Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mexican "Lasagna"

You can use salsa instead of tomatoes if you like.

16 oz cooked pinto, pink, or black beans (if using canned, drain and rinse first)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 4-oz can chopped mild green chilies
2 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
2 scallions, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground oregano
2 tbl chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1-1/2 c. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (optional)
6 corn or wheat tortillas (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Combine the beans, tomatoes, chilies, corn, scallions, and seasonings in a bowl.

Spray a 2-qt casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the bean mixture in the casserole. Sprinkle half the cheese on top of it. Cover that evenly with the rest of the bean mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake 15 min or until bubbly. Serve with tortillas and a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt, if desired.

6 servings

Cold Cream of Asparagus Soup

2 lbs asparagus, trimmed
1/4 c. chopped fresh chervil or tarragon
2-1/2 c. chicken broth
2 c. light sour cream
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg to taste

Steam the asparagus until tender, drain. Cut the asparagus tips off and set aside to use as garnish. Chop the asparagus stalks and puree with the rest of the ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve with the asparagus tips sprinkled on top of each serving.

6 servings

Flemish Sauce for Asparagus

Kind of high in cholesterol, but very tasty.

For each pound of asparagus:

2 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 c. melted butter
2 tsp lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Remove the yolks from the eggs and mash the yolks. Combine the mashed yolks with the butter and lemon juice, add salt and pepper to taste.

Finely chop the egg whites.

Drizzle cooked asparagus with the yolk mixture and sprinkle with the chopped egg whites.

4 servings

Cheesy Broccoli & Bacon Casserole

1 14-16 oz package frozen broccoli florets
4 oz light cream cheese, softened
4 oz shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
4 scallions, chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped, fried until crisp, & drained

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cook the broccoli according to the package directions. Drain well. While the broccoli is cooking, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, scallions, and bacon.

Spray a 2-qt casserole dish with cooking spray. Put the broccoli in the dish. Put spoonfuls of the cheese mixture evenly over the broccoli. Bake 20-25 min. or until bubbly.

6 servings

Lemon & Herb Crusted Fish

2 tsp grated fresh lemon zest
2 tsp chopped fresh dill
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh chervil or fennel
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp Dijon mustard
12 oz fresh fish fillets or steaks
1 tbl vegetable oil

Combine the lemon zest, herbs, pepper, and salt on a plate. Brush both sides of the fish with the mustard and press it into the herb mixture, coating both sides.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the fish 4 minutes or until browned, flip over and cook another 3-4 min, until the fish flakes easily.

3-4 servings

Lamb Kebabs with Cilantro Mint Vinaigrette

2 lbs lamb, cut in chunks
Marinade (see below)
Cilantro Mint sauce (see below)

1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. mirin, sake, or white wine
1/2 tbl chopped fresh ginger
1 tbl sesame oil
1 c. chopped scallions
1/2 tbl hot red pepper flakes
2 gloves garlic, minced
Combine ingredients in a bowl. Put the lamb in a zip-loc plastic bag, pour the marinade into the bag, seal the bag and squish it to coat the lamb. Let stand 30 min. While the lamb is marinating, prepare the sauce and, if using bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in cold water.

Cilantro Mint Sauce:
1 tbl honey
1/2 tbl chopped fresh ginger
1/4 c. each chopped fresh mint, cilantro, and parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
1 egg yolk (optional)
Combine honey, ginger, herbs, salt, vinegar, and egg yolk in the bowl of a mini food processor. Place the cover on the bowl and start the processor. Slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl, process until smooth.

Preheat the grill or broiler. Remove the lamb from the marinade and thread it onto the skewers.
Grill or broil the lamb 15-20 min. or until desired degree of doneness (I prefer medium-rare). Serve with the sauce on the side to drizzle over the cooked lamb.

6-8 servings

Eggplant Lasagna

This is quite a lot of work but it can be prepared in advance and frozen before baking.

