Archive for February, 2011

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Greek Bulgur Chicken

February 25, 2011

I saw a version of this in Self and couldn’t resist adapting it this past weekend. It was the perfect healthy meal to go alongside some planning for a Greek vacation in September! It’s packed with protein and healthy fibers, plus it’s got some great flavors from mint, lemon and feta. I enjoyed it still warm from the cooking, but it’s something that would be good cold too. I’d also venture a guess that the flavors improve as they hang out together in the fridge.

You will need:

  • 1/2 lb chicken
  • 1/2 c bulgur
  • 1 c water
  • 2 fresh lemons
  • 1/4 c fresh mint, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c fresh Italian flat parsley, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/4 c)
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 c tomato, diced
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Then you…

  1. Cook the pan in a non-stick skillet, seasoning with salt and pepper, until brown on both sides and cooked through. Allow to cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken by hand. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Bring the bulgur and water to a bowl with the juice of 1 lemon. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until it absorbs the water, approx. 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add to the mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the mint, parsley, red onion, cucumber, tomato and feta.
  4. Zest the remaining lemon. Add zest and juice to the mixture.
  5. Mix in the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

February 21, 2011

Ever since I saw a variation of this recipe by Iowa Girl Eats, it’s been on my list of dishes to make at home. It’s full of delicious pumpkin and comes out warm and creamy. I love that it’s a cross between pumpkin pie and oatmeal with all the benefits of both — not too sweet, not too squishy. This recipe makes two individual portions, so you can share with a friend or a loved one or have breakfast ready for the microwave tomorrow!

You will need:

  • 1 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 c low-fat milk
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 7 t brown sugar, divided
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t ground ginger, scant
  • 1/4 t ground cloves, scant
  • 1/4 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T chopped nuts

Then you…

  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare two individual serving ramekins with non-stick cooking spray; each will need to hold about a cup and a half of oatmeal.
  2. Combine oats, milk, pumpkin, 5 t brown sugar, salt, spices and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until mixed well. Oatmeal will be slightly soupy.
  3. Pour oatmeal into the prepared containers and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remained 2 t brown sugar with the nuts. Sprinkle the nut crumble on top of the partially baked oatmeal and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
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Chicken Parmesan

February 18, 2011

This dish is a great entree alongside pasta or served sandwich-style with your favorite crusty bread. It’s all sorts of goodness. It’s also quick to pull together, and then you pop it into the oven until everything is bubbly and deliciously cooked through from chicken to sauce.

You need:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts (roughly 4)
  • Italian dressing/marinade
  • 2 c bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c Parmesan, grated
  • 2 T dried basil
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3 T margarine
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mozarella, fresh or shredded

Then you…

  1. Marinate the chicken in the dressing for at least a half hour.
  2. In a flat dish, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, basil, garlic, red pepper, salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  4. Heat the oil and melt the margarine in a large non-stick skillet.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the bread crumb mixture. Fry until both sides are browned, roughly 2 minutes per side.
  6. Place chicken in the prepared dish. Top with your favorite tomato sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella.
  7. Bake 40 minutes and serve hot!

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Linguine Florentine

February 14, 2011

This is a variation of a pasta alfredo with lots of spinach thrown in the mix. The base recipe comes from a friend of long-time friend of mine, who has a big Italian family. You could mix in any veggies you want, or just add more cheese for a bigger kick!

You will need:

  • 1 lb whole wheat linguine
  • 2/3 c margarine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 c light cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c Parmesan, grated

Then you…

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the linguine and cook to al dente according to the directions.
  2. Melt the margarine in a skillet over low. Stir in the garlic and salt/pepper to taste. Mix in the spinach.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cream and the eggs. Beat lightly.
  4. Strain the linguine. Mix hot pasta with the spinach mixture.
  5. Stir in the cheese.
  6. Gradually stir in the cream mixture. Toss to combine thoroughly. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
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Chocolate-Almond Flourless Cake

February 11, 2011

With some friends in town for a visit, I decided to make something fun for dessert. This is a great recipe when you want to put a little extra effort in (but not too much!) to make others as happy as they make you.  Plus it’s chocolate. Always a good call.

