Apr 252013
 

Did you know that capers are really Mediterranean flower buds? They’ve got a super strong flavor and are usually pretty salty, so a little goes a long way with these guys. The great thing about this lemon caper butter sauce is that you can quickly whip it up and add it to chicken, fish, or even tofu. It goes well with steamed or sauteed veggies as well. Here’s how I made it:

Ingredients

1/2 stick of butter, unsalted

1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons of capers, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon of lemon zest (optional)

 

Directions

In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest and slowly simmer for a few minutes. This recipe should give you enough lemon caper butter sauce to drizzle over 3-4 chicken breasts or pieces of  fish or meat. Enjoy with a healthy side to make up for all that butter! 😉

 lemon-caper-butter-sauce

 Posted by at 10:42 AM
Jan 022013
 

Manchurian tofu or paneer is one of those dishes that is so easy to whip up that it makes an appearance at least every few weeks in our house. It’s hearty, satisfying, and pretty healthy too (unless you use full-fat paneer). Here’s how you can recreate it:

Ingredients (for 2 people)

A bunch of baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
1 container of cubed extra firm tofu, baked or fried (see below) OR
2 cups of fried cubed paneer
1 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup of fried onions
1/4 cup of soy sauce, more as needed
1 cup of water
2 teaspoons of ginger-garlic paste
1 green Thai chili (optional)
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
More water and corn starch as needed

Directions

1. Fry the paneer or tofu, or for a healthier version, bake the tofu (be sure to drain it really well first) on parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with some cooking spray at 350 for about 10 minutes. Turn over after 10 minutes so the other side can brown. Take out the oven when both sides are a light golden brown.

2. Heat the oils in a large wok on medium-high heat and add the ginger-garlic paste and green chili. Stir and saute for about a minute.

3. Add the bok choy and saute for about 6-7 minutes. Then add the soy sauce and fried onions, followed by the cup of water and half the cilantro. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Dissolve a tablespoon of corn starch in a little bit of water and add to the mix. The cornstarch will allow the sauce to thicken when taken off heat. Simmer for another 5 minutes and taste a bit of the sauce. Add more soy sauce as needed and adjust the amount of cornstarch and water as well (if needed).

5. Take off heat and set the wok aside for a few minutes so that the sauce can thicken. Add the other half of the cilantro on top. Serve warm with white or brown rice.

 Posted by at 12:37 PM
Dec 052012
 

With a newborn in tow and no one else around during the day, getting meals on the table has been close to impossible! Enter the slow cooker. Our Crockpot has been a real life saver over the last few weeks. I modified this shredded buffalo chicken recipe. It’s so easy and makes the best tacos, so you can look like a pro cook, even if you don’t have any time to slave away at the stove!

Here’s what you do (to feed 2-3 people): Take about 3 thawed boneless and skinless chicken breasts and place them in your slow cooker. Pour over about half a 12 oz bottle of your favorite buffalo sauce. We like Frank’s wing sauce a lot! Mix in about half a packet of your favorite ranch dip mix. The trick here is to find one without MSG, if you care enough to leave that out of your food. Be sure to coat both sides of each chicken breast with the mix and sauce. Once this is done, close the crockpot, cook on low for at least 5 hours and then take the chicken out. Shred each breast on a cutting board, toss with two tablespoons of butter (this is where it gets naughty!) and put back into the crockpot. Cook on low for about 10 more minutes and serve with your favorite taco toppings. We like celery and blue cheese, but let your imagination go wild here. Not the most culinary recipe, but delicious, easy, and very fussy newborn friendly!

 Posted by at 12:07 PM
Sep 152012
 

Even if it gets too cool to grill these outside, these tangy kabobs can still be grilled indoors on a George Foreman (or other type) of indoor grill on the stove. These are simple, healthy, and very versatile, as you can pair them with just about any side salad, potato dish, hummus & pita, or mixed rice dish you can imagine.

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 people)

About a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 8 oz container of greek yogurt
1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese – any kind, best flavor with the kind with Mediterranean herbs mixed in
Zest of half about half lemon
Juice of about ¼ of a lemon
½ teaspoon of dried rosemary
½ teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
Cooking spray, if needed

Directions

1. Cut up the chicken and mix all ingredients except for the chicken in a large bowl.

2. Marinate the chicken pieces in the mixture overnight or for at least 4 hours.

3. Heat up your grill and spray with cooking spray if necessary. You can optionally place the chicken on skewers.

4. Grill the chicken until fully cooked, or no longer pink from the inside. Serve warm!

 Posted by at 2:24 PM
Apr 302012
 

I love a good, hearty lasagna, but really only have time to make lasagna on weekends, since it takes a while to bake in the oven. And even then, who wants to spend all weekend in the kitchen? That’s exactly why I turned to cheese ravioli to speed up the lasagna making process. Here’s how it works:

The ravioli is basically a substitute for lasagna noodles and ricotta / whatever other type of cheese you like to use. I still use Parmesan and Mozzarella, because I like my lasagna cheese and veggie loaded. It does not matter what type of cheese ravioli you buy, as long as it’s the “jumbo” kind. The larger raviolis will make it easier to cut the lasagna into equal portions without making a total mess out of the dish. All the other ingredients are completely up to you! My favorite way to make this dish is with soy crumbs, lots of fresh garlic, spinach and a simple, homemade tomato sauce.


Directions:

1. Boil the ravioli and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, cook your meat with some chopped onions and olive oil. I often make my lasagna completely vegetarian by substituting Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles instead of meat. You could also go completely veggie by stir-frying some zucchini, spinach, and your other favorite veggies.
3. Mix your meat and veggies with tomato or marinara sauce and then layer a large, oven-proof casserole with the ravioli, then the tomato mixture, and then a thin layer of Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese. Keep repeating until all your ingredients are used up.
4. Bake the casserole at 350 for about 35 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly. Enjoy!

 Posted by at 7:50 PM
Feb 052012
 

Meyer lemon season generally runs from December to April and is one of my favorite seasons since I absolutely adore the fruit. Meyer lemons are a bit rounder, smaller, and sweeter than regular lemons and you can find them in many grocery stores. I decided to make a lemon olive chicken dish with my newly purchased lemons. Here is how I whipped this up:

Ingredients (for two people)

3 chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise in half
grated Meyer lemon zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 lemon peel
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5 table spoons of olive oil
1 table spoon of butter
flour for dredging
salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

1. Grate half the lemon and peel the other half. Set aside. Drain and slice the olives and finely chop the garlic.

2. Heat the olive oil o medium heat in a large skillet, slice and pat the chicken breasts dry.

3. Combine flour, salt, and pepper and dredge each halved chicken breast in the flour mixture. Lightly fry in the olive oil for a few minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet.

4. Add the butter to the same skillet and once melted, add the garlic, lemon zest, peel, and olives. Sauté for a few minutes on medium heat and then add the chicken broth. Simmer for about 10 minutes until some of the liquid is absorbed and then add the chicken back in. Cook for a few minutes and server warm.

If you’ve got some cremini or white button mushrooms leftover, try adding them in as well by sautéing them with the lemon and olives. They make an excellent addition to this super fresh and easy dish!

 Posted by at 2:12 PM
Dec 042011
 

You might be more familiar with eating fennel in soups, but it’s actually quite amazing when braised or roasted as well. I experimented with fennel this past weekend and decided to go the nice and simple route by simply tossing the fennel with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The house smelled amazing and we devoured this fabulous side dish in less than 15 minutes!

Ingredients (for 2 – 3 people)

2 medium sized fennel bulbs
4 tablespoons of high quality balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and cut the fennel into small (less than an inch thick) slices / rings and add to a large bowl.

2. Toss the slices with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake on a large baking sheet for about 40 to 45 minutes on 400 degrees.

3. Serve warm and toss with grated Parmesan cheese, your favorite sauce, or enjoy the fennel just plain out of the oven, as a satisfying side dish.

