Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sweet and Savory Mixed Nuts

2 1/4 cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts, including peeled peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and whole unpeeled almonds
1 tablespoons coarsely chopped dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter. Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm (but days later, these are still great).

--Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Friday, June 27, 2008

Beach Enchilada Casserole

This recipe is for one batch.

1 lb. ground beef OR 1 lb chicken breast, chopped
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
9 (6-inch) corn tortillas (more may be needed)
Cooking spray
1 1/4 cup taco sauce (such as Ortega), divided
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375°.

Brown ground beef or chicken. Drain. Mix cooked meat with 1/4 cup taco sauce.

Combine next 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Arrange 3 tortillas in bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread half of cheese mixture over tortillas. Top with meat mixture. Repeat procedure with 3 tortillas and remaining cheese mixture; top with remaining tortillas.

Pour taco sauce over tortillas; sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until cheese melts.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chicken Char Siu

Wow. These things are good. Easy too.

1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 18 strips
Cooking spray

Combine all ingredients except the cooking spray; marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat broiler.Thread 1 chicken strip onto each of 18 (6-inch) skewers, reserving marinade. Place skewers on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 6 minutes. Turn skewers over; baste with reserved marinade. Broil 6 minutes or until done.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Boston Creme Cupcakes

These cupcakes are very impressive-looking for not a whole lot of effort. We made them for Father's Day and they were a hit.

1 butter yellow cake mix
1 3-oz. box French vanilla instant pudding
1 cup half and half
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ cup chocolate ganache

Prepare yellow cupcakes as directed on box.

In the meantime, prepare the vanilla custard filling by combining the instant pudding mix and the half and half in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer using the whip attachment, combine whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar and whip at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the pudding mixture to the whipped cream until it is fully incorporated and smooth. Place filling into a pastry bag, or a ziploc bag with a metal tip.

When the cupcakes have cooled, place the tip of the pastry or ziploc bag inside each cupcake and pipe in filling, being careful not to overfill.

When all the cupcakes have been filled, prepare your ganache. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the ganache. Place glazed cupcakes on a cooling rack to dry.

Drain and pat dry maraschino cherries. While the cupcakes are slightly “wet” from the glaze, place a cherry on top for garnish.

Source: adapted from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures and the blog, "Annie's Eats"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Strawberries with Crunchy Almond Topping

6 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)
6 amaretti cookies, crushed
6 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours (or overnight). Spoon into individual dessert dishes. Sprinkle with crushed cookies; top with sour cream.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

White Bean Salad with Aparagus and Artichokes

This salad is hearty enough for a main dish. To steam the asparagus, I tightly cover a dinner plate with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 1 minute. Then I let the asparagus sit in the steam for 2 minutes.

1 can artichoke hearts, rough chopped
2 cups (1-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
1/3 cup thinly sliced radishes
3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (19-ounce) can Great Northern beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained

Steam the asparagus, covered, for 2 minutes. Combine the radishes and remaining ingredients in a bowl, and gently stir in artichokes and asparagus.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Eclair Cake

Very easy, very tasty.

1 (1-pound) box graham crackers
2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes instant French vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed Frosting
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Butter the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. Line with whole graham crackers.

In bowl of an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping.

Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

For frosting, blend together sugar and cocoa. Add butter and milk, mixing well. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Stir until creamy. Cover cake with frosting and refrigerate for 24 hours.

--Adapted from Paula Deen

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Vanilla-Cinnamon Rolls

This is a recipe I came up with last night as a quick dessert. As I make it more, it may evolve into something different.

1 can crescent rolls
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla (Penzey's Double Strength Vanilla is superb)

1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350.

Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until well-mixed.

Unroll the crescent dough, and separate into two long rectangles. Do not break into individual triangles.

Place half the sugar mixture on each rectangle, and roll up. Slice the rolls into individual rounds.

Place the rounds into a well-greased 8" x 8" baking dish. The sugar will melt and ooze out, so the dish needs to be well greased. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Invert the baking dish, and the rolls should fall out with the sticky sugar on top.

To make the glaze, mix the confectioners sugar with the water. You may need to add more or less water to get the right consistency. Drizzle the cinnamon rolls with the glaze.

Basic Oven Fries

So I realized that I had various variations on oven fried potatoes, but nothing of the basic sort that get made weekly around our house. So this is the base recipe that gets dressed up in myriad ways.

1 russet potato (serves 2)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (not olive oil, it burns too easily)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425.

Slice potato into 8 long wedges, then cut in half to make 16 pieces.

Toss the pieces in the oil, and then place on a baking sheet covered in non-stick aluminum foil. Sprinkle with the kosher salt.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, turn the potato slices, and bake for another 1o minutes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Garlic-Herb Oven Fried Halibut

1 cup panko (or regular breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish. Place egg and water in a shallow dish. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Dredge fish in flour. Dip in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture.

Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Smokey Turkey Almond Mole

Like the pad thai from a few days ago, this is a good recipe despite having only a passing resemblance to a real mole. Still, it's tasty. And it would be a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers.

1/2 cup roasted almonds
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 dried Anaheim chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 1/2 cups fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (such as Muir Glen)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 (6-inch) corn tortillas, torn into small pieces
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can vegetable broth
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 cups chopped cooked turkey breast
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Place almonds in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 1/2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Anaheim chiles; sauté 1 minute or until softened. Add onion and garlic; saute 4 minutes or until onion is lightly browned.

Add 1 chile half to onion mixture. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use. Add tomatoes and next 6 ingredients (tomatoes through broth); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spoon mixture into food processor; process until smooth. Return mixture to pan; stir in almond butter and vinegar; cook 1 minute. Stir in turkey. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Creamy Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese

4 cups uncooked medium elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.While pasta cooks, place flour, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes or until thick and cream cheese melts, stirring occasionally. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic; simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a large bowl; toss well.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Chicken and Mushrooms in Garlic-Wine Sauce

4 ounces uncooked medium egg noodles
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place chicken breast halves in a shallow dish. Combine 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring well with a whisk. Sprinkle flour mixture over chicken; toss to coat.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add garlic, tarragon, and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken. Add white wine to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently.

Return chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer 2 minutes. Uncover; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. Stir in noodles; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Place about 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Orange-Sesame Noodles with Grilled Shrimp

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
10 ounce soba noodles
1 cup snow peas
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.

Boil noodles according to package directions. Before draining, add snow peas and carrot. Let cook 30 seconds.

Drain pasta, peas, and carrot, and toss immediately with orange juice mixture. Set aside.

Brush shrimp with sesame oil, and grill over medium-hot coals 3 to 5 minutes.

Arrange pasta on serving plates, and top with shrimp.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Roasted Tomato Salsa

This is my new favorite salsa. It's good.

2 fresh jalepeno (or spicier chile, depending on taste)
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 can (15 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon lime juice (if needed)

Set a small skillet over medium heat. Lay the chiles and garlic in the skillet and dry roast until soft and blotchy black in spots, about 10 minutes for the chiles and 15 for the garlic.

While the chiles are roasting, chop the onions and the cilantro.

Once the chiles are finished, remove the stems. Remove the seeds if desired, but this will reduce the heat of the salsa. Peel the garlic.

Scoop the chiles and garlic into a food processor. Add tomatoes, with their juice, and pulse until desired consistency.

Add cilantro and onion. Add salt to taste. If necessary, add lime juice or water to adjust consistency.

--Adapted from Rick Bayless' excellent cookbook Mexican Everyday

Grilled Potatoes

This is a simple recipe, but very tasty. If you are going to fire up the grill, you may as well cook a side dish on it as well.

2 lbs Yukon Gold or other waxy potato
1/4 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Slice potatoes into 4 or 6 thick wedges, depending on size of potato. Place in microwave safe bowl, add a few tablespoons of water, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high 8-10 minutes. The potatoes should be tender, but not fully cooked.

Drain any remaining water. Toss potatoes with oil, garlic, and salt.

Gril over medium high heat, 10 minutes or until golden.

Crack pepper over finished potatoes (don't add before or the pepper may burn).

Yucatecan Garlic-Spice Grilled Chicken

This is another excellent recipe from Rick Bayless. Very tasty, very simple. Make extra, because the leftovers are amazing.

6 garlic gloves, unpeeled
1/3 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 boneless chicken thighs

Cut a slit in the side of each garlic clove. Place them in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and microwave on high 30 seconds. Remove the husks, and mince.

Add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.

Place chicken in a gallon size freezer bag with marinade, and marinate 2-4 hours.

Grill over medium high heat 10 minutes per side, or until chicken thighs can hold their own weight when picked up with tongs.

--Adapted from Mexican Everyday

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Pretty decent. I was surprised, because it is a very simple recipe. I included the directions for the crust, but I bet this would make enough to fill 2 store bought pie shells.

2/3 cup (about 3 oz.) reduced-fat chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
3 packages (8 oz. each) nonfat cream cheese
1 can (14 oz.) nonfat sweetened condensed milk
3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

1. Combine crumbs and melted butter. Pat evenly over bottom and about 3/4 inch up the side of a removable-rim 8-inch cheesecake or cake pan (at least 1 3/4 in. deep).

2. In a food processor or bowl, whirl or beat cream cheese, milk, egg whites, and vanilla until very smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Evenly sprinkle batter with remaining chocolate chips.

4. Bake in a 350° oven until cake jiggles only slightly in the center when gently shaken, about 30 minutes.

5. Run a thin-bladed knife between cake and pan rim. Refrigerate cake, uncovered, until cool, at least 2 1/2 hours. Serve, or if making ahead, wrap airtight when cool and chill up to 2 days. Remove pan rim and cut cake into wedges.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine