September 22, 2010

Sweet Couscous

Sweet Couscous

Adapted from Food Network (Giada)

 

After seeing this on T.V. and acknowledging my love for couscous, I knew I had to try it!  Full of sweet energy-packed fruit, protein-laden nuts, and chewy grains this is a perfect after school snack, pre-run carb load or a late night indulgence that won’t leave you feeling guilty the next morning!  I reduced the sugar by half (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup), and left out the suggested use of evoo.  You could use any kind of your favorite nuts, the original recipe called for hazelnuts but since I couldn’t find them anywhere, I used Macadamias instead.  And?  Dried cherries are a pain in the ever-lovin’ butt to chop because (I assume) of their high (added) sugar content.  I used kitchen shears to cut them into thirds which took a few extra minutes but saved my sanity.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) couscous
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cranberries, apricots, and cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in the couscous and remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid until the couscous has absorbed all of the cooking liquid, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Using a fork, fluff the couscous to break up any lumps. Add the nuts and toss. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet until completely cooled, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the couscous to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

September 20, 2010

Cafe Deep Dish Pizza

Cafe Deep Dish Pizza

found at All Recipes

  • 1 can pizza dough
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • black olives, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, very well drained (I opened these first and drained them in the sink while I prepped the rest)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Crumble the sausage into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until evenly browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, and sprinkle over the dough crust. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over the sausage.
  3. Add mushrooms and onion to the skillet; cook and stir until the onion is tender. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, salt, fennel seed and garlic powder. Spoon over the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top, then toss the olives over that.
  4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crust is golden brown.

Vegetable Soup with Cheese Tortellini

Vegetable Soup with Cheese Tortellini

Recipe found at For the Love of Cooking.  I didn’t change much of anything on this recipe.  Simple, filling, colorful and just plain good (even the kids commended this one!) this was very fast to whip up and have on the table in just about an hour.

  • 1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (I used reduced sodium chicken broth)
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (I used the no salt added variety)
  • handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped (1-2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 13 oz frozen cheese tortellini
  • 3 cups sliced fresh spinach (about 3 ounces)
  • Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Place the olive oil in a large pot oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery then cook 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the seasonings and garlic then stir constantly for 60 seconds before adding the tomatoes and broth. Cover and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium high, then add the tortellini, zucchini and squash. Cook for 10 minutes or until the tortellini is cooked through. Stir in spinach and simmer, uncovered, until spinach is wilted and all vegetables are tender, about 1 minute longer. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Asiago cheese.

Note: If not serving immediately, add the spinach just before serving to retain the bright color and prevent overcooking.

Nectarine Raspberry Cobbler

Nectarine Raspberry Cobbler

Found on Cooks.com

My mom was in town and we headed out to a local farmers market where they had fresh peach preserves that whispered my name with promises of sweetly topped hot toast, perfectly paired peanut butter and jelly and when we found this recipe, ironically calling for peach preserves, we knew it had to be tried.  The topping was some of the best topping I’ve tried, resembling the taste and texture of sugar cookies.  Seriously, you can’t go wrong with that!

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6-7 large nectarines, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2/3 cups peach preserves
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 pints raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Whipped cream for serving (optional)

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.

2.  In an 9x13 inch baking dish, toss the nectarines with the peach preserves and 2 teaspoon of the vanilla. Fold in the raspberries.

3.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the milk, melted butter, and the remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir with a fork until a thick batter forms.

4.  Using a tablespoon, drop the batter over the fruit. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

September 8, 2010

Chipotle Chicken Salad

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Adapted from Our Best Bites

Salad

  • 4 cups chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • 2 cups chopped grilled chicken (I used Taco Chicken*)
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8 3/4 oz. can corn, rinsed and drained

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (can also substitute Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoons salt

Optional: Crunchy tortillas

Directions

1.  In a small bowl, mix dressing ingredients, reserving a little lime juice to toss over salad to help keep the avocado from browning.  Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

2.  In a large bowl, combine lettuce, chicken, beans, corn, onion, avocado and tomatoes.  Sprinkle lightly with lime juice to keep avocados from browning, and gently mix. Set aside.

3.  When you're ready to serve, gently toss salad and dressing.  Place the tortillas on the bottom of each bowl then top with mixed salad.

*Taco Chicken – also from Our Best Bites

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

In large Ziploc bag combine all ingredients and let marinate at least 30 minutes.  Cook chicken on grill, or you know, whatever you have and there you have it!  Yummy taco-y chicken!

Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup

Adapted from All Recipes

This was really, very good and I liked that it was (semi) homemade.  Reduced or no-sodium tomatoes could be used, even organic if you want to be super healthy!  I used a generic canned brand because I’ve recently discovered that if you can’t find a lower sodium canned good, the generic will almost always have significantly less sodium than the name brand.  It’s probably, at least partially, why generic costs less!

Now, having said that reduced or zero sodium tomatoes can be used, I did add quite a bit of salt to my bowl once it was dished up.  Why?  Because the soup was very sweet from the tomatoes.  I didn’t want to leave out the sugar because it cuts down on the acidity!  So with that in mind, my preference is not to add the salt while cooking, and just add it each bowl if desired. 

Also, next time I’ll be tossing the tomatoes around in the food processor before I cook them, because the kids didn’t like the texture very much, but since I”m super mean, I made them eat it anyway!

Ingredients

  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
  • 18 fresh basil leaves, minced (I tossed mine in the food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
Directions
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil and sugar. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted.