Archive | May, 2011

Simple Summer Salmon Salad

31 May

Grilling salmon is super easy in the summer time. Salmon hold up well on the grill and can be ready in no time. I grilled my salmon on a grill pan indoors but you can always move the party outside for a quick and healthy dinner!

For the salad, use any veggies you have on hand. I wish I would have had cherry tomatoes and fresh red bell pepper. Yum!

Simple Summer Salmon

Servings: 2
Time: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

1/3 c. white wine
3 or so fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
sprinkle of black pepper
sprinkle of salt
sprinkle of garlic powder
sprinkle of cayenne
sprinkle of dried dill
2 pieces of salmon, fresh or thawed

Mix all ingredients, except for salmon, in a container with a lid.

Close the container and shake vigorously until well mixed. Let flavors sit for about 3-5 minutes and then shake again. Over medium-high heat, grill salmon, skin side down and covered, for 6-8 minutes.

Brush salmon with wine mixture, flip, and then brush again. Grill, covered, for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve over a green salad with plenty of veggies and the salad dressing of your choice. Yum!

Tips
– 1000 Island dressing was delicious on this dish.
– Seriously, pack your salad out with veggies… I used cucumbers, radishes, spinach, carrots, broccoli, onions, green peas… and a few croutons for extra crunch.
– You don’t have to serve this salmon on a salad. You could serve it over brown rice or alone with a side of veggies.
– Don’t have fresh basil? You could use a little dried basil.

Hash Brown and Ham Upside Down Quiche

22 May

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This morning, we woke up with brunch on the brain. But, seeing as how the Mississippi River has already flooded and dear ole’ Mother Nature decided to grace us with another torrential downpour and what The Weather Channel calls “deadly cloud to ground lightning strikes,” we didn’t quite think going out for brunch was in our cards today.

The solution? An impromptu quiche-ish dish  that turned into something it wasn’t supposed to be. A nice surprise, in fact, because oh, gracious was it good.

Hash Brown and Ham Upside Down Quiche

Servings: 4
Time: 25 minutes
Level: Easy

1 1/2 c. hash browns, frozen (or shoestring potatoes)
4 eggs
1/3 c. milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. ham, cubed (or bacon or sausage or even make it vegetarian and add juiced and seeded tomatoes)
1/3 c. bell peppers and onions, frozen
fresh spinach leaves
1/3 c. cheese, shredded
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400°. On a cookie sheet, bake hash browns for 5 minutes.

Transfer potatoes to a greased pie plate or cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper together.

Top potatoes with ham, bell peppers and onions, and spinach.

Pour egg mixture over top, sprinkle with cheese and Italian seasoning, and bake for 20 minutes.

Once removed from oven, invert onto a plate, allow to cool, and slice. Yum!

Tips
– Instead of using Italian Seasoning, try cumin and chili powder.
– Top with salsa if desired.
– Use leftovers to wrap in a tortilla with tomatoes and extra spinach leaves for a quick lunch.
– You don’t have to invert the dish. You can leave it in the pie plate if you want.

Oriental Pork and Cabbage Stir Fry

20 May

I wanted to cut down on the carbs tonight so I decided to try using cabbage in place of noodles or rice when making my stir fry. It worked out great! We didn’t miss the noodles or rice at all.

As I’ve said before, I LOVE stir fry. It is one of the easiest ways to incorporate a ton of vegetables into a perfectly simple one-dish dinner.

You should try this version and see if you like it as much as we did. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tonight. That is, if my husband doesn’t eat all of the leftovers for lunch!

Oriental Pork and Cabbage Stir Fy

Servings: 4
Time: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

ground pork (it only took about 1/2 lb. or less)
1 head of cabbage
2 radishes, chopped
1 handful of broccoli, chopped
1/2 – 1 c. vegetables, frozen (I used an Oriental veggie mix from the freezer section)
1/3 c. sweet green peas, frozen
1 tbsp. water
3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
sprinkle of garlic powder
sprinkle of ginger powder
sprinkle of curry powder
1/3 c. cashews or peanuts
1 tbsp. Sriracha

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook meat until no longer pink.

Add cabbage and water directly to the skillet with cooked meat. Stir frequently, until cabbage begins to wilt. Add soy sauce and all vegetables.

Sprinkle mixture with spices, enough for your tastes, and continue to stir until cabbage is wilted a little more and vegetables are cooked.

Add nuts and Sriracha and stir until heated throughout.

Yum!

Tips
– Try using cubed or ground chicken or shrimp instead of pork.
– Try adding a little Chinese Five Spice to the ground pork mixture.
– Use different vegetables. Whatever you have on hand would work! Carrots and red bell peppers would have been great in mine! Bean sprouts, anyone? Yum!
– Leave out the meat or add tofu for a great vegetarian dish.

