Archive | July, 2011

CEiMB: Noodle-Vegetable Salad

28 Jul


I’m still recovering from an icky stomach bug that I’ve had most of this week, so I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. Danica was our lovely hostess of the week for CEiMB, and she chose Soba Noodle-Vegetable Salad and Chicken Satay. Since I made the chicken quite some time ago and didn’t much care for the peanut butter sauce, I opted to stick with just the Noodle-Vegetable Salad this go-round. It came together quickly and seemed to be a hit with my book club girls!

Noodle-Vegetable Salad
5 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 leek, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded carrots
1 medium green bell pepper, julienned
2/3 cup basil, roughly chopped
1/3 cup Chinese rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
the juice and zest of one lime
1 teaspoon fish sauce

Boil noodles according to package directions. Drain and cool. In a medium to large bowl, combine noodles, leek, carrot, bell pepper, and basil. Combine all dressing ingredients, season with salt to taste, add to noodle mixture, and toss lightly.

Serves 8.
Modified from Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life.”

Advertisements

Meatless Monday: Penne with Spinach and Arugula in a Basil, Ricotta, and Parmesan Sauce

25 Jul


You know what’s awesome? Using an ingredient you haven’t had the best success with in the past only to discover that you actually love it. For me, this time at least, I am talking about arugula. I’ve tried it in a few different recipes in the past and never really been a fan, but I have to tell you, it really sings in this dish. The peppery bite adds something fantastic against the citrusy hint of lemon and sweet fresh basil. The ingredient list is short, but the end result is incredibly flavorful and fragrant!

Penne with Spinach and Arugula in a Basil, Ricotta, and Parmesan Sauce

1 13.25-ounce box of whole wheat penne
the zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
5 ounces baby spinach and arugula blend, roughly chopped
2 cups fresh basil, roughly chopped

Prepare the pasta according to package instructions, being careful to cook only until al dente.

In a small bowl, mix lemon zest and juice with ricotta and parmesan cheeses. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add greens and basil, cooking until they are just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese mixture.

When pasta is finished cooking, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before straining. Toss pasta into cheese and greens mixture, slowly adding pasta water as needed to form a creamy sauce.

Serves 6.
Modified from Fine Cooking

CEiMB: Sloppy Joes

21 Jul


This post is for my dad because, of all the things I’ve cooked over the past two months, this is the dish he keeps talking about. There’s been several dishes that he told me he would like to see again, but as he’s learning, I don’t really prepare the same recipe twice very often. So after he finished eating these Sloppy Joes, he looked at me and said, “When are you going to make these again? I want a date!” It’s only been a few weeks since I made them, but they have become his new mark to which all other recipes have been compared. “This was good, but it wasn’t Sloppy Joes.” “When are we having Sloppy Joes again?” These are the phrases that have become commonplace around the dinner table.

It’s crazy to me that the standout recipe is for something as simple as Sloppy Joes, but leave it to Ellie Krieger to turn such a traditional kid-friendly meal into something grownups will love too. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I ate a Sloppy Joe, and it definitely wasn’t something we ate regularly when I was growing up. I was just browsing through the recipes that the CEiMBers have already made that I missed and decided to give these a try. Well, needless to say, dinnertime around here may never be the same again. Luckily for my dad, his birthday is coming up, and I know just what to give him :D

Even though the rules have changed over at Craving Ellie in My Belly and we are now only posting every other week, I have lots of Ellie recipes to catch up on and will continue posting regular Thursday CEiMB recipes, at least for a while. We’re always looking for new members, so feel free to join in at any time!

Sloppy Joes

1 pound lean ground chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 15-ounce can red beans, drained and rinsed
12 ounces no salt added tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can of no salt added tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard powder
8 whole wheat sandwich buns

Brown the meat and the onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Place a half-cup scoop of the mixture onto each bun and serve.

Serves 8.
Source: Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger

Five-Spice Tilapia

18 Jul


Maybe it’s becoming obvious by the number of Asian recipes I post on here, or maybe it needs to be stated, I love Asian-inspired foods. My fridge is stocked full of various Asian condiments from fish sauce to soy sauce to sesame oil to Sriracha to black bean paste and miscellaneous others I can’t think of off the top of my head. I try to keep these things on-hand at all times because they get used regularly!

One flavor that I find particularly distinctive is Chinese five-spice powder which is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns. As much as I enjoy its flavor, I do find that it can be sometimes a little overwhelming when added to recipes. But, of course, that is the point in this recipe, isn’t it? To temper the five-spice powder ever so slightly, a soy sauce and brown sugar mixture is added to the pan to make a delicious and slightly sweet glaze for the fish. Overall, this dish is fast and tasty. Definitely a repeat-worthy dish.

Now, I have a bit of a philosophical question for you. (Not really that serious.) Basically, I am just taking a poll to gauge people’s opinions. Does seafood (fish, shellfish, whatever) constitute “meatless”? You’ll notice that even though today is Monday, I did not tag this post as Meatless Monday because I am not sure how I feel on the subject. I have seen arguments for both sides, and I can agree with both points. I guess it all boils down to personal preference, but I am just curious as to what others who participate in Meatless Mondays designate as a “meatless meal”.

Five-Spice Tilapia

4 4-ounce tilapia fillets
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Sprinkle both sides of tilapia fillets with five-spice powder. Combine soy sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tilapia and cook until the outer edges are opaque, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, turn the fish over, stir the soy mixture and pour into the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until the fish is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes more. Add scallions and remove from the heat. Serve the fish drizzled with the pan sauce.