1 eggplant, trimmed, peeled & cut lengthwise into 1/2" slices
2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise & seeded
4 tbl olive oil, divided
1 tbl balsamic vinegar
1 onion, chopped
2 c. sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbl chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, basil) or 2 tsp dried herbs
1 19-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14-19 oz can beans of your choice, drained and rinsed
3 c. shredded greans (spinach, cabbage, Swiss chard, kale)
8 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray. Arrange the eggplant in one layer on one sheet and the pepper halves (cut side down) on the other sheet. Spray the eggplant and peppers with cooking spray (I use olive oil flavor). Bake for 15 min. or until the tip of a knife easily pierces the eggplant and the skin of the peppers is dark and blistered. Do not overcook the eggplant. Let cool completely. Slip the burned skin off the peppers and slice into wide strips. Toss the pepper strips in a small bowl with the vinegar and 1 tbl of the oil.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 3 tbl oil. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently for 2 min. or until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook another 2 min. Add herbs and tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 min. Add the beans and greens and cook 1-5 min. or until greens are wilted or tender.

Spray a large, deep baking dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of it with 1/3 of the eggplant. Lay half the red pepper mixture over that. Spread with 1/3 of the bean mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Add another layer of eggplant, the rest of the red pepper mixture, another 1/3 of bean mixture, and the rest of the cheese over that. Top with the remaining eggplant and spread the remaining bean mixture on top. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.

At this point, you can cover the lasagna and refrigerate it or freeze it until ready to bake. Bring it back to room temperature and uncover it before baking.

Bake at 375F for 40 min. or until bubbly.

6-8 servings

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Green Bean & Bacon Salad

1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1/4 lb bacon, cut in 1/4" pieces
1 tbl minced onion
1/2 c. walnut pieces
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbl grainy mustard (horseradish mustard is especially good)
1 tbl water
pinch of sugar
2 tbl lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c. olive oil

Cook the green beans in salted boiling water 4 min. or until tender-crisp. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Combine the beans in a serving bowl with the bacon, onion, walnuts, and parsley.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients together until emulsified. When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over the bean mixture.

6 servings

Peruvian Beef Kebabs

1-1/2 lb boneless sirloin steak, cut into 1/2" chunks
3 tbl red wine vinegar
2 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric

Combine the vinegar and seasonings in a small bowl. Put the meat in a zip-loc plastic bag, pour the marinade over it, seal the bag and squish it to coat the meat. Refrigerate 3 hrs, turning the bag occasionally.

Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the marinade. Thread the beef onto 6 10" skewers. Grill or broil 6 min. or until desired degree of doneness.

6 servings

Italian Baked Zucchini

6 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl minced onion
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup thinly sliced prosciutto
salt and pepper to taste
6 small zucchini, trimmed
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook the bacon in a small skillet over medium heat. When almost crisp, add the olive oil and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the onion and cook 2 min. or until tender. Add the oregano and prosciutto and cook 1 min. Remove from the skillet and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the zucchini in half crosswise, then in quarters lengthwise. Put the zucchini in the baking dish skin side down. Sprinkle with the bacon mixture and scatter the parsley on top. Cover and bake 20 min.

4 servings

Orange Salmon

4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbl soy sauce
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbl white wine
1 lb salmon fillets

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Place the salmon in the dish.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and spread over the salmon.

Bake 25 min. or until the fish flakes easily.

4 servings

Marinated Mozzarella

1 lb. part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut in 1" cubes
1 7-oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 c. olive oil
4 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hrs.

Before serving, let the mozzarella stand at room temperature for 1 hr.

You can reserve the flavored oil to use in cooking.

Asparagus with Mustard Vinaigrette

1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cooked
2 tbl pineapple juice
1 tbl balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped

Combine juice, vinegar, mustard, oil and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle over the asparagus and turn the asparagus to coat. Cover and chill 1 hr before serving.

4 servings

Pasta Salad with Poultry, Feta & Tomatoes

1 lb. spinach rigatoni or other pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained, and rinsed
3-1/2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl red wine vinegar
1 c. reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1-1/2 c. cooked chicken or turkey, chopped
1/2 c. pitted black olives, cut in half
1/3 c. chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried)
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Serve cold or at room temperature.

