Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sicilian Pasta Salad

This recipe is easy to make and even easier to enjoy. While I have had a lot of free time on my hands lately I don't want to spend it all cooking in the kitchen. This pasta salad is the perfect compliment to a picnic at the beach or an easy and relaxed barbecue with friends.

If you want to add a little more protein add some red kidney beans and not only does it add to the flavor but makes this side dish an entree.


Ingredient list:
6 Servings
12-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts with liquid
1/4 cup oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
1 to 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar to taste
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried
6 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese,preferably fresh, diced
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. pasta shells or rotini (pasta twists)
2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
Directions:
  • Bring large pot of water to a boil. When water boils add 1 teaspoon salt and pasta, stirring to prevent sticking. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, steam green beans and squash separately until each is just tender. Rinse under cold running water and drain well.
  • Drain pasta, rinse under cold running water and drain well. Transfer to large serving bowl. Add green beans, squash, artichokes with liquid, tomatoes, vinegar, oregano, cheese, salt and pepper. Toss to mix and coat. Serve at room temperature.

Nutritional Information
Per serving:
Calories 251, Protein 12g, Total fat 10g, Carbs 31g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 455mg, Fiber 5g

Monday, July 21, 2008

Artichoke-Parmesan Turnovers

I love artichokes and wanted to try something different for my little get together this weekend and I found this recipe and discovered a new hit among my friends. This was easy to make and even easier to eat! At first I wasn't sure about the dipping sauce they suggested but it made all of the flavors pop.

Try this at your next party!


Ingredients list:
Serves 10 (makes 30 turnovers)

Roasted Apple Aioli
1 Granny Smith apple
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Turnovers
1 17.3-oz pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 15-oz. can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
3 oz. low-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 shallot, quartered
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions:
  • To make Roasted Apple Aioli: Preheat oven to 350F. Bake apple covered with foil in baking dish 30 minutes, or until soft. Remove core and scoop out flesh. Mash with mayonnaise and vinegar.
  • To make Turnovers: Preheat oven to 350F. Pulse artichokes, cream cheese, Parmesan, shallot and zest in food processor until blended but chunky.
  • Roll 1 sheet puff pastry into a 12x12-inch square. Cut into 15 3-inch rounds. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet.
  • Spoon 1 tsp. filling on each pastry round. Fold in half, then press edges with fork to seal. Transfer to greased baking sheet.
  • Brush turnovers with beaten egg, and bake 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve with Roasted Apple Aioli.
Nutritional Information:

Per turnover: Calories 136, Protein 2g, Total fat 10g, Carbs 7g, Cholesterol 13mg, Sodium 209mg, Fiber 1g, Sugars 1g

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rustic Peach-Blueberry Tart

Life has recently become much more complicated. I have started to look for jobs in Boston and New York because the job market right now is not looking good. Also, I have started to try and pack but wow that is overwhelming. I have lived in the same apartment for 3 years and in that time I have accumulated a lot of stuff! My lease is up in my apartment September 1st so I have to make some major decisions before then. I think if I don't have a job in either city I will move out to New York because I will have someone to live with and I have wanted to live there for a long time.

Anyways, one way I relieve all the stress in my life is through cooking! With the recent heat and humidity in Boston I tried out this recipe and it was the perfect light summer dessert. It is easy to make and delicious to eat! My friends all couldn't get enough, especially when I put vanilla-bean ice cream on top! You have to try it for your next party!


Ingredient list:
Serves 8

Cornmeal Crust
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
6 oz. Neufch√Ętel cheese, diced (I found it in Whole Foods)
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) butter, diced

Peach-Blueberry Filling
5 medium-size peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (about 5 cups)
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Ice cream or 2 cups sweetened whipped cream, optional

Directions:
  • To make Cornmeal Crust: Pulse flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in food processor 2 or 3 times to combine. Add cheese and butter, and blend until dough resembles coarse meal. Add 3 Tbs. cold water, and pulse several times, or until dough comes together. Pat into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour, or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 425F. To make Peach-Blueberry Filling: Toss peaches, blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and cinnamon in large bowl. Let stand 15 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved.
  • Place sheet of parchment paper on work surface, and sprinkle with flour. Roll dough into 12-inch round. Fold in edge 1/2 inch to create sides. Slide parchment and dough onto ungreased baking sheet or pizza pan.
  • Spoon fruit in center of crust with slotted spoon. Discard juices. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F, and bake 20 minutes more, or until crust is crisp and brown. Let cool 10 minutes. Slide tart from parchment onto serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, and top with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.
Nutritional Information:
Per Serving: Calories 319, Protein 5g, Total fat 11g, Carbs 52g, Cholesterol 31mg, Sodium 123mg, Fiber 3g, Sugars 29g

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tofu with Tomato-Mushroom Sauce

This recipe was another great find from Yahoo. I tried it and I found it is best if you serve it over rice or tossed with some pasta. It didn't fill me up as much as I had liked but after I added another form of carbohydrate it became more filling. Also, if you are a huge fan of cheese, like me, feel free to add more cheese! I found adding some parmesan cheese compliments this dish well.

