Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

I have been eying this recipe for a while and I finally made it as a side dish to go with salmon as I wasn’t sure I could sell it to my family as an entree (my husband is not really a fan of eggplant, but I think it is because he hasn’t had really well-prepared eggplant, so I keep trying!). The recipe was a little time-consuming, but really very tasty and worth the work. I think if I made it again I might add either a portabello mushroom or some chicken to make it an entree.

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: medium
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Light, grilled and completely untraditional version of eggplant parmesan, no breading and no frying.

Credit: Food and Wine 

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced in 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, sliced in 1/4″ thick rounds
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped green olives
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 6 ounces Fontina Cheese (or mozzarella), shredded or thinly sliced

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spread the eggplant and tomato slices on two large baking sheets lightly greased with cooking spray. Lightly brush each slice of eggplant and tomato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly charred. Turn once and check on them often as cooking times vary with ovens.
  2. In a small bowl combine the olives, chilis, and shredded basil.
  3. On a large rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper arrange half of the eggplant in a square, overlapping the slices slightly. Top with half of the tomatoes, olive mixture and Fontina. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the cheese.
  4. Reduce heat in oven to 425 degrees. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves and serve as a side dish or as an entree with crusty bread. Enjoy!

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January 12, 2017

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Roasting the tomatoes
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Roasting the eggplant.
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The dish assembled and ready to bake.
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I split the recipe up so I could make a smaller portion without the red pepper flakes and olives for my son. The larger portion in the front was made how the recipe is written. The one in the distance is the modified version.
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Quick Brined Roasted Salmon with Lemon Garlic Oil

This is a new Food and Wine recipe that I made recently. It has a pretty quick and simple preparation and my son and I really liked the lemon and miso flavoring on the salmon. The original recipe says that it is great on salmon, cod or hake, but I have only tried it on salmon, although I think any white fish would also taste great with this glaze. Great weeknight dinner alongside some simple rice and either roasted vegetables or a simple salad. The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of butter that I left out, seemed just fine without it and more heart-healthy.

Quick-Brined Roast Salmon with Lemon-Garlic Oil

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quick weeknight salmon recipe that has lots of lemon, garlic and miso flavor.

Credit: Food and Wine 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • four 5 ounce skinless salmon fillets (or hake or any fish you like)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon shiro miso (white mild miso)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh garlic
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Procedure

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon of salt with 2 cups of hot water and stir to dissolve the salt. Let cool to room temperature and then add the fish to the bowl and let brine at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a small bowl whisk the oil with the lemon juice, miso and garlic until smooth; season with salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the fish and transfer to the prepared baking sheet; brush all of the fish with the lemon oil mixture. Roast until golden and just cooked through, about 10 minutes for the salmon. Transfer to plates and garnish with a lemon wedge and serve with vegetables and rice.

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January 12, 2017

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Salmon with a mixture of farro, roasted mushrooms and onions, corn and purple cauliflower. 

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The Lemon Garlic Oil
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Made the dish again and served with brown jasmine rice and kale salad with miso and pistachios.

Hot and Sour Soup with Vegetables

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Cooking the onions, garlic, ginger, scallions and mushrooms.

Tonight is the last night that my daughter is home for her winter break and she suggested we make Hot and Sour Soup. What a great idea! I love soup and I think if you add a little protein and extra vegetables it makes such a nice one-pot meal, although tonight I decided I can’t even try to feed this to my spice-phobe son, so I also marinated a little chicken and steak in garlic, ginger, soy sauce and mirin and then stir-fried it and served it on the side along with some roasted broccoli that I tossed with a little olive oil, white wine vinegar and salt and pepper. It all was sooooo warm and yummy!  The soup is basically the recipe from Feedmephoebe.com, with some extra vegetables and I didn’t make it vegan, so thank you Phoebe Lapine for an excellent recipe!

Hot and Sour Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: fairly easy
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Better and healthier than take-out hot and sour soup with added vegetables based on Mushroom Hot and Sour Soup from FeedMePhoebe.com.

