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Tamed Tuna Casserole

March 10, 2014

I  know, I know…you’re turning up your nose. No one “loves” tuna casserole, in addition to the fact that it is loaded with  fat and carbs. I encourage you to try this version.. just once.. I guarantee you will put it into your menu cycle.  With Meatless Mondays, Lent, and the cost of meat soaring, now is the perfect time to try this. Using half spaghetti squash and half pasta you are cutting your carbs significantly. Because the  spaghetti squash brings a creamy texture to the dish, you can also cut down on fat from added  cheeses and milk.. No flour-y roux in this either. And if you “really” can’t stand tuna, cooked chicken is  always a viable alternative. The end result was such a hit I do not  have step by step pics,  but thought it was  worth sharing.

1/2 lb. angel hair or spaghetti, cooked and drained

1/2 roasted spaghetti squash, made into strands (directions here)

1 large can solid white albacore tuna, in water

1 C. Ricotta cheese

1/2 C. Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

1/3 C milk (I used 2%, fat free  would work as would cream)

1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (any salty dry cheese will work )

1 t. Old Bay

1 t. dried dill

1 t. pepper

1 T. butter

1/4 C. bread crumbs or panko

A sprinkle  more of  Old Bay, and dill for the top

Combine ricotta, milk , Parmesan and seasonings. Prepare pasta and drain. Mix with strands of spaghetti squash.While pasta and squash  are still hot, mix in ricotta until it is evenly distributed throughout.

Add the tuna, and break the chunks up so it is also evenly distributed  throughout the pasta and squash. Pour into a 9×9 pan.

Optional: Dot with  a little butter and sprinkle bread crumbs or panko on top.

Pre heat  350 degree oven. Bake 40 minutes until brown and bubbly.

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Served with some asparagus on top, this looks like a gourmet dish!

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Slightly Sweet and Spicey Swordfish Stir Fry

March 5, 2014

Every once in a while my local Publix has swordfish “nuggets” These are the pieces that are left once  bigger quantities have been sold. They are perfect for a stir fry, since the nuggets are all different sizes.  Swordfish is such a great fish, light in flavor like many  filets, but meaty in texture. It picks up the flavor of anything you put on it, and is filling so a little goes a long way. It also pairs well with any vegetable, so if you don’t have zucchini on hand you can switch  it up in a variety of ways.

1 lb. swordfish, cut in 1 inch cubes

2 medium zucchini

1 large can pineapple chunks

3 T. soy sauce

1 lemon, juice and zest

2 T. Brown sugar

1 T. Simply Asia ginger garlic seasoning (you can sub 1t. ginger and 1 t. toasted sesame seeds for  this)

2 cloves garlic

1/2 t, red pepper flakes

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In a container or Ziploc bag, combine juice and zest from half  the lemon, one grated garlic clove. 1 T. of soy, and  1T. of pineapple juice. Add in the fish and coat well. Allow to marinade for up to an hour,   but no more than two. Fish will start to “cook” if left in marinade too long. It  only take a little time for it  to absorb flavor.

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In a separate bowl, combine the remaining pineapple juice drained from chunks, 2 T. soy, juice and zest from other half of lemon, 1 clove garlic grated, Asian seasoning, red pepper flakes  and brown sugar. Let sit while you prep your veggies. Cut zucchini however you like- I prefer two cuts length wise, and then in one inch slices.

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Add a scant 1/2 t. of vegetable oil to a hot pan. Toss in  zucchini. I like it to brown a bit to add color and  natural sweetness.

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Pour off any juice from the swordfish. Add the swordfish to the zucchini and toss for about 2 minutes.

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Add in pineapple and pour on the sauce.

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Serve over  rice, (this is a mix of brown and wild) orzo or quinoa!  A light but filling meal.

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Enjoy!

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Greek Yogurt Chicken

January 13, 2014

Choosing my 100th post was pretty simple, even though it had to meet many requirements. Number one hundred needed to be a reflection on what I try to maintain with this blog Something simple that could be served from family to fancy, appealing to many, healthy, and diverse in that you could switch up ingredients in case you didn’t have something on hand. I hesitated to label this as Greek chicken, because the only ingredient used that was Greek was the yogurt. Using plain yogurt, and Greek seasonings such as rosemary, with hints of lemon would lend itself to that, but I didn’t want to just be held to one mode of seasoning. This works with any flavor of yogurt, though I find the ones that aren’t sweet more appealing, and of course,plain. I’ve made this at least a dozen times. Those who  I have shared the recipe have made it more than once. Everyone loves it. I hope you do too.

4-5 nice size chicken thighs, skin on

1 small container Greek yogurt, today I have lime

1 T. olive oil

2 T. dried parsley

2. T. dried rosemary

1 t. Perfect Pinch - I think this is a must

1/2 t. black pepper

1/2  medium lemon, juiced and zest

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

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Combine all ingredients well, except chicken and half of the minced garlic. I like to use a plastic container with a lid. Baggies are nice but I have had one too many a bone break through a bag.

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Generously coat the chicken. Gently lift the skin without removing. Put a tablespoon or two  of yogurt mix under the skin pocket. Sit it in the fridge for an hour, or 24 hours. The taste will get stronger the longer you leave it  in the mix. In a rush? You will  still have great flavor in an hour.

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Take chicken out of the refrigerator and pre heat the oven to 400. Arrange the chicken in a foil lined pan, not touching each other. Evenly distribute the other half of the minced garlic on top and another sprinkle of  Just  A Pinch (Don’t miss this step ) Use a pan with sides, as the juices are flavored beautifully.

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Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat and bake for another 20 minutes. No more! Let rest before serving for  5 minutes.

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Served with Roasted Broccoli and Garlic.

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No Carb “Noodles”

January 12, 2014

Yes, you read that right. Zero carbs, as in none. Would this qualify as a “real” noodle? I don’t see why not. All that is missing is  the flour. The texture is smooth, and it holds up to  a bold red sauce (gravy to my Italian roomie Lo), and can be made delicate enough for a clear soup.  What I especially like is you can  really flavor it up, and  add a new dimension to what you are making. I love layering flavors, and this is a good way to do just that. Seasoning possibilities are endless.. some suggestions: oregano for  a  red or meat sauce, soy if you are having Chinese…Cayenne and  curry powder for Indian dishes. Even a spoon of grainy mustard to use under Divine Dijon Chicken! Use a spice to compliment the dish you are making. Nicely filling too, without  that  oh em gee I ate too much feeling. I use one egg for soups and two for pastas. Since  I was making a Thai soup just for myself,  the recipe is for one egg.

One egg

2 T. water

1 T. scallion or parsley, chopped fine

1/2 t. hot chili oil, optional (good in chicken based soups for heat)

Beat very well. I don’t like clots of white in my eggs!  Add your seasonings. I have chili oil in mine, hence the slightly red spicy coloring. Pour into at least a 9 inch pan. Even with 2 eggs you want this on the  thin side. If you are using more than one egg, use a small ladle to make each serving. Think noodle, not omelet, even though  for a few minutes it is  going to look like one! Tilt your pan  in a circular motion to form your  “crepelet”. When it is set (as in a pancake little bubbles will form on top) flip over for a minute or  so. I like them to be cooked  through, almost well done.

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Remove from pan. When cool enough to handle, carefully begin to roll your crepelet into a log.

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Taking a sharp knife, julienne the roll to make your “noodles”. Thinner for soups, and wider  ribbons for sauces.

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NOODLES!

Add to  your favorite soup or top with anything…really, I mean it.. anything!!

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Roasted Cabbage Rounds

January 10, 2014

There are several different version of this super simple “recipe” going around the internet. Since seeing it, I have made it several times. Honestly, I could eat it once a week. The nutty, naturally sweet, and seasoned as you like cabbage slice goes with everything.. You can personalize it to accent your meals (Asian seasoning with salmon, steak seasonings with meat, all the way down to olive oil and Sea salt alone- there is no wrong with this veggie!) As with most recipes that I research online, this is my way, through trial and error what I find works, and tastes best. Remember, your fondest recipes are those you make your own..adding the tastes that you and your family love best.

I head cabbage, I get approx. 12 slices per medium head

6  cloves roasted garlic, mashed into a paste

3 T. olive oil

1-2 T. Montreal Steak Seasoning

A shake of Himalayan Sea Salt on each slice

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Pour one tablespoon of oil on a foiled cookie sheet.I have used flavored oils, but olive oil works perfectly. Spread the oil around. Pre heat oven to 350*.

Hold the cabbage by the core end. Starting opposite the core, begin slicing the cabbage into discs. Most recipes called for one inch intervals. We like them thinner for a number of reasons. They get crispy. The outer circles are reminiscent of guilt free onion rings. They cook faster but still get that nutty roasted taste. If it is just you and the children at the table, they can be finger food, no need to cut them. But it is up to you!  You might like them a little thicker. When you get to the core end, keep slicing and just remove when you lay it on the cookie sheet.

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Rub the roasted garlic on the slices. Use your fingers and massage it in there. (or don’t use it and  use plain garlic for more “bite” )Drizzle the other two tablespoons of oil  over the rounds. then season with  really, whatever you want. I used Montreal Steak seasoning even though we were having fish. Lastly, give a good turn of salt on the top of each. Send them into the over for 30 minutes, turn them over and season the other side a bit, and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

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Looking at this- I want some NOW!

I really urge you to try this even if cabbage isn’t your vegetable of choice. Roasting any vegetable, as I have said before, will completely erase  any negative thoughts you might have. If you are a cabbage lover, (especially fried cabbage) welcome to a healthier version. If you love boiled cabbage, cook them a little less. Guaranteed you will never drown your cabbage again!

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Baked Brie with Cranberry Salsa

December 31, 2013

We often have a variation of baked Brie and a sweet jam or preserve on our holiday appetizer tray. This year I saw several recipes with cranberry toppings. One with a kick appealed to me as a nice change, but I wasn’t fond of it’s uncooked  texture. So, revamped  and cooked a bit, slathered on cold, atop bubbling brie that has been blanketed in, (of course) light and crisp puff pastry.. You will want to make room for this.

1 C. fresh cranberries
1 medium size  jalapeno pepper
2 clementine tangerines, or 1 orange peeled
1/4 C.  sugar
1/2 C. orange juice, or water
2  scallions
grated zest and juice of 2  limes
1 1/2 t.  grated fresh ginger

In  processor pulse  cranberries, jalapeno and oranges .
Do NOT over process. your cranberries should be grainy, not mush. You can also slice the oranges by hand, and add the small pieces to give more texture.

In a saucepan, add the pulsed fruit mixture, the juice and zest of  limes, sugar, scallions, ginger, and a few turns of Himalayan Sea Salt. Stir and add liquid. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Refrigerate.  Best made the day before so flavors can intensify, and less work for you on  the day of serving!

For the brie you will need:

1 sheet of puff pastry

1 16 0z. wheel of Brie

Roll your sheet of pastry  just enough to removed the crease marks. Place on a cookie sheet lined with  PARCHMENT paper (don’t use foil!) or in an oven proof casserole (make sure it is  large enough to allow for puffing, and then cutting on serving table). As you can see I used foil, and then was unable to transfer the Brie. The parchment will allow it to just slide onto your serving platter. Place your Brie in the center of the rectangle.

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Swaddle the Brie by bringing the ends of the pastry towards the edge of the wheel and giving it a little turn. Continue around the circle, leaving the center open.

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Bake  approximately 30-35 minutes, until pastry is browned and your Brie is bubbling around the edges … refrain from loading some onto a slice of French bread!

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Generously top with your cold salsa. Serve immediately,with very fresh French bread slices.

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~HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS ~

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Bacon Cheddar Spirals

December 31, 2013

I love anything and everything wrapped in puff pastry. The simplest of ingredients become a delicate amuse bouche, delicate enough to ring in the New Year, and rugged enough to please your hungriest football fan.

Ingredients:
1 sheet puff pastry , thawed and rolled to remove creases
1/2 C. very sharp cheddar, shredded
2 green onions, minced (about 1/4 cup)
5 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (I have used 6 strips of vegetarian bacon here)

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the pastry sheet lightly to remove the fold marks.

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Cover in cheese. add top with bacon and onion. Go all the way to the ends of the pastry, or your first and last cut will be empty!

Starting at a short side, roll up like a jelly roll.  Place the pastry, seam-side down, onto a baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until the pastry is firm.

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Cut the pastry crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.  Place the slices onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I used foil- don’t you do that!)

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Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.  Let the pastries cool for 10 minutes.

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~HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS~

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