 

 Posted by at 2:03 PM
Dec 042011
 

Love the flavor of buffalo chicken, but want to try something healthier? Buffalo tofu wraps might just work out for you then. Many people don’t like the flavor of tofu, but what I love about it is that it’s one of those foods that easily takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with. It’s kind of like eggplant in that sense – the “bread” of veggies. And, it’s quite a bit healthier than fried chicken. Here’s how I put together buffalo tofu wraps for lunch:

Ingredients (for two people)

2 to 3 whole wheat wraps
2 cups of shredded Romaine lettuce
1 container of extra firm tofu, water drained
1 Roma tomato, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 cup (or more) of your favorite buffalo sauce (we like Frank’s red hot buffalo)
1/2 cup of blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt (2% or fat free)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Carefully dry the tofu with paper towels and cut into bite sized cubes. Dry again after cutting, so that the tofu is as moisture free as it can be.

2. Toss the tofu with the buffalo sauce and add more sauce if desired. Bake on a baking sheet lightly covered with cooking spray on 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Turn the tofu about halfway through the baking process.

3. Chop the lettuce (unless you bought pre-shredded lettuce) and tomato. Mix the blue cheese crumbles with the Greek yogurt and set aside.

4. With about 5 minutes of baking time left, heat the wraps in a frying pan on low-medium heat.

5. Once the tofu is done, build the wraps by adding tofu first, then the lettuce and tomato, then the yogurt and blue cheese mixture. Eat right away to avoid the wrap getting soggy.

 Posted by at 1:18 PM
Sep 042011
 

Anil usually makes fantastic Indian style masala burgers, but last week, it was time to toss something different on the grill. Bring on the chipotle! For those of you who have never had chipotle peppers, they are essentially smoked jalapeños. You can find them canned with Adobo sauce in the grocery store. We added the chipotle, lots of cilantro and some Vidalia onions to the burgers to make them incredibly juicy and with plenty of kick. Summer’s almost over, so give this a try soon!

 

Ingredients (for 4 – 6 burgers)

About 1 pound ground turkey (we buy natural, hormone and antibiotic free turkey with about 8% fat)
About 3/4 of a cup of breadcrumbs
1 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
1 cup of  shredded 2% Mexican blend cheese
3 -4 tablespoons of light sour cream
1/2 Vidalio onion, finely chopped – cut the other half into thin strips
3 – 4 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 cup Cremini (baby Bella) mushrooms, sliced
4 -6 slices of 2% Pepper Jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

1. After chopping the onion, cilantro, chipotle peppers and mushrooms, take the turkey out of the package and mix in the onion, peppers, cilantro, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Add salt and pepper.

2. Slowly add the breadcrumbs, until the turkey mixture is firm enough to form patties.

3. Form patties and place on a foil wrapped cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

4. Grill each patty for about 15 – 20 minutes on low heat (on a gas grill). Add a slice of Pepper Jack cheese to each patty during the last 3 – 5 minutes.

5. While the patties are grilling, spray a small skillet with cooking spray and sauté the mushrooms and onion strips for about 10 minutes.

6. Top the patties with the mushrooms and onions and serve with an ice cold glass of beer. Enjoy summer while it lasts!

 

 

 Posted by at 3:12 PM
Jun 042011
 

You may have seen Quorn mentioned in the health nut food fave entry for May. Quorn is an excellent soy-free meat substitute that I recently started using to add some protein to our vegetarian dishes. For this recipe, adjust the spinach or the number of Quorn naked chik’n cutlets according to the ratio of veggies to protein that you would like to eat. I’m especially curious to hear what frequent meat eaters have to say about Quorn, so let me know what you guys think!

Ingredients (for 2 people)

1/2 red onion, finely chopped
about 5 ounces of baby spinach (more, if desired)
2 pieces of Quorn naked chik’n cutlets, cut into bite-sized pieces and thawed to room temperature
1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1.5  teaspoons of coriander powder
1.5 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon of red chili powder (more, if desired)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
a splash of water

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and ginger-garlic paste. Saute for about 2 minutes and then add the baby spinach. Cook on medium heat until the spinach starts to wilt.

2. Add all spices, salt, and pepper, and a splash of water so that the spinach doesn’t burn. Saute for a minute and then add the bite-sized pieces of Quorn.

3. Saute for about 5-6 more minutes and serve hot with warm rotis, naan, or pita bread.

 

 

 Posted by at 8:43 PM