last warm days in September.  

Giada's Roman Chicken recipe made for a delicious date night with the new boyfriend. After a long, busy week full of not the best food choices, it feels good to sit down and enjoy a homemade meal for a change. Just remember to leave plenty of time to prepare the meal, so you're not stressed out or tempted to snack while you wait.

I don't how I got it into my head that I wanted to make a Smorgastorta - aka "Savory Sandwich Cake" - a traditional Swedish cake that is supposed to be a great appetizer and look beautiful too. Mine looks less than beautiful, but constructing this 4 layer cake and deciding on what each layer should be and how to decorate was great fun on a cold winter night. The fillings included cream cheese and cucumber, smoked salmon, tomato and more cream cheese. Definitely not for the faint of heart.... or those with a heart condition. 

When my boyfriend and I first started dating, he mentioned a trip to Hawaii, and some particularly delicious banana pancakes with macadamia nut sauce. Of course, I was intrigued. I came to find out that he is not the only one craving pancakes from Boots and Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen in Kailua, HI - this recipe has the same inspiration. Now these pancakes will remind me of lazy Sundays, watching football. 

Recipes and nutrition coming soon!