Credit: Feed Me Phoebe  

Ingredients

  •  olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated (about a 2 inch piece grated)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced and white and green parts separated
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 baby bok choy, sliced
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu, drained and cubed (or chicken, shrimp, etc)
  • 2 teaspoons sambal olek
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of warm water
  • 2 egg whites, gently beaten

Procedure

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a medium to large stockpot or dutch oven.  Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger and white part of the scallions for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently.Add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper if desired while sautéing.
  2. Add mushrooms and cook for another few minutes or until the mushrooms has become soft and released a lot of their liquid.
  3. Add the Sambal Olek and stir. Cook another minute.
  4. Add the soy sauce and vinegar to the mixture, stir and scrape up any browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, bok choy and tofu, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer for ten minutes.
  5. While the soup is simmering, mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. set aside.
  6. Add the cornstarch to the soup and simmer for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
  7. Remove the soup from the heat. Add the egg whites to the soup by slowly pouring them into the soup and at the same time carefully stirring the soup in large zigzags to form ribbons of egg whites in the soup. Gently stir in the green onions and serve in bowls.

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January 2017

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Cooking the soup. So many vegetables!
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The finished soup

Tamale Cooking Project

We were in the mountains and were looking for something to do instead of skiing so we decided to make tamales and gingerbread cookies. Oh my, this was a bit too much to take on in one day, but we did it and dirtied every dish in the house in the process! My daughter made the gingerbread cookies, so I will try to get the recipe from her and share that later. Together we made the tamales. We decided we would try to please everyone, so we made four different fillings: Vegetables and black beans, Braised chicken with cheese, Braised chicken without cheese, and Beef and cheese (we had leftover beef from tacos the night before). This is only the second time that we have made tamales, the first being some years ago, so we are not very experienced at this but I decided to post it so I can share it with others and give people the courage to try this, and so I can re-visit the recipe in the future in order to make it again and improve the recipe over time. The recipe may be a little vague as I winged a lot of it. I think I would not braise the chicken if I made this again, instead I would bake it or sauté it in a fry pan with the vegetables. I think that would add a lot of flavor. The ground beef I used for a few Aidan-friendly tamales was leftover from last night’s ground beef taco dinner, so that was the easy part.

 

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Some of the tamales before cooking them

Chicken and Vegetable Tamales

  • Servings: made about 20 tamales
  • Difficulty: difficult
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Healthy Chicken and Vegetable Tamales and Vegetarian Tamales for a fun afternoon cooking project.

Tamale dough recipe from  Mexico in My Kitchen

Ingredients

Tamale Dough (makes 16-20 tamales)

  • 2 1/2 cups of masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cup of warm low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Vegetable Filling (for about 6 tamales)

  • 1 cup of sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 large mushrooms, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of refried black beans

Chicken and vegetable Filling (for about 12 tamales)

  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 large mushrooms, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Poblano peppers
  • 2 Anaheim peppers
  • 4 cups of fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (may be better with jack cheese?)
    • Note: may need more cheese if you are putting it in all of your tamales, we just put it in half of them.

