Sep 042011
 

If you’ve never tried quinoa before, you’re missing out on a great rice / grain substitute which happens to be an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber. Quinoa is a grain often found and eaten in South America. The cooking process is similar to rice, which makes it easy to prepare. I often whip up quinoa bowls that Anil and I pack for lunch during the week. Here’s how you can recreate one:

Ingredients (for 2 people)

1 to 1.5 cups of quinoa
1.5 of your favorite frozen mixed veggies
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and add the frozen veggies.

2. Saute the veggies for about 10 minutes and add the curry powder, salt, and pepper.

3. Mix in the quinoa when it’s done cooking and stir the entire mixture so all flavors can combine. Enjoy as a quick and easy lunch or as a side for dinner.

 Posted by at 2:46 PM
Sep 012011
 

I’ve been making this slaw throughout summer and although it goes great with burgers and grilled foods, it makes a very robust and refreshing side to accompany almost any dish. Anil’s not a very big fan of cole slaw and I think that he even liked eating this. Even though summer is almost over, I’ll definitely continue making this from time to time throughout fall and anytime I need to get some quick veggies in.

Ingredients (for 2 – 4 people)

4 cups of shredded cabbage / cabbage mix with carrots
1 cup of radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

Cut veggies and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients and toss with veggies. Enjoy with a hot sandwich or burger and an ice cold beer!

 

 

 Posted by at 7:46 PM
Jun 042011
 

If you’re looking for an easy snack or light meal, rustic bruschetta is great because there’s no measuring required to make this traditional appetizer taste good! Here’s what I like to whip as a light dinner or lunch when I’m too tired to cook:

Take a loaf of French or Italian bread and cut it into small logs.  Brush half the loaf with good quality extra virgin olive oil and lightly rub with a clove of garlic. Take two medium tomatoes, remove the seeds and dice the tomatoes along with some fresh basil leaves and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Toast all the bread until the crust is crispy, but bread is still soft. Top half the loaf with the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with some finely grated Parmesan cheese.

Spread the other half of the loaf with Mascarpone cheese and sprinkle with some dried oregano, dried basil, and crushed red peppers. Be sure to spread the cheese right after taking the bread out of the toaster, so that it melts into the bread (yum!).  Serve warm with a glass of vino and enjoy!

 

 

 Posted by at 8:58 PM
Jun 042011
 

I love pita pizzas! Pocket-less pita bread makes a perfect pizza crust and allows you to create personal pizza with just about any topping you like. I recently experimented with a light olive oil base to create a nice and light pizza to go along with a wonderful glass of French wine. Here’s what I came up with. This pizza can be eaten as a light dinner or cut into smaller pieces to serve as a nice and hearty snack.

Ingredients
(for 1 person)

1 pocket-less white or whole wheat pita
1/2 teaspoon of herbes de provence
1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 small tomato, thinly sliced and seeds removed
1 crimini mushroom, thinly sliced
a small handful of fat free or low-fat feta cheese
a sprinkle of good quality extra virgin olive oil

 

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Slice the tomato and mushroom and brush the pita with olive oil. Sprinkle all herbs evenly all over the oiled pita.

3. Top the pita with the feta cheese and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes, until the crust is fairly crispy. Serve warm with a glass of your favorite vino!

 Posted by at 8:15 PM
Mar 272011
 

If you’re looking for a quick side-dish, look no further than these turkey-wrapped asparagus. What I love about asparagus is that they taste great and are also an excellent source of folic acid, and vitamins A, B, and C. They are super easy to prepare as well, so definitely give these a try, even on a busy week day!

Ingredients

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and washed
1/2 pound of sliced, low-fat deli-style turkey
4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray

Directions (For 2-3 people)

1.  Wash and trim the asparagus. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2.  Spread aluminum foil over a large cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray.

3.  Wrap each asparagus spear with 1/2 slice of turkey. You can also leave some asparagus spears unwrapped in order to eat them plain (this also works well if you’re serving vegetarians).

4.  Arrange asparagus on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and crushed red pepper. Spray with cooking spray and bake for about 12 minutes on 450. Serve warm and enjoy!

In the picture above, you’ll see that I served the asparagus with some whole-wheat bread and Portobello Medallions au Poivre, a fantastic dish that I highly recommend as well!

 Posted by at 3:29 PM
Jan 082011
 

I love this pasta-less twist on lasagna. It takes a bit of time to make, so may be more appropriate for a weekend dinner, but its heartiness and warmth are sure to satisfy. The fact that it contains a healthy dose of veggies, doesn’t hurt either.

Ingredients (for 2-3 people)

1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini
1 14.05 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
olive oil
flour
cooking spray
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Slice the eggplant and zucchini lengthwise. Sprinkle salt over the eggplant (to draw out some of the water) and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

2. Finely chop the onion, parsley, and garlic and set aside.

3. Add some flour, salt, and pepper to a plate. You will coat the slices of eggplant and zucchini with the flour mixture.

4. Coat a large skillet with olive oil (one turn of the pan) and put on medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, carefully coat both sides of the eggplant and zucchini slices and fry until light brown, turning the slices over after a few minutes. You might have to do this in two or three batches. Allow the fried slices to drain on a plate covered with two paper kitchen towels.

