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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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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.

CEiMB: Short-Cut Greens

30 Jun


I’m going to go ahead and admit right off the bat that this post is a total cheat. I have posted about this recipe before, on my old blog, but since I have made the recipe several times since then, I thought I would post it again. Ellie Krieger originally calls for collard greens in this recipe, and I’ve also used kale, but this time I used turnip greens. I’ve made them with bacon, with Canadian bacon, and with ham from the deli. I’ve even made them meatless. It’s an incredibly versatile recipe that can be adapted to whichever ingredients you have on hand or prefer. Basically, it’s a delicious way to get a healthy dose of green vegetables and therefore definitely worth repeating.

To see the Chicken Pepian that the rest of the CEiMBistas are cooking this week, head over to Yoshimi Vs. Motherhood and check out Bri’s delicious blog. I wish I could have cooked along with the group this week because that chicken looks awesome, but unfortunately without a food processor or high quality blender, I didn’t see that working out too well here. I plan on digging out my food processor this weekend though so hopefully I can make that dish very soon!

Short-Cut Greens
1 pound greens of your choice
2 ounces Canadian bacon, ham, or bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup no salt added broth, chicken or vegetable
salt and pepper to taste

You can find cleaned and greens in a bag in your produce department which are ready to be cooked, or you can buy it whole in bunches. If you buy it in a bunch you will need to remove the stems and center ribs from the greens and discard. Then, cut the leaves into 1/2-inch strips.

Preheat a large skillet and cook the ham or bacon for 2-5 minutes, until crispy. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. This step may be omitted if you are making vegetarian greens.

Add the oil and onion to the hot pan and cook until onions have softened, about 2 minutes. Add the greens and stir in the vinegar, maple syrup, red pepper flakes, and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

Add the chopped bacon or ham to the pan, if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4 servings, approximately 1/2 cup each
From Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life,” p. 256
Nutrition Information based on using turnip greens, 2 ounces smoked ham, and chicken broth:

Meatless Monday: Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wraps

27 Jun


Just over two months ago, I moved back in with my parents. While most people my age would probably moan and groan about how horrible it is to be living back home, I feel really fortunate to have such a wonderful family. I am not only grateful that they have provided me a place to live but also that we are so close and have this chance to spend so much time together. I have mentioned before that my mom moved several states away last fall to attend law school, and I really missed her while she was gone. Having us both living in the same house is probably an adjustment for my dad, but I have thoroughly enjoyed having so much girl time! I have a pretty terrific family in general, and I’m not just saying that because they read this :D

My parents are particularly enthusiastic about all the cooking I’ve been doing since I’ve been back home, but they aren’t 100% sold on the idea of meatless meals just yet. I will gradually sneak them into our menus, though. Luckily, this one, my first attempt at winning them over with vegetarian cooking, was a huge success. First of all, I loved it because it was incredibly simple and quick to make. But the best part about it is that it doesn’t taste simple. The flavors are complex, and the crunch of the slaw mixture against the creamy avocado and white bean spread is just perfect. This was a definite homerun that would be perfect for upcoming picnics or holiday festivities.

Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wraps

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups coleslaw mix
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium avocado
2 ounces reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
4 multigrain wraps

Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage mixture; toss to combine.

Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese.

To assemble the wraps, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.

Serves 4.
From Eating Well.

CEiMB: Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

23 Jun


I really love participating in Craving Ellie in My Belly. Ellie Krieger has some truly delicious recipes, and it’s a great excuse to make a new one every week. Plus, the bloggers that faithfully cooks along each week are just an amazing group of ladies, and I feel so lucky to be part of their club! This week’s host, Margaret of Tea and Scones, not only makes some of the most delectable looking breads and pastries I’ve ever seen, she is so sweet.

And just like Margaret in a game of Words With Friends, this recipe was a winner! I had to make a few changes based on what I could find at the store – like subbing yellow squash for zucchini and leeks with a little fennel seed for a bulb of fennel – but the roasted vegetables came out delicious! Unfortunately my other substitution, using boneless chicken breast with a lemon pepper rub did not turn out as well. The flavor was great, but our chicken got a little overdone. Maybe next time I’ll be brave enough to try the bone-in chicken, or maybe I will just cook the chicken separately, either way, I’ll definitely be making these roasted veggies again. Delicious!

Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

6 Roma tomatoes
3 medium yellow squash
2 leeks
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon salt-free lemon pepper seasoning blend
3 6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the tomatoes lengthwise into quarters and remove the seeds. Trim the squash and cut it in half crosswise and then cut each piece in half lengthwise once if the piece is thin and twice if it is thicker, so that the pieces are relatively uniform. Do the same with the leeks so they are cut twice lengthwise, into thin strips.

Put the vegetables into a large baking pan. Toss them with garlic, oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then give the vegetables a stir and add the rosemary and fennel.

Rub the lemon pepper seasoning on the chicken breasts then arrange the chicken pieces in the pan with the vegetables. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes more until the chicken is done and the vegetable are tender and beginning to brown.

Serves 3.
From Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life” p. 210

MKMW: Acar Ketimum (Indonesian Cucumber Salad)

21 Jun


Many, many months ago I participated in a group called My Kitchen, My World. This group “travels” the world by selecting a new cuisine to prepare at least one dish from each month. June’s destination is Indonesia. I’ve never been to that side of the globe, and it will probably be quite some time, if ever, before I’ll have the opportunity to travel that far away from home. But that is what makes this group so much fun to participate in: just in trying to find a traditional recipe, I learned so much about the region, and then getting to cook a couple of Indonesian recipes to test out on my family was like a mini-vacation. Sadly the scenery is not quite the same, but hopefully the flavors were pretty close.

For my first dish I made a simple cucumber salad that was a big hit. I love cucumbers, and this salad dressing of vinegar, a touch of oil, and a few spices was a great compliment. I wouldn’t have thought of Indonesia as none of the flavors were really any different from a cucumber salad my grandmother makes, but I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Acar Ketimum

2 medium cucumbers, diced
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Mix all ingredients together, and let marinate at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.

Serves 4.

Grilled Salmon & Squash with Red Pepper Sauce

20 Jun

This recipe was fast and delicious, but if you want to read more about it, you’ll have to head over to Two Boos Who Eat┬áto see my guest post :) And if you don’t already follow Amanda and Andy’s blog, I highly recommend it!

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