Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spinach and strawberries on the menu tonight

Since we got fresh spinach in our distribution Saturday I looked through my recipes for something to make that was different from the usual sautéed spinach. This recipe is from Cooking Light, though instead of using the egg substitute I used real eggs. We liked the flavor - but I felt the egg-flour part was a little dense. I was hoping for something along the Bisquick-type casseroles I've made in the past. I think I'll experiment in the future and try Trader Joe's Bisquick-type baking mix. It's whole grain and makes great pancakes, so it might be good for a dish like this.

Spinach-Cheese Casserole
from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 6 oz. packages fresh baby spinach
1 ¼ cups shredded lowfat cheddar cheese
¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups fat free milk
1 cup egg substitute (I used 4 eggs)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚. Pour the butter into the bottom of a 13 x 9" baking dish coated with cooking spray; tilt dish to coat. Place spinach evenly in bottom of dish; sprinkle evenly with cheeses.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Pour milk mixture over cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

I also had some fresh strawberries, and after seeing this recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen, tried it using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It was FABULOUS!

Strawberries Romanof
from Kalyn Denny

1 pound fresh strawberries

1/2 cup sour cream (I used Fage 0% Greek yogurt)
1 T Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, or 2 T brown sugar (or to taste, depending on how sweet you like it)

Be sure to buy the reddest and ripest strawberries you can find for best flavor. Wash strawberries and cut off stems. Cut each strawberry into fourths. Mix sour cream and brown sugar and spoon over strawberries, or stir to coat strawberries. Makes 4 small servings.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'll try anything once - roasted radishes?

Yes! Roasted radishes. I saw that Kalyn had tried roasting radishes, using some soy sauce and sesame seeds to finish them, and have planned on trying them if I got radishes in my produce share. Today I got my chance. My share included a bunch of HUGE radishes - several of them were as large as golf balls. Don is eating the smaller ones raw, since he really enjoys them, but I used the larger ones for dinner tonight - along with some of the carrots and onions we received in the share.

Roasted Radishes, Carrots, and Onions

to serve two:
3 medium carrots, cut in 3-4" lengths, then sliced lengthwise
4-5 Mexican green onions, trimmed about 2" from bulb, then split lengthwise
4-5 large radishes, quartered
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450˚. Toss vegetables in a bowl with olive oil and garlic. Spread in a single layer on a metal cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and then LIGHTLY with cayenne pepper. Roast in oven approx. 30 minutes (watch for burning). Serve immediately.

While the vegetables were roasting, Don did his thing at the grill - since I, being female, am utterly incapable of cooking anything on the grill. I'd marinated the chicken breasts all day and they maintained the flavor through the grilling.

Asian Grilled Chicken Breasts

1 6-oz. can pineapple juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and red pepper flakes in a gallon-size ziploc bag. Shake/squeeze to mix. Add chicken, press out the air, seal, and marinate 4-8 hours in the refrigerator. Remove from bag, discard the marinade, and grill until cooked through.

Dessert was a low-sugar peach crumble, made a tad healthier by the addition of oats, oat bran, and pecans to the crumble mixture on top. We received 5 peaches in our share, and my volunteer share included an additional 5, so I had 10 peaches to use for this dish. I used a larger tart pan than a regular pie plate, so it turned out perfect.

Peach Crumble
adapted from a recipe from Nicole of Baking Bites
5 large, ripe peaches (white or yellow) (I used 10 small ones)
½ cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup oat bran
3 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
3 ½ tablespoons butter, cold

Bring a small but deep saucepan of water to a simmer on the stovetop. Set a bowl of cool water next to it. Cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach and submerge 3 or 4 at a time in simmering water for about 30 seconds. Dunk in cold water, then peel off skin. Repeat with all peaches. Slice peeled peaches into about 10-12 pieces each. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Cut butter into 6 or 8 pieces and rub in to flour mixture to create coarse crumbs.
Place peach slices in a pie dish and distribute crumble topping over the top.
Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes, until the crumble browns at the edges and the peaches are tender. Let cool for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

Our produce share yesterday included:

1 bunch large radishes
1 bunch Mexican green onions (the ones with large bulbs)
1 bunch carrots
5 peaches
5 bananas
2 cucumbers
5 lbs. russet potatoes
1 bunch mint
2 green bell peppers
1 head cauliflower
1 bunch spinach
2 mangoes
1 bunch chives

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cookbook Giveaway - A Winner!

I had my husband draw a name from the 3 who commented, and the winner is.....Adrienne!
I'll be contacting you soon for a mailing address. I hope you enjoy the goodies in the book.

Grilled Pear and Cheddar Stuffed Pork Tenderloins

I subscribe to dozens and dozens of food blogs on Google Reader. One that I have discovered lately is by Heather, a Canadian living in Bangkok, Thailand. She has some fabulous recipes on The Culinary Chase, and I tried this one tonight. I prepared it the night before, my first time to
butterfly a pork tenderloin. I almost totally messed this up, because I noticed one spot where the cheese was oozing through while it was grilling. It was nice to come home and throw it on the grill without having to do all the cutting, filling and wrapping up.