5. Saute the onions, half the parsley, and garlic in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the diced tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Saute for about 8 minutes. Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees.

6. Spray a 9×9 oven safe pan with cooking spray and add a layer of fried eggplant and zucchini slices, alternating these in the pan. Add a layer of the diced tomato mixture, then another layer of the fried eggplant and zucchini.

7. Bake on 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Add the mozzarella and Parmesan and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve hot with your favorite bread and vino!

 Posted by at 5:03 PM
Jan 082011
 

If you like the taste of goat cheese, you’ll love this recipe. If you don’t, you could leave out the goat cheese, or be bold and give it another try :-). Goat cheese’s creamy texture and strong flavor, combined with spinach and penne, and a glass of red wine might just win you over!

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 people)

1/2 14.5 oz box of penne pasta (we like Barilla Plus)
4 cups fresh baby spinach, washed
3 tablespoons low-fat or whipped cream cheese
2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato in oil, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup of crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Boil the penne pasta according to directions on the box. Add salt to taste to the boiling water.

2. In the meantime, add the cloves of garlic and sun-dried tomato to a food chopper and finely chop these together.

3. After the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it under cold water and set aside. Put a medium skillet on medium heat and add the olive oil and garlic-sun-dried tomato mixture.

4. Stir in the baby spinach and cook until wilted.

5. Add in the cream cheese and goat cheese and stir together. Then, add the pasta and red pepper flakes and toss, adding salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with warm, crusty bread and a glass of your favorite red wine!

 Posted by at 4:20 PM
Oct 242010
 

Eggplant Parmesan can take forever to make and most of us probably don’t have the time to spend hours on prep work and baking in the kitchen. That’s why I created a weekday version of this dish. It takes quite a few short cuts, but still tastes great. By using bottled marinara sauce and Italian style bread crumbs, you end up saving a lot of time. I usually prefer to make my own tomato or marinara sauce since you can flavor it exactly the way you want it. However, with less than an hour (and sometimes less than 30 mins) to prep dinner on a weekday, I am a fan of this short-cut version.

Ingredients

1 medium sized eggplant, sliced into rounds
1 bottle of your favorite marinara sauce
1 egg
a splash of milk
about 2 cups of Italian style / flavored bread crumbs
about a cup of Parmesan cheese
about a cup of Mozzarella cheese
cooking spray

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice the eggplant into about 1/2 inch rounds (slice across the eggplant, instead of lengthwise) and set aside.

2. Beat the egg in a small bowl and add a splash of milk.

3. Add the bread crumbs to a plate and put the bowl of egg mixture right next to the plate so the bowl and the plate are touching.

4. Prepare a cookie sheet or flat oven safe pan by spraying it with cooking spray.

5. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture, then coat each side with the bread crumbs and put on the cookie sheet.

6. Bake the eggplant slices for about 15 minutes, then turn them over and bake for another 15 minutes.

7. Take the slices out of the oven and top with marinara sauce. Then top with a generous sprinkle of the Parmesan and Mozzarella.

8. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly and the eggplant is crispy on the outside, while tender on the inside. Serve immediately with pasta or garlic bread and salad.

 Posted by at 9:51 PM
Oct 242010
 

With the holidays being not too far out, here’s an easy, no-fuss dip that looks festive and is quite tasty, too. I love the fact that you can serve it with just about anything, from chips to chicken fingers, crusty French bread, or crackers.

Ingredients

3/4 cup of jalapeno stuffed green olives, sliced
3/4 cup of Gorgonzola cheese
1  Roma tomato, seeds removed and chopped
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

Directions

1. Slice the olives and chop the tomato.

2. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and add the olives and tomato. Saute for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the Gorgonzola cheese until it’s melts. Server immediately.

 Posted by at 9:30 PM
Aug 312010
 

Daal is Indian comfort food. It’s hard to find an Indian family that doesn’t cook (and love!) daal. It’s also hard not to love digging into a bowl of steaming hot daal after a long day at work or on a cool fall evening. My version of daal is a bit different from the way daal is traditionally cooked. I add a few more Indian spices and flavors that some say might not belong in a pot of daal. However, I think it makes the soup more robust and adds nice depth. Try it out yourself and let me know what you think!

Ingredients (for 3-4 people)

1 cup of red lentils
4 cups of water
A pinch of turmeric powder
6-8 fresh curry leaves
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon dried mango powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
salt to taste

Directions

1.  Submerge the lentils in water and allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes.

2.  Chop the tomato and add to a small pot that can hold 4 cups of water along with the lentils, turmeric powder, curry leaves, and some salt. Bring to a vigorous boil on medium-high heat.

3.  In the meantime, chop the onion, green chilies, and cilantro.

4.  Once the lentils are boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for at least 10 more minutes.

5.  In a separate, small frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the cumin and mustard seeds. Continue to fry until they start to sputter.

6.  Carefully add the onions, green chilies, ginger-garlic paste, coriander powder, mango powder, and cumin powder. Stir together and fry for about 5 minutes, until the onions are starting to become slightly soft.

7.  Add the onion mixture to the lentils and throw in the cilantro. Add more salt to taste and stir together. Serve steaming hot with Basmati rice on the side.

 Posted by at 8:43 PM