Corn Husks – have at least 24 on hand as some may be small or torn

Tomatillo Sauce – this is very approximate

  • 1 pound of tomatillos, quartered
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Soak the corn husks in hot water for at least 30 minutes and then drain.
  2. Chicken and vegetable filling:
    1. In a medium sized pot add the chicken breast meat and the next 11 ingredients (through bay leaves). Bring to a boil and then partially cover and simmer 30 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
    2. While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, broil the Anaheim and Poblano peppers until the skin is blackened. Turn so all sides are blackened then let cool in a paper bag or foil. When cool peel off the skin and remove the seeds. Chop roughly.
    3. Let the chicken cool slightly in the liquid.
    4. Remove the chicken and vegetables, shred the chicken and mix with the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the broiled peppers and shredded cheese if using. Set aside.
    5. Drain the remaining broth through cheese cloth and reserve the broth for another use or use it in your dough recipe.
    6. NOTE:  I think this was pretty good, but next time for more flavor I would try sautéing all the vegetables together and then separating out 3/4 of the vegetables for the vegetarian filling and using 1/4 of them with the chicken. I would probably just bake the chicken and then dice it up.
  3. Vegetable filling:
    1. Heat a large pan on medium-high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil and coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, jalapeño, spices and salt and pepper and sauté for 8 minutes or until softened. Add spinach and cook for 2 more minutes.
    2. Put the cooked vegetables in a bowl and stir in the black beans (and cheese if using) and then set aside.
  4. Tomatillo Sauce:
    1. Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
    2. Pour cooked ingredients into a blender and blend until sauce is slightly chunky but thoroughly mixed. Pour into a serving bowl and set aside.
  5. Dough:
    1. In a large bowl mix the masa harina, baking powder and salt with a whisk.
    2. Add the canola oil and mix with a spoon or spatula.
    3. Add the warm chicken broth and continue to mix. You may need to add a few tablespoons more of the broth to get the right consistency. You want the dough to be creamy like soft ice cream. Set aside.
  6. Assembling the tamales and cooking them:
    1. Using your pre-soaked but dry corn husks, lay one husk out with the pointy end pointing at you. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the dough in the top middle of the husk forming a large oval.
    2. Add about 2 tablespoons of your filling on top of the dough, leaving some margin of plain dough on the perimeter.
    3. Fold one side of the husk to the center, fold the other side to the center overlapping the husk, then fold the bottom pointy end towards the center. Place on a plate while you assemble the rest.
    4. NOTE:  We kept the different types of tamales on different plates and then put different food coloring dots on them to color code them so after steaming we knew what each one had in it.
    5. After filling all of the tamales, prepare your steamer. Fill your pot to just under the steamer insert and heat to boiling. Put all of your tamales in the steamer standing up, with the closed side pointing down and the open side pointing up. Put a layer of extra corn husks on top and cover tightly with a lid. Cook on medium heat for 75 minutes, checking periodically to add water if needed (you don’t want the pot to run dry).
    6. To make sure your tamales are finished cooking you should be able to easily remove the husk from the dough and the dough should feel firm.
    7. Serve with the tomatillo sauce. Peel open the husk and enjoy!

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December 22, 2016

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Chopping the vegetarian tamale ingredients
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The onions and garlic in the pot for the chicken and vegetable tamales. I should have diced the onions and minced the garlic, so that is now how the recipe reads.
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The finished chicken and vegetable mixture. 
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Roasted peppers
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Tamale dough. Not quite creamy enough yet.
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Tomatillo Sauce cooking. We blended it first and then cooked, but I think that was a mistake so I am now recommending cooking first and blending second.
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Spreading the dough on the corn husk. A larger disk of dough would be better. There was a learning curve!
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We found that spreading the dough with a spatula worked the best. 
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Our cooked and color-coded tamales. The food coloring was a bit messy.  The pumpkin-gingerbread cookies are also on display. Yum!
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Chicken, vegetable and cheese tamale out of the corn husk.
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Chicken, vegetable and cheese tamale with some tomatillo sauce. 

 

Beef and Chicken Sausage Chili

Beef and Chicken Sausage Chili

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Adapted from Cooking Light's All American Chili - really flavorful and lean chili for a cold winter day.

Adapted from Cooking Light, January 2003.

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 or more large jalapeños or serranos, diced
    • NOTE: I do one of two things due to the spice-phobe in my family; either cook without the jalapeños and serve them on the side or after all the ingredients are combined, I separate out a portion that will remain spice-free and then add the jalapeños (or serranos) to the large pot and cook. 
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken breast sausage (or whatever sausage you prefer). If it is link-style, chop it.
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 3 Tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (lately I have used coconut palm sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups of dry red wine
  • 2 – 28 ounce cans of low-sodium chopped tomatoes with the juice
  • 1 can of low-sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of low-sodium cannellini beans (or great northern or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed

Procedure

  1. Heat a large dutch oven or pot on Medium-high. Add a small amount of olive oil and coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken sausage and ground beef and cook for about 10 minutes or until meat is thoroughly cooked. Drain the grease from the pot and return it to the heat.
  2. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, sugar, cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt and bay leaves to the mixture and stir for one minute.
  3. Add the red wine to the mixture. Cook and stir for one minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and the beans, stir well and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally.
  5. Uncover and cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls. Garnish with chopped onions and/or shredded cheese if desired.

NOTE: This also works well to follow recipe up to step 4, then once you add the beans put the mixture into a slow cooker, set on medium and leave it to cook for the day. I do this in the mountains, so it is about 45 minutes preparation and then dinner is ready when I come home from skiing! 

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December 8, 2016

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Getting my ingredients ready.
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chopping the onions and garlic
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Cooking the onion, garlic, peppers and meats.
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The onion, garlic, peppers, and meat with the spices (step 2).

