Sunday, May 31, 2009

Asian Chicken with Sesame Peanut Dressing

I love Asian food. It rivals Italian food and I'm not really sure which is my favorite. I think it just depends on the day. Anyway, when I found this recipe on the Northwest Noshings web site, I knew it was something we had to have. I've made many versions of peanut sauces over the past couple years and this one definitely scored high on our list. I did make a few small changes to the original recipe so here's mine. Make this.... you won't be sorry!

2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalepeno chiles, seeded, minced
1 1/2 cups unsweetend light organic coconut milk
1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP oriental sesame oil
2 TBSP minced, fresh ginger
1 TBSP honey
1 1/2 tsp hot sauce
1 small diced red bell pepper
1 shallot, diced
1 head of broccoli, chopped
9 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
12 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Heat a little oil in a pan. Add the garlic and jalepenos, and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
Combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger, honey and Tabasco in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until smooth. Add it to the garlic and jalapenos. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining oil in pan. Add the chicken and cook through, then add in the broccoli and sliced shallot and saute about 3 inutes. Put the sauce back into the pan and stir it together.
Top the pasta with 1/4 of the mixture and top with about a tablespoon of sesame seeds.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lemon Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus

I saw the original recipe for this on The Smitten Kitchen web site. I immediately tagged it, knowing it was right up my alley. Tonight I went to work and put my own spin on it and it was delicious. I used fresh basil instead of tarragon which we love and really brought out the lemon flavors. And because I didn't have goat cheese and didn't feel like going out to buy it, I though cream cheese would be a great substitute. And it was!

Serves 4

10 oz. Smart Taste rotini pasta or similar
1/2 pound asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces
1/8 - 1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
4 oz. softened light cream cheese, broken up
6 oz. chicken, grilled or sauteed on the stove with seasoning
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 lemon, juiced

Combine the lemon peel, basil, cooked chicken, lemon jice and cream cheese (break into pieces) in a large bowl. Cook the pasta according the directions and add the asparagus in for the last 2 minutes. Do not drain the pasta! Add two ladels of pasta water into the bowl. Now drain it! Pour the pasta and asparagus into the bowl and mix it all together well. The cheese should melt forming a nice creamy sauce. Salt & pepper and serve!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Dinner

Happy Memorial Day everyone! As someone who is married to a veteran, the daughter of a veteran, and who has had many relatives serve and a few even die, this day does mean something to me. So to all veterans and families of those who have served and do still serve our country, a very special Thank You for all you've done to keep the USA free.

Now onto the dinner I made last night. I will confess, I've never bought bone in chicken. But Stop & Shop had a good price on their Nature's Promise brand so I went for it and bought some bone-in chicken thighs. I couldn't have been happier. It was so delicious and most, I am making this more. I cooked it on a medium to high heat on the grill for about 45 minutes, flipping them about every 10 minutes and then the last 5 minutes, we slathered both sides with BBQ sauce. It was too easy.

We had fresh corn bought that day from the market as well, along with a pasta salad with avocados and turkey bacon. I don't think any of us spoke while eating except to say how good this was.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Banana Berry Smoothie

It's a warm and beautiful day here in NJ and after doing some house work, I needed something cold and filling. A smoothie it is! I love my immersion blender because it makes having one of these practically mess-free. Very little clean up, unlike a blender. I highly recommend one. If you prefer your smoothie a little thicker than just leave out the milk from the step below.

1 banana, sliced
6-8 mixed frozen organic berries
1 cup fat free organic strawberry yogurt
2 TBSP organic 1% milk

Place the ingredients in a large cup and blend to desired consistency.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Simply Delicious Tomato Sauce

I've been working on perfecting tomato sauce for a couple years now. Originally my friend had passed along a recipe from her friend so I've been using that as my basis. I've made some changes and I think today's batch may just have been the best so far. Maybe it was the fresh basil I picked from the yard about 5 minutes before adding it in, maybe it's the organic tomatoes, or maybe I just got the measurements down. In any case, this one was good!

2 TBSP olive oil
1 small can tomato paste
1-1/2 cups of water
2 large (28 oz) cans of organic crushed tomatoes
2 shallots, diced
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 TBSP dried oregano
Salt & pepper, about 1 tsp of each

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven. Saute the shallots and carrot for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add in the garlic and saute another 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add in 1 cup of the water and the can of tomato paste. Mix thoroughly and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt & pepper and the remaining water. Mix together well and put the heat on low. Slowly simmer for 1-2 hours or until the sauce has thickened. This makes quite a bit of sauce, almost a half gallon, so go ahead and freeze some in containers for later use. It will still be just as good!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks

My friend Colleen over at Cooking This and That gave me this great recipe for baked fish sticks. My family loves them but I have a hard time buy them because they are so unhealthy. These are the perfect way to health-ify fish sticks. They are baked, not fried and the panko breading makes them so crispy. My step daughter Emma proclaimed that we MUST have these soon again. We loved them. Colleen's original recipe used tilapia but for ours, I used Wild Caught Alaskan Cod that I got at Trader Joe's (love that place).

For our dipping sauce, I mixed organic ketchup with horseradish and voila--cocktail sauce!

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks
Makes about 3 servings

1 large egg
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cups panko
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning (I used seasoned salt)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound cod filets

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F, with racks in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil.

Cut cod filets in half lengthwise, and then again the other direction. If they are still too thick. Cut them in half again.

Crack egg into shallow bowl, add about a tablespoon of water and lightly beat with fork. Season with salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, combine panko, Old Bay, and olive oil.

Dip each tilapia stick into egg, shaking off the excess; then into panko mixture, pressing mixture so that it sticks.

Place on prepared baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes, until panko is lightly browned and fish is cooked through. And PS, they shrink so if you want bigger ones cut your filets only lengthwise.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Goat Cheese and Artichoke Pizza

I really enjoy making pizza at home and topping it with different things. Last night was one of these nights. The flavors of the goat cheese and artichokes went together so nicely. Instead of a sauce, I combine garlic and EVOO in a bowl and brushed it onto the crust, drizzling the remainder over the dressed pizza. Adding in the spinach for some color made it even better. I definitely recommend this combination

1 ball of prepared whole wheat dough
1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped
4 oz. goat cheese
1 bunch of fresh spinach, chopped
5 oz. shredded low fat mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic

Roll out the dough, using whole wheat flour to fit onto your pan. Bake for 5 minutes on 400. Remove the dough from the oven. Combine the olive oil and garlic in a bowl with a small whisk. Brush on the pizza dough and then top with the artichokes, spinach and cheeses. Pour the remaining olive oil mixture over the top of the pizza. Bake for another 10 minutes in the 400 degree oven.

Loaded Turkey Burgers

I dug these turkey burgers out of my freezer for dinner on Monday night. I decided to add some deliciousness to them. Sauteed mushrooms and onions, turkey bacon and a slice of low fat swiss cheese. On a whole wheat bun, these burgers truly kicked ass!

Pasta with Pesto and Chicken

I had some leftover pesto (which I love) and for a quick dinner threw it over some whole wheat macaroni and grilled chicken. Delicious, easy and fast !

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'll be back soon!

I've not posted anything because my camera with my pictures is at my Mom's and we were away for my birthday weekend. Life has been crazy but I'll get back into it this weekend. And yes, R, we will take pictures of our dinner Saturday night for the blog!