Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

I grew up on my Mom's Texas-style taco salad - you know, the one with ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, kidney beans, cheese, and tortilla chips. We added a few other things, too, but that's the basic taco salad. This one came to me via email yesterday - I subscribe to a daily "Dinner Tonight" email from Cooking Light. One look at this one and I new we had to have it for dinner last night. All I had to go buy was the avocado - you just don't keep those lying around the house. I like the "coolness" of this one from the sour cream, and the chipotle flavor made it really unique. (Yes, I know "really unique" is hyperbole...).

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
from Cooking Light

⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
⅔ cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup diced peeled avocado
⅓ cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained
To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Tip: Add a spoonful of adobo sauce for a spicier salad. Kidney or pinto beans also taste great in this dish.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Patty Melts and My New Love

I was first attracted to this recipe by the picture in the magazine, and then by the simple ingredients and directions. After I made it, I was thrilled with how little time it took to make it. The onions took about 3 minutes, the meat 4, and then the whole sandwich about 2. Boy, was it yummy! We've added this one to our list of all-time favorites - so now I'm going to be looking for more sandwiches - grilled and pannini.

Patty Melts with Grilled Onions
adapted from Cooking Light

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 slices rye bread
1/2 cup shredded Jarlsberg or other Swiss cheese

Preheat electric grill or pannini pan. Sprinkle onion with balsamic vinegar. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray and add onion. Cook about 3 minutes; remove and keep warm. Divide beef into two patties and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add patties to pan; cook about 4 minutes or until done. Spread 1 teaspoon mustard over 2 bread slices; layer each slice with 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 patty, half of the onion, and 2 more tablespoons cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon mustard on remaining bread slices; place, mustard side down, on top of sandwiches. Wipe pan, if necessary. Add sandwiches, and cook about 3 minutes or until bread is lightly browned and crusty. Makes 2.

My new love is my grill/pannini pan. I've used it to grill meats, but this was the first time I'd used it to make sandwiches. Now I want some great recipes. Do you have any to share?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hanging out in Barnes & Noble...

Sometimes I like to go to Barnes & Noble and sit and read. I was there the other day, sipping on a sugar-free iced coffee, and perusing a Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazine. There were so many recipes in it I decided to buy it. This was one of the first recipes I tried.

Oregano Olive Chicken
adapted from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking

1 broiler-fryer chicken, cut up and skin removed
¼ tsp. pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup white wine
½ cup pimiento-stuffed olives, chopped
¼ cup capers, drained
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves , minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Sprinkle chicken with pepper. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, brown chicken on all sides in oil. Remove and keep warm. Drain drippings from skillet. Combine the remaining ingredients; pour into skillet, stirring to loosen brown bits. Bring to a boil. Return chicken to pan. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Serves 6. I served this with some rice. The chicken itself has 2 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

Another recipe from the same magazine tasted too good to be low-carb and low-calorie. I had some South Beach Diet non-fat cottage cheese - which I decided I didn't like straight from the carton - and by using Dreamfields pasta, this was a great healthy pasta dish that was full of flavor. I added some crushed red pepper for a little kick. I took a great picture, and then accidentally deleted it.

Baked Mostaccioli
adapted from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Magazine

8 oz. uncooked mostaccioli or penne (I used Dreamfields)
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 14 1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/3 cup water
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups (16 oz.) nonfat cottage cheese
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or deep skillet, cook the turkey and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain if necessary. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, oregano, salt, red pepper, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese and marjoram; set aside. Drain mostaccioli. Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce into an 11 x 7 x 2-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of the pasta, meat sauce and cheese. Top with cottage cheese mixture. Layer with remaining pasta, meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, at 350˚ for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Serves 6.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bean Dip (as good as the name brand!)

When Don and I go camping, one of our favorite snacks is Frito-Lay Bean Dip - with Fritos Scoops. I found a recipe on recipezaar for a copycat - and gave it a try this afternoon. For $.69 for a can of refried beans, plus pennies for the add-ins, this recipe made 3 times as much as a little can of the name brand. We thought it tasted exactly like Frito-Lay's!

Lito-Fray Bean Dip

1 (15 ounce) can refried beans
5 slices bottled jalapenos (nacho slices)
1 tablespoon brine, from bottled jalapeno slices
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Combine refried beans with the other ingredients in a food processor.
2. Puree ingredients on high speed until smooth.
3. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.