4-6 servings

Green Goddess Shrimp Salad

2/3 c. Green Goddess dressing (see recipe below)
1 ripe avocado, split, pitted, and peeled
1-1/2 lbs peeled, deveined cooked shrimp cut into 1/2" chunks
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4" chunks
1/2 celery stalk, stringed and diced
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1 head Bibb lettuce, trimmed and washed
1 lb cooked trimmed asparagus
2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

Whiz the dressing and the avocado in a food processor or blender until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, cucumber, celery, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 5 tbl of the dressing mixture.

Arrange the lettuce on 6 plates. Arrange the asparagus, tomatoes and shrimp mixtureon top of the lettuce. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

6 servings

Green Goddess Dressing:
3 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
3/4 c. light mayonnaise
1/4 c. light sour cream
2 tbl chopped fresh chives
2 tbl chopped fresh parsley
3/4 tsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbl minced onion
1 tbl lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper to taste

Whiz the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Makes 1-1/4 cups.

White Bean Skordilia

2 c. cooked white beans
2 tbl chopped garlic
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
3 tbl chopped fresh mint

Whiz in a food processor, adding water as needed to thin to desired consistency. Serve with pita bread/chips, crackers, or raw veggies.

Peanut Sauce

1/3 c. peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1/3 c. teriyaki sauce
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. canola oil
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Combine the ingredients well and use as marinade or sauce for chicken or turkey.

Makes enough to marinate 2 lbs of meat.

Gingered Asparagus

3/4 c. rice or cider vinegar
1-1/2 tbl minced fresh ginger
2 tbl Splenda or sugar
1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbl sesame oil
3 tbl canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce

Boil the vinegar and ginger in a small saucepan 10-15 min. or until reduced by about 50%. Remove from heat and stir in Splenda. Set aside.

Put the asparagus in a microwave safe container with 1 tbl water, cover and microwave on high 3 min. or until tender-crisp. Rinse with cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Put the asparagus in a serving dish.

Combine the garlic, oils, salt and soy sauce. Drizzle over the asparagus. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, drizzle the vinegar mixture over the asparagus.

4 servings

Note: don't make this dish more than an hour or so ahead of time, or the vinegar will turn the asparagus brown. It'll taste OK, but look sad.

Mushroom Bread Pudding

1 tbl butter or margarine
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
3 eggs, beaten (or 3/4 c. egg beaters)
1 c. light sour cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried savory
salt and pepper to taste
French or Italian bread cut into 1/2" slices

Preheat the oven to 325F. Spray a deep casserole dish with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until softened. Remove from the heat and drain.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs until frothy, then stir in the sour cream. Add the mushrooms, cheese, herbs, salt and pepper and mix well.

Line the casserole dish with a layer of bread slices. Pour half of the mushroom mixture evenly over the bread. Repeat with another layer of bread and the rest of the mushroom mixture.

Bake 25 min.

4-6 servings

Orange Avocado Salad

2 navel oranges, peeled and cut into segments
1 ripe avocado, peeled, halved, pitted and sliced
1/4 c. chopped red onion
3 tbl canola oil
3 tbl white wine vinegar
2 tbl chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Splenda or sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

3-4 servings

Country Pork Ribs with Savory Mustard Marinade

2 tbl Dijon mustard
1 tbl red wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tbl dried summer savory, crumbled (or 3 tbl fresh, chopped fine)
1 tbl water
salt & pepper to taste
2 lbs country-style pork ribs

Combine mustard, vinegar, oil, savory, water, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Put the ribs in a zip-loc plastic bag, pour the marinade over the ribs, seal the bag and squish it to distribute the marinade over the ribs. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Remove the ribs from the marinade and grill or bake 10-15 min. per side or until done.

4 servings

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lamb or Beef Kapama

3 lb. boneless lamb or beef, cut in chunks
1 onion studded with whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, whole
2 tbl lemon juice
16 oz+ tomato sauce

Toss meat chunks with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside for 30 min.

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Brown the meat in the skillet on all sides.

Spray the inside of a crockpot with cooking spray. Put the browned meat, the onion and the cinnamon in the pot. Pour the tomato sauce on top. Cook on low 7-8 hours, adding more tomato sauce if necessary to keep the meat moist.

6 servings

Carrot Apple Salad

2 tbl light mayonnaise
1 tsp Splenda brown sugar blend
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups grated carrots
1 medium apple, finely chopped (peel first if desired)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins

Combine the mayo, Splenda, and vinegar in a bowl. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

6 servings

Creamy Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tbl light mayonnaise
1 tbl light sour cream
2 tbl white vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbl chopped fresh mint or dill (or 1 tsp dried)
black pepper to taste

Put sliced cucumbers in a bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and stir, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Put cucumbers in a colander and squeeze out the excess moisture. Return them to the bowl.

Combine the mayo, sour cream, vinegar, garlic, herbs and black pepper. Pour over the cucumbers and toss to coat.

4 servings

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bulgur Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette

3/4 c. bulgur
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 c. chopped fresh mint leaves
3/4 c. chopped scallions, divided
1/4 c. lime juice
1 tbl honey
dash of cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 c. canola or olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Place bulgur in a large bowl, pour 3 cups boiling water over it, cover with plastic wrap and let set until tender, 15-20 min. Drain well, squeezing out as much water as possible, and return to the bowl. Mix in 1/4 c. scallions, the tomatoes, parsley and mint.

Put the lime juice, honey, cayenne, oil, salt and pepper in a mini food processor and whiz until smooth. Toss with the bulgur mixture.

6 servings

Mushroom Barley Asparagus Salad

2 lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into ibte-size pieces
3/4 c. pearl barley, rinsed
2-1/4 tsp salt, divided
2 lemons, zest peeled into large strips and juice reserved
1 bay leaf
10 oz sliced mushrooms
1/3 c. lemon juice (in addition to the reserved juice)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, chopped

Put the asparagus in a microwave safe dish with 1 tbl water, cover and microwave for 3-4 min. or until desired degree of doneness. Drain and set aside.

Spray a saucepan with cooking spray. Put 1/4 tsp salt, lemon zest, bay leaf and the drained barley in the pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 min. or until tender. Drain the barley, removing the bay leaf and lemon zest. Set aside.

Combine the reserved lemon juice, 1/3 c. lemon juice, mustard, 2 tsp salt, pepper and thyme in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add the cooked barley, mushrooms, parsley and scallions and mix well. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hr to blend flavors.

6-8 servings

Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese Olive Dressing

1 lb asparagus, trimmed & spears cut in half
salt & pepper to taste
2 oz goat cheese
2 tbl chopped fresh parsley
2 tbl red wine vinegar
1 tbl Dijon mustard
2 tbl olive oil
1/4 c. Nicoise olives, pitted
1 plum tomato, chopped

Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking pan with olive oil cooking spray and spread the asparagus spears on it in a single layer. Spray with more olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 2 min, turn spears over and broil another 2 min.

Combine goat cheese, parsley, vinegar, mustard, oil, and olives in a mini food processor. Whiz until smooth. Serve the asparagus with the goat cheese dressing spooned over it and the tomatoes scattered on top.

4 servings

Chicken with Lemon White BBQ Sauce

1/3 c. light mayonnaise
3 tbl Splenda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 packets True Lemon
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 lb chicken parts

Combine mayo, Splenda, salt, pepper, True Lemon and vinegar in a small bowl.

Put the chicken parts a zip-loc plastic bag. Pour 1/2 c. of the marinade into the bag, seal the bag and squish it to coat the chicken with marinade. Set aside the rest of the marinade. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, turning the bag over once.

Drain and discard the marinade from the plastic bag. Grill, broil, or bake the chicken until juices run clear, using the reserved marinade to baste it.

4 servings