Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Egg & Salmon Sandwich

Apparently, this is what Mary Lou, or other Olympians, eat for breakfast. It's an example of a "pre-training" meal. This is according to the article in the July/August, 2008 issue of Eating Well magazine. And if it's good for them, the it should be good for me.

I don't usually do the egg whites thing, I'm just too lazy and I think they taste bland, but here it seemed like a good idea because salmon itself has a strong taste and I didn't need to mix in too much richness with the egg yolks.

I'm a sucker for lox and bagels with all the fixin's. This is a much healthier breakfast option but gives the same satisfaction.

Egg & Salmon Sandwich
Serves 1

½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 large egg whites, beaten
Pinch of slat
½ tsp. capers, rinsed and chopped (optional)
1 ounce smoked salmon
1 slice tomato
1 whole-wheat English muffin, split and toasted

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tilapia over Italian Asparagus

I love tilapia and since it's such a light fish, I always like to serve it with something healthy. It seems like a waste to smother it with some type of fatty sauce. Usually I'll just top it with salsa, but tonight, I decided to use the fish as the topper on top of some Italian-style asparagus.

Tilapia over Italian Asparagus
serves 4

8 tilipia filets
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound fresh asparagus
1 cup finely chopped plum tomato
¼ cup fat-free Italian dressing
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

Snap off tough ends of asparagus spears. Arrange asparagus in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 4 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the broiler. Season tilapia fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. Place tilapia on a broiling pan and broil 3-4 minutes per side or until fish gets brown around the edges and flakes when you touch it with a fork.

Remove asparagus from steamer and place in a shallow dish; add tomato and remaining ingredients, and toss gently.

Place asparagus on dish and top with two tilapia fillets. Garnish with parsley.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shrimp Veracruzana

Shrimp Veracruz is a standard at most Mexican restaurants. Of course there are so many other cheesy options, I rarely order it. I do like it though because it is light yet flavorful. I made this big batch and we just ate it with our forks, but it also is great to wrap up in tortillas if you have any on hand.

Shrimp Verzcruzana
Serves 4, about 1 cup each

2 tsp. canola oil
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and very thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp (16-20 per pound)
3 medium tomatoes, diced
¼ cup thinly sliced pitted green olived
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bay leaf and cook for 1 minute. Add onion, jalapenos and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in shrimp, cover and cook until pink and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and olives. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-ow, replace cover and cook until the tomatoes are almost broken down, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf. Serve with lime wedges.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Polenta with Baby Spinach

I confess, I made this healthy dish more low-cal by using some fat-free ingredients. But you can use the regular version if you wish with regular chicken broth and cream in place of the evaporated milk.

Polenta is great to eat in winter because it's warm and creamy. Putting this whole thing together takes less than 15 minutes, and that's including chopping the spinach and boiling the broth.

Polenta with Baby Spinach
Serves 4

3½ cup fat-free chicken broth
1 cup instant polenta
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups baby spinach, stems removed, chopped
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ cup fat-free evaporated milk

Heat broth to boiling over high heat in a medium-size, heavy-bottomed pot. Gradually add polenta, stirring constantly to prevent lumps; stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg and spinach.

Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture is thick, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes; stir in cheese and milk. Simmer until cheese melts, about 1 minute; serve immediately. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kale-and-Avocado Salad

I never know what to do with kale. Last year I kept getting it my farmer's basket and always ended up throwing it out or giving it to my bird. I KNOW it's super healthy and I should incorporate into my diet, but I just haven't got there yet. Well, until this salad.

This recipe was on the same page in Food & Wine Magazine as the recipe for Strawberry-Almond Smoothie, which I had torn out. One day when I was flipping through all the recipes I had torn out of magazines, I read this one out of curiosity of what to do with kale. I was intrigued at the instruction to "knead the kale with salt" so I decided to try it.

So it ends up that I do like kale! Especially when it is smothered in avocado like in this salad. And I didn't realize it until I was preparing the salad, there really isn't any dressing. The avocado and lime juice serve as it, even though it is all mushed together. The end result is kind of like guacamole with an Asian twist (due to the sesame seeds).

Kale-and-Avocado Salad
1 serving

1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 cup packed chopped kale leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Hass avocado, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup packed arugula leaves
1 small tomato, coarsely chopped
1 radish, diced
2 large pitted green olives, diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

In a skillet, toast the sesame seeds over moderate heat. Transfer to a plate.

In a bowl, knead the kale with salt until it begins to wilt. Add the avocado and lime juice and mash until chunky. Add the arugula, tomato, radish, olives, cilantro and sesame seeds, toss gently and serve.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Strawberry-Almond Smoothie

Isn't part of the fun of cooking getting to use new ingredients? I love trying new things and experimenting with new ingredients. Of course it's not always so easy to FIND the new ingredients.

I found this recipe for a Strawberry-Almond Smoothie under the well-being detox diet section of the December, 2008 issue of Food & Wine Magazine. By the name it seems quite simple, but I was intrigued by the ingredients... coconut water, agave nectar and figs? Those are not the usual ingredients I expect in a smoothie. And this one has NO DAIRY!

Luckily, I had some leftover figs from when I made Polenta Crostini with Fig and Kalamata Olive Tapenade at Christmas. I headed to Whole Foods in search the coconut water and nectar agave.

If you are feeling creative, I hope you give this a try. The cinnamon is perfect to balance the sweetness. It's good for breakfast or a snack.

Strawberry-Almond Smoothie
1 serving

2 Tbsp. raw almonds, soaked over night and drained
1 cup coconut water
Pinch of salt
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 dried white figs, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. agave nectar
Pinch of ground cinnamon

In a blender, puree the almonds with the coconut water and salt until smooth. Strain the almond milk through a fine sieve. Rinse out the blender. Add the strawberries to the blender with the figs, agave nectar, cinnamon and the almond milk and puree. Pour into a tall glass and serve.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Azteca Squash Soup

There's nothing like a batch of yummy and healthy soup when it's cold outside! I found this recipe for Azteca Squash Soup under as "Spa Food at Home" section in the December, 2008 issue of Bon Appétit Magazine. While this is not a quick soup, it feels good because you make it in little parts throughout the day. And roasting the butternut squash makes your house smell great! Save some time and use an immersion blender if you have one instead of transferring batches of soup to a blender and pureeing a bit at a time.

Azteca Squash Soup
8 servings

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1½-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise,seeded
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1¾ cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups (or more) vegetable broth, divided
1 tsp. group cumin
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed, drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. minced seeded serrano chile
Coarse sea salt
Plain nonfat yogurt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Sprinkle cut halves of squash with salt and pepper. Arrange, cut side down, on prepared sheet. Roast squash until tender, about 1½ hours. Turn squash cut side up and cool. Scoop squash out into medium bowl.

Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add 1¾ cups chopped onion and saute until pale golden, about 10 minutes. Mix in 1 cup chopped celery and 2 chopped garlic cloves. Add 1 cup broth. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add squash, 5 cups of broth, and cumin. Cover and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.

Working in batches, puree squash soup in blender until smooth. When finished pureeing all batches, return all soup to pot. Thin squash soup to desired consistency with more vegetable broth. Add 1 cup black beans, 1 cup corn kernels, 1 cup chopped red bell pepper, ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon minced serrano chile. Cover soup and simmer 10 minutes. Season soup to taste with coarse salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish each with dollop of yogurt and sprig of cilantro

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Broccolini and Spinach with Garlic, White Beans, Tomatoes and Parmesan

This may look like a salad, but it's not. At least according to my definition of a salad - which is cold. This dish is all cooked and it is nutritious, delicious and filling!

I inspired by a recipe for "Broccolini Raab with Garlic, White Beans, Tomatoes and Parmesan" found in the September, 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times. But I could not find Broccolini Raab. Also, I heard it was bitter so I was a bit nervous about trying it. Anyways, I finally decided to substitute the Broccolini Raab with a combo of spinach and broccolini! I thought it was a bit more fun than just spinach alone.

Broccolini and Spinach with Garlic, White Beans, Tomatoes, and Parmesan
Serves 5

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 gloves garlic, minced
8 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 lb. broccolini
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 14-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Saute garlic until it sizzles, the add the broccolini and red pepper flakes. Saute about 7 minutes or until broccolini is tender but crisp. Transfer broccolini from wok to plate.

Add spinach to wok. Saute, tossing constantly, until spinach is wilted. Transfer spinach to serving plate. Place broccolini on top of spinach.

Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to wok. Add tomatoes and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until skins brown and tomatoes begin to split, stirring occasionally. Stir in white beans and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through. Spoon tomato-bean mixture on top of broccolini. Sprinkle Parmesan on top.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mediterranean Tostada

I'm always looking for something to do with leftover rotisserie chicken and this is a good one. It's really healthy and super fast to put together. Chopping the tomatoes and cucumber is the most time consuming part.

I prefer to use pocket-less pitas for this because it ensures and crispy bottom, but you can also use the regular pocket pita. The hummus I prefer is Cedar's Artichoke and Spinach Hommus. And Krazy Salt with cucumber is one of my favorite combos, but use regular salt if you can't find it.

Mediterranean Tostada
Serves 1

1 pocket-less whole wheat pita
2 oz. shredded chicken breast
2 Tbsp. hummus
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 oz. crumbled feta cheese
4 kalamata olives (optional)
Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt (optional)

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Place pita on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 15 minutes. Spread hummus on pita. Sprinkle chicken, tomato cucumber and feta. Top with olives and Krazy Salt if desired.