Friday, November 27, 2009

Apricot Glazed Asparagus

Apricot Glazed Asparagus
The apricot gives the Asian inspired sauce a nice sweetness.

1 lb of asparagus, trimmed
2 TBSP apricot preserves (Can use sugar free)
1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
pinch kosher salt

Mix preserves, soy sauce, garlic & salt together. Pour over asparagus and toss to coat.

Bake at 400F for 10 minutes on a foil-lined cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Garlic Shrimp and Pasta

Garlic Shrimp and Pasta
8 oz uncooked whole wheat angel hair (capellini) pasta or spaghetti
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 lb fresh medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail shells removed
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter

1. In a 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, cook pasta as directed on the
package. Drain; return to saucepan. Stir in spinach, tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of the oil. Cover to keep warm.

2. While pasta is cooking, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir 1 minute. Add shrimp, garlic and pepper flakes; cook and stir 2 minutes.

3. Stir in wine, broth, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and butter until butter is melted. Add shrimp mixture to pasta mixture in saucepan; toss to mix.

Poblano Chipotle Butternut Squash soup

Poblano Chipotle Butternut Squash soup

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (I pierce and micro for 6 mins to make it easier to remove the peel)
1 med carrot, finely chopped
2 green onion, sliced
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 chopped roasted poblano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash® Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend, divided
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cups no-salt-added vegetable stock, divided (or any low-sodium broth)
1 can (14 1/2oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
3oz lowfat cream cheese
3 cups cooked black beans
1 1/2 cups corn
2 cups fresh baby spinach or other favorite dark green

In a large saucepan, saute the squash, carrot, red pepper, onion, garlic and 1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash® Southwest Chipotle Seasoning

Blend in oil for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add 1 1/2 cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender; cool


Transfer mixture to a blender; add the tomatoes, cream cheese 2 1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash® Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend and

remaining broth. Cover and process for 1 - 2 minutes or until smooth.

Return to pan; stir in beans, corn, spinach & poblano. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted and soup is heated through.

Modified from the Mrs. Dash website.
about 8 servings

Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Soup

Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Soup

1 whole garlic bulb
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 large onions, cut into wedges
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth,divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Remove papery outer skin from garlic bulb (do not peel or separate cloves). Cut top off bulb; brush with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Wrap in heavy-duty foil.
Place sweet potatoes and onions in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with remaining oil; toss to coat.
Bake garlic and vegetables at 425° for 30-35 minutes or until tender. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
Place 1-1/2 cups broth, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper in a blender. Squeeze softened garlic into mixture; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan.
In batches, process the sweet potatoes, onions and remaining broth until smooth; add to garlic mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts)

Italian Stuffed Acorn Squash-Crock Pot

Italian Stuffed Acorn Squash-Crock Pot

1 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 tbs. olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup wild or brown rice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.
Brush squash halves with olive oil and place in slow cooker (slice off bottoms to level, if necessary).
Pour 1 cup water into the cooker, around (not into) squash.
In a small bowl, combine rice, minced garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and spices; stir until well-mixed.
Stuff rice mixture into each squash half.
Slowly pour about 1/2 cup vegetable broth into each squash cavity until full (don't let stuffing overflow).
Pour any remaining broth around squash.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Just prior to serving, sprinkle with crumbled cheese.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Article: Weight-Loss Rules to Rethink

This is a great article! Summary: Don't do anything to lose weight that you aren't willing to do for the rest of your life and follow the Mediterranean diet. :o) Ok, there is a little more to it than that, but to me it just screams Mediterranean diet!

Weight-Loss Rules to Rethink

Friday, November 20, 2009

Marinated Lamb Kebabs

Marinated Lamb Kebabs
1 pound plain yogurt (regular or lowfat)
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus more for brushing grill
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
5 tablespoons fresh whole rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds top round lamb
1 red onion

Combine the yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large, non-reactive bowl. Add the lamb, making sure it is covered with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days.

Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. Spread the coals in one tight layer on the grill.

Cut the lamb in 1 1/2-inch cubes. You should have about 20 cubes.

Cut the red onion in 8 pieces and separate each piece into 3 or 4 sections. Loosely thread 3 or 4 pieces of lamb onto skewers alternately with sections of onion. Sprinkle both sides of the lamb cubes with salt and pepper. Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times, until the lamb is medium-rare.

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

2 cups dry split peas
1/4 cup barley
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf

1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1) In a large soup pot combine the peas, barley, broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover, and let soup simmer for about 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2) While the soup is simmering, prepare the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes by dicing them small.
3) After the 1 hour and 15 minutes, add the prepared vegetables to simmering soup, along with the basil and thyme. Stir well, cover, and continue to cook on low for 45 minutes, until the peas, barely, and vegetables are all very tender.
4) After the soup is done cooking, add the garlic, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. Mix well; turn off the heat and let soup sit for 30-60 minutes, covered.
5) Add salt to taste. If necessary, add additional broth or water to adjust thickness of soup.
6) Serve hot. Add fresh ground black pepper to individual servings.

Based on a recipe found here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

15-Minute Halibut with Avocado Salsa

15-Minute Halibut with Avocado Salsa
Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes.

6 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup minced scallion
1-2 tsp finely minced jalapeno pepper
3 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 medium ripe but firm avocado, diced into ¼-inch cubes
1/4 cup + 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
4 6 oz halibut steaks or fillets
salt and black pepper to taste


Press garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out its health-promoting properties.

Mix together garlic, scallions, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Heat 2 inches of water in the bottom of a steamer and let it come to a boil.

Rub halibut with 1TBS lemon juice and season with a little salt and black pepper. Place in steamer and steam 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. (e.g., 5 minutes if it is 1/2-inch thick)

Place fish on plate, and top with salsa. Serves 4.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with Mexican Corn on the Cob and Green Salad
Healthy Cooking Tips:

Halibut can dry out easily, so it is important not to overcook it. Because stove temperatures vary, keep a close eye on your halibut and check for doneness starting about 1 minute after you turn it. Insert the tip of a knife into the thickest part of the fish. It should flake easily but still be moist. Cook it a little less than done, and remove it from the heat.

Unlike the other salsas, this one is served with a chunky texture. Chop everything fine except the tomatoes and avocado. If the avocado is very ripe it will make the salsa mushy. Choose an avocado that is ripe, yet still slightly firm. This will yield a more attractive salsa.

© 2001-2009 The George Mateljan Foundation

Acorn Squash with White Beans and Sage

Acorn Squash with White Beans and Sage
COOK TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: About 35 minutes

• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 jumbo onion (1 pound), in 1/4-inch dice
• 1 medium carrot, in 1/4-inch dice
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed with garlic press
• 1 can (15 to 19 z) white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
• 3/4 cup vegetable broth
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
• 3 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
• 2 small acorn squashes (about 12 ounces each)
• 1 medium tomato, in 1/4-inch dice
• Fresh sage sprigs for garnish
• Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, carrot, and garlic, and cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden, stirring occasionally. Add beans, broth, salt, pepper, and 2 tsp chopped sage; heat to boiling. Cover skillet and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, cut each squash lengthwise in half and remove seeds and strings. Place squash halves in 3-quart microwave-safe baking dish. Cover and cook in microwave oven on High 6 to 8 minutes or until squash is fork-tender.
3. Place squash halves, cut side up, on platter. Fill each half with one-fourth of bean mixture; sprinkle with diced tomato and remaining 1 tsp chopped sage. Garnish with sage sprigs. Serve with Parmesan if you like.
TIPS: Recipes calling for a microwave were tested in a 1,100-watt microwave oven. If your microwave has more or less power, it may be necessary to make adjustments in cooking times to reach desired doneness.

Cuban Pork Roast

Cuban Pork Roast
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
Garlic to taste
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds boneless pork loin roast

Combine juices, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Marinate roast over night. Place in crock pot and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Greek Pizza

Greek Pizza

12 inch wholemeal Italian Bread Shell
2 cups baby spinach
8 ounces cooked & sliced chicken breast
1/2 cup quarted cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup low fat feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano,crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Red Wine Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
11/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400F

Place bread on baking tray. Top with spinach, chicken, tomatoes, cheese, nuts, oregano and rosemary. Drizzle viaigrette.

In a small bowl mix vinegar and shallot. Stand 5 mins. Whisk in mustard. Add oil in thin, steady stream, whisking constantly until combined. Whisk in salt and pepper. It can last in the fridge for up to 3 days, but let stand at room temperature for 30mins and then whisk.