Grilled Pear and Cheddar Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
from Heather of The Culinary Chase
1 tablespoon (15mL) fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoon (45mL) extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 small pork tenderloins
1 Bartlett or Anjou pear, sliced thin
4 ounces (120g) 1-year-old cheddar cheese, sliced
6 slices prosciutto

Purée rosemary and oil in the blender and season. Cut tenderloins open lengthwise and brush inside with rosemary purée. Cover with overlapping slices of pear and cheddar. Close up tenderloins and brush outside with rosemary purée. Roll each tenderloin up in 3 slices of prosciutto, tie or close with big toothpicks that have been soaked in water. Season.

Oil the grill and preheat barbecue to medium-high. Cook tenderloins 4 to 5 minutes per side for meat with a hint of pink. Remove from heat, tent with foil and let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Slice and serve with grilled vegetables and herbed noodles.

The Culinary Chase's Note: I stuffed the tenderloin with the prosciutto and the flavors coming from the pear and cheddar make this tenderloin absolutely delicious! Instead of making the purée, finely chop the rosemary and mix in a bowl. Use a pastry brush to slather this on the pork and enjoy a more rustic taste.

Cyndi's Note: I used ham, since I didn't have prosciutto, and served this with roasted potatoes (for Don) and turnip greens.

Thanks, Heather, for a great dish!

Mocha Budino di Ricotta (Cream Cheese Custard)

This is nice low-carb dessert, as long as you eat a small serving at a time!

½ lb. ricotta cheese
2 packets Splenda
2 teaspoons espresso powder
¼ cup grated milk chocolate
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoon heavy cream, (more, if needed)
Cream the ricotta with the Splenda and espresso powder. Add chocolate and nuts and blend thoroughly. Add cream as needed for desired consistency. Serve in sherbet glasses. Good topped with strawberries or raspberries.

The hills were on fire

Luckily, only about 5 acres were burned in the Crafton Hills, but it was pretty scary at first. The flames came down to the back yards of the homes in Chapman Heights.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Take-Along Breakfasts for Work Days

I used to be such a morning person - I'd get up at 5 for coffee and a light (carb-filled) breakfast before I'd go to my classroom. I'd also go to bed before 9 almost every night, so I have little knowledge of popular television shows during the 1990s and early 2000s. Now that I'm president, my day lasts longer, and I enjoy evening sports and television shows. So I stay up later and get up at 6 or 6:30. I don't make time to cook breakfast, so I like to find breakfast that I can either eat in the car during the drive down the mountain, or eat when I first get to the office.

These waffles are made to be eaten cold and without syrup. They're whole grain, high protein and high fiber, and are 160 calories apiece (with 21 g of carbs). I've packaged them in little bags of 2, so I can have a nice meal to eat while I drive to work.

Grab & Go Pumpkin Waffles

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or 1/2 cup brown sugar)

2 eggs
1/4 cup flax seeds, ground
2 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1 15-oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup oat bran
1 cup raisins

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and Splenda or brown sugar. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, flax seeds, buttermilk, pumpkin, oil, and syrup. Mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Add pecans, sunflower seeds, oat bran, and raisins. Heat a waffle iron, and spray with nonstick cooking spray before adding batter. Grill waffles until browned and cooked through. Makes 24 4-inch waffles.

Our actual breakfast this morning was a pizza inspired by Jeff of Culinary in the Country. A couple of weeks ago he posted a recipe for Egg and Bacon Bread that looked really enticing. I told him I was going to give a try, using Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough, but when I started to gather everything together this morning, I realized I didn't have the hard-boiled eggs or the time to make them - we were hungry! So I took most of the ingredients from Joe's recipe, substituted Jimmy Dean sausage for the bacon, and made a pizza.

Breakfast Pizza

adapted from a recipe by Joe of Culinary in the Country

1 package Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough
5-6 oz. Jimmy Dean hot breakfast sausage (I use 1/3 of a 1-lb. package)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons diced onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
5 eggs
2 teaspoons mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375˚. Spray a rectangular pizza stone with nonstick cooking spray. Remove dough from package and place on stone for 20 minutes. While dough is resting, prepare the toppings. In a medium skillet, cook the sausage, garlic, and onion, crumbling the meat with a spoon or spatula as it cooks. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Add olive oil and mushrooms to pan and cook until mushrooms are tender but not overcooked, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms to sausage mixture. Add eggs to skillet, and scramble until eggs are cooked. Turn off heat. Spread the pizza dough in the pan from edge to edge. Spread with mustard and sprinkle evenly with cayenne pepper. Distribute sausage and mushrooms over dough, then top with the cheeses. Bake 12-15 minutes until dough is done. You might have to check after about 8 minutes and top loosely with some foil to prevent the cheese from overbrowning. If you cut it into 8 slices, each slice has 385 calories, 25 g of carbs, and 2 g of fiber.

Cookbook Giveaway!

Just post a comment below, making sure that you give me your email, or have your email within your profile. I'll draw a name on Wednesday, May 13, at 8:00 pm Pacific time.