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Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Cold days call for warm soup, at least in my house. This is the second time I have made this soup, adapted from a Food and Wine recipe, and it is really a lovely warming soup to eat when the temperature drops. I made the recipe with a few modifications. The recipe called for chicken thighs, but I really don’t care for dark meat chicken so I used organic skinless, boneless chicken breasts; I also couldn’t find the specific type of thai chili paste, so I used the one I had in my fridge (Thai Kitchen brand roasted red chili paste); I didn’t have kaffir lime leaves so I substituted a tablespoon of grated lime zest; and lastly Whole Foods didn’t have thai chilies, so I substituted serrano peppers. If I had been more motivated I could have found these items at another grocery store, but I wanted to keep things quick and simple. Despite the substitutions the soup turned out very well, I got a thumbs up from 2/3 of us (I left the serranos out of the spice-phobe’s soup, he found the soup just “okay”). I have no idea why my soup came out whiter than the Food and Wine picture, maybe it was the different chili paste I used? I served the soup with some plain brown jasmine rice and broccoli roasted in the oven with olive oil, squeeze of lime, garlic, salt and pepper.
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Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Sweet and spicy coconut chicken soup to warm you on a cold day.

Adapted from Food and Wine magazine, May 2016.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, trimmed and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons Thai chili paste (The original recipe calls for Nam Prik Pao — which is a sweet and spicy Thai condiment. I couldn’t find this at my local store so I used Thai Kitchen brand roasted red chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of finely grated lime zest (original recipe calls for 2 kaffir lime leaves, but these are not easy to find, so I use grated lime zest).
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, tender inner white part only, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Two 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk (I used the lite type)
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 Serrano peppers, seeded and very thinly sliced on the diagonal, plus more for garnish if desired (original recipe calls for Thai chiles, but they are hard to find).
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Limes wedges, for serving

Procedure

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the fish sauce.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken broth or stock with the chili paste, sugar, lime leaves and lemongrass and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and fish sauce to the saucepan along with the shiitakes and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the lime leaves (if using lime leaves). Stir in the lime juice and chiles and season with salt. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle the soup with the cilantro and serve with lime wedges and sliced chiles.

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December 5, 2016

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Lemongrass. Just use the tender white part you see here.
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Stuffed Baby Eggplant Parmesan

I went to the Farmer’s Market yesterday and I found some baby eggplants. So cute! I have never seen baby eggplants before so I decided I would buy some. My son was shopping with me (this is a rarity! He was really only there because he is a boy scout and had to sell wreaths at the market). Anyway, he suggested we stuff them. Wow, what a good idea, but with what??? Later I decided why not make it like eggplant parmesan, but stuffed. I think they came out pretty tasty on the inside, but I am not sure how to improve on the skin, it was sort-of chewy. I guess eating the skin can be optional.

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Stuffed Baby Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

New twist on eggplant parmesan, but healthier and cuter. No frying involved, just a lot of super-healthy baked vegetables and it works well as either an appetizer or a side dish.

Ingredients

  • 6 baby eggplants (or one to two large eggplants)
  • 2 large Cremini mushrooms, finely diced
  • About 1 cup of fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of chunky tomato sauce (I had some of my Basic Tomato Sauce in the freezer)
    • NOTE: Use a very chunky tomato sauce with onions and garlic, since the recipe is relying on these being in the sauce and I didn’t include adding extra onions and garlic into the vegetable mixture. If you don’t have them in the sauce then add a 1/4 cup of chopped onions and 1 minced garlic clove to the vegetable mixture.
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1/4 cup of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, chiffonade cut (thin strips)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, roughly chopped (optional garnish)

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside flesh with a knife, leaving approximately 1/4 inch of flesh in the eggplant so it can serve as a cup for the vegetables. Chop the removed flesh into a small dice and put into a medium bowl.
  3. Roast the eggplant shells in the oven for 15 minutes, or until softened.
    1. Note:  Some people say salt the eggplant for an hour before roasting to make it less bitter but I think that the baby eggplants are not bitter and I have also read that salting is a waste of time, eggplants have been bred to not have that bitterness, so I skip that.
  4. Add the chopped mushrooms and spinach to the bowl. Add some salt and pepper the the vegetables. Microwave the vegetables for one to two minutes, until softened.
    1. NOTE: You could also sauté them with some olive oil for a few minutes on the cooktop, I just wanted to save time and calories today. 
  5. Add the tomato sauce and half of the mozzarella and parmesan. Mix thoroughly.
  6.  Fill the eggplants with the vegetable mixture, top with remaining cheese and bake for 12 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the basil and parsley. Enjoy!

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December 4, 2016

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The chopped eggplant, mushrooms and spinach before cooking.
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Homemade chunky tomato sauce that I had in my freezer.
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The cooked vegetables mixed with the tomato sauce and cheese
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Eggplants ready to cook
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Coming out of the oven
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Finished eggplant, served as an appetizer

Jambalaya with Quinoa

Today I decided to cook Jambalaya after reading about a Quinoa Jambalaya recipe on icooktheblogs.com. What a creative and healthy idea to use quinoa instead of white rice! The recipe actually originated on another blog, but after reading it I decided why not stick with my regular Jambalaya recipe and just sub out the rice with quinoa. I usually put shrimp and chicken sausage in my Jambalaya, but my husband always complains that the shrimp is slimy and too fishy from my regular market and I didn’t have time to go to a special fish market, so I used a small boneless skinless chicken breast and three chicken sausages. I used mild organic spinach and chicken sausage by Aidells, mainly because I had it in my freezer. If I were to make this again I would have gone to the fish market and added the shrimp, but it was still quite good! I will list the recipe with the shrimp even though I didn’t use any today.

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Jambalaya with Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Traditional Jambalaya recipe with a very untraditional substitution of quinoa in the place of the white rice (and optional substitution of baby bok choy instead of celery).

Credit: Inspiration for using quinoa in this recipe was from icooktheblogs.com , but I created my recipe from an old Cooking.com recipe sourced from Burt Wolf’s Menu Cookbook, but the website doesn’t seem to be live anymore so I can’t share a link to it.  

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 chicken sausages – spicy is best if you like spicy food, otherwise mild works
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
    • (NOTE: ok, I am not sure anyone will take this seriously, but I actually used one piece of baby bok choy chopped instead of the celery because I really don’t care to buy a whole package of celery and only use two stalks and throw the rest away. Then I panicked that it would look weird so I added a handful of chopped celery from the WFM salad bar…but traditionally I have used celery. The bok choy was actually good in it!).
  • 2 bell peppers (I used one orange and one red), chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and chopped.
    • NOTE: in the future if my son is not going to eat this I will add two jalapeños and not de-seed them so it is spicier. If you like food mild, 1 jalapeño de-seeded is going to be perfect. I like it hot!
  • 1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, with the juice
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste (approximately 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper).
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1/2 pound of de-veined and shelled shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, sliced

Procedure

  1. In a large dutch oven or stockpot heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the sausage and chicken and cook until the sausage is lightly browned and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the meat from the pot.
  2. Add a little more olive oil and add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the celery(or bok choy), bell peppers and jalapeño and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked chicken and sausage back to the pot. Add the tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, salt and pepper, bay leaves, oregano, chicken broth and quinoa to the pot. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Check on it occasionally to make sure is has not become too dry and to stir it.
  4. Add shrimp and basil, turn heat up to medium and cook with the lid off  for 5 minutes or until the shrimp is fully cooked.  Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls. Enjoy!

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December 2, 2016

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Ginger Sesame Beef Salad with Quinoa

Updated 3/26/17.

What to make for dinner tonight…? Well this popped into my inbox this morning from Food and Wine Magazine, and I thought that this looked like a good candidate. Here is the original recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/skirt-steak-stir-fry-quinoa-and-ginger-sesame-dressing. I added more vegetables and marinated the meat for a few hours, but I otherwise followed the recipe. The dish turned out to be a really nice mix of crunchy vegetables with very tasty, succulent beef. I have to admit that my son found it a bit “strong” so he just picked out and ate the beef chunks and left most of the rest but my husband and I really enjoyed it.

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Grating the ginger.  The minced garlic is on the side.

Ginger Sesame Beef Salad with Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Healthy ginger beef and vegetable salad that comes together quickly. Good choice for a healthy weeknight meal.

