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Salmon with Pepita-Lime Butter

15 Aug


Hello, again! I’m back from Canada, and I don’t think I even picked up an accent while I was away :) Toronto was a really fun city, and Niagara Falls is BEAUTIFUL. If you haven’t been, be sure to add it to your list of places to see. Didn’t you all love the Meatless Monday guest post from Sarah while I was away? She did a great job, and that recipe is definitely going on my menu soon. *round of applause for Sarah*

Now, I honestly haven’t done ANY cooking since we got back to town last Monday. Can you believe that? Well, I have a small excuse… last week was my birthday! And I got spoiled royally which meant quite a bit of eating out to celebrate. That’s the way it should be, right? Right. So I pulled this recipe from a folder of posts that have yet to be written, and I have to tell you, I’m wondering why I didn’t post this much sooner!

This is the perfect weeknight recipe, coming together in just a matter of minutes, and has a really nice, complex flavor. The crunch and nuttiness of the pepitas paired with the brightness of the lime and the richness of the butter is a fabulous combination for topping off the salmon, and the chili powder just adds a dab of spiciness. All in all, one of the best salmon dishes I’ve tried in a while, and definitely worth a taste.

Salmon with Pepita-Lime Butter
2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon butter, melted
the juice and zest of one lime
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
4 4-ounce Atlantic Salmon Fillets

Place pumpkin seeds in a small bowl with butter, lime zest, lime juice and chili powder. Set aside.

Generously coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook until browned and just cooked through in the center, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the salmon to a plate. Add the butter-lime mixture to the hot pan; stir until the butter is melted. Serve the salmon topped with the sauce.

Serves 4.
From Eating Well.

Meatless Monday: Mexican Quinoa Casserole

8 Aug

I am currently out of town, and while I’m away, I asked Sarah, one of my favorite meatless bloggers, to do a guest post for Meatless Monday for me. I am so excited with what she came up with and can’t wait to try it once I’m home! I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome and be sure to check out her blog for lots of great healthy living tips.

Hey there! My name is Sarah and I blog over at Sarah Snacks. I’m so excited to be here and that Liz asked me to do a Meatless Monday guest post today.

I’m a big fan of Meatless Monday! Going meatless just one day a week can have numerous benefits including reducing your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, reducing your carbon footprint and saving resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

While I’m meatless every day, you may not be able to (or even want to) go completely meatless. And that’s okay! One meatless day can help. It can help your health. It can help the environment. And it can help the animals. One of my favorite quotes is: ”Don’t do nothing just because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.” – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

This is one of my favorite recipes for Meatless Monday! It’s so easy and inexpensive! Oh yeah, and it’s delicious!! If you don’t like or don’t have quinoa you can use brown rice instead.

Mexican Quinoa Casserole
Ingredients:
3 cups cooked quinoa*
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jar of your favorite salsa
a couple of handfuls of your favorite cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sautee onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender.

Stir together the quinoa, sautéed veggies, beans, corn, and salsa.

Pour into a 9×13 pan and sprinkle the top with your cheese.

Bake for about 30 mins or until the cheese is nice and melty.

Serve with more salsa, a big spoonful of guacamole, and some tortilla chips for optimal scoopage!

Oh, and the leftover casserole makes a KILLER burrito filling!!!

*Tip for cooking quinoa… I cook mine in my rice cooker! I do equal parts quinoa and water and turn it on. It turns out perfect and fluffy every single time.

To print the recipe, click here.

CEiMB: Chicken Pepian

4 Aug

I am currently out of town so please bear with me if I don’t respond to your comments in a timely manner. I promise to get back to you as soon as I’m settled back home. Be sure to check back Monday for an awesome guest post!

Several weeks ago, my good friend Bri of Yoshimi vs. Motherhood was the CEiMB host of the week and chose this Chicken Pepian. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have my food processor readily available, and I was afraid the blender I had would not stand up to the task of making this tomatillo sauce. I was incredibly disappointed to not be able to cook along with the group that week, particularly once I read the positive reviews. I used this recipe as an excuse to dig my food processor out of storage, and it was well worth the effort.

Even though this recipe sounded a little complicated at first, the dish was very easy to make and came together quickly. I only have two notes for the next time I make this dish: First, I will probably just grill the chicken then serve it alongside the Pepian sauce OR I will use cutlets instead of thick chicken breasts because the pan-frying method didn’t work well for me with this recipe. Second, I will either only make half the sauce or be ready to freeze the other half. I’ve got about half the sauce in my freezer right now as the recipe yielded way more than what we used with four pieces of chicken, but I’m looking forward to having it on-hand when I’m looking for a quick chicken dinner.

Chicken Pepian
10 medium tomatillos (about 3/4 pound)
1 poblano pepper, halved, seeds removed
1 medium onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup no salt added vegetable broth
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, and roughly chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
5 whole peppercorns
2 whole allspice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tsp salt
4 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat the broiler. Remove papery outer layer from tomatillos then rinse them in warm water to remove some of their natural stickiness. Pat dry, then cut into quarters. Toss tomatillos, poblano, quartered onion and garlic with 4 teaspoons of the oil, place on a baking sheet and broil until charred, about 10 minutes.

Place tomatillos, poblano, onions and garlic, cilantro, broth, jalapeno, pumpkin seeds and spices and salt in a blender and blend on high until totally smooth, about 30 seconds.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet and cook the chicken until browned on both sides and nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Add Pepian sauce to skillet, covering chicken pieces. Bring to a simmer and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken topped with sauce and garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Serves 8.
Modified from Ellie Krieger.

Shrimp in Lemony Garlic Sauce

1 Aug


There are few recipes that I will make repeatedly, but this is one that I have made probably dozens of times. Why? Because it is so easy and so good! It’s been ages since I last made it, and I’m not sure what the reason behind the hiatus is because now that it’s made a reappearance, I know it will be requested again and again. Similar to shrimp scampi, this dish has all the lemony, garlicky goodness without all the rich butter that can be heavy and greasy. I usually serve the shrimp with brown rice, but it would be awesome over whole wheat pasta as well.

I’m heading out to Toronto first thing tomorrow morning and won’t be back for a week, so if I’m unable to respond to your comments in a timely fashion, know that I’ll get back to you once I’m home. I hope you all have a fabulous week and I’ll be sure to share some of my pics when I get back! I’ve never been to Canada before, so I’m VERY excited, especially about seeing Niagara Falls! Have you been? Thoughts?

Shrimp in Lemony Garlic Sauce
cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt-free lemon pepper seasoning blend (like Mrs. Dash)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Arrange shrimp in a single layer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine lemon juice and next 5 ingredients; pour over shrimp.

Bake at 425°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until shrimp are done.

Serves 4.
From Weight Watchers.

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

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

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