Make sure you use fresh mushrooms as well! It can make or break the dish! I just went to dinner the other night and had an amazing mushroom tortellini that I am going to see if I can recreate. I am a huge mushroom fan so if you know of any great recipes that use them let me know!


Ingredients:
Serves 4

14 ounces extra-firm tofu, preferably water-packed
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese


Directions:
  • Drain and rinse tofu; pat dry. Slice the block crosswise into eight 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Coarsely crumble each slice into smaller, uneven pieces.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook in a single layer, without stirring, until the pieces begin to turn golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Then gently stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all sides are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes more.
  • Add tomatoes and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just cooked, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in pesto and feta.

Nutritional Information:

Per Serving: Calories: 185 cal, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Fat: 13 g, Protein: 13 g, Sugars: 2 g

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tofu with Peanut-Ginger Sauce

Another day another recipe. This one I found on accident when I was checking my email on Yahoo. I tried it out and it tasted just like a recipe I had at a restaurant in New York. It is full of flavor and light on calories which is always a positive! I thought at first it would be really high in calories because of the peanut butter but it is still very healthy! Try it out and let me know what you think!



Ingredients:
Serves 4

5 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (see Ingredient note) or white vinegar
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, preferably water-packed
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 scallions, sliced

Directions:
  • To prepare sauce: Whisk water, peanut butter, rice vinegar (or white vinegar), soy sauce, honey, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.
  • To prepare tofu: Drain and rinse tofu; pat dry. Slice the block crosswise into eight 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Coarsely crumble each slice into smaller, uneven pieces.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook in a single layer, without stirring, until the pieces begin to turn golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes.
  • Then gently stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all sides are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes more.
  • Add spinach, mushrooms, scallions and the peanut sauce and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just cooked, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Nutritional Information:

Per Serving: Calories: 242, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g, Fat: 16 g, Protein: 16 g, Sugars: 5 g

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Spaghetti with Spinach and Mushrooms

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday this past weekend. I got to see my niece for the first time again since Christmas and that was amazing. She is 2 and it is scary how fast they grow! I can't believe how smart she was as well! I could go on and on about her but I will get back to the food.

I tried this recipe and fell in love! I am a huge pasta fan and am always looking for new ways to make it different and change it up a bit and this did it for me. This does have a lot of sodium so if you are worried about that you might want to watch your portions a little more. This tastes the best if you use really fresh spinach, it just makes all of the other flavors pop!

Ingredient list:
Serves 6

8 oz. spaghetti, broken into thirds
1 15-oz. can low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 Tbs. harissa, or 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. saffron threads
1 lb. mushrooms, quartered1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1 lb. spinach, coarsely chopped
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Place pasta on baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden, shaking pan once or twice to brown evenly.
  • Bring vegetable broth, 21/2 cups water, tomato paste, harissa and saffron to a simmer in saucepan. Reduce heat to low, and keep warm.
  • Heat large stockpot over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray. Add mushrooms, and cook 7 minutes, or until browned. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in pasta and 2 cups hot broth.
  • Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Add spinach, chickpeas and remaining broth. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes more, or until noodles are tender and most of broth is absorbed, stirring constantly.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Nutritional Information
Per Serving: Calories 274, Protein 12g, Total fat 3g, Carbs 51g, Sodium 490mg, Fiber 8g, Sugars 4g


And because I think Kayla, my niece, is so cute I figured I would add in a picture of her for good measure!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Southwestern Tofu Scramble

I am sorry I haven't been updating as much as I should be. Looking for a job and getting ready to move is more stressful than I thought it would be. Although I have had some time to cook. I tried out this recipe and loved it. After a long night the next morning I was really hungry and I made my self this huge breakfast and it was extremely filling! Also, if you have some leftover it tastes great in a wrap or sandwich! What is your favorite breakfast item?


Ingredient list:
Serves 6
1 medium red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1 small carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
4 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 14-oz. pkg. medium tofu, drained and crumbled
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
salsa, for garnish
Directions
  • Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add bell pepper and carrot, and cook 7 minutes, or until just tender.
  • Stir in green onions, garlic, cumin and turmeric, and cook 1 minute more.
  • Add tofu and hot sauce, and cook 5 minutes, or until heated through and all liquid has cooked off. Stir in cilantro, and serve with salsa.

Nutritional Information
Per Serving: Calories 113, Protein 11g, Total fat 6g, Carbs 6g, Sodium 32mg, Fiber 3g, Sugars 2g