Bake in 400f 10 -15 mins

Citrus Jerk Tilapia

Citrus Jerk Tilapia
4 - 6 oz. pieces of Tilapia
1 tbsp jerk seasoning
1 tsp olive oil
4 tbsp sugar free orange marmalade
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp mixed cracked pepper

Sprinkle both sides of fillets evenly with seasoning, pressing gently to
adhere. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add oil, and
place over medium-high heat until hot. Add fillets; cook 3 minutes on
each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from skillet;
set aside, and keep warm. Add orange marmalade and remaining ingredients
to skillet. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute. Pour sauce over fish and
serve immediately.

Fall Flavored Coffee

Fall Flavored Coffee
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
3 tsp cinnamon

Put into tiny container and shake well. Add 2 tsp of mixture (2 tsp for a 4 cup pot)on top of the grounds in your coffeemaker. Flavored coffee with no added fat or sugar and no pieces floating in the cup!

Glazed Polenta With Berries

Glazed Polenta With Berries
4 servings

1 1/3 cups frozen blueberries or raspberries
2 tsp plus 1 1/2 T sugar or Splenda
5 oz or 5/8 cup polenta cut into 1/2" dice
3/4 cup ff milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/16 tsp salt
4 teaspoons light brown sugar or 4 tsp sugar free maple syrup

Divide berries evenly among 4 ramkins. Sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp sweetener. Set aside.

Combine polenta and milk in sauce pan over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes or until smooth and hot, stirring with a wisk. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 tbsp sweenener, vanilla and salt.

Preheat broiler. Divide polenta mixture evenly over fruit in each ramkin, sprinkle 1 tsp brown sugar over each bowl. Place bowls on a baking sheet and broil 1 minute or until sugar melts. Let stand before serving. Core

Italian Beef Roast

Italian Beef Roast

2 pound lean beef roast
1 chopped bell pepper
1 chopped onion
1/2 jar pepperoncini peppers, with liquid
3 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves

Cook on low all day.

Italian Turkey Sausage

Italian Turkey Sausage
Recipe By : Turkey Federation
Serving Size : 4

1 pound lean ground turkey or ground pork loin
1/8 teaspoon anise seed
1/4 teaspoon garlic -- minced
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
pinch coriander

Mix all ingredients well. Shape as desired.

Fry in well sprayed skillet.

Mexican Coleslaw

Mexican Coleslaw
1/2 head of large green cabbage, very thinly sliced
1 large carrot grated
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of two limes
1 1/2 T olive oil
2 t. cumin
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (taste as you go)
salt, pepper to taste

Chop up first 4 ingredients and place in a large non-metallic bowl. In a smaller bowl combine the rest of the ingredients for the dressing. Pour dressing over vegetables and stir, add more seasoning if needed.

This slaw tastes best if it can sit for about an hour to let the flavors mellow.

Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mexican Quinoa

Mexican Quinoa
2 tsp Canola Oil
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 can Mexican Style diced tomatoes, (14 1/2 oz) undrained
2 cups frozen corn
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1) In a 2-quart non stick sauce pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add quinoa, onion, red pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, until quinoa begins to crackle (It will not have started to brown yet) and onion is softened.

2) Add tomatoes, corn, cumin, red pepper and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until quinoa is translucent and tender.

3) Uncover, add black beans and continue cooking just until liquid is absorbed.

Chinese Fried Quinoa

This recipe is very forgiving with regard to amounts and ingredients.

Chinese Fried Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
14 oz fat-free chicken broth
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. diced leftover meat (or less is fine)
1 cup frozen green peas
2 eggs
2 T. soy sauce

Rinse quinoa well with water. Cook quinoa in chicken broth, about 15-20 min until broth is absorbed. Set aside to cool. Best done the day ahead and refrigerated.

Sauté onion and pepper in some of the olive oil until translucent. Add peas and meat. Remove from pan.

Heat remaining oil. Add quinoa to pan. Add soy sauce. Add egg to mixture and cook until done, about 3 - 4 min, stirring while egg is cooking.

Creamy Sage & Parmesan Polenta

Creamy Sage & Parmesan Polenta

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup soy milk or ff milk
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Mix cornmeal with 2 cups stock, set aside. Bring the rest of the stock and the milk to a boil, add salt & sage. Slowly pour in cornmeal stock mixture and add parmesan cheese. Stir constantly until polenta begins to set. About 5 minutes. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with a little additional parmesan, if desired.

Serve with Italian White Beans.

