Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Potato Smashers

8 small new potatoes (3/4 lb.), about 1-1/2 inches in diameter
1/2 cup water
4 slices bacon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place potatoes and water in 2-qt. microwaveable dish. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 10 min. or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 min. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 8 to 10 min. or until crisp, turning frequently. Drain on paper towels.

Drain potatoes; place on work surface. Press each potato with bottom of small bowl or saucer to flatten to 1/2-inch thickness.

Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. Add potatoes; cook 4 min. or until bottoms are golden brown. Meanwhile, crumble bacon. Turn potatoes over; sprinkle evenly with cheese and bacon. Cover skillet with lid. Cook an additional 2 min. or until cheese is melted.

--Adapted from Kraft Food and Family

Spicy Honey Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin (1 lb.)
1/4 cup Catalina dressing, divided
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Brush meat with 2 Tbsp. of the dressing. Mix dry ingredients; rub onto meat. Place in baking pan. Mix remaining 2 Tbsp. dressing and honey; set aside.

Bake 15 min.; brush with dressing mixture. Bake an additional 10 min. or until cooked through (160ºF).

Remove meat from oven; cover with foil. Let stand 5 min. before slicing.

--Adapted from Kraft Food and Family

Ham and Cheese Quiche

1 (7-ounce) can refrigerated breadstick dough
Cooking spray
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Swiss cheese
3/4 cup chopped reduced-fat, low-salt ham (about 1/4 pound)
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup evaporated milk
3 eggs
Cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)

Unroll dough, separating into strips. Working on a flat surface, coil one strip of dough around itself in a spiral pattern. Add second strip of dough to the end of the first strip, pinching ends together to seal; continue coiling dough. Repeat procedure with remaining dough strips. Cover dough with a towel; let rest 20 minutes. Roll dough into a 13-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute. Sprinkle cheese over bottom of crust; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat. Add ham, green onion, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes. Arrange ham mixture over cheese.

Combine milk and egg substitute; stir well with a whisk. Pour over ham mixture. Bake at 375° for 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean; let stand 10 minutes. Garnish with cherry tomatoes, if desired.

-- Adapted fromm Cooking Light magazine

Sunday, April 20, 2008


1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
35 to 40 small wonton wrappers
Water, for sealing wontons
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
1 1/3 cups chicken stock, divided

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine the first 11 ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl (pork through cayenne). Set aside.

To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush 2 of the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of the wrapper. Fold over, seal edges, and shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.

Heat a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat. Brush with vegetable oil once hot. Add 8 to 10 potstickers at a time to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, without touching. Once the 2 minutes are up, gently add 1/3 cup chicken stock to the pan, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove wontons to a heatproof platter and place in the warm oven. Clean the pan in between batches by pouring in water and allowing the pan to deglaze. Repeat until all the wontons are cooked. Serve immediately.

--Adapted from Alton Brown

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shells with Bacon and Spinach

1 (12-ounce) package jumbo shells pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound thick-cut pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 pounds frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
1 cup grated asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup cream
2 cups grated asiago cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the shells:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta. Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach, ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Stuff the shells with about 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture each and place the stuffed shells in a large, buttered baking dish.

For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to very low and add the 2 cups asiago cheese, parsley, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is dissolved. Pour the sauce over the shells. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup asiago cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Adapted from Giada De

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuna Croquettes

2 cans (6 oz. each) light tuna in water, drained, flaked
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
3/4 cup water

Mix all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 10 min.

Heat large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat. For each tuna cake, shape 1/3 cup lightly packed tuna mixture into patty. Add patties to skillet in batches.

Cook 3 min. on each side or until golden brown on both sides, turning over carefully.

--Adapted from Kraft Food and Family

Two Potato Salad

This is a very interesting recipe. The sweet potato breaks down during the roasting, so that it acts as the traditional "binder." The result is very similar to a traditional potato salad, but without the mayo. I think the flavorings on this need a bit of tweaking, but it holds potential as a great tailgate potato salad, since it doesn't really require refrigeration.

4 cups (1-inch) cubed sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
3 cups (1-inch) cubed small red potatoes (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Cooking spray
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; toss well to coat. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until tender. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add green onions; toss to combine.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, juice, and peppers, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over potato mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Basic Steak Marinade

This might not really be worthy of a mention, but I include it in the interest of completeness. It's my basic marinade for flank steak (or any other kind).

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Marinate for as long as time allows.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mexican Chicken with Almond-Chile Cream

3 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons crema Mexicana
Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

Combine almonds and chile pepper in a blender or food processor; process until mixture resembles coarse meal.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 with 1/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper.