Homemade Hummus and a Hummus Veggie Wrap

17 May

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Hummus is a dip or spread made from chickpeas. Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are an excellent source of folic acid and fiber. They are also a good source of protein, as well as minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium. As a good source of fiber, garbanzo beans can help lower cholesterol and even improve blood sugar levels.

Hummus is normally made with tahini, a sesame paste, but can just as easily be made without it. Tahini can be expensive and I have found the taste difference to be minimal when replacing the tahini with a little olive oil.

Hummus is a delicious spread for sandwiches in place of mayo or as a dip for pretzels and veggies. Making this healthy treat at home is so much cheaper than buying it at the store. Plus,  you get to change up the taste to match the flavors you love. I hope you enjoy!

Homemade Hummus

Servings: 4
Time: 5 minutes
Level: Easy

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, reserving 1/3 c. liquid
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice, or lime juice

Blend all ingredients, except for reserved chickpea liquid, in a blender.

Add reserved liquid, a little at a time and as much as needed, until mixture is smooth. Yum!

Homemade Hummus Variations

Instead of adding chili powder, garlic, and cumin add one of the following ingredients instead:

1 tbsp. pesto

1 tbsp. sun-dried tomato pesto

a few roasted red peppers

How quick and easy is that?

Hummus Veggie Wrap

Servings: 2
Time: 5 minutes
Level: Easy

2 whole wheat tortillas
1/2 c. hummus
cheese slices, optional

various chopped and sliced vegetables:
Today, my wrap included…
radishes (for a peppery bite)
broccoli
onion
carrots
spinach leaves (a total must!)
bell peppers (any and all colors)
cucumbers

Spread hummus on tortillas, top with cheese and veggies, and wrap it up. Yum!
– Try dipping your wrap into Sriracha for an extra kick.
– Try adding different veggies, whatever is fresh at the farmer’s market!
– Instead of a tortilla, you could use a whole wheat pita.

Mexican Tortilla Pizza

16 May

I was going to make quesadillas… but then I figured it would save me almost 100 calories if I left off the top tortilla. Ahh, Mexican Tortilla Pizza is born.

Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips make this dish super quick and easy. I use these pre-cooked chicken strips a lot!

I’ll be making this pizza again, for sure!

Mexican Tortilla Pizza

Servings: 2
Time: 15 minutes
Level: Easy

1/3 c. Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips
1/4 c. corn, frozen
1/4 c. peppers and onions, frozen
1/4 c. mushrooms, sliced, optional
1 tbsp. jalapeños, diced, optional
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. chili powder
salt, to taste

2 tortillas
1/2 c. refried beans
1/3 c cheese, shredded
salsa, to top
sour cream, to top

In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken, vegetables, and spices, until chicken is completely thawed.

Turn oven to Broil. Spread refried beans on each tortilla, top with chicken mixture, then sprinkle with cheese.

Broil in oven until cheese is melted and tortilla is crispy.

Top with salsa and sour cream, if desired. Yum!!

Tips
– Try using different veggies, meat, or spices to mix things up.
– Leftover taco meat, enchilada sauce, or fajitas? No problem! This pizza would be good topped with any of those leftovers.

Crouton Encrusted Tilapia

15 May

As I’ve said before, I am always looking for ways to incorporate more fish into my diet. I know it is healthier but I just really don’t care for it all that much. That means my fish recipes MUST pack a punch.

This tilapia is made from ingredients I almost always have on hand. So it is an easy, go-to, recipe on a busy night.

Crouton Encrusted Tilapia

Servings: 2
Time: 15 minutes
Level: Easy

1/2 of a handful of Parmesan-garlic flavored salad croutons
2 tilapia fillets, thawed
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. butter, melted

In a food processor, chopper, or blender,  pulse croutons until they become fine like breadcrumbs. Add cheese and cayenne and pulse again to mix everything together.

Blot tilapia with a paper towel to dry it off a little. Coat both sides of the fillets with melted butter then with crouton mixture.

Preheat oven to 400°. Put breaded fillets in the fridge for a few minutes, while the oven preheats. Place fillets on a greased roasting pan or wire rack placed on top of a cookie sheet or baking dish.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yum!

Tips
– Try using chicken instead of fish.
– You can use regular or other flavored croutons if you want.

Ratatouille Pizza

11 May

This pizza is perfect for summer! I LOVE all of the veggies sautéed in olive oil. They work perfectly with the pizza sauce. The whole pizza reminds you of a brighter version of Ratatouille.

