Thursday, February 18, 2010

Garlicky Bean & Artichoke Dip

This awesome dip is good with cut up raw veggies, pita chips, crackers, or by the spoonful. I just wish I had known about it when I was in the puree portion of my post-op diet.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Italian herb blend
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 can (15 oz) white kidney or cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained & quartered
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)

In a small nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic and herbs until tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

In a large food processor, combine the beans, artichokes, lemon juice, salt, cayenne, and the reserved onion mixture. Process until smooth.

Refrigerate 2 hours.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chicken Smush

Smush is my husband's term for a mixture of meat, veggies and creamy gravy. He likes it over toast, noodles, rice, barley, pizza crust or in pot pies. When I roast a whole chicken, we eat some of it and I take the rest of the meat off the carcass, chop it into about 2 cups of (small) bite-size pieces, combine it with thawed frozen mixed veggies (or leftover cooked) veggies, and white sauce. I either make the sauce from scratch or use a can of cream of chicken, celery or mushroom soup diluted with 1/2 can of chicken broth, skim milk, white wine, or water. Sometimes I throw in shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese. I put the smush into plastic freezer containers and store them in the freezer until the next time I need a quick dinner. I thaw the smush, heat it, and put it on some kind of starch for my husband (see above) or in a bowl for me.
I almost never measure the quantities when making this stuff. I think I could make it with my eyes closed.

Garlic Sausage Bread

I'll come right out and say that this is by no means a dietetic dish, but my husband loves it and when I can't eat bread, I still enjoy eating the topping. I use asiago cheese bread from the bakery department at Wal-Mart, but you can use plain Italian bread or any crusty, rustic bread. You can also put the toppings on top of fresh zucchini or yellow squash, cut lengthwise into thick slices.

1/2 pound Italian style turkey sausage (or ground turkey)
1/2 loaf crusty bread, cut in half lengthwise and with some of the soft middle pulled out (I give the middle stuff to our dogs, who think it's manna from heaven), leaving about 1/2-1" of bread in a border next to the crust
1/2 large tomato, roughly chopped
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons green olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons black olives, roughly chopped
4 ounces shredded mozarella cheese
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon minced onion or scallion
2 teaspoons minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Cook the crumbled sausage in a skillet over medium-low heat until browned. Drain. Combine the drained meat with the tomato, red pepper and olives.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Place the bread halves on the baking sheet, crust side down. Pile the meat & veggy mixture onto the bread and top with the mozzarella. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the bread is baking, whisk together the oil, vinegar, onion, garlic and seasoning. Drizzle this mixture over the bread halves and bake them another 5 minutes. Cut into 2" slices and serve.

4 servings

Greek Chicken & Veggy Ragout

Ragout is a fancy word for stew. It's pronounced "ragoo".

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces (or 3 cups baby carrots)
1 pound potatoes (red or yellow), cut in 1" cubes
1 medium onion, peeled and diced in 1" pieces
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 14-oz can chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (you can skip this, but it really adds to the flavor)
1 15-oz can artichoke hearts, rinsed and cut in quarters (or you can use frozen hearts, but don't use the marinated ones)
1 large egg or 1/4 c. egg beaters
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 1 tablespoon dried

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat. Saute the veggies and chicken on both sides until the veggies begin to soften and the chicken is lightly browned. Add the broth, wine, garlic, salt and lemon rind to the Dutch oven and bring it to a boil. Cover, lower the heat, and cook on low 30 minutes. Add the artichokes, cover and cook another 5-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the veggies and chicken with a large slotted spoon and put them in a serving dish. Cover and keep warm while you make the sauce.

Whisk the egg yolk, eggs, and lemon together. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the pan into the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Then whisk the egg & cooking liquid mixture back into the liquid in the pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in the dill and pepper. Serve the chicken drizzled with the sauce.

6 servings

Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

1 head cauliflower, trimmed and divided into florets
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced scallion
3 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled (I use reduced fat)

Preheat the oven to 450F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet, spray them with olive oil cooking spray, and sprinkle with half the salt. Roast for 5 minutes, remove from oven, flip the cauliflower over, spray with more cooking spray, and sprinkle with the rest of the salt. Roast for another 5 minutes or until golden and tender but not mushy.

While the cauliflower roasts, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the water, olive oil, vinegar, and pepper until well combined. Just before serving, gently mix the blue cheese, scallions and vinaigrette with the roasted cauliflower,

Note: if you don't have time to roast the cauliflower, just nuke it. Roasting makes it extra tasty, but the vinaigrette adds plenty of flavor on its own.

4 servings

Wasabi Sour Cream Sauce

1/2 cup sour cream (I use reduced fat)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I use the olive oil version)
1+ teaspoon wasabi (to taste)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional)

Whisk it all together and serve with roast beef, steak, or burgers.