Credit: Food and Wine 

Ingredients

Marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Quinoa:

  • 1 cup of un-cooked quinoa

Dressing: 

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Stir-Fry:

  • 1 tablespoon of dark sesame oil

  • 1 pound skirt steak, cut into small pieces and sliced against the grain (1/4” thick strips)

  • 1 large Portabello mushroom cut into small cubes

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic (2 cloves)

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger

  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce (or lettuce of choice), chopped

  • 2 cups of shredded carrot

  • 2 cups of bean sprouts

  • 2 tablespoons of basil leaves, chiffonaded

Procedure

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of organic rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger and garlic. Add the sliced beef and marinate at least 30 minutes or several hours if possible.
  2. Cook the quinoa without adding salt or oil. I like to use a rice maker. Set the cooked quinoa aside (Can cook this earlier in the day and refrigerate).
  3. In a small bowl whisk the ¼ cup of soy sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons of fresh grated ginger, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lime juice and 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Set aside.
  4. In a large skillet heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the steak, mushroom, half the shredded carrot and salt and pepper to your taste, and then stir-fry for a few minutes until the steak is cooked to your liking. Remove the steak mixture and add half the bean sprouts and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Divide the lettuce between four plates. Top with cooked bean sprouts, meat mixture, uncooked carrots and bean sprouts, cooked quinoa and then the dressing. Garnish with basil.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

September 29, 2016, updated March 26, 2017

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Stir frying the beef, mushrooms, and carrots
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Finished stir-fry

 

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The quinoa in the rice cooker.
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The finished dish

 

Vegetable Moo Shu

This is an old recipe that I have been making since my kids were pretty young. I started with several different recipes and just combined and modified over the years so much that I am not sure who I can really give credit to. Sometimes I add ground chicken or turkey, but usually we eat it vegetarian style. The egg and bean sprouts have plenty of protein so I don’t really feel a need to add the poultry most of the time. This is a dish that is loaded with vegetables and I was always excited that my kids liked to eat it. I think it was the sweet hoisin sauce and the tortillas that made it not seem like too many vegetables to them. Another little trick is that sometimes I make too much of this and then the next day I have added ground chicken or turkey and turned them into pot stickers. I actually did this the day after I made these – I am just a bit behind in publishing these recipes. So look out for my potsticker recipe in the near future.

Vegetable Moo Shu

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Healthy rendition of a favorite Chinese restaurant dish, loaded with vegetables.

Credit: I have decided that commercial hoisin sauce is full of too much sugar and un-pronounceable ingredients so I used this recipe to make my own sauce this time: Homemade Hoisin Sauce from omnivorescookbook.com. That said, I have used commercially made Hoisin Sauce for many years and everyone really likes it

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs, stirred with a whisk
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of minced ginger (fresh is best, but bottled works.
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of shredded carrot (1 or 2 large peeled carrots)
  • 1/2 pound of Shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 pound of Cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 12 oz bag of shredded broccoli slaw (I usually go for the freshly packaged organic kind, but you can throw a head of broccoli in a food processor as well)
  • 2 cups of fresh raw spinach, chopped
  • 12 oz bag of fresh mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I usually put this on the side for those of us who are not afraid of a little spice but to spare those who are)
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce (see note above)
  • 8 flour tortillas (or make your own Mandarin pancakes – time consuming but better then tortillas – I have used this recipe: Cooking Light)

Procedure

  1. Heat a large skillet with some olive oil on medium heat. Mix the eggs with 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Pour into the skillet and cook like a thin omelette. Flip the egg and cook on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Cut into thin strips and cut those in thirds.
  2. Wipe pan and add a little more olive oil. Add garlic, ginger, sweet onion and carrots. Sprinkle with a little salt and some generous turns of the pepper mill. Cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for 5 more minutes or until mushrooms soften.
  4. Add the bean sprouts, spinach, green onions and red pepper flakes (if using).  Add a little salt and some more black pepper and cook for a few minutes, until the vegetables all begin to soften.
  5. Stir in 1/2 cup of the hoisin sauce. Remove from the heat.
  6. Warm the tortillas. Spoon some vegetable mixture into the tortilla and add a little hoisin sauce. Roll up and enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

November 29, 2016

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Cooked and chopped egg
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grating ginger
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Vegetables

 

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chopping mushrooms
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All the cooked vegetables and egg ready to put into the wrappers (also good without the wrapper).
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Ready to eat!