I came up with this pizza on my way home from work. I knew had half of a zucchini and a squash and just a few other veggies that needed to be used. I wasn’t in the mood to grill and I wasn’t craving a pasta dish. Whenever I’m in an indecisive mood, I always turn to pizza. Tonight, I’m glad I did.

You will truly enjoy this pizza. It far exceeded my expectations and has easily become a family favorite.

Ratatouille Pizza

Servings: 4
Time: 25 minutes
Level: Easy

1/8 c. olive oil
1/2 of a zucchini, sliced
1/2 of a summer squash, sliced
1/4 c. onion, sliced
1/3 c. button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c. bell pepper, sliced
1 tbsp. sweet and hot jalapeños, chopped (can substitute regular jalapeños)
1 clove of garlic, minced (can substitute a sprinkle of garlic powder)
generous sprinkle of Italian seasoning
pizza dough
1/2 c. pizza sauce
3 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Bake dough for 8 minutes. In a pan over medium-high heat, sauté vegetables, sprinkled with Italian seasoning, in olive oil.

Top dough with pizza sauce, bacon, veggies, mozzarella cheese, and cherry tomatoes.

Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil dough on top oven rack for 1 minute, until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Sprinkle with pepper. Yum!

Tips
– Try adding cubed or sliced eggplant.
– An Italian cheese blend would be yummy with or instead of mozzarella.
– You can use spaghetti sauce if you don’t have pizza sauce.

Chicken Torta

9 May

A torta is basically a sandwich. This Cuban/Mexican sandwich can be made using any type of protein. Chicken, steak, pork, and even scrambled eggs can top this veggie packed delight.

I decided to try and recreate this delicious torta after eating one with friends at Las Delicias. Las Delicias makes the BEST tortas. The one I had the other night was made with eggs… yum!

Tonight’s version is made with chicken. Either way, it is oh so good and you MUST try one soon.

Chicken Torta

Servings: 2
Time: 15 minutes
Level: Easy

chicken, cooked and shredded (enough for 2)
1/3 c.  enchilada sauce
1/4 c. refried beans
sour cream
2 soft but crusty rolls or baguette
avocado slices, optional
tomato slices, optional
onion slices, optional
jalapeño slices, optional

Heat chicken with enchilada sauce. Cook until meat is thoroughly saturated with sauce.  Spread refried beans on one side of the split bread and spread sour cream on the other. Toast until slightly crispy. Top bread with meat and veggies.

Yum!

Tips
– Try different meats and sauces. You could use leftover fajita meat that has been marinated and cooked… that would be yummy.
– If you choose to use scrambled/omelet eggs, you can omit the enchilada sauce. Add a little hot sauce or salsa to your eggs instead.
– I topped mine with hot sauce.
– I used a whole wheat baguette but it wasn’t soft enough and made the sandwich messier than normal.
– I served mine with a side of corn, bell peppers, onions, and  jalapeños seasoned with a little salt, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder.

In Honor of Cinco de Mayo…

3 May

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Cinco de Mayo… Ahh, what a delicious holiday. Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s a holiday that celebrates  Mexico’s victory over the French on May 5, 1862.  But, dang, celebrating  their victory with a delicious dinner is just fine by me. Our neighbors to the south know what their doing when it comes to their amazing cuisine and I’m not ashamed of how much I love it!

If your going to be staying in this Cinco de Mayo or if you are planning on having a blow out fiesta with friends, check out these recipes below. I took a look back at my recipe collection and my love is clearly evident… I can’t say that ANY of these recipes are even slightly  authentic but they are definitely inspired by south of the border flavors.

Grab yourself a basket of chips and a bowl of salsa, maybe a margarita or two, and celebrate!

Enchilada Pie 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas (vegetarian and vegan)

Steak Fajitas

Mexican Cornbread

Quinoa Salsa Side Dish

Gringa Tostada

Fiesta Fritata

Baja Shrimp Tacos with a Corn and Radish Salad

Chicken Spinach Florentine

2 May

Yum! This is my mom’s recipe so handle with care!

I halved this recipe tonight and it was a little soupier than it was the last time I made it. Still good… just soupier.  I think I might have needed to use more chicken than I did.  I bet using fresh spinach leaves could make this dish even better and I might try that next time… I might also try adding fresh sliced mushrooms.

The leftovers of this dish are DELISH… especially when wrapped up in a warmed tortilla. Chicken Spinach Burritos, anyone? Yeah, I’ll definitely be having that for dinner tomorrow night!

Chicken Spinach Florentine

Servings: 6
Time: 30 min.
Level: Easy

2-3 c. chicken, cooked and shredded
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 c. sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. curry powder
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/ c. white wine
2 c. cheddar, shredded

Topping:
1/2 c. parmesan
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
dobs of butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9×13 baking dish.

Top with toppings and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Yum!

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