Saturday, March 29, 2008

Linguine with Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme Mushrooms

This is another great pasta dish that cooks in the time it takes to boil the noodles. I used presliced mushrooms, and they worked great.

8 ounces sliced chestnut/cremini/button mushrooms
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Small clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 sprigs fresh thyme stripped to give 1 teaspoon leaves
1 pound linguine
1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves chopped, to give 1/2 cup
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring water for pasta to a boil. Add pasta, and cook per directions on package.

While waiting for the water to boil, heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, and the mushrooms. Saute until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add the 1/3 cup oil, garlic, and thyme. Let the mushroom mixture sit in the warm pan until the pasta is ready.

Add the cooked pasta, salt, parsley, lemon juice and zest (Don't add the salt before now, or the mushrooms will be too salty). Toss to combine.

Sprinkle with the cheese, serve, and enjoy!

--Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mini Frittatas with Ham and Cheese

Cooking spray
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
2/3 cup chopped reduced-fat ham (about 2 ounces)
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add ham; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add ham mixture, stirring with a whisk. Spoon mixture into 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until set.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Espresso Brownie Cake

Beware. This is dense and rich, so a little goes a long way. The brownie part is very coffee, while the buttercream is sweet. The two go together very well.

3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter, cut into chunks
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup instant espresso powder or instant coffee
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlúa
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 oz.)

1. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine 1/2 cup butter and the unsweetened chocolate. Stir often over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and beat in granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons espresso powder, the eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour just until incorporated.

2. Pour batter into a lightly buttered 8- or 9-inch cake pan with removable rim. Bake in a 350° regular or convection oven until center springs back when gently pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 hour.

3. In a bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup butter and 1 tablespoon espresso powder with the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons liqueur. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat mixture until smooth and fluffy, adding up to 1 more tablespoon liqueur if necessary to make a smooth, spreadable mixture. Spread evenly over the top of the cool brownie cake.

4. Place chocolate chips in a 1-quart unpleated zip-lock plastic bag. Heat in a microwave oven at full power (100%) at 15-second intervals, squeezing chocolate between intervals, until melted and smooth, about 1 1/4 minutes total. Squeeze chocolate to one corner of the bag, then cut off about 1/4 inch of that corner. Pipe chocolate decoratively over buttercream. Chill until chocolate is firm, at least 30 minutes.

5. Just before serving, remove pan rim. Cut brownie cake into wedges and set on plates.

--Adapted from Sunset magazine (off the Cooking Light website)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Asparagus-Turkey Wraps with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

The red pepper aioli makes a great base for pimento cheese.

24 asparagus spears
1 red bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
4 romaine lettuce leaves
8 (1-ounce) slices cooked turkey breast
2 cups alfalfa sprouts

Preheat broiler.

Snap off the tough ends of asparagus. Steam asparagus, covered, 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil for 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes; peel. Place the bell pepper, honey, juice, salt, and ground red pepper in a blender; process until smooth. Combine bell pepper mixture and mayonnaise in a small bowl.

Warm the tortillas according to the package directions. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise mixture evenly over each tortilla. Layer each tortilla with 1 romaine leaf, 2 turkey slices, 1/2 cup sprouts, and 6 asparagus spears; roll up. Serve with remaining mayonnaise mixture.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Monday, March 24, 2008

Penne with Asparagus, Spinach, and Bacon

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
2 bacon slices
2 1/2 cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
4 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup (2 ounces) preshredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; keep warm.Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add asparagus and broth to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add pasta, spinach, 1/4 cup cheese, and pepper to pan; toss well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bacon.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hot Roast Beef Party Sandwiches

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 (9.25-oz.) packages dinner rolls
2/3 cup hot pepper jelly (or other fruit preserves)
1/2 cup mustard-mayonnaise blend
3/4 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef, chopped
1/2 pound thinly sliced Havarti cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

1. Heat walnuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly toasted.

2. Remove rolls from packages. (Do not separate rolls.) Cut rolls in half horizontally, creating 1 top and 1 bottom per package. Spread pepper jelly on cut sides of top of rolls; sprinkle with walnuts. Spread mustard-mayonnaise blend on cut sides of bottom of rolls; top with beef and cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Cover with top halves of rolls, preserves sides down, and wrap in aluminum foil.

3. Bake at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice into individual sandwiches.

Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step 2, and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in refrigerator, and bake as directed in Step 3.

--Adapted from Southern Living magazine

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Marmalade Sours

6 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. bourbon or rye whiskey
3 tablespoons lemon juice

In a pitcher or 2-pint measuring cup, dissolve orange marmalade in 3/4 cup hot water. Stir in bourbon and lemon juice. Fill six 8- to 12-oz. glasses with ice and pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup cocktail mixture into each glass, making sure each serving gets some of the orange peel that settles at the bottom of the mixture. Serve marmalade sours immediately.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

1 (8-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Drain sun-dried tomatoes in a sieve over a bowl, reserving oil. Set aside 1 1/2 tablespoons reserved oil to cook chicken. Finely chop 1/4 cup tomatoes; set aside for sauce. Place remaining oil and tomatoes in sun-dried tomato jar; reserve for another use.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons reserved oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 1/8 teaspoon salt, broth, oregano, and vinegar; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until broth mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Serve sauce over chicken.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Glazed Matchstick Carrots

The easiest way to julienne the carrots is to buy the pre-cut carrot "chips," and then stack and slice.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 cups (2-inch) julienne-cut carrot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Melt margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add sugar, stirring until melted.

Add carrots, salt, and pepper and cook 10 minutes, or until carrots are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley.

Sweet, Spicy, and Smokey Pork Chops

1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground 5-spice
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut loin pork chops, trimmed (about 1/2 inch thick)
Cooking spray

Combine first 9 ingredients; rub over both sides of pork. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork; cook for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 8 minutes or until done, turning occasionally. Remove from pan; let stand 5 minutes.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mustard and Herb Crusted Tilapia

1 1/2 (1-ounce) slices sourdough bread, torn
2 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or tarragon)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place bread in a food processor; pulse until crumbly. Place the tilapia fillets, flat side down, on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Combine mustard and thyme; spread over top of fish. Sprinkle fish with breadcrumbs and paprika; lightly coat with cooking spray.

Bake at 450° for 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Monday, March 10, 2008

Grape Jelly Meatballs

These are a traditional Southern staple.

1 jar (12 oz) Heinz chile sauce
1 jar (12 oz) grape jelly
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bag frozen meatballs

Combine chile sauce and grape jelly in a crockpot. Allow the insert to warm, so that the chile sauce and jelly can melt together. Add Worcestershire sauce and meatballs, stir to coat.

Cover, and cook on high 4 hours. Move to warm until ready to serve.

Marmalade Meatballs

2 pounds fully cooked frozen meatballs
1 bottle (16-ounce) catalina salad dressing
1 cup orange marmalade
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Place frozen meatballs in the insert of a slow cooker. In a bowl, stir to combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over meatballs and stir to coat. Cook on high setting for 2 to 3 hours.

--Adapted from Sandra Lee

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Brandied Shrimp

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
Salt and fresh black pepper
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper and let the mixture simmer until the shrimp are partially cooked through and beginning to curl, about 2 minutes. Stir in the ketchup and the oregano and simmer until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, 2 more minutes. Add the brandy and parsley, stir to combine, remove from the heat and serve.

--Adapted from Ingrid Hoffman

Spaghettini with Oil and Garlic

6 quarts water
2 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound uncooked spaghettini
3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring 6 quarts water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a large stockpot. Stir in pasta; partially cover, and return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 6 minutes or until pasta is almost al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking water.

While pasta cooks, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until fragrant or beginning to turn golden, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, reserved 1 cup cooking water, parsley, and pepper.Add pasta to pan, stirring well to coat. Return pan to medium heat; cook 1 minute or until pasta is al dente, tossing to coat. Place 1 cup pasta mixture in each of 8 bowls; sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese. Serve immediately.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ancho Chile Pork Chops with Pepper Jelly Glaze

This glaze is also very good on steamed broccoli.

2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
Cooking spray
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons hot pepper jelly

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Rub spice mixture evenly over pork. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan, and keep warm.

Add broth to pan, and cook for 30 seconds, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Increase heat to medium-high. Add preserves to pan; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Brush pork with glaze.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Monday, March 3, 2008

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Smoked Mozzarella, and Proscuitto

This dish has a very impressive presentation. It also has the benefit in cooking in the time it takes to bring the pasta water to a boil. Everything combines to make really great dish.

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
3/4 pound spaghetti
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into strips
6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced (about 1 cup)
6 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Cook the asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. With a spider or slotted spoon, remove asparagus from boiling water to a bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking. When cool, strain, cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces, and set aside.

Return the water in the pot to a boil, adding additional water, if necessary. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add asparagus to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the pasta, and if needed, some of the reserved cooking liquid. Toss to coat. Add the prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil, and toss to combine. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

-- Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Poppyseed Noodles

1 pound extra-wide egg noodles
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook and drain egg noodles according to package instructions. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the cooked egg noodles, poppy seeds, chives, salt and pepper in the butter. Serve immediately.

--Adapted from Paula Deen

Chicken Cutlets with Maple-Mustard Dill Sauce

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon grated orange rind

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes or each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, syrup and remaining ingredients; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve sauce with chicken.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine