Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Salad with Feta

Today was a nice warm Spring day here in the Bay Area, so I thought a watermelon salad would be nice for dinner. I love watermelon and feta, although I did consider using grilled Halloumi cheese instead, but went with feta since it is a lot more economical, but I may try it next time with the Halloumi. Next was some protein to make it a complete meal in my husband’s eyes, started with chicken, but switched to shrimp to make all family members happy as my son currently is not loving chicken. I also think the salad would be good with some cherry tomatoes, but alas, my market only had small tomatoes that were a very under-ripe light red color, so I left them out. But if you have access to good vine-ripened tomatoes, include them.  Enjoy with a glass of cold Rosé from Provence!

Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Salad with Feta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: fairly easy
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Light and refreshing Spring/Summer Salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon white miso
  • 1 teaspoon light honey
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus a Tablespoon more for the shrimp)
  • 2 Tablespoons raw pinenuts
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • About 4 cups cubed watermelon (about 1/2 small seedless watermelon)
  • 1 large head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into small pieces
  • About 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chiffonade mint (cut in fine shreds)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl mix 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.  Add the raw shrimp and let soak for 15 minutes to 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  3. While the shrimp brines, whisk in a small bowl, the vinegar, miso, and honey. Gradually whisk in the oil. Set aside.
  4. Roast the pine nuts for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Remove Shrimp from brine and drain completely. Coat shrimp with a mixture of olive oil, garlic and pepper. Grill or Broil shrimp for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
  6. Place about a cup of torn lettuce on each plate. Add cut watermelon, grilled shrimp, a sprinkle of feta, a sprinkle of pine nuts and pour some dressing over the salad. Garnish with chopped mint. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

June 11, 2018

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Spring Cherry Pistachio Salad

Hello Spring! Here in the SF Bay Area it finally feels like spring. The weather has been wacky, felt more like fall than spring recently, but the last two days have been beautiful and warm (ok, less warm today…but I made this yesterday) so I decided to make a salad with fresh bing cherries, tomatoes, avocados and pistachios. It turned out to be a really nice and substantial salad for dinner.

Spring Cherry Pistachio Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Healthy spring/summer salad.

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 thick slice of bacon (I used applewood smoked bacon)
  • ½ cup unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup pitted cherries, quartered
  • 1 avocado, diced and soaked in lime juice
  • 12 ounces Mixed Baby lettuce or Romaine lettuce, torn in bite-sized pieces
  • 3 white button mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, small crumbles

 

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light miso
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Procedure

  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl with a whisk. Set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon slice in the oven at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until desired crispiness is achieved. Remove from oven, pat off as much grease as you can and mince.
  3. While bacon cooks, lightly toast pistachios in the same oven. Approximately 5-8 minutes, careful not to burn them. Set aside to cool.
  4. Wash and pit the cherries. Slice them in quarters.
  5. Slice the mushrooms thinly
  6. Halve or quarter the tomatoes.
  7. Chop the feta.
  8. Chop the pistachios.
  9. Fill the large salad bowl with lettuce, then add mushrooms, tomatoes, avocados, cherries, feta, and pistachios.  Serve the dressing on the side.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

May 10, 2017

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Roasted pistachios

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Miso Soup + Dashi

Now with pictures!

Healthy Seasonal Cooking

Tonight my daughter and I made miso soup with homemade dashi. Usually when we make miso soup we cheat and just use some store-bought chicken or vegetable broth and add miso, figuring it was good enough, but wow, this was so much better! There is so much complexity to this soup now that it has the smell of the ocean from the kombu and bonito flakes and the salty/savory flavor from the miso. So Delicious! The added bonus is that we don’t feel like we just ate a salt bomb as we often do after eating miso soup at a restaurant.  I think the sodium levels are pretty moderate in this version. Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures, so will have to add them next time I make this.

IMG_4891 miso!

IMG_4892 Dashi and vegetables before adding the miso mixture

IMG_4893 Mixing in the miso.

IMG_4894 Spoonful of umami heaven!

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Halibut and Mango Tacos

This recipe comes from my daughter, Rachel, who is an excellent cook! She made the tortillas from scratch as well as developed her own recipe for the filling. Totally delicious! You can also substitute any white fish for the halibut or even shrimp would be delicious with the sweet mango. Of course you can buy pre-made tortillas, but if you have some free time the homemade ones are really soft and fresh, nothing like store-bought tortillas.

Halibut and Mango Tacos

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy - medium
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Delicious light fish tacos and homemade tortillas

Rachel created this recipe

Ingredients

Flour tortillas (this makes around 12 small tortillas)

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons light oil of your choice (Rachel used safflower oil)

Taco filling

  • 1/2 lb halibut
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp. green onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded cabbage as a topping
  • Chopped jalapeños or serrano peppers if desired as a garnish.

Procedure

Tortilla Instructions:

  1. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda with a whisk in a large bowl.
  2. Add the oil and mix well.
  3. Add the warm water and mix well. Roll dough into a log and divide into 12 equal pieces.
  4. Roll each piece into a pretty thin circle. They puff up some when you cook them.
  5. Heat pan on high heat so you can cook the tortilla quickly. She likes to use a non-stick pan so no oil is needed. When the pan is very hot, place tortilla in the pan and cook for 20 seconds or so, until it puffs and browns lightly, turn and cook the second side 10 or 20 seconds. Place on a dish and repeat for next tortilla. Set cooked tortillas aside and keep warm.

Taco filling Instructions:

  1. Cut the mango, halibut, and avocado into small cubes. Set aside the avocado.
  2. Toss the halibut and mango with the onions through the salt and pepper in a bowl, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Heat a large pan on medium high heat, add a little oil, and then sauté until the fish is cooked.
  4. Remove from heat and add the avocado. Mix well.
  5. Place the halibut mixture into prepared tortillas and garnish with the cabbage and spicy peppers if using.  Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    March 18, 2018

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Miso Soup + Dashi

Tonight my daughter and I made miso soup with homemade dashi. Usually when we make miso soup we cheat and just use some store-bought chicken or vegetable broth and add miso, figuring it was good enough, but wow, this was so much better! There is so much complexity to this soup now that it has the smell of the ocean from the kombu and bonito flakes and the salty/savory flavor from the miso. So Delicious! The added bonus is that we don’t feel like we just ate a salt bomb as we often do after eating miso soup at a restaurant.  I think the sodium levels are pretty moderate in this version. Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures, so will have to add them next time I make this.

Miso Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Savory homemade miso soup

Credit: Bon Appetit and Epicurious

Ingredients

Dashi

  • 8 cups cold water
  • 2 – 6 x 5 inch pieces dried Kombu (a type of seaweed)
  • 1 1/2 ounces bonito flakes (about 3 cups)

Miso Soup

  • 8 cups of Dashi
  • 1/2 cup dried wakame (a type of seaweed)
  • 1/3 cup white miso
  • 1/2 pound tofu (I like firm tofu), drained and cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup thinly cut scallions

Procedure

Dashi Instructions:

  1.  Pour water into a large saucepan. Add kombu and let sit until kombu softens, about 30 minutes.
  2. Bring water and kombu mixture to a slight boil and immediately remove from the heat. Discard the kombu.
  3. Add the bonito flakes and carefully stir once to submerge them. The broth will be clearer if you don’t vigorously stir it. Return to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for five minutes, skimming off any foam that might form.
  4. Strain the dashi (broth). You can let it cool and store it in the fridge for a couple of days or use it now to make the miso soup.

Miso Soup Instructions:

  1. Pour the dashi into a medium pot and mix in the wakame.
  2. Heat the dashi mixture over moderately high heat until hot. While the dashi is heating up remove about 1/2 cup of it and whisk it in a separate bowl with the miso until well combined.
  3. Add the tofu and scallions to the broth (dashi). Cook one minute. Turn off the heat.
  4. Mix the miso mixture into the soup and serve immediately. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    March 13, 2018

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miso!
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Dashi and vegetables before adding the miso mixture
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Mixing in the miso.
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Spoonful of umami heaven!

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Healthy Seasonal Cooking

img_3151Whole Wheat Pancakes

This is my basic “blank slate” pancake recipe, and depending on the season and what I have on hand I add some sort of fruit to the batter. My basic recipe began with Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes from Cooking Light, but I almost never have buttermilk on hand so I have substituted non-fat Greek plain yogurt, and over the years I have changed several other things. Today we are up in the mountains and it is a brisk fall morning and I have a bunch of Fuji and Honey Crisp apples on hand so I made apple spice pancakes. They were really fluffy and with the apples and spices they reminded me of going to the cider mill in the fall while growing up in Michigan. Mmmm! Other variations I make are Pumpkin and dried (fruit juice sweetened) cranberries, banana, banana and blueberry, blueberry, etc… The possibilities are…

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Roasted Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

This is a Food and Wine Recipe that I pretty much followed except I used white wine instead of vermouth, deleted the butter, and added spinach and extra mushrooms. The recipe is quite creamy and decadent tasting but with only stock, wine, olive oil and vegetables added to the rice I think it is pretty healthy and nutritious. I made this three times already, and everyone I have made it for has really liked it. The original recipe says it only takes 35 minutes, but it has taken me at least an hour each time I have made it, so it is not quick, but I think it is worth it.

Roasted Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Rich, creamy yet healthy risotto with mushrooms and spinach

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, such as oyster, hen-of-the-woods and chanterelle, cut or torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 7 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer)
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine (or vermouth as the original recipe was written)
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for garnishing

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the mushrooms in an even layer and roast until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes, turning halfway through.
  3. While the mushrooms cook, warm the stock in either a pot or if you are lazy like me in a glass measuring cup in the microwave (one less pot to clean).
  4. In a large deep skillet heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat stirring until softened, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the wine and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add 1 cup of the warm stock to the rice mixture and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Repeat adding the stock 1 cup at a time and stirring constantly until the liquid is nearly absorbed between additions, for about 15 minutes (you may not use all the stock).
  8. Add 3/4 of the roasted mushrooms and all of the spinach to the risotto and cook, adding more stock as needed, until the rice is just tender and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve immediately, topping each potion with the remaining roasted mushrooms and a sprinkle of parmesan. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    February 25, 2018

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the rice
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the mushrooms before roasting
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Rice mixture when liquid is first added
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Rice mixture when liquid is nearly absorbed and ready for more liquid to be added
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Adding spinach to the almost finished risotto
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Finished risotto

Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu

Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Fun and healthy twist on spaghetti and parmesan dishes using spaghetti squash and a hearty vegetable ragu.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into a small dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Squash Preparation:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz. bag of fresh organic spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup (approx.) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom.  Remove the seeds with a spoon by scooping them out and lightly scraping the inside of the squash to get it completely seed-free.
  3. Rub a little olive oil on the inside of the squash and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and slightly golden on the cut sides.
  4. While the squash cooks, prep the vegetables and make the sauce by heating some olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs and a little more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible so the sauce gets thick.
  7. When the squash is tender remove it from the oven and run the fork along on the inside so it divides up like spaghetti.
  8. Turn the oven on to Broil.
  9. Microwave the spinach for one minute and press out the excess water. Divide up the spinach and parmesan in half and add to each squash half. Add about 1/2 cup of sauce and mix into the squash. Top with a little more sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  10. Place squash under broiler and cook until cheese is melted and starting to brown slightly.
  11. Depending on the size of the squash and your appetite either cut each half again so they are in quarters or serve as is.  Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • You can slice the very top and bottom of the squash to make it easier and safer before cutting it in half, or you can microwave the squash for a minute or two (poke a hole in the squash first) to soften it slightly before cutting.
  • You can save time by using jarred pasta sauce, but I think that the sauce plays a very important role here, so I prefer to make my own. This recipe actually makes much more sauce than you will need, so I freeze the rest for another use. Make once and eat many more times! I put mine on homemade pizza the next day!
  • Make it dairy-free: My daughter does not eat cheese, so I made hers without the parmesan and mozzarella and it was still very delicious.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    February 24, 2018

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Mushrooms, onion, and garlic sautéing
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Cleaning the seeds out of the squash
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The sauce when it was thick and finished cooking. Delicious!
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Separating out the squash “spaghetti strings”
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The finished product. We cut ours in quarters because it was pretty big. Worked out well, we both ate the rest for lunch the next day. 

 

 

Dijon Chicken Stew with Kale and Butternut Squash

This is based on an old Cooking Light recipe haven’t made in years but tried it recently when we were in the mountains skiing and thought it was worthy to post. It is wonderful cold weather comfort food that is also healthy and nutritious. I made it in a dutch oven but it also works well to throw it in a crock pot and leave it to cook while you go about your day.

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Dijon Chicken Stew with Kale and Butternut Squash

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Healthy and hearty winter vegetable and chicken stew

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups of sliced leeks
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour, plus one tablespoon
  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 4 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 can low-sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 5 large cremini mushrooms, sliced in large chunks
  • 8 cups of loosely packed torn kale (one large bunch)
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Procedure

  1. Heat a little oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté the leek for about 6 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Add garlic and sauté for a minute. Spoon leek mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Place 1/3 cup of flour in a shallow bowl and dredge chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess flour.
  5. Heat a little oil in the dutch oven and add half of the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with a little salt and pepper and cook for about 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned chicken to leek mixture and repeat with rest of chicken.
  6. Add the wine to the pan, scraping pan to loosen the browned bits.
  7. Combine 1 cup of broth and 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
  8. Add the broth mixture, remaining broth, and mustard to the pot and bring to a boil.
  9. Stir in the chicken mixture, garbanzo beans, butternut squash, and mushrooms and cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  10. Add the kale and simmer for 10 more minutes or until the butternut squash is tender and the kale is wilted. Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  11. Serve in bowls and Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    February 24, 2018

 

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Asian Chicken Salad

I rarely buy Trader Joes bagged salad mixes, but for some reason the Cruciferous Crunch Collection with shredded kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, green and red cabbage looked really good today. Then there was the problem of what on earth am I going to make out of this? I had an “ah ha moment” when I realized that the real reason I was going to Trader Joes was to pick up some chicken to make homemade chicken soup for my sick child. Then the perfect idea came to me, Asian chicken salad with the extra chicken from the soup, perfect! This only serves 2-3, so double the recipe if you are feeding 4 adults, or use it this way if it is just a side dish for 4-6 people. I hope you enjoy this very crunchy light meal!

Asian Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Healthy and quick take on Asian Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh minced or bottled minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 10 oz package of shredded vegetables such as a mixture of kale, brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage, broccoli, etc.
  • 1 large shredded carrot
  • 1 chopped bell pepper (I used orange for color)
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds, lightly toasted

Procedure

  1. Whisk the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, orange juice, ginger, and honey in a small bowl.
  2. Lightly roast the almonds in the oven.
  3. Pour the chicken and salad ingredients into a large bowl and mix.
  4. Add the dressing and toss the salad with the dressing.  Add the almonds and toss again.
  5. Serve into bowls and Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    February 7, 2018

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