Heat butter and 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 garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add almond mixture, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and broth; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until broth mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in crema Mexicana. Serve sauce over chicken. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Yang Chow Fried Rice

Add any meat you choose, just brown after eggs and before rice. Remove, and stir in at the end.

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 large eggs, lightly beaten and divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Dash of salt
1 3/4 cups thinly sliced green onions, divided
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups cooked short-grain rice, chilled
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggs; swirl to coat bottom of pan evenly. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon pepper and dash of salt; cook 3 minutes or until egg is done. Remove egg from pan; thinly slice, and set aside.

Wipe pan clean with a paper towel. Heat remaining 4 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup onions, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add rice; stir-fry 3 minutes. Stir in half of egg strips, remaining 3/4 cup onions, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and peas; cook 30 seconds, stirring well to combine.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Spicy Tilapia with Pineapple-Pepper Salsa

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple chunks
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped plum tomato
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
4 lime wedges

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle fish evenly with spice mixture. Add fish to pan, and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

Combine pineapple and next 5 ingredients (through jalapeño) in a large bowl, stirring gently. Serve pineapple mixture with fish. Garnish with lime wedges.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Key Lime Pie

This makes a great last minute dessert, since it assembles from things you are likely to have on-hand anyway.

1 (14-oz.) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime rind (about 2 limes)
1 (6-oz.) reduced-fat ready-made graham cracker crust
1 (8-oz.) container fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Garnishes: lime wedges, lime curls

1. Process first 4 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture into piecrust.

2. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Let pie cool completely, and top with whipped topping. Garnish, if desired.

--Adapted from Southern Living magazine

Braised Chicken with Red Potatoes and Rosemary Broth

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 small)
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cracked dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (12-ounce) package red potato wedges (such as Simply Potatoes), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until browned. Add broth, wine, rosemary, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes; simmer 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Cheddar-Dill Muffins

You can also roll these out and slice into triangles for scones. However, baking them in the muffin tins or as drop biscuits seems to yield a softer fluffier result. The scones turned out more like thick cheese straws.

4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 pound extra-sharp yellow Cheddar, small-diced
1 cup minced fresh dill
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine 4 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.

Mix the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine until just blended.

Toss together the Cheddar, dill, and 1 tablespoon of flour and add them to the dough. Mix until they are almost incorporated.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it for 1 minute, until the Cheddar and dill are well distributed.

Roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 4-inch squares and then in half diagonally to make triangles (or after cutting dough into triangles, roll each triangle into a ball, and place in a well-greased muffin tin). Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or muffin tin) for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked.

--Adapted from Ina Garten

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Grilled Tilapia with Parmesan Polenta

4 cups fat-free milk
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
Cooking spray

To prepare polenta, bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat, and cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese; cover and keep warm.

To prepare the fish, heat a large nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine oil, paprika, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a bowl, stirring well. Rub fish evenly with oil mixture. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Oven-Fried Potato Wedges

The bread crumbs make a nice crispy coating on the potatoes. These make pretty good steak fries.

3 large baking potatoes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Wash the potatoes and cut each into 6 thick wedges.

Mix the mayonnaise with the hot sauce, onion salt, kosher salt and garlic powder. Coat the potato wedges with the mayonnaise mixture and roll them in the bread crumbs. Place in a greased baking dish and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Serve with your favorite dip.

--Adapted from Paula Dean

Stroganoff Steak Sandwiches

1 crusty baguette
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds, 1-inch thick sirloin or strip steak, very thinly sliced, no more than 1/4-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly chopped dill

Cut baguette into 4 pieces and split but do not separate.

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Pat sliced meat dry. Season the meat with salt and pepper and coat in flour. Shake off excess then add to very hot pan. Cook meat 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Add stock to pan and cook to thicken 1 minute, stir in sour cream, a tablespoon of lemon juice and dill. Season the sauce with pepper. Remove from heat.

Pile meat into cut baguette.

--Adapted from Rachel Ray

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Grilled Chicken with Shiitake Mushroom Vinaigrette

5 large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
6 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus torn leaves for garnish
4 boneless chicken breasts

Heat the grill to high.

Brush both sides of the mushroom caps with 4 tablespoons of the canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill, cap side down and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and continue cooking until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from the grill and coarsely chop.

Whisk together the shallots, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and parsley in a medium bowl until combined and season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Brush both sides of the chicken with the remaining canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill, skin side down and grill until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip over, reduce the heat of the grill to medium, close the cover and continue grilling until just cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Remove chicken from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Serve 1 breast per person topped with some of the shiitake vinaigrette. Garnish with parsley leaves.

--Adapted from Bobby Flay