Italian White Beans

Italian White Beans
From Cooking Light

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon water
2 (16-ounce) can Cannelini Beans, Great Northern or navy beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add red pepper, garlic, and bay leaf; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in water and beans. Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Discard bay leaf.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Serve with Creamy Sage & Parmesan Polenta

Pesto Toastini

Pesto Toastini
1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
1 cup firmly packed baby spinach
1/4 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
1/4 cup blanched almonds
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
24 1/2-inch thick slices of whole-wheat Italian bread, cut diagonally

In a food processor, combine the basil, spinach, and parsley. Whirl until the leaves are coarsely chopped. Add the almonds, garlic, cheese and broth. Whirl to a coarse puree. With the motor running, gradually drizzle in the oil and process until it is fully blended into the pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. There will be about 1 cup of pesto.

Spread the top of each slice of bread generously with pesto. Heat the pesto-covered slices in a toaster oven until the bread is toasted on the bottom and the pesto is warmed through. Serve immediately.

To store any unused pesto, spoon it into a small container, smoothing the top. Pour in enough olive oil to cover the top of the pesto. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Makes 8 servings, 2 Tbsp. pesto per serving.

Per serving: 190 calories, 8 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrate,
5 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 245 mg sodium.

Posted by Leslie

Red Pepper Hummus

Red Pepper Hummus

15 ounces canned garbanzo beans drained
1/2 cup water-packed roasted red peppers - about 2 peppers
1 tablespoon tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic -- or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until completely smooth.

Makes about 2 cups.

Casablanca Chicken

Casablanca Chicken
Serving Size : 4

8 bone-in skinned chicken thighs
1 - 1 1/2 pound eggplant -- peeled and cut into 1"chunks
3/4 pound plum tomatoes -- cut into 1/2 " chunks
1 large red pepper -- cut in 1" pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1 medium onion -- chopped
8 marinated sun-dried tomato halves -- cut in strips
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 large garlic cloves -- chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can chickpeas -- drained
2 tablespoons peanut butter

Combine eggplant, plum tomatoes, pepper, raisins, onion, sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, garlic, turmeric, salt and red pepper flakes in a crockpot. Mix well. Place chicken thighs on top, bone side up. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours or on high 2 1/2-3 hours until chicken is done and vegetables are tender. Stir in chickpeas and peanut butter. Let stand 5 minutes and serve.

Posted by: Leslie

Acorn Squash Babaganoosh

Acorn Squash Babaganoosh

Recipe By: Jeff Smith
Posted By: Leslie
Serving Size: 6

1 1/2 pounds acorn squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic -- peeled and crushed
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons sesame paste (tahini)
salt to taste
paprika and olive oil for garnish

Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Brush with olive oil and bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, or until very tender and starting to brown. Cool, scrape out pulp and mash. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with paprika and olive oil.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Warm Spinach - White Bean Dip with Crudites

Warm Spinach - White Bean Dip with Crudites
For the dip:
5 oz. baby spinach (3 cups)
1 c. part-skim ricotta (f/f for SFT)
1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 Tbsp. chopped chives
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/4 tsp. coarse salt

1) Preheat oven to 350. Make the dip: Wash spinach, leave some water
clinging to leaves. Transfer to a large saucepan. Cover and steam over
medium heat, stirring once, until wilted 4-6 min.

Remove; and let cool. Squeeze out excess liquid using kitchen towel;
chop coarsely.

2.) Pulse ricotta and cannellini beans in a food processor until smooth.
Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Add chives, lemon zest, salt. Season
w/ pepper. Stir in spinach. Transfer to 1 quart baking dish.

Bake until bubbling about 30 min. Serve w/ crudites of your choice.

crudite w/dip (1/4 c.) NI: 80 calories; 2 g. fat, 11 g. carbs, 5 g.
protein, 4 g. fiber.

Shrimp & Avocado Salad on Endive Leaves

Shrimp & Avocado Salad on Endive Leaves
10 oz. (20 medium) shrimp
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. finely chopped scallions, plus a little more for garnish
1 Jalepeno, finely chopped (about 2 Tbsp.)
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 firm, ripe avocado, pitted 7 peeled
2 or 3 small belgian endive

black sesame seeds for garnish (optional*)

1. Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Add shrimp, cook until opaque, 1 min. Transfer to a plate w/slotted spoon. Let cool. Cut into 1/4" pieces.

2. Put shrimp in bowl. Add lime juice, scallions, jalepeno and salt. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for 30 min. at least - up to 2 hours.

3. Just before serving, cut avocado into 1/4 " cubes, fold into shrimp mixture.
Spoon about 1 tsp. shrimp mixture into each endive leaf. Arrange on platter.

Garnish w/ scallions and sesame seeds, if desired.

Makes about 2 dozen.
NI: 23 calories; 1 g. fat, 3 g protien, 2 g. fiber, 2 g.

Pumpkin-Black Bean Soup

This soup is phenomenal! Every time I serve it to guests, I am asked for the recipe. It freezes well, so I I double the recipe and half portion into freezer containers for lunch throughout the week.

Pumpkin-Black Bean Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 1/2 cups drained diced canned tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon olive oil
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco (Feel free to use feta or any other tangy cheese you like)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
Pumpkinseed kernels (optional)

Place tomatoes and beans in a food processor; process until about half the beans are smooth. Set aside.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add cumin and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add bean mixture, broth, and next 3 ingredients (through pumpkin); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; sprinkle each serving with about 2 tablespoons queso fresco and about 1 tablespoon green onions. Garnish with pumpkinseed kernels, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa
1 cup low fat milk (I use skim)
1 cup water
1 cup quinoa, (note: rinse quinoa)
2 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted* (optional)
4 teaspoons organic agave nectar (use splenda or sugar if desired)

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving.
Serves 4.

*While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 350F degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes or in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

Georgina's Blueberry Smoothie

The ingredient list may seem extensive, but you can omit certain ingredients if you don't have them.

You need a blender with at least a 40 fluid ounce capacity

Georgina's Blueberry Smoothie
Into the blender you put:

1 cup of blueberries (you can use fresh frozen berries)
1/2 cup of cranberries (frozen)
2 inches of fresh ginger (chopped into chunks)
2 Tbsp. of Black Cherry Concentrate (I use Bernard Jensen's)
1/2 cup of Pomegranate Juice (I use Pom Wonderful)
2 Large raw eggs (use organic if concerned about salmonella)
a handful of walnut pieces
1 Tbsp. of Flax Oil

Turn on blender (highest speed) and add the following

1 Tbsp. of flax meal
1 Tbsp. of wheat germ
1 Tbsp. of Green Tea Powder
1 Tbsp. of Turmeric Powder
1 Tbsp. of Cinnamon Powder

with motor still going add the following

2/3 cup of kefir (I use a low fat brand of 2% m.f.) (or you can use milk)
1 cup of Plain Yogurt (I use 1% or 0% fat )

and finally, 1 whole banana (peel and put in large chunks)
and blend all until it becomes liquefied again.

This will make about 40 fluid ozs.
Divide into two or three servings

I live alone and I have this about 4 times a week.
I have a 20 oz. beer glass that I fill, and I keep the rest til the next day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Valeria's Lasagna

This recipe is from our friend Valeria, who is Sicilian.

Valeria's Lasagna
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground beef
5 29 oz. cans tomato puree (or 1 #10 can tomato sauce)
1 large onion
1 small handful dried basil
salt to taste
1/4 cup or so heavy cream
3 cups mozzarella cheese
2 boxes Barilla lasagna noodles (not the long ones)- DO NOT cook!
4 hard boiled eggs, finely diced

Preheat oven at 475°

Coat a skillet with olive oil. Fry onion. Add meat and break into small chunks while cooking. Add salt, basil, chopped eggs and tomato sauce. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Cook for half an hour, stirring occasionally.

To assemble lasagna:
Cover bottom of a *lasagna pan with a layer of sauce, to prevent sticking. Continue layering, in this order - noodles, sauce, cheese, cream (lightly "sprinkle" the cream all over the layer.) Continue until you run out of room or ingredients.

Turn your oven down to Preheat oven at 375° and bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Let sit for 20 minutes to "tighten" back up, or you will have lasagna soup.

*We used the disposable foil lasagna pans.

Polenta with Mediterranean Sauce

Polenta with Mediterranean Sauce
Prepared polenta, sliced 1/4" thick (1 tube or about 2 cups home-made)
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
Cooking spray
26 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 cloves chopped garlic
4 oz. olives, chopped
Parmesan (optional)

Spray large frying w/ cooking spray, heat and brown onions. Add garlic, tomatoes and olives. While this simmers, heat olive oil in another large pan, and fry polenta slices til golden and starting to get crispy. Transfer cooked polenta to plate and cover with Mediterranean sauce. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Red Onion Vinaigrette Dressing

Red Onion Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 small red onion cut into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients, except oil, in blender and blend until smooth. Add oil, stir to mix.

Wheat Berry and Vegetable Salad

Wheat Berry and Vegetable Salad
3/4 cup wheat berries
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup corn (use frozen, thawed)
1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
4 Tbsp Red Onion Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Cook wheat berries. Let stand 5 minutes. Spread on a baking sheet to cool. When cool, place in a medium bowl with the corn, zucchini, red pepper, green onion and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss gently to combine. Add 4 tbsp of the dressing and the parsley; toss to combine. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
Store leftover dressing in refrigerator.

Makes 6 cups salad (12 servings)

Red Onion Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 small red onion cut into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients, except oil, in blender and blend until smooth. Add oil, stir to mix.

Bulgur Stuffing

Bulgur Stuffing
2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup of bulgur
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion

In small saucepan, bring chicken broth and salt to boil; add bulgur. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until broth is absorbed and bulgur is tender. In small skillet, heat olive oil. Add vegetables and sauté until onion is tender but not brown. Stir in cooked bulgur.

Barley Pilaf

Barley Pilaf
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 c pearl barley
3 c chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkle of fresh or dried rosemary and thyme

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375*. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Spread barley into 1.5 qt baking dish. Add the cooked onion and garlic. Bring broth to a boil, then immediately stir in seasonings and pour liquid over barley. Cover baking dish tightly with doubled layers of foil. Bake barley 1 to 1.25 hours, until tender. Remove dish from oven and uncover. Fluff barley with a dinner fork, and serve.

Crisp Polenta Croutons

Crisp Polenta Croutons
1 recipe easy microwave polenta*
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Parmesan cheese / optional

Preheat the broiler to high. Cut the polenta into bite sized pieces. Place the slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn the polenta slices over; sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly, and cut each slice into desired size pieces.

* When making the polenta, spread onto a cookie sheet until 1/2" thick. Chill.

Easy Microwave Polenta

Easy Microwave Polenta
3 cups water or stock
1 cup coarse cornmeal

Mix in microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap leaving tiny
vent. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stir, recover and microwave for 3
more minutes. Stir, recover and microwave for 3 final minutes. You will
cook it for 3 - three minute sessions total.

The polenta will thicken even more as it cools, so if you are using as
part of a casserole, spread it while it is still warm.

Baked Brown Rice

Baked Brown Rice
1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

Quinoa and Black Beans

Quinoa is one of the most perfect foods there is. It is rich in amino acids and high in protein, calcium and iron. Quinoa should be rinsed very well before use, it it will be bitter.

Quinoa and Black Beans
1 tsp. canola oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels (I sometimes omit this and it tastes fine
without it)
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained--sometimes I sub in
pinto beans)
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion
and garlic, and saute until slightly browned.
Rinse quinoa with cold water (Use a Fine Sieve). Mix quinoa into the
saucepan and cover with broth.
Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to
a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add corn and cook an
additional 5 min. or until corn is heated through. Stir in black beans
and cilantro.

Pumpkin Barley Risotto

Pumpkin Barley Risotto

2 Tsp olive oil
1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 ½ cups pearl barley
4 cups vegetable broth (keep warm)
1 can of pure pumpkin (small)
Dash of nutmeg (fresh if you have it)
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese


Saute onions and garlic in oil on medium heat until clear, about 5 minutes. Add barley, saute about 3 minutes. Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stir until absorbed. Keep adding broth for about 15-25 minutes, until barley is cooked and creamy. (Or, add all broth at once, bring to a boil, lower heat and cover and simmer 30-40 minutes, until barley is tender).

Once barley is finished cooking, stir in pumpkin, nutmeg and Parmesan and gently warm through.

Confetti Brushetta

A family favorite. High in fiber, good source of healthy oils and good stuff.

Confetti Brushetta

1 whole grain french baguette, thinly sliced in diagonals
1 sweet red pepper - washed and diced
1 sweet yellow pepper - washed and diced
1 sweet orange pepper
2-3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
handful of fresh basil, chopped
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated asiago cheese
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup olive oil

Lightly brush the bread on both sides with the olive oil and skillet toast to a golden brown. Remove to paper towels. Add 1 1/2 tsp olive oil to the skillet and lightly saute the garlic. Lightly saute the vegetables. Turn off the heat and toss in the herbs. Top each piece of toast with a generous amount of vegetables and top with a sprinkle of the asiago cheese. Serve.

Great with some fresh fruit and wine.
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