Serves 4.
Source: Eating Well

CEiMB: Stir-Fried Chinese Cabbage with Tofu

14 Jul


As many of you know, my life has taken a huge turn over the last three months, and as I’ve waded through rather murky waters and climbed some rather steep hills, it’s my friends that have gotten me through. And included in that group is each member of the fantastic blogging group Craving Ellie in My Belly. Each week they cheer me on, and the sense of camaraderie in our intimate circle of chefs is something that means the world to me. Cooking and being in the kitchen has been like therapy to me, and to be able to share that with my CEiMBistas and all my readers has been a fantastic joy. Thank you all!

Now, before I get any mushier, let’s get to the recipe. This week was my turn to host, and I always feel such excitement to look through my books for a new recipe to try out. Unfortunately, with all my cookbooks in storage, I had to turn to an older Ellie Krieger book for inspiration this month. In “Small Changes, Big Results: A 12-Week Action Plan to a Better Life,” Ellie describes this stir fry dish as a calcium heavy hitter. She explains that it’s a great source of calcium even without the presence of dairy, and we all know how important it is to get enough calcium, especially for women.

I’ve mentioned before how supportive my parents have been both in life in general but also when it comes to my cooking. So far they have tried everything I’ve served with a good bit of enthusiasm. I was afraid the tofu might scare them off, but they were even open-minded about this meat-free dinner. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t a hit. My mom said, “It just doesn’t have the same depth of flavor as the other dishes you normally make,” and my dad said, “Hmm. I don’t really like it, but I’ll eat it.” Ha! Overall, I just felt like it turned out a little bland. I had been most afraid about the tofu, but it ended up being the sauce, or lack thereof, that turned us all off from this dish. We did all agree, however, that with a little Sriracha hot sauce, it was MUCH better. I think I liked it the best of the three of us, but it’s still not something I would make again as written. I have conquered my fear of tofu though because that is one part of this dish I would definitely eat again.

Hopefully those of you who cooked along with me this week enjoyed this dish a bit more than my family did, and I hope the tofu didn’t scare anybody off too much :) I can’t wait to see what all the other CEiMBers made, and if you want to follow along, be sure to check out the blogroll or consider joining in the fun!

Stir-Fried Chinese Cabbage with Tofu
3 small bunches bok choy (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chopped scallion
1 pound cooked, marinated tofu cubes (recipe to follow or buy store-bought)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (which I completely forgot… oops!)

Cut 1 inch off the bottom of bok choy and wash the separated stalks. Chop the bok choy crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

Heat the oil in a wok or large deep skillet over a medium flame. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the scallion and bok choy. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.

Stir in the tofu, soy sauce, 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced slightly and the tofu is warmed, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Marinated Tofu
1 pound extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon canola oil
cooking spray

Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch-thick slabs and lay the slices on top of paper towels. Use more paper towels to firmly pat the tofu in order to remove as much of the water as possible. This should take about 3 paper towels and 2 minutes. Cut the tofu into cubes.

In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, orange juice, sesame oil, and canola oil. Add the tofu cubes and toss gently. Cover and let the tofu marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Place the tofu in a single layer in the baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serves 4.
Source: Ellie Krieger’s “Small Changes, Big Results: A 12-Week Action Plan to a Better Life,” p. 186 and 221

Meatless Monday: Spicy Asian Green Beans

11 Jul


Normally for Meatless Mondays, I prefer to post main dishes, not side dishes, but this week I’m saving my meatless main dish for Thursday, so you’ll have to be sure to check back for it :D Instead, I’ve got a bit of a cheater recipe for you because of course green beans are meatless. And more so, this dish is super easy to prepare. That’s why I call it a cheater.

My only complaint about this dish is that if you’re going to call something “spicy” right there in its name, it should be SPICY. This was more sweet than spicy, but of course I rectified that situation with my favorite condiment, a little Sriracha. I think this would be perfect for those who prefer things on the mild side, but if you have a “hot tooth” instead of a sweet tooth like me, consider upping the amount of crushed red pepper flakes.

Spicy Asian Green Beans
1 pound fresh green beans
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced

Steam green beans to desired doneness.

Meanwhile, in small saucepan, mix sauce ingredients until well blended. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened and clear.

Stir sauce into cooked green beans to coat.

Serves 6.
From Pillsbury.

Enchilada Casserole

6 Jul


Between blogs, magazine subscriptions, e-newsletters, etc. I see a ton of recipes every day. I can’t put my finger on exactly what makes some stand out over others, but sometimes I just see a recipe and think “I have to make this right now.” At least, this was the case when I saw a recipe from Taste of Home for their “Enchilada Casser-Ole!” To me it looked and sounded like a combination of two of my favorite foods: tacos and lasagna. Of course, I had to try it!

I did make a few substitutions; some in order to “healthify” it a bit more, and some just for taste preferences (I was wary of using Italian dressing so I opted for tomato sauce instead). The end result was phenomenal and definitely something I’ll make again. It was also delicious leftover which made a great lunch for the rest of the week – always an added bonus.

Enchilada Casserole
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can diced salsa style tomatoes
1 cup dry black beans, cooked
8 ounces no salt added tomato sauce
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
6 whole wheat tortillas
3/4 cup fat free sour cream
4 ounces reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large skillet, cook ground meat and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, cooked beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning and cumin. Place three tortillas in a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the meat mixture, sour cream and cheese. Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.
Adapted from Taste of Home

%d bloggers like this: