Posts tagged ‘recipes’

November 16, 2011

Chorizo Pasta Bake

As a Chicagoan, I am naturally a sausage connoisseur. Of course I love having sausage on the bun, but in my cooking I like to take the sausage out of it’s casing to make it a little more versatile for dinner ideas. I originally saw a family friend use chorizo with pasta a few years ago and was hooked. It’s spicy, savory and adds a variety of non-traditional flavors to pasta. This recipe uses lasagna noodles BUT feel free to use any kind of pasta (be sure to pre-cook any other varieties of pasta prior to putting in the oven). This meal is fairly inexpensive and super simple, making it a great week-day meal!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1lb Chorizo Sausage
  • 3-4 Small sweet peppers. roughly chopped
  • 1 Yellow Onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (I like arrabiata to add more heat)
  • 1 Zuchini, sliced
  • 1/2 bag Fresh Spinach
  • 8 Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles
  • 3/4-1 cup Taco shredded cheese (you can substitute with any variety of shredded cheese)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Method: 
        In a pan, saute onions and peppers till soft. Add chorizo, stir occasionally and brown. Drain any excess fat out of the pan. Return to heat and add canned tomatoes and 1/2 jar pasta sauce. Simmer for a few minutes and remove from heat. Pre-heat oven to 350. In a large baking dish, spoon chorizo/sauce mixture in bottom of pan, creating a thin layer of sauce. Layer lasagna noodles. Spoon another thin layer of sauce on top of noodles. On top of sauce, layer zuchini, then cilantro, and spinach.

Layer zuchini, cilantro, and then spinach for the veg layer of the bake.

Sprinkle a about 1/4 cup of the cheese on top of veg. Spoon some more sauce over veg layer and top with another layer of noodles. On top of noodles, spoon a moderate amount of sauce, covering the lasagna noodles. Top the dish off with cheese, making sure it covers top.

Yummy bubbly Chorizo Pasta Bake.

  Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes or so. Cut into squares and serve.

Enjoy!

October 27, 2011

Hearty Curry Squash Soup

 

 

Hearty Curry Squash Soup

As Fall peaks, I can’t help but adjust to the cold weather the best way I know how, eating hearty food. Squash is one of the classic fall ingredients that I can’t seem to stop craving. There are so many varieties, and the options are endless, not to mention the great aesthetic qualities of squash. In the past, butternut squash has been my go to for soups, but with such a great selection of squash out there, I wanted to experiment. This recipe is hearty, spicy, and sweet. I know I’m adding this recipe to my winter staples, and you should too!

What you’ll need:

2 Acorn Squash

1 Delicata Squash

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 yam, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 box organic low-sodium chicken stalk

2 tbs. butter

1 1/2 tbs. curry powder

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tbs. brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Cut squash in half, spoon out seeds, and place facing down in a baking dish in about a 1/2 inch of water. Bake at 385 for about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

   

Cooked Squash

While squash is baking, prep all other veggie ingredients. On the stove, heat a large pot with a drizzle of olive oil and butter. Once hot, add all chopped veggies. Let simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Simmerin' Veggies

Once the veggies have cooked down a little, add the chicken stalk, spices and squash meat. Let simmer for 40 minutes to an hour. When it comes to soup, I always like the veggies to simmer for a long period of time, as it seems like the flavor develop best. Once simmered, remove from heat and blend. I use an immersion blender but you could also use a standard blender. Finally, stir in the brown sugar and any extra salt and pepper needed.

Garnish with Cheddar, Salt and Pepper

 AND don’t forget to freeze some of the leftovers for a rainy day!

September 22, 2011

Rick Bayless’s Pollo Pulquero (Slow- Cooked Chicken with Tomatillos, Potatoes, and Jalapenos) with Corn Salsa

As a chicagoan, anthropologist, and foodie, I have mad respect for Rick Bayless.  With his educational background in Anthropology, Rick Bayless really gets the importance of connecting ingredients with culture, incorporating new ideas, and making home-style Mexican cooking accessible. I got this recipe from Rick Bayless’s “Mexican Everyday”. This recipe for Pollo Pulquero stood out to me for a few reasons: Slow cooked meat is one of my favorite ways to have meat, the flavors sounded simple and delicious, and it was a recipe that I could easily make around my schedule. This is a great recipe to make before you leave for work, or prep the night before. And let me tell you, the aromatics from this will make your home smell amazing. Of course I had to add my own personality to the recipe, and decided to add some lime to the slow-cooker to bring a citrus flavor. I also decided to serve this with some corn salsa, as it adds a nice sweetness and texture to the meal. I promise if you give this a try, you will not be disappointed!

Pollo Pulquero:

1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4 inch think rounds

2 medium baking potatoes (Bayless calls for red skin, or yukon gold potatoes but I had some baking potatoes and they worked great, you could even use something like purple potatoes, which would work great as well)

4 (or around one pound) skinned chicken thighs*

1 cup cilantro leaves

8-12 Medium Tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and slices 1/4 inch thick

2 tablespoons jalapeno pickling juice

2 diced pickled jalapenos

Half of a lime

Sea salt

This slow-cooker recipe is all about layering. I started with the potatoes on the bottom, then chicken (skin down), cilantro, onions, and tomatillos. Once layered, I poured the pickling juice on top, squeezed lime juice and added the diced jalapenos on top. Be sure to salt between each layer, as this is the only salt in the dish. I set my slow-cooker on low for 8 hours, but Bayless calls for 6 hours on high. Once cooked, I spooned out the extra juice and decided to put it in a small pot and simmer it down a little. The juice is mostly the fat from the chicken skin, but adds some more flavor. Utilizing this juice is purely optional.

Ingredients layered in Slow Cooker

*Bayless’s recipe calls for skinless thighs but my store only had skinned and I thought it would add some great flavor. You can also use pork shoulder  or beef chuck, but Bayless suggests staying away from leaner cuts as they’ll dry out.

Cooked Pollo Pulquero (before excess juice has been removed)

Quick Corn Salsa:

3 ears fresh corn

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced

7 grape tomatoes, quartered

Fresh cilantro.

Fresh lime juice.

Sea salt.

Boil corn ears until tender but not too soft. While corn is boiling, chop jalapeno, tomatoes, and cilantro and place in bowl.  Once corn is cooked and cooled, cut corn off of the ear and add to bowl. Add lime juice and salt. Toss mixture.

Plate a chicken thigh and scoop of potato, onion, tomatillo. Add sauce reduction (optional). Top with fresh corn salsa.

Pollo Pulquero with Corn Salsa

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s flexible. If you only have sweet potatoes and chicken legs, you can still give this a try and it’d come out great! There is no easy way to fail at this. If you’re looking for more easy, delicious, flexible Mexican recipes, I encourage you to get some of Rick Bayless’s books and start testing things out.

Gnash On! 🙂

September 11, 2011

Mint Pea Soup with Goat Cheese

It may be a little premature for soup season, but I’ve been craving peas and wanted to try this recipe. I originally found this recipe on the Jamie Oliver iPad App. I wanted to take his original recipe and refine it a little. (And by refine I mean, use the resources I had in house.) I added some coconut milk  for sweetness, which was not in the original recipe. I also added canadian bacon to the topping to get that savory flavor without the fat of regular bacon. This is a nice hearty, filling, soup that eases your tummy and leaves you satisfied.

What you’ll need:

2 bags buttered minted peas (I bought these from trader joes but if you can’t find them pre-minted/buttered you can do so on your own by adding the two ingredients)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 medium russet potato

4 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth

1 pad of butter

2 tbs Olive Oil

1/4 cup cream

3 tbs coconut milk

Sea Salt

Pepper

For Topping:

1 slice wheat bread

1/4 cup goat cheese

3 slices canadian bacon, chopped

Method: In a large pot, saute onion, celery, and finely chopped potato in olive oil. Saute for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add broth to veggies. Bring to boil. Once boiling, add bags of peas. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend. Once throughly blended, add cream, butter and coconut milk. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste, and stir.

Veg and Broth boiling

Topping: In a small saute pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Once very hot, add chopped bread and canadian bacon. Brown. Remove from heat and toss in goat cheese. Use as garnish to soup. Enjoy!

Yummmmmm......

I’m planning on freezing some of the leftovers to enjoy on a snow day.

July 5, 2011

Frozen Yogurt with Berries and Basil

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In honor of the fourth of July, I have some fresh freedom frozen yogurt with berries and basil for you. Berries are in season and super refreshing this time if year. The yogurt creates balance and tartness to this treat, while providing protein and probiotics. I top the berries off with some basil from my garden to add some boldness to the palate.

Frozen Yogurt Recipe (from Food Network):

2 cups organic whole-milk plain yogurt (I like to use organic dairy, it’s creamier tasting)
2 cups organic non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup superfine sugar
3 tbs. Light corn syrup

Combine and whisk ingredients in bowl. Add to ice cream maker and let mix for 15 minutes. Transfer frozen yogurt into another container. For a firmer texture, freeze for an additional 2 hours.

Berries with Basil:
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 small container fresh blueberries
1 kiwi fruit
1 tsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp chopped fresh mint

Rinse and drain fruit. Chop strawberries and kiwi into bite-sized pieces. Add blueberries and chopped herbs. Toss fruit mixture.

Finally, take a scoop of frozen yogurt and top with a 1/2 cup of berries.
Happy Fourth!

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May 17, 2011

Banana Bread Muffins refined!

Buying too many bananas doesn’t have to be wasteful. Bananas often get super ripe before you know it, and banana bread is a great way to utilize their ripeness. I’ve made banana bread many times but this time I wanted to refine it, make it lower calorie and more diet friendly. I found this recipe on sparkpeople.com (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=), and took it one step further by making muffins instead of bread. I also added applesauce instead of water. Muffins are easy to grab and a pre-portioned snack. These turn out to be 3 points plus per muffin.

What you’ll need:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter (softened)
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
2 organic eggs
3 tablespoons natural applesauce
1 cup wheat flour
2/3 cup all purpose white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven at 350.
I used my electric mixer and added the bananas first to mash them. Mix in the sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients (white flour, wheat flour, baking soda, salt, baking power). Mix well. Add applesauce. Line or grease muffin pans and divide out. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Makes 18 muffins.

I sprinkled cinnamon on half and chocolate chunks on the other half to add a lil something.

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April 17, 2011

Lemon Chickpea Dip

Snacks are a vital part of my day-to-day eating. It is good to snack, especially when you’re dieting. Snacking curbs your appetite and regulates glucose levels. If you allow your glucose levels to fluctuate between extreme ups and downs, losing weight is going to be more difficult. So I have a great snack that pairs nicely with crackers, veggies, or toast, Lemon Chickpea Dip. This is a great snack because it has fiber, protein, and fills you up.

 What you’ll need:

* 1 can Chickpeas

* 3 TBS Olive Oil

* 1 Lemon

* 3 Garlic Cloves

* Bunch of Cilantro

* 1/4 Spanish Onion

*1 TBS Parsley

* Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Blend chickpeas, onion, garlic and olive oil in food processor until smooth but with some texture.  Add lemon juice, cilantro, salt and pepper and finish blending. Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Serve with raw veggies, chips, crackers, or toast. Also a great on sandwiches and burgers. Enjoy!

April 13, 2011

Don’t think you have enough time for breakfast? Think again!

Sometimes all you want is something quick, easy and pleasing for breakfast. I’ve got the perfect idea. Strawberry-Banana Smoothies!! You may be thinking, can’t I just pick that up at Jamba Juice? Yeah, you can, IF you live near one and have $5+ to spend every morning. But the easier, faster, simpler, and cheaper way is to make your own. I started making various fruit smoothies for breakfast or a snack when I began weight watchers a few years ago, and it is one of the most satisfying ways to start your morning.  So here it is, the simple Strawberry-Banana smoothie!

What you’ll need:

3/4 c. frozen strawberries

1 banana (this is a great recipe to use those turning-brown bananas!)

1/2 c. organic 0% Greek yogurt (any flavor you please, I like vanilla)*

1/3 c. Organic 1% or fat-free milk*

I try to let the frozen strawberries thaw out for a few minutes so I usually take them out when I first wake up.

Add all ingredients together and blend! It’s that simple! I use an immersion blender that cost me $60 at target and is a great alternative if you don’t have the space for a regular blender. This is a great recipe to make the night before and throw in the freezer or fridge, depending on how you want the texture in the morning. To get even more nutrients, try adding frozen blueberries, mango, raspberries and blackberries.

For those of you on Weight Watchers, you can make this for as little as 2 Points Plus if you use plain non-fat greek yogurt!

*I use organic milk and yogurt not only for the health benefits because I truly think that dairy tastes so much better than non-organic. It’s worth the money! Think of it as investing in your health AND your senses! *