Monday, September 29, 2008

Hash Brown Casserole with Bacon

6 bacon slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (32-ounce) package frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes
1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded Four Cheese blend, divided
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
Cooking spray

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, and crumble. Discard drippings in pan. Stir in the potatoes and garlic; cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine crumbled bacon, 1/4 cup cheese, green onions, sour cream, salt, pepper, and soup in a large bowl. Add potato mixture; toss gently to combine. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove casserole from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Bake casserole, covered, at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until bubbly around edges and cheese begins to brown.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Salisbury Steak with Mushroon Gravy

1 pound lean ground beef
1 (10-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, divided
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon steak seasoning (recommended: Montreal)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup cognac
1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 (1.2-ounce) packet brown gravy mix
Cooked rice, for serving

In a large bowl, combine beef, 1/4 can mushroom soup, bread crumbs, egg, onions, and steak seasoning. Mix thoroughly and shape into 4 oval patties.

Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown patties on both sides and transfer to a plate. Add remaining butter and cognac (remove pan from heat when adding cognac.) Saute mushrooms for 7 to 8 minutes. Add beef stock and whisk in gravy mix until smooth. Stir in remaining mushroom soup.

Return patties to skillet and spoon gravy over top. Cover pan and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.

--Adapted from Sandra Lee

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Korean-style Grilled Chicken

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Cooking spray
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
4 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Combine soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to soy sauce mixture in bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place 4 thighs in pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining 4 thighs. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Mustard Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

This recipe calls for a pork tenderloin, and is roasted in the oven. I used boneless loin chops, and fried them in a non-stick pan with a little bit of olive oil, 2 minutes per side. However you make it, the leftovers are great in sandwiches.

1 (1/2-ounce) slice white bread
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 garlic clove, minced
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place slice of bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/4 cup. Combine the breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, cheese, and 2 teaspoons thyme in a shallow dish. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Combine Dijon mustard, fennel seeds, and garlic in a small bowl. Rub pork with mustard mixture, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

Place the pork on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Praline-Glazed Salmon

12 ounces boned, skinned salmon fillet, cut into 2 pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix pecans, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

2. Place salmon on a foil-lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from heat for 6 minutes. With a wide spatula, turn fish over. Spoon pecan mixture evenly over fish and broil again, checking frequently to be sure nuts do not scorch, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

3. With a wide spatula, transfer fish to serving plate.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Grilled Portobello, Bell Pepper, and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 red bell pepper, seeded
4 (4-inch) portobello mushroom caps
Cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (2-ounce) Kaiser rolls
1/2 cup (4 ounces) soft goat cheese

1. Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, and garlic in a large bowl. Add bell peppers and portobello mushrooms; toss gently to coat. Marinate while preparing grill, or up to 30 minutes.

2. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

3. Place bell peppers and mushrooms on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side. Remove vegetables from grill; cool slightly. Cut bell peppers into thin strips. Combine bell peppers, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.

4. Cut rolls in half horizontally; spread cheese evenly over cut sides of rolls. Arrange 1 mushroom cap on bottom half of each roll; top each serving with about 1/3 cup bell pepper mixture and top half of roll.

5. Place sandwiches on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Place a cast-iron or other heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook).

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Chicken with Goat Cheese Sauce

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
4 thyme sprigs
1/4 cup (2 ounces) soft (log-style) goat cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

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 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 wine to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until mixture is reduced to 1 tablespoon (about 1 minute). Add broth and thyme sprigs; cook until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat; discard thyme sprigs.

Add cheese to pan; stir with a whisk until smooth. Serve sauce over chicken; sprinkle with thyme leaves.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ricotta Cheesecake with Fresh Berry Topping

This was a super easy dessert. I substituted store-bought ricotta cheese, and I also used the frozen berry mixture that you can find in the freezer section of your grocery store.

4 cups (2 pounds) Homemade Ricotta Cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

2 cups quartered strawberries
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Mint sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cheesecake, place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into a 10-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched.

Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around the outside edge of cheesecake. Cool slightly; remove outer ring from pan. Sprinkle cheesecake evenly with powdered sugar.

To prepare topping, combine berries, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and juice; toss gently to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve berry mixture with cheesecake. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

-Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Pasta, Beans, and Greens

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (15.75-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté carrot 5 minutes; add garlic. Add the oregano, salt, pepper, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high; add pasta, beans, and spinach; cook 14 minutes or until pasta is done, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Tuna Cornbread Cakes

1 (6-oz.) package buttermilk cornbread mix
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 (5-oz.) aluminum foil pouches herb-and-garlic-flavored light tuna chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Stir together cornbread mix and 2/3 cup milk. Pour batter into a lightly greased 8-inch square pan.

2. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes or just until warm.

3. Stir together mayonnaise and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl.

4. Crumble cornbread to equal 2 cups. Reserve remaining cornbread for another use. Fold cornbread crumbs and tuna chunks into mayonnaise mixture until well blended. Shape tuna mixture into 8 (3- to 3 1/2-inch) patties.

5. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tuna patties, and cook, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown; drain on paper towels.

--Adapted from Southern Living magazine

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

Very good.

3 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced

Bring chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat; stir in grits. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in salt and next 3 ingredients. Set aside, and keep warm.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon from pan.

Cook shrimp in same pan over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until almost pink, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice and next 4 ingredients, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in bacon.

Spoon grits onto individual plates or into shallow bowls; top with shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Chicken and Couscous Salad

1 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup diced radishes (about 3 large)
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

To prepare salad, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Spoon couscous into a large bowl; cool slightly. Add chicken, onions, radishes, cucumber, parsley, and pine nuts; toss gently to combine.

To prepare dressing, combine vinegar and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to combine.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pink Lemonade

1 cup sugar
10 cup water
1 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup grenadine

Cook sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Cool; pour into a large container. Stir in remaining 9 cups water, lemon juice, grenadine, and, if desired, raspberries. Chill 2 hours.

--Adapted from Southern Living magazine

Parmesan Black Pepper Crackers

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until creamy. Add the Parmesan, flour, salt, thyme and pepper and combine.

Dump the dough on a lightly floured board and roll into a 13-inch long log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the log crosswise into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices. Place the slices on a sheet pan and bake for 22 minutes.

--Adapted from Ina Garten

Pineapple Upside-Down Biscuits

1 (10-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick butter), at room temperature
10 maraschino cherries
1 (12-ounce) package refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 count)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease 10 cups of a muffin tin. Strain the can of crushed pineapple, save juice for later.

Combine the pineapple, sugar, and butter, and mix well. Divide the pineapple mixture among the muffin cups. Place a cherry in the center of each muffin cup, making sure cherry hits bottom of cup. Place 1 biscuit in each cup on top of sugar and pineapple mixture. Spoon 1 teaspoon reserved pineapple juice over each biscuit. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool for 2 minutes. Invert the pan onto a plate to release the biscuits. Serve warm.

--Adapted from Paula Deen

Lemon and Lager Grilled Chicken

1 cup lager beer
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray

Combine first 10 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken; seal and marinate in refrigerator 3 hours, turning bag occasionally. Remove the chicken from bag; discard marinade.

Prepare grill to medium-high.

Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until done.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Linguine with Butter, Arugula, and Parmesan

1 pound linguine
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups very finely grated Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped arugula

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the linguine and cook until it is al dente, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Immediately toss the hot pasta in a large bowl with the butter to coat. While tossing the linguine, gradually sprinkle the cheese, pepper, and enough of the reserved cooking liquid evenly over the linguine to moisten. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt. Divide the pasta among 6 plates and serve.

--Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis