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Eggplant Tapenade a la Izzy

November 2, 2014

Hands down this is my favorite way to make eggplant. It came from a very dear friend,that I don’t keep in touch with as often as I should. We  chatted via text last week, and it reminded me that I finally need to share and  blog this recipe. The olives are my addition.. You can eat this on crackers, scoop it up with pita, or serve it under or over a beautifully grilled chicken breast and top it with some fresh feta.. Addicting…simple but  elegant enough to be an appetizer  for your fanciest guests.. or for a lazy  football Sunday with friends… It is highly recommended that you at least double this recipe. I love you Izzy.. I hope you are more honored at my blogging your recipe than you were when I named the bearded dragon after you <3

1 large eggplant

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 T. good red tomato sauce, or seasoned diced tomatoes, or one whole tomato diced

10-15 chopped black olives

1 T. Italian seasoning

1 t. black pepper

2t. Kosher salt

1/4 t. red pepper flakes (optional)

2 T. good olive oil

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Peel eggplant. Slice in 1/2 inch circles and then cut into cubes. Put about half of the eggplant in a sieve and sprinkle with one teaspoon of Kosher salt.Toss a bit to distribute. Top with remaining eggplant and sprinkle with another teaspoon of salt. Allow to drain for a minimum of one hour and preferably more.

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That is all the bitterness coming out of the eggplant.

I do not rinse the salt off the eggplant, which is why there is not additional salt in the recipe. Heat a large saucepan and add the oil and crushed garlic. Saute the garlic on low heat til fragrant. Do not try to rush this as the garlic will burn. There is no saving oil that garlic has burned in.

Pre heat oven to 350*

Taking handfuls squeeze as much liquid from the eggplant as you can. Add to the flavored oil.  Stir in Italian seasoning and pepper. Saute  the eggplant for about 5 minutes, and then put the pan in a pre heated oven for 20  minutes. Remember the handle is HOT! Use a pot holder to remove it!

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Add the olives and tomatoes or tomato sauce to the roasted eggplant cubes. Stir. Refrigerate.

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     Serve with crackers, as an appetizer, or light lunch on top  of Red leaf or Romaine lettuce.

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 Additionally,   you can reheat and serve on top of a grilled chicken breast. Crumble a bit of feta on top.

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I hope you enjoy this versatile recipe from my long time friend.

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Spaghetti Squash Genovese

October 28, 2014

There is a delightful Italian recipe called Spaghetti Genovese, I never quite understood pasta and potatoes in the same dish, but being the pesto lover that I am, I never questioned it too far. To cut down the carb content it only made sense to use spaghetti squash, and size down the potatoes to those creamy flavorful minis. A must try adaption of an classic Italian favorite.

1 small spaghetti squash, roasted

12-15 small red, yellow and purple potatoes (usually called tri color, in a mesh  bag)

1/3 lb. fresh green beans

1/2 C. pesto ( made with fresh spinach tonight)

3-4 T. freshly grated parmesan

Prepare pesto.(I substituted spinach for kale- no need to salt and macerate spinach)

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Roast the squash. Cut potatoes in half.  Cut off tips of  green beans, and cut them in half  as welI .

I boiled the green beans and potatoes together,in a small amount of water, until fork tender.

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Drain well. Strand the squash and mix with the potatoes and beans.

Toss with pesto. Grate cheese over top and serve immediately.

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Cheesy Vegetables and Chicken

October 13, 2014

Another one of the clean out the fridge recipes, you will have to control yourself on the portions of this. The original recipe (no clue where I got it from) was also a throw together, but I have skimmed down the cheese and sour cream, added a ton of additional veggies, and most definitely achieved perfection. (My lovely cousin Marcia says she makes this with plain yogurt )There is still a reasonable amount of cheese. Since it is evenly dispersed in 4-5 servings ( or less if you have a teen age son!) the overall quantity per serving is not substantial, and it is of course very low in carbs. The original recipe also called for a 13 x9 pan. I scaled it down to a 9×9 pan so there is less area that needs to be covered by cheese. You can switch up your choice of vegetables. This is what I had on hand last night. It comes together quickly and since every thing is pre cooked, the bake to serve time is minimal.

2 boneless chicken breasts

1 can diced tomatoes, drained well.

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets and lightly  steamed

1/2 large red pepper

8-10 mushrooms, sliced

2 C. fresh spinach, chopped

3/4 C. sour cream (or plain yogurt)

1 t. black pepper

3 t. smoky paprika

1 1/2 C. shredded cheese – Mexican blend. Cheddar, Monterrey Jack (anything but Mozzarella)

Put the cauliflower in a large frying pan and sauté a bit after steaming. Add remaining vegetables in according to the length of time they need cooked. Mine went in the pan in this order: red pepper, mushrooms, diced tomatoes  and lastly, spinach.

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I made my chicken in the Foreman grill.. I love my Foreman grill.. Four minutes- done enough  as it will cook more in the casserole.

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Cut it up in bite size pieces, and add it to the vegetables in the pan.

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Mix in your sour cream and add 2 teaspoons of the paprika, and pepper. Combine well and put in a 9×9 pan.

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Bake covered in a 350* oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, top with shredded cheese and sprinkle with  paprika.Return to oven until cheese is just melted. I shut the oven off and left it in  for  about 5 more minutes.

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We had no sides with since there are so many vegetables in it. If you want to add carbs,  rice would be wonderful as there are plenty of juices from the tomatoes.

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Cauliflower Tabouli

October 6, 2014

Tabouli  or Taboulleh is a traditional vegetarian  Middle  Eastern dish, most closely classified as a salad. Usually made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some type of grain like bulghur  is often added to the dish. This is my variation of it. It’s a pretty flexible recipe. I added some jalapeno because…well because I add jalapeno or some kind of heat to most things we eat! Tomatoes, unless straight off the vine or green and fried, also don’t do it for me in most dishes. In this I have substituted red pepper, which also makes it less watery than tomato. I am not much  a bulghur fan (but  then I also haven’t given it much of  a chance) and I wanted to keep this grain  free. Quinoa would make a tasty addition and add  a nice texture contrast and I might try it another time with that. Crumbled feta took the place of salt in my version, but if you are looking to make it dairy free it can be omitted.

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1/2 head cauliflower grated

1/2 red pepper. diced

1 finely minced jalapeno

1 medium cucumber. seeded and diced

3 diced scallions. including green tops

1/3 C. chopped fresh mint

1 C. chopped fresh parsley

1.4 C. olive oil

1/4 C. fresh lemon juice

1/2 C. crumbled feta (optional but will need salt if this is omitted)

1/2 t. pepper

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 Here is a close up of your cauliflower. You want it “grainy” not mush. I grate it rather than process it.

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Combine your lemon juice and oil and whisk a bit.Mix all your veggies together. Pour the olive oil and lemon over all. Stir to coat all of the vegetables. At this point you can add in a 1/2 cup of cooked bulghur, quinoa or couscous. Lastly stir in your feta if you are using it.This is best if left to sit a few hours. but it is  really hard  not to keep  tasting it! This didn’t last very long and I would definitely double it all next time.

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This dish is so colorful, and it tastes as happy as it looks.

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Micaela’s Healthy Hotcakes

July 16, 2014

I am VERY proud  to be  featuring a  special  guest  blogger! This recipe is courtesy of my daughter, with her  pointers to make a filling and healthy version of pancakes. Just a few ingredients and you have a delicious and healthy breakfast,lunch or dinner!

1 medium banana

1 egg

1/3 C. oats, ground in a processor

1/4  t. baking powder

1 t. cinnamon – or to taste- Micaela uses  more

Peel banana,  put in a medium bowl and microwave for 15 seconds on high. Mash the banana very well with a fork or  whisk. making sure there are no lumps. Add one egg and beat well.

Mix the baking powder and ground oats. Combine with  the  wet ingredients and let sit for about 5 minutes.

In a hot pan, melt a scant  teaspoon of coconut oil.

Spoon the batter into  the pan into two equal pancakes. When bubbly on top, gently turn, and cook for a minute or two longer.

Top with a schmear of peanut or almond butter, and  your favorite fruit.

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<3

 

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All in One Salmon

May 7, 2014

A complete meal served packaged like a gift! Salmon papillote, salmon in packets.. salmon in a   pouch.. whatever you call it this is  an easy and delicious way to prepare fish and fresh summer veggies together. It’s light and flavorful, and the prep and presentation make it  a quick clean up as well. You can’t ask much more on a hot summer night, can you? Served on a bed of garlic and oil flavored cous cous , and layered high with fresh bright garden delights and seasoned well, the combinations are left to your imagination. The most important thing is to keep all things  sliced about the same and use  vegetables that need  around the same cooking time.  This can also be made in foil and cooked on the grill.

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Approximately 2 C. cooked and seasoned cous cous, orzo or rice

4 salmon fillets, 5-6 oz. each

1 red pepper, cut in half and  sliced in 1/4 inch strips and steamed for 5 minutes

16 thin asparagus, cut in half and steamed for 5 minutes

20  grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4 t. Old Bay

4 t. dill

A shake of salt and pepper

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4 12×16 pieces parchment, folded in half, and then folded again

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Open the parchment on a cookie  sheet. In the center where the creases meet, mound 1/2 C cous cous. Top with one fillet. Sprinkle with 1 t. Old Bay.

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On top of fish, layer steamed pepper,  8 asparagus and 10 raw tomatoes halves. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil and top with 1 t. dill. Continue on with remaining fillets

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Bring the two long ends of parchment together and fold tightly. Bring ends under fish, making a pouch. continue with  remaining fillets and veggies.

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Bake 20 -30 minutes,depending on thickness of fish. Serve in the parchment and open at the table. Savor the scent of the steam as each pouch is opened!

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Poblano,Chicken, and Sausage Casserole

April 26, 2014

Several weeks ago, someone in one of my cooking groups posted a recipe for a Chili Releno Casserole. There was no link, just a recipe. so my concoction is loosely based on her recipe, with several changes made by me (as usual, I can’t make a recipe without some alterations!) Having plans for a hamburger based meal later in the week, I decided this casserole was a good for for two lone sausage in my freezer  along with a boneless chicken breast. Black beans were added for  texture and more flavor. Are you getting the idea that this is  an extremely flexible recipe?  It can be done vegetarian using two cans of beans. Skip the sausage, and use two chicken breasts. Be conventional and use hamburger. Double the ingredients  and make a 13×9 pan to take to a Cinco De Mayo Party!  Very flavorful, not too spicy and could be enjoyed by any crowd.

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1 large boneless chicken breast, cut in 1″ cubes

2 sausage links, any kind, cut in 1″ cubes

1 can black beans, drained

3 Poblano  peppers, cut in 1″ pieces

1 onion, small dice (not pictured- I didn’t have one)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 eggs

1/8 C. flour

3/4 C. milk

1 T. chili powder

1 T. oregano

2 t. cumin

2 t. black pepper

2 C. and mixed  Cheddar, Monterey Jack or shredded “Mexican” cheese

Sour cream for garnish

Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)

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In a large frying pan, sauté poblanos (reserve 1/4 C. for top, and dice them smaller) and onion with sausage. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the garlic and chicken. To the pan, add 1 teaspoon of each of the seasonings (chili powder, oregano, cumin and black pepper). Toss well to distribute seasonings. I think it is  important to season the ingredients  while sautéing, adding the rest  when baking. It enhances the flavors and brings out their oils. Cook for just another 3-4 minutes.

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Combine eggs and flour and remainder of seasonings. Whisk until no visible  lumps of flour are gone. Add milk next. I find the flour combines more smoothly when done in this order.

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Spread your meat and peppers in the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Top with the drained and rinsed black beans.

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Top with cheese and the reserved 1/4 C. of poblanos.

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Pour egg, flour and milk mixture over all. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

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Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a dash or red pepper flakes.

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