This is Hershey's 100th Anniversary cookbook, with 230 pages of recipes for brownies, cakes, cookies, pies, breads, candies, and other treats. There's even a section on "Light and Luscious."

Monday, May 04, 2009

Triple C Steak

No picture - it's all gone. You want a picture and a description of how to make it? Go to Jennifer's blog, Last Night's Dinner. It's got cocoa, chili powder, and coffee, along with lemon zest and salt - things I have in my pantry and freezer (the zest). Jennifer says you can sear it in a pan-so that's exactly what I did. Sorry about not having a picture, but hers is mouth-watering!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Chicken Marsala Casserole

I recently started subscribing to Rachael Ray's Every Day magazine - I like the various ideas I see as well as the non-cooking-related articles. In the April issue was a "non-recipe" for a casserole that had many of these ingredients in it. I love Chicken Marsala - Don doesn't - but I thought I'd try this to see if he'd like it. He wanted pasta, so in his half of the casserole pan I used orzo. In my half, I used Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, which has a low gycemic index. You could use 1 cup of either one and it would turn out just fine.

Chicken Marsala Casserole
adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, diced
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Marsala
2 cups water
1 cup long-grain converted rice or orzo
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚. In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms and shallot in the butter until tender. Sprinkle with the flour and toss. Add milk and Marsala, and cook over medium heat until thickened. Add the water. (Yes, it seems weird to add the water, but you need it for the rice/orzo.) Sprinkle the rice or orzo evenly over the bottom of a 13 x 9" pan. Add the chicken, and top all with mushroom gravy mixture. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes until bubbly. Remove foil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer. Serves 4-6

Anaheim Scramble

I like eggs, fixed almost every way you can imagine. Last fall, I had breakfast at a Corner Bakery in Orange County, and they had this dish on their menu. I fell in love with it, and have made it several times here at home. This time I had avocados and tomatoes still left from the produce distribution two weeks ago. Two weeks, and they're still good.

I'm sure you could make this a little healthier by using turkey bacon, but I prefer the regular pork bacon.

Anaheim Scramble

3-4 pieces of bacon
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
1/2 of a large tomato, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced

Cook the bacon in a nonstick skillet until crispy; drain on paper towels. Chop coarsely. Drain the bacon grease from the skillet, and return to heat. Add eggs and cheese, and scramble until nearly done. Fold in chopped bacon, avocado, and tomatoes, and stir lightly to heat through.

Serves 2

This is what happens...

...when you don't let the brownies cool completely before you turn the pan over.

I was baking a big batch of brownies to send to my son - who is on deployment in the middle of the Indian Ocean. (It was also so I could get the brownie mix out of the kitchen!) I let them cool for a while, loosened them all around the edges, and tried to turn them over on a board.

I was able to salvage 2 dozen pieces to send to Kenny, and Don is happy that he gets the rest!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Simple but delicious Hot and Sour Soup

I love a good hot and sour soup. The best that I've ever had is from the little Chinese fast food place next to my office - and it's HOT. Theirs is truly authentic, with the wood ears, shiitakes, and other exotic ingredients. I like a bowl of that for lunch once in a while, and it's a bargain for less than a buck fifty. The worst that I've ever had is from Pick Up Stix - which usually makes great food (House Special Chicken, Lemon Chicken, and their fabulous cream cheese wontons, for example). I was so disappointed with the container I brought home last week, and then angrily surprised that it had shrimp in it. You see, Don's allergic to shrimp. I never thought to ask if their soup had shrimp in it, and he ended up having to leave the table and take some Benadryl.

After that episode, I decided to try making some hot and sour soup myself. I found a recipe from Cooking Light, made a few additions and changes, and we enjoyed it for dinner tonight. It's not authentic - but it's tasty and much better than Pick Up Stix's version.

Hot and Sour Soup
adapted from Cooking Light

1 boneless chicken breast
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 32-oz. carton vegetable broth
2 1/4 cups water, divided
2 teaspoons grated ginger (from the jar) or 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
1/2 pound firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Chili oil for drizzling

In a small saucepan, cook the chicken breast in about a cup of water, covered, 15 minutes or until done. Cool; shred. Combine vegetable broth, 2 cups water, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Add mushrooms. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, chicken, and tofu; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Combine remaining 1/4 cup water and cornstarch, stirring with a whisk. Stir cornstarch mixture into broth mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 3 minutes or until soup thickens slightly, stirring frequently. Slowly pour eggs into soup in a steady stream, stirring constantly but gently with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat; stir in onions and sesame oil. Drizzle each serving with a small amount of chili oil. Serves 4.

This soup has approximately 200 calories in a serving since I used chicken and whole eggs, but only 20 carbs! I don't know much about vegan cooking, but you could omit the chicken and eggs and make it vegan, right? So Bridget, let me know if this sounds good!

This post is for Debbie's Souper Sunday event. Go there tomorrow and see the roundup. Remember when I used to do Thursday Soup or Stew night? Now I have someone else I can send my soups to!