You will need:

  • 2/3 c sliced almonds
  • 12 T butter, diced
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 T breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated plus 3 egg yolks
  • Zest of 1 clementine
  • 1 T liquor (I used cherry; try dark rum, kahlua, etc.)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Whipped Cream

Then you…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Use non-stick cooking spray to lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Dust the pan with the bread crumbs, and tap out the excess crumbs. Place pan on a baking sheet.
  2. Spread the almonds on a second baking sheet and toast 6-7 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. You should be able to smell them as they are just about done! Allow to cook several minutes, and then pulse in a food processor until finely ground. Do not over pulse, or they will become pasty.
  3. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; do not let the bowl touch the simmering water (you want to melt via indirect heat). Melt the butter and chocolate in the bowl, stirring until smooth. Remove chocolate mixture from the heat and cool slightly.
  4. Set aside 2 T of the sugar.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the 6 egg yolks and the remaining sugar with an electric or stand mixer. Beat on medium-high until thick and pale, roughly 3 minutes.
  6. Mix in the clementine zest, liquor, and salt. Slowly beat in the melted chocolate until smooth. Stir in the ground almonds until just combined.
  7. In another bowl, beat the 3 egg whites with a mixer on medium-high to high until foamy. Gradually beat in the reserved 2 T of sugar on high speed until you almost have stiff peaks.
  8. Stir 1/3 of the meringue into the batter; gently fold in the remaining whites.
  9. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until the top is firm and cracked (a toothpick in the center will be fudgy), 35-40 minutes.
  10. Cool on a rack 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges gently and remove the ring.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature. Best with a little whipped cream!

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Party Meatballs

February 7, 2011

This recipe has been around my family for years and years. It’s simple to throw together and always makes for a happy crowd. I make mine with a whole berry cranberry sauce; if you want something slightly sweeter, substitute grape jelly (my sister’s favorite version)! If you make this in a crockpot, just heat on high for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

You will need:

  • 1 bag frozen meatballs
  • 1 jar chili sauce
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 medium onion, quartered

Then you…

  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Mix together everything but the meatballs.
  3. Stir in the meatballs.
  4. Pour into a baking dish and bake about 2 hours or until bubbly and heated through. Stir occasionally.

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Wild Mushroom Soup

February 4, 2011

With another slew of “wintery mix” on the way, making soup seemed like a great way to end the day. This is a variation on the Barefoot Contessa’s cream of wild mushroom soup; it’s a little rustic but full of mushroom-y deliciousness. Serve with some toasty, crusty bread and you will be in heaven!

You will need:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 9 T butter, divided
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste,
  • 6 c stock (I used 2 c mushroom stock and 4 c of homemade chicken stock…to keep it vegetarian, just use more mushroom or veggie stock)
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 5 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 8 oz fresh portobello mushrooms, sliced and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 8 oz fresh button mushrooms, sliced and cut into bite-sized chunks.
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 – 2 c light cream, to taste

Then you…

  1. Heat the olive oil and 1 T butter in a large pot. Add in the carrot, onion, 2 sprigs of thyme, and 2 sprigs of tarragon. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables soften, roughly 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the broth; you will want about 4 1/2 cups of broth at the end.
  3. In a stock pot, melt the other 8 T butter over low heat. Stir in the shallots, garlic and scallions. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, and then add the mushrooms.
  4. Cook another 10 or so minutes, until most of the mushroom liquids are cooked off; the mushrooms should be beginning to brown.
  5. Stir in the flour and cook another minute.
  6. Stir in the white wine to deglaze the pan. Add the 4 1/2 c of reduced stock.
  7. Chop up the remaining tarragon leaves and stir them in to the soup, along with the remaining thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper if needed and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes.
  9. Mix in the cream to taste. Heat through but do not allow the soup to come to a boil again. Serve hot and delicious!
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