Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mocha Pudding Cake

1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream

Stir together all ingredients except ice cream in a large bowl. Pour into a lightly greased 3-quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW 2 hours or until set around the edges but still soft in the center. Let stand, covered, 30 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.

Asparagus-Almond Rice

2 to 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 small bunch asparagus

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium pot and toast nuts 2 minutes, add rice and toast 1 minute more. Add stock and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 15 minutes. Trim off the top 4 inches of asparagus and thinly slice on the bias. Add to rice and cook rice 2 to 3 minutes more for a total of 17 to 18 minutes.

--Adapted from Rachel Ray

Pepper Jelly Duck Breast

2 duck breasts
Salt and pepper 1/3 cup pepper jelly
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves finely chopped

Lightly score duck breaks through skin, but not the flesh, in a cross-hatch pattern. Season duck breasts with salt and pepper and place in cold pan skin side down and turn heat on to medium-medium high. Cook until crispy, 15 minutes, turn. Drain off some of the fat and discard. Mix pepper jelly with 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and tarragon, salt and pepper, reserve. Once you flip the duck, pour the marmalade sauce over top and reduce heat to medium-low. Loosely cover pan and let the duck cook 2 minutes more.

--Adapted from Rachel Ray

Crunchy Dijon Salmon

6 (4-oz.) salmon fillets
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)

Preheat oven to 450º.

Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper; spread mustard over tops and sides of each fillet. Press breadcrumbs onto each fillet. Place fillets on a lightly greased wire rack on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

--Adapted from Southern Living magazine

Chinese Chicken Salad

1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
Cooking Spray
4 fresh wonton wrappers, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
6 cups finely shredded cabbage
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
Spicy soy-ginger dressing (recipe follows)
1 large avocado, cubed
4 green onions (including green tops), sliced diagonally
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1. In a 2- to 3-quart pan over high heat, bring about 1 quart water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, then plunge asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 400. Coat a jellyroll pan with cooking spray. Add wonton strips. Coat tops of strips with cooking spray. Bake 4-5 minutes, or until strips are brown and crispy.

3. In a large serving bowl, toss the cabbage, chicken, and asparagus with the dressing. Top with avocado, orange slices, and wonton strips, then garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Spicy soy-ginger dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Asian red chile sauce (such as Sriracha), and 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger. Slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup vegetable oil or grapeseed oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt to taste.

Braised Grouper with Ginger, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Chiles

Really great recipe.

4 6-ounce grouper fillets
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups vegetable stock
2 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated
12 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons thinly sliced green onion
2 teaspoons thinly sliced red jalapeño chile
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Season fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat; add oil, then fillets. Cook until fillets start to brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip fillets and reduce heat to medium. Add stock, bok choy leaves, mushrooms, soy sauce, and ginger. Cover and cook until fish is opaque in the center, about 3 minutes.

Divide fish, mushrooms, and bok choy between 4 deep, wide soup plates. Pour stock over fish and vegetables (depending on size of your plates, you may have extra stock). Garnish with green onion and jalapeño and drizzle with toasted sesame oil.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Mexican Ham and Bean Soup

2 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
8 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cubed smoked ham steak (about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 chipotle chile (or dried ancho or pasilla chile)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Manchego cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions

Combine beans, broth, and next 8 ingredients (broth through garlic) in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Partially cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

Stir in tomatoes and chile; simmer 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves and chile. Ladle soup into 8 bowls. Top with cheese; sprinkle with cilantro and green onions.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Beer-battered Fish

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
2/3 cup beer
2 large egg whites
2 cups dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 firm white fish fillets, such as catfish or tilapia, cut into 4 x 1-inch strips
Cooking spray
Malt vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 450°.

Coat the bottom of a jelly roll pan with oil.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, pepper, and garlic salt in a large bowl. Add beer; stir well. Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg white mixture into flour mixture.

Combine breadcrumbs and parsley in a shallow dish. Working with one fish strip at a time, dip in flour mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining strips, flour mixture, and breadcrumb mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet. Lightly coat strips with cooking spray.

Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove from oven.

Preheat broiler.

Broil the fish sticks 1 minute or until tops are lightly browned. Serve fish sticks with malt vinegar, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 (15-ounce) carton lite ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
9 cooked lasagna noodles
Vegetable cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
4 (8-ounce) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh basil leaves (optional)

Combine 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and ricotta cheese in a large bowl, and stir well. Add spinach, and stir well.

Spread 1/3 cup spinach mixture on each lasagna noodle. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, beginning at narrow end. Cut lasagna rolls in half crosswise, using a serrated knife; arrange, cut side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine chopped tomato and next 6 ingredients in a bowl, and stir well. Spoon tomato mixture over lasagna rolls. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover; top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and bake an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Quick Chicken and "Dumplings"

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 (10-ounce) box frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 1/2 cups water 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken and vegetables; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.While chicken mixture cooks, combine water, flour, and broth. Gradually stir broth mixture into chicken mixture. Stir in salt, pepper, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in tortilla strips, and cook 2 minutes or until tortilla strips soften. Remove from heat; stir in parsley. Discard bay leaf. Serve immediately.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Vanilla-Almond Warmer

8 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Ground cinnamon (optional)
Cinnamon sticks (optional)

1. Combine the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Add cinnamon sticks to milk mixture; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (do not boil). Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes. Stir in extracts. Place pan over medium-high